Welcome to Maldives!

Discover the sunny side of life! Sunny all year long, Waves like nowhere else, Underwater beauty like paradise! Visit Maldives for a perfect holiday.

Maldives’ capital, Malé, is situated on a 2.5 sq km (1 sq mi) island, the largest in the entire chain, in the Malé Atoll. Male’ city is one of the most densely populated cities of the world with 165,000 live in a small island. However, Hulhumale, a manmade island a short distance from Malé, is expected to be expanded to twice the size of Malé by about 2040.Maldives consists of most beautiful small islands on earth and is the smallest country in Asia. It lies south of India and west of Sri Lanka, extending 823 km (511 mi) but occupying an area of just 300 sq km (116 sq mi). The Maldives are made up of 26 coral atolls in a chain reaching down to cross the equator with a total coastline of 644 km (400 mi). Within those 26 atolls are roughly 1,198 islands and of these around 201 are inhabited and 115 are resorts.Male international airport is located in Hulhule island in the north Male Atoll, near the capital of Male and has the biggest sea plane operations in the world.

QUICK FACTS

Official Name:The Republic of Maldives
Capital:Male
Location:Maldives is a South Asian island country located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian sea. It lies South west of India and Sri Lanka
Government:Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Dialing Code:+960
Time Zone:GMT +05.00
Climate Weather:Tropical monsoon
Population:427,000 on 201 small islands
Land Area:298km2
Official Language:Dhivehi and English is widely spoken
Currency:Maldivian Rufiyaa (Rf)
Foreign Currency Accepted:USD ($), EUR (€) British Pounds (£) and no travellers cheques are accepted
Entry requirement:Maldives grants visa-free or visa on-arrival status to all nations of the world.

All visitors must hold a passport with at least two blank pages valid for at least 06 months beyond the date of your arrival. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry.

Health Tips:When travelling to Maldives, it is very important to take out travel insurance. An emergency can be extremely expensive with sea planes/speed boat transfers to Male city from the resort.

General information

Discover the sunny side of life! Sunny all year long, Waves like nowhere else, Underwater beauty like paradise! Visit Maldives for a perfect holiday. These are the most beautiful small islands on earth and the smallest country in Asia south of India and west of Sri Lanka, extending 823 km but occupying an area of just 300 sq km. They are safe, there are no hawkers selling sarongs and taxi tours and no distractions. There is no agriculture and no industry and the turquoise lagoons are crystal clear. Strange to think that the idyllic Maldives have only been a holiday destination for 40 years or so. The Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls in a chain reaching down to cross the equator with a total coastline of 644 km. Within those 26 atolls are roughly 1,198 islands and of these around 201 are inhabited and 127 are resorts.

Maldives’ capital, Malé, is situated on a 2.5 sq km island, the largest in the entire chain, in the Malé Atoll. Male’ city is one of the most densely populated cities of the world. However, Hulhumale, a manmade island a short distance from Malé, is expected to be expanded to twice the size of Malé by about 2040. Some of the islands are in process of formation and are constantly increasing in size and others are gradually washing away. The islands are level and extremely low-lying, with elevations rarely exceeding 1.8 m (6 ft) above sea level. Many contain freshwater lagoons. However, the islands are protected from the elements by the reef and rarely have major storms. In the older islands, a larger layer of topsoil has formed, and these islands are covered with coconut trees, breadfruit, and dense shrubs.

The population of Maldives is around 427,000. Though there is evidence that the early Maldivians were Buddhists, their conversion to Islam dates from 1153. The Maldives is now a 100% Muslim country and care needs to be taken in relation to the dress code on local islands.

The Maldivian language, called Divehi, is similar to the old Sinhala (Elu) of Ceylon. English is spoken by most government officials, but only by a small number of the Maldivian population. But in resorts and Male city many Maldivians understand and speak English.

Time Difference

GMT +05:00

Compare to Indonesia, Maldives is 2:0 hours ahead compare to local time.
That means when it is 12:00 noon in Jakarta is 02:00 pm in Male, Maldives.

Compare to France, Maldives is 3:0 hours ahead of France.
That means when it is 8:00 am in Paris France, it is 11:00 am in Male, Maldives.

Please note that Daylight Saving Time (DST) / Summer Time is taken into account for the calculation of hour difference.

When to visit

Best time to visit (Dec-Feb)
The Maldives enjoys its best weather. Expect little rain, low humidity and blue skies. Christmas and New Year involve huge price hikes and often minimum stays of 05 days or more.

Hot period (Mar-Apr)
Great weather continues until the end of April, when temperatures are at their hottest. The surf season begins in March and continues until October. Rates will higher during Easter.

Law season (May-Nov)
Storms and rain more likely, but weather is warm. Resort prices will be law during this season. Prices rise in August for European summer holidays. Marine life is more varied on the western side of atolls at this time. During bad weather periods, seaplanes may not take off due to safety reasons. In case of a severe weather pattern, consider to book a room in Male city which may starts from 50$ for two people on room only basis.

Money and currency

US$01 = 15.33 Maldivian Rufiyaa (Rf) (currency rate can be varied depending the day you search)
Euro€1 = 17.15 Maldivian Rufiyaa (Rf)
Maldivian Rifiyaa (Rf) 01 = IDR 866

The currency of the Maldives is the rufiyaa (Rf), which is divided into 100 larees. The Rufiyaa comes in denominations of Rf500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 05 bank notes and also come as coins in denominations of Rf02 and 01. A single Maldivian Rufiyaa can be divided into 100 Laari.

These are coins and come in, 50, 25, 10, 05, 02 and 01 Laari The banks as well as resorts in the Maldives are very particular about the condition of bank notes and will refuse deposits of old style US$, even though still an active currency, damaged notes, badly creased, well-worn, or defaced notes will also be rejected. Therefore, if presenting such a note as form of payment you may be requested to change to a note of better condition.

Please do not take offence, it is purely that the note will have no worth to the individual to whom you are paying. Most resorts and travel expenses will be billed in dollars, and most visitors never even see rufiyaa, as US dollars are accepted everywhere. If you’re staying in a resort, all extras (including diving costs) will be billed to your room, and you pay the day before departure. Resorts accept cash and credit cards, and unless specified US dollars are preferred. It is advised not to exchange currency in Male where bank queues are common and waiting time lengthy. Only major foreign currency will be exchanged for local currency MRf.

Most banks represented in Malé provide ATM services. The Bank of Maldives has several branches in Male as well as other major population hubs such as the Male International Airport, Hulhumale and Gan. Several other regional banks also operate in central Male, including the State Bank of India, Bank of Ceylon, and HSBC. There are no banks on resort islands nor on many local islands. All services directly related to guests will incur 10% service charge and 12% T-GST (Tourism Goods and Service Tax). The 10% service charge is applied to the total value and 12% T-GST applied to the total value + service charge.

Environmental ‘Green’ tax will be applied to all stays in accommodation registered as a hotel, resort or liveaboard from 1st November 2015. This adds a further US$6 per person per night and is not subject to T-GST/GST. Travelers cheques are generally accepted in US Dollars and in some places Pounds Sterling and Euro too. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, our advice is to make sure your travelers cheques are in US Dollars. If you’re going to take cash with you, it might be easier to convert into dollars, before you travel. If you can’t however, worry not, you can always do it at Malé International Airport

Electricity

Electricity supply is 220V to 240V, 50Hz AC. The standard socket is the UK, Euro-style three-pin, although there are some variations, so an international adaptor can be useful, though most resorts supply adaptors for non-UK travellers.

Telephone and how to call

Maldives country code +960. Maldives has multiple mobile networks. The person you are calling will be using one of the following mobile area codes :

 Mobile ProviderDhiraaguWataniya
 Mobile Code79

If you need to use a local SIM buy at the Male airport. In resorts, you are provided with IDD call facilities in rooms. Hotel will add calling charges to your main bill folder under your room number.

Visa requirement

Maldives grants visa-free or visa-on-arrival status to all nations of the world except Indian and Bruneian citizens for 30 days. Nationals of India can enter Maldives for 90 days without visa. Nationals of Brunei can apply for visa on arrival, which is maximum of 15 days.

Vaccines and Travel insurance

Unless you are flying from tropical Africa there are no required by law vaccinations for the Maldives for entry or exit. However, for your own personal health it is strongly recommended that travellers be covered against the main food and water borne diseases (Hepatitis A and Typhoid) and Tetanus. Most of the resorts do have an in-house doctor on call.  If there are any major illnesses the patient will be transferred to a local hospital in a nearby island which is close to the resort.

Medical centres in local islands are clean and with a qualified doctor and two or three nurses. Depending on the duration the patient is required to pay for the doctor and the transport (speed boat/seaplane) or hotel will pay and the bill will be added later on to your room number (depending of the policy of the hotel you stay). When travelling to Maldives, it is very important to take out travel insurance. An emergency can be extremely expensive with sea planes/speed boats to Male city from the resort.

How to go to Maldives

Indonesia to Maldives

Distance travelled between Jakarta, Indonesia to Male, Maldives is 3860 Km. There are very few non-stop flights from Jakarta to Male.

Fastest flight time from Jakarta/Male is around 05 hours 06 minutes.
Fastest one-stop flight between Jakarta and Male takes close to 07 hours 10 minutes. Apparently, connecting flights and direct flights with stopover take longer time than non-stop flights.

In such cases, Jakarta – Male flight time depends on the layover destination specified by your airline or the one you choose while booking your ticket.

Airlines operated from Indonesia to Male
Singapore Airlines, Sri Lankan, Garuda Indonesia, Emirates, Tigerair

France to Maldives

Air travel distance between Paris, France & Male, Maldives is 8280 Km.

Non-stop flight time from Paris to Male is around 10 hours 48 minutes. Fastest one-stop flight between Paris and Male takes close to 13 hours. However, some airlines could take as long as 35 hours based on the stopover destination and waiting duration.

Airlines operated from Paris to Male
Air France, Emirates, Etihad, Turkish, Singapore Airlines, Onur Air

Transportation in Maldives by Seaplane or by Speedboat

Speedboat Transfers

Speedboat transfers operate 24 hours per day. These transfers will be arranged by the hotel based on your arrival/departure time.

Time difference between the capital city and island resort

Many island resorts have adopted their own daylight-saving time schedule that moves their local time an hour, a half an hour, and even some and hour and a half ahead of the local time in Male, the capital of Maldives. So, when travelling to an island resort of the Maldives, be sure to check with your hotel the current local time that they follow.

Seaplane Transfers

Seaplane operates from 06.00am until 04.00pm during day lights hours only for 07 days per week. You must arrive in to Male International Airport before 02.30pm in order to catch same day seaplane transfer.
International airline policy requires passengers to check-in no later than 2 hours before flight time.
The last flight departure from Male International Airport is about 04.00pm.

In rare instances, due to circumstances beyond the control of seaplane operator and/or the resort, such as unfavourable weather conditions, the seaplane may depart earlier or later than scheduled to/from resort, in such cases the guests will be informed in advance on seaplane schedules.

However, schedules vary depending on the arrival and departure times of all guests on that given day. You must arrive into Male before 03:30 p.m. in order to catch a same day Seaplane transfer.

Seaplane carriers are independent operators, which provide the resort with schedules in the evening prior to arrival and departures. As such, all schedule timings are solely at the discretion of the seaplane management.

Each passenger may carry 20kg of checked luggage and 05kg of hand luggage. Any excess thereof is subject to the additional fees to be paid direct to the seaplane operator.

Male airport and check-in information

Male airport is located in Hulhule which is a 10-minute ferry ride from the tiny capital city of Male. There are no jetways, so your airplane will pull up and park in front of one of the 4 gates, and you’ll disembark down stairs and then walk into the terminal. Once inside, it’s a relatively short walk to the Immigration desk, and you’ll usually be processed pretty quickly because tourism is their primary business here and they have enough staff to process a plane full of people in 15 minutes or so.

You can’t just fly into the Maldives and then choose a resort because all of the transportation is pre-booked and private. So before you even get on your flight to the Maldives, you will know exactly where to go, and the resort will know the flight you are on and be expecting you. As mentioned above, some resorts have a rep waiting for you with your name, and a few of the most expensive resorts have private check-in lounges where you’ll be told to go. These are both very easy to find. But most guests will be told to look for a specific counter, where a resort representative will be waiting for them. Again, each rep knows who is on which incoming flight, and when each flight has landed, so someone will be standing there waiting for you and perhaps a few other passengers on your same flight. They will find your name on their check-in list, and let you know how long you will wait for your speedboat or sea-plane transfer, and where you can wait. If your resort is close enough to the airport to be served by speedboats, the rep will lead you and your group out the front of the airport, and the speedboat docks are literally right there.

After you find your resort rep and check in with them, they will lead you to the check-in queue of seaplane counter operating out of the airport. One is much older and larger than the other, and each has contracts with specific resorts so you’ll go with the one that your resort works with. If your resort is too far to be served by speedboats you will be taking a sea-plane there, which you’ve already booked through the resort at the time you made your reservation. There are no ferries or other alternatives, so your only choice is to book the sea-plane through your resort when you book.

Check-in at the sea plane counter & boarding to Sea plane Once you’ve checked in for your sea-plane flight, and again, they’ll know you are coming and be waiting for you, you’ll be guided to an air-conditioned shuttle bus right behind their check-in counters. In about 10 minutes you’ll pull into the secured area for sea plane departures, and a representative there will guide you to your sea plane. Once everyone is on board, the plane will taxi into the lagoon and then take off. It’s worth noting that your luggage may not be on the same sea plane as you, but it will get there soon and it should make it all the way to your room without you touching it. You can take hand-luggage on the sea planes, but not large bags.

Sea plane rates

The sea planes rides are quite expensive at around US$300 to US$600 per person, return, but they are also one of the major highlights of almost any trip. The Maldivian islands are gorgeous, and there is no better way to see many of them from the window of a sea-plane. Its will be an unforgettable life experience and make sure your cameras and phones are ready to take pictures of beautiful tiny islands and resorts you pass by.

Whether you’ve arrived on a speedboat or a sea plane, the resort will know exactly when you’ll arrive, and they will have someone there waiting for you at the dock. Unless you are arriving in part of a large group or chartered trip, you will probably get personal attention and be welcomed by name immediately. Again, you can take small hand luggage with you on your person, but your main Arrival at the resort luggage will all be handled by staff. At almost all private-island resorts, your luggage will be brought directly to your room without you having to lift a finger.

Male airport & City from an aerial view

Male City entrance point

Aerial side view photo of Male City

How to reach Male City

To reach Male independently you can choose to take the Airport Express Speedboat, the charge is MRF30 or US$2 (price can be changed) for a one-way transfer per person, leaving every 15 minutes. Or the airport public ferry, charge MRF10 or US$1 (price can be changed) per person one way, leaving every 10 minutes. Both leave from the jetty opposite the Domestic Terminal. When you arrive in Male, just a 10-minute public ferry ride, you will be able to hail a taxi from the ferry terminal to your destination, guesthouse or hotel.

A one stop drop regardless of distance is 25MVR plus an additional 5MVR per item of luggage (price can be changed).If there are few hours left to your international flight, it’s worth to have a tour in Male city. You can organize the tour through the resort or your representative in Male airport. It’s a matter of paying a tip to your guide for his services. It is important to know that the Maldives follows a business week from Sunday to Thursday. Most places are closed on a Friday until after Friday prayer. The shops in the Maldives open at different times in the morning but usually before 09:00am. Most shops close for prayer times for an interval of 15 minutes. Avoid travel to Male city between 12 noon and 02.00pm because many shops are closed for lunch and prayers.

Places to go and things to do in Male city

Male City

For the best of cultural Maldives visit the capital Male. Male is the most populous and commercial city in the island with a population closer to 150,000 and area of 5.8 square kilometres, it is one of the densely populated cities in the world. It is the diplomatic capital that has the embassies, important buildings and the house of the President.

Presidents Palace

In Maldives, the house of the president, also known as Mulee-aage is a major attraction. The Presidents Palace is exotically constructed depicting the beauty of the nation that he rules. Outside its walls, it is adorned by Islamic Art and Whites tones that stand for a symbol of power and majesty. The Presidents Palace was the creation of the great Sultan Shamsudeen. It was in fact a present for his son, a safe haven that he built before the World War one.

Shopping in Male City

Whether you would like to buy some souvenirs or famous brands of fashion, consumer electronics or beauty products, Male city gives you all, but you must visit the right shops. Most of the tourist souvenir & luxury goods shops are conveniently located on Chandani Magu. Shops are open from 9am until 10pm but almost all shops are closed from 12.00 noon to 02.00pm for prayers and lunch.

Grand Mosque

The Grand Friday Mosque located in the Centre is named after the one of the most celebrated Maldivian heroes, Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam of the Maldives. The mosque is the largest in the Maldives, and also one of the largest in South Asia, admitting over 5,000 people.

The National Museum

The Maldives National Museum, built and financed by the Chinese government. The amazing collection inside the great museum displays ranges from thrones and palanquins used by former sultans to the first printing press used in the country, the rifle used by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his fight against the Portuguese in the 16th century, ceremonial robes, headgear and umbrellas used by Sultans to statues and other figures dating from 11th century, excavated from former temples