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ESSENTIAL & USUFUL INFO  ABOUT MALDIVES


Location

Southwest of Sri Lanka, on the equator.


Geography

1,190 coral islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. Stretches 820 kilometres north to south and 120 kilometres east to west. 202 are inhabited, 87 are exclusive resort islands.

Climate

Generally warm and humid. Sun shines all year through. Average temperature around 29 - 32 degrees Celsius.

Culture

Located at a crossroads of ancient trade routes in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives have been influenced by different seafaring visitors who visited this tropical paradise over the centuries.  Indian, Sri Lankan, Arabian, Persian, Indonesian, Malaysian, and African travellers have all contributed to the rich Maldivian cultural identity.

Language

Dhivehi is the language spoken in all parts of the Maldives. English is widely spoken by Maldivians and visitors can easily make themselves understood getting around the capital island. In the resorts, a variety of languages are spoken by the staff including English, German, French, Italian and Japanese.

Currency

The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa and Laaree.. Rufiyaa bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. Coins are in the denominations of MRf.2.00, MRf.1.00, 50 laarees, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 laaree.
The US Dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency. Payments in the resorts and hotels can be made in most hard currency in cash, travellers’ cheques or credit cards. Commonly used credit cards are American Express, Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, JCB and Euro Card.

Local Time

GMT + 5 hours

Business Hours

From Sunday to Thursday 7.30 - 14.30 in the government sector and generally from 9.00 to 5.00 in the private sector, although most offices in the private sector open for a half day on Saturday. Weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.


Communication

Up-to-date technology and international satellite links allow Maldives to have a sophisticated communications system. IDD facilities are available on all resorts and card phones are available on all inhabited islands. Dhiraagu, the Maldives Telecommunications Company also provides mobile telephones for daily rental. It is also the Internet service provider.

Electricity

The electric system is 230-240 Volts –AC

Area code / Cell Phones

The area code for Maldives is 00 960

Cell phone coverage is today available in most places of the archipelago.

Internet Access

Available today in all Hotels and Resorts and almost everywhere from North to South.  This service is chargeable or free according to the Resorts.

Tipping

A minimum of 1US$ per day for the room boy + the same amount for waiters is advised. The same amount to your luggage porter at arrival.  Butler services in luxury Resorts are generally more rewarded.

Arrival & Immigration

No prior visa arrangements are required but each visitor must have a passport valid for more than six months. At the airport of your arrival to the Maldives you will need to fill in a landing card. To obtain immigration clearance it is a requirement to indicate in the landing card an address or provide proof that you have a booking at a hotel/resort.  A standard 30-day no-cost visa will be issued upon your arrival. You can request an extension of up to 90 days as long as you have sufficient funds and you're staying in a resort or hotel.  There is an airport departure tax payable on departure.

Customs

There are a number of items that you are prohibited to bring into the Maldives:

• Alcohol
• Pork
• Dogs
• Firearms
• Religious idols*
• Pornography
* You can bring a bible or other material for personal religious observances, but you can only do this in the privacy of your hotel/resort
Please note that alcohol and pork are both available for purchase within the country.

To & From Airport

The capital city of Male is located on a separate island from the airport island. You will need to take a small (local ferry) called “Dhoni” across to the capital, which takes around 15 minutes, to arrive to and from the airport to Male.
You can choose to transfer to your Maldives resort via ferries, seaplane or speedboat. Some Maldives resort packages include transfer fees in the price while others do not.

Health

Health care facilities are improving almost on a daily basis. The Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male is the biggest hospital in the country providing sophisticated medical care. ADK Hospital is the biggest private health care facility and follows high medical standards. Some resorts have in-house doctors. A decompression chamber is within easy reach of most resorts in case of a diving emergency.

Vaccinations

While vaccinations are not required for your trip to the Maldives, it's a good idea to get immunised for the following:
• Diphtheria
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
• Polio
• Tetanus

You will require a yellow fever and/or cholera immunization if you are arriving from an infected area. Please check with your travel agent if you're unsure that this applies.

Food And Beverages

Because of the high standards of the Maldives resorts, both in the quality of the food offered and the professionalism of their catering staff, they are generally safe places to dine. The only time you might be at risk is when eating at the numerous cafés and tea shops in Malé, although this is a very rare possibility.  As a general precaution, drink only bottled water during your visit.

General Precautions

Common health problems that can occur during trips to tropical climates include:
• Exhaustion
• Heatstroke
• Insect bites
• Motion sickness
• Sunburn

If you're spending time in the water, beware of
• Bites
• Cuts
• Stings

Safety

The crime rate in the Maldives is extremely low, but you should conduct yourself with the same attention to personal safety as you would in any other location. Also be aware that thefts of valuables left unattended on beaches or in hotels does occur.

Ryan & Katie Lewis traveled to Sri Lanka.
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Ryan & Katie Lewis
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