Traveling tips for Maldives – what you should know before a trip to Maldives

Are you imagining a lavish vacation in a tropical location with immaculate beaches, clean seas, and plush lodgings? If that’s the case, your list should start with the Maldives. To ensure a smooth and comfortable journey, there are a few vital things you should know before departing for this exquisite paradise. Our in-depth guide will cover everything, from the ideal times to visit and how to get about the archipelago, to comprehending local traditions and getting ready for your trip.

First, we talk about the journey. Planning your trip to the Maldives involves more than just booking a flight. Timing is crucial, as the weather can significantly affect your experience. The ideal time to visit is during the dry season, from November to April, but be prepared for higher prices and more tourists.

Upon arrival at Velana International Airport in Malé, you’ll need to arrange transfers to your final destination, whether it’s by domestic flight, seaplane, or speedboat. It’s also essential to understand the straightforward visa requirements and ensure you have all the necessary documents ready.

This guide aims to equip you with all the tips and information you need to make your Maldivian adventure unforgettable.

Getting There

Planning your trip starts with timing. The best time to visit the Maldives is from November to April when the weather is dry and sunny. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and larger crowds.

Flights to the Maldives typically land at Velana International Airport in Malé. From there, you’ll need to take a domestic flight, seaplane, or speedboat to your final destination. Plan ahead and book your transfers in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.

Visa requirements for the Maldives

The visa requirements for the Maldives are quite straightforward. Here are the key points:

1. Visa on Arrival:

All tourists, regardless of their nationality, can receive a 30-day visa free of charge upon arrival in the Maldives. You do not need to apply for a visa before you travel to the Maldives on vacation.

2. Required Documents:

To receive a tourist visa on arrival at Malé International Airport, you will need:

  • A machine-readable passport (MRP)/passport with Machine Readable Zone (MRZ), which is valid for at least another 6 months,
  • Pre-paid accommodation in the Maldives (e.g., a hotel reservation).
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the entire stay in the Maldives.
  • A return-flight ticket to your home country or an onward flight ticket.
  • A visa for your next destination (if required)

3. Traveller Declaration Form:

All travellers to Maldives must complete a Traveller Declaration Form (IMUGA) within 96 hours of arrival and departure.

4. Yellow Fever Vaccination:

If applicable, you may need to present a Yellow fever Vaccination certificate. Children under 1 year of age are exempt from Yellow Fever vaccination.

5. Children/Minors:

Children/minors must have their own passports to enter the Maldives.

Transportation within the Maldives

Transportation within the Maldives primarily revolves around its maritime and air travel systems, given the archipelagic nature of the country, which consists of 26 atolls and over 1,000 coral islands. Here are some common modes of transportation:

  1. Walking: All the islands of the Maldives, be they private resort islands or public, are small and manageable enough to be covered by foot.
  2. Air Travel: For most visitors, air travel is the primary mode of transportation to and within the Maldives. Velana International Airport, located on Hulhulé Island near the capital city of Malé, is the main gateway to the country. Domestic flights are usually operated by seaplanes or small propeller planes, providing scenic aerial views as passengers hop between islands.
  3. Speedboat: Once visitors arrive at the main airport or one of the regional airports, they often rely on speedboats for inter-island transportation. The fares can go as high as MVR 3,500, depending upon the resort and the distance to be covered.
  4. Ferry: For a more cost-effective option, ferries are available for inter-island travel. The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) operates public ferries that connect the inhabited islands. Although slower compared to speedboats, ferries offer an affordable means of transportation.
  5. Taxis: Taxis do operate in the large islands. They are mostly found in the capital city of Male.

Communication and Connectivity

Communication and connectivity in the Maldives, an archipelago with over 1,200 scattered small islands, is a critical aspect of life and service delivery. Here are some key points:

  1. Telecommunications Operators: The Maldives has three telecommunications operators: Dhiraagu, Ooredoo Maldives, and Raajjé Online. These operators provide services across the islands, ensuring connectivity for residents and visitors alike.
  2. Internet Usage: More than 60% of the population uses the Internet. The number of digital government services is increasing, and corporate use of digital technology is also on the rise.
  3. Digital Infrastructure: The Maldives has made substantial progress with mobile penetration and coverage, with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage of 87 percent and mobile market penetration of 125 percent. It was the first in South Asia to launch 5G connectivity.
  4. Challenges: Despite these advancements, there are challenges due to the country’s geography. Providing a telecommunications network to a small population spread over a large geographic area is difficult. International connectivity is limited, leading to high bandwidth costs, a lack of resilience, and internet capacity bottlenecks.
  5. Future Plans: To overcome these challenges, investments are being made in new state-of-the-art submarine cable systems. This is expected to improve connectivity while lowering costs for consumers.
  6. Digital Economy Project: The Maldives Digital Economy Project aims to enhance the enabling environment for the digital economy in the Maldives. This includes improving identification for in-person and remote service delivery, and leveraging data and analytics for green, resilient, and inclusive development.
  7. Digital Startups: There are several digital startups in the Maldives, such as Hologo, a digital education startup, and OdiApp, a sea transport booking service. These startups are using digital technologies to solve real-world problems and contribute to the digital economy


Accommodation in the Maldives offers a wide range of options, from luxury resorts to budget guesthouses. Here are some options:

1. Luxury Resorts:

The Maldives is famous for its luxury resorts, many of which are located on private islands. These resorts often feature overwater bungalows, private beaches, and world-class amenities. Some popular luxury resorts include:

  • Kandolhu Maldives: A 5-star resort with a perfect rating of 10 on TripAdvisor.
  • Movenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives: Another 5-star resort with a perfect rating of 10 on TripAdvisor.

2. Mid-range Hotels:

There are also several mid-range hotels that offer comfortable accommodations at a more affordable price. For example, Samann Grand is a 4-star hotel with a rating of 9 on TripAdvisor.

3. Budget Guesthouses:

For those traveling on a budget, guesthouses are a great option. They offer basic amenities at a lower cost. Maafushi Kurumba Villa is a 3-star property with a rating of 8 on TripAdvisor.

Local Culture and Etiquette

The Maldives is a country with a rich cultural heritage and unique customs. Here are some key points about the local culture and etiquette:

  1. Religion: The Maldives is a predominantly Islamic country, and its customs and social behavior have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Sri Lankans, Arabs, and North Africans. The residents do not eat pork or drink alcohol due to religious habits.
  2. Dress Code: The dress code in the Maldives is conservative, especially outside the resort areas. Men should not walk around bare-chested, and women should wear long skirts and avoid low-cut tops. It is illegal to swim naked in the Maldives.
  3. Greetings: Shaking hands is the most common form of greeting. Men often shake hands when meeting, while local women do not generally shake hands. When Muslims greet each other, they say “As-salaam alaykum,” which means “May peace be upon you and may God’s blessings be with you.
  4. Music: The most widely known form of music in the Maldivian tradition is the Bodu Beru.
  5. Respect for Elders: Maldivians are brought up to respect elders and those who are educated while conforming to an Islamic code of conduct.
  6. Festivals: The Maldives is a country that loves to celebrate, with festivals and events taking place throughout the year. These events reflect the Maldivian way of life, their Islamic beliefs, and their close connection to the sea.

Weather and Climate

The Maldives enjoys a tropical climate, with warm temperatures year-round. However, the weather can vary significantly between the dry season (November to April) and the wet season (May to October). Pack light, breathable clothing, plenty of sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. An umbrella or light raincoat might also come in handy during the rainy season.

Money Matters

The local currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), but US dollars are widely accepted in most places. Credit cards are also commonly used, especially at resorts. It’s a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases and tips. Exchange rates can vary, so check before you travel to get the best deal.

Health and Safety

Before you travel, make sure you’re up to date on routine vaccines. Some travelers may also need vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid. Mosquito-borne illnesses can be a concern, so bring insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants in the evening.

When it comes to water activities, always follow safety guidelines. The ocean can be unpredictable, and currents can be strong. If you’re snorkeling or diving, always go with a buddy and stay within designated areas.

Activities and Attractions

There’s no shortage of things to do in the Maldives. From lounging on the beach and swimming in the warm waters to exploring the vibrant marine life, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on a visit to Malé, the capital city, where you can explore local markets, historical sites, and enjoy Maldivian cuisine.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

The Maldives is renowned for its incredible diving and snorkeling spots. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, there are plenty of options. Popular dive sites include Banana Reef, Maaya Thila, and the Fish Head. Always dive with a reputable company and ensure you have the necessary certifications.


Food and Dining

Maldivian cuisine is a delightful mix of flavors, with a focus on fresh seafood, coconut, and rice. Don’t miss out on trying traditional dishes like mas huni (a tuna and coconut breakfast dish) and garudhiya (a fish soup). Resorts offer a variety of dining options, from buffet-style meals to gourmet restaurants.

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