Time : 5 hours ahead of GMT. ISD code:+960
Population : 0.5 million Language : Dhivehi.
Currency : The Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) 1 US $ = 15.40 MVR. All major credit cards are accepted.
Best time to visit : November to April. Peak season December to March. Monsoon from May to October, peaking around June. The northern atolls have highest rainfall during May – Nov; the southern atolls from Nov – Mar. Year-round temperature warm tropical climate. Average high and low temperature between 31.5 and 26.4 degree Celsius.
Getting to Maldives : Although geographically isolated, the Maldives is easily accessible by air from anywhere in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Europe. Major airlines in the region operate flights.
Flying time to the Maldives international airport : 1 hr 15 minutes from Trivandrum (southern most part of India); 45 minutes from Colombo, 3 hours from Dubai, 4 hours from Singapore, 9 to 11 hours from London.
The only International Airport is located on Hulhule Island near the capital island Male (2km away – travel time by boat – 15 minutes). Airport has facilities for left luggage, first aid, bank, duty free shops, snack bar, post office, restaurant, prepaid SIM cards with call & data, etc.
Entry requirements : VISA on arrival subject to having valid international travel document, return air ticket, visa to the next destination and either should have confirmed hotel reservation for the period of stay in the Maldives or a minimum US$30 per person per day of stay.
Travel and transfer : Male Airport hosts the largest sea plane operations in the world. Flights are available on Trans Maldivian Airways or Maldivian Air Taxi to all islands. Scheduled ferries also operate from Capital Male to the `atolls’ (Islands).
Clothing and Social Conventions : Cotton clothes suits well with the warm tropical climate. Tourists are expected to respect local culture and dress modestly when visiting or staying on inhabited islands. Bikinis and scanty beachwear are not acceptable. When entering a mosque the legs and the body should be covered. Handshaking is the most common form of greeting.
Shopping : The capital Male is a fascinating shopping place. Garments, perfumes, cosmetics, jewellery, electronic gadgets, gizmos, canned fish and local handicrafts are among the best picks. Chaandhanee Magu and Majeedhee Magu are the prime shopping zones. Male is a small place and can get around easily by a taxi.
Health & Safety : Be careful about sun burn and possible skin allergies. Always carry a sunscreen lotion, cream and a pair of sunglasses. Protect from mosquitoes. Most of the resorts have access to licensed doctors and nurses and few good hospitals and clinics providing quality services in case there is a need.
Visitors arriving from yellow fever/cholera infected countries should have a certificate of inoculation.
Insurance : Appropriate to have insurance for any unexpected accidents by seaplane or speedboat.
Water Risks : Always follow the instructions when going for diving or any other water-related activity. Be cautious of changing water current and wind. Never drift farther away from the lagoon or boat while snorkeling.
Personal Safety : Maldives is relatively a crime free country, still advisable to look after your belongings safely.
Alcohol : Resorts and live aboard boats are licensed to serve alcohol. Import of alcohol by individuals is not permitted.
Duty-Free : A reasonable amount of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco; a reasonable number of gifts can be taken.
Customs Prohibited Items : Pornographic literature, idols, pork and certain other animal products, explosives, weapons, alcoholic beverages and drugs are strictly prohibited. The penalty for importing drugs for personal or other use is life imprisonment. Dogs are not allowed. Other pets require a veterinary certificate. Tortoise, turtle shells and products thereof, coral in whole form is banned from export.
Taxes : 12% Tourism Goods and Service Tax (TGST). A Green Tax of US$ 6.00/person/day for staying in tourist accommodation and US$ 3.00/person/day in guest houses. (Rates subject to changes).