The country’s proximity to Sri Lanka and the southern cultures of South Asia has heavily influenced the Maldives and the people that live there. English is studied in schools and therefore more prevalent among the younger generation. However, the official language, and certainly the most common, is Dhivehi.
For tourists spending most of their time within the resort or hotel, the US dollar (USD $) is the most popular form of currency. There is no need for travelers to exchange money if a holiday is going to be solely based at the resort. Nevertheless, if visitors would like to exchange money, Male International Airport and banks in the capital (which is where the local currency will be needed) can be found. Local currency is the Maldivian rufiyaa, which is further divided into laari. The coins are quite unique, so most tourists keep them as souvenirs. Unfortunately for budget travelers, The Maldives is extremely expensive, and limited budget options are available. However, food, transport, room rates, and shopping can be paid for by major credit cards, due to the high prices.
The Maldives stands five hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (UTC +5).
Electricity in the Maldives is 220-240 Volts, which is double the voltage found in the United States. Therefore, travelers will need a voltage converter to use US-purchased electrical goods in Maldives. Most of the electrical plugs in the country are either two-pronged circular sockets or two-pronged circular sockets with a circular grounding prong. North American visitors will also need to bring an adapter when visiting the Maldives.
The international calling code for the Maldives is +960. Due to its size, the country doesn’t use city or area codes either. The local mobile network uses GSM 900. Roaming is sometimes available through Western networks, but visitors should check prior to arriving, as Maldives’ roaming network is expensive. Most of the resorts around the islands have strong internet, and several internet spots are located in Male.
Unlike other Western countries, the Maldives doesn’t have an exact limit on how much of one duty-free item can be brought into the country. However, customs do have a ‘reasonably limit’ rule for tobacco products and number of gifts. Being an Islamic country, the Maldives bans passengers from bringing any alcohol into the country. Of course, drinking alcohol won’t be a problem once tourists are inside their resort.
The Maldives Tourism Board, Male: +960-332-3228 or http://www.visitmaldives.com
Consulates in the Maldives
Austrian Consulate, Male: +960-3323-080 Consulate of Finland, Male: +960-3315-174 Consulate of India, Male: +960-3323-015 New Zealand Consulate, Male: +960-322-432 Consulate General of Sweden: +960-3332-5174
Emergency services: 102 - Ambulance, 118 - Fire Department, 119 - Police