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Practical information The Maldives

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

The Maldives : Travel Information before you go!

Area

115 sq mi

Flights

12 hrs 30 mins, with a connection in Colombo. The Maldives are 5,290 mi from the United Kingdom.

Jet Lag

+5 hours

Population

396, 334

Airports

Malé International Airport lies on Hulule Island, 600 m away from the capital. You have only one option to reach the capital: by boat. If the vessel is shared, the journey by Dhoni costs 60p. If not, expect to pay around £4.

Security

Theft is rare, but keep your valuables in a safe place at the hotel. Divers should beware of stonefish and moray eels. The venom in the dorsal spine of the stonefish is lethal and morays can cause dangerous bites when they feel attacked. Also, do not touch the coral to avoid stinging burns.

Languages

Dhivehi is the official language. English is the second most widely spoken language.

Required travel documents for

If you are a British tourist, you are eligible to obtain a tourist visa for up to 30 days on arrival in Maldives, provided you hold a valid ticket to continue your journey out of Maldives and have enough funds to cover your stay. Staying longer than 30 days without the proper authority is an offence. Your passport should be valid for at six months after your return date.

Religion

Sunni Islam is the official religion practised by 99% of the population.

Currency

The currency is the Maldives Rufiyaa (MUR). Larger hotels and restaurants accept international credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) and travellers cheques, and cash in US Dollars can also be used as a means of payment. Money can be withdrawn over the counter at banks using a credit card, but there are no ATM machines. Bring small amounts of US Dollars and only change a limited amount of cash into Maldives Rufiyaas. You can pay for most of your expenses in Dollars or by credit card. Banks are open from Sunday to Thursday, from 8:00am to 2:30pm.

Local transportation

Air Maldives offers domestic flights from Malé Airport to the atolls of South Thiladhunmathee, Hadhdunmathee, South Huvadhoo and Addoo. The other atolls are accessible by seaplane.
The atolls are linked to each other by dhonis, or speedboats. On the islands, you can move by taxi (hire a taxi for MVR £1 for any distance). Hire a bicycle or go on foot; you do not need more than 30 minutes to cover an island.

Health

It is recommended that you be vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid before your departure. Take precautions against hepatitis A and all diarrheic diseases; risk of contamination can be lowered by taking hygiene precautions with food, drinks and water consumed during your trip (avoid consuming raw or half-cooked food, in particular meat and eggs, and wash your hands frequently). To prevent malaria and dengue (passed on by a mosquito that bites during the day), take anti-malaria medicines (chemoprophylaxy) and avoid mosquito bites. To do so, there are several preventive measures: anti-insect cream that you apply directly to your skin, insecticide spray (for a room that is not well ventilated) or vaporizing insecticide tablets (more elaborate method that requires electricity), protective clothes treated with a repellent, and mosquito nets (very effective when you sleep). Think about subscribing to a medical and repatriation insurance in order to be covered for your medical expenses during you stay. Since undersea diving is a leisure activity offered by all tourist sites, it is wise to avoid travelling by plane less than three hours after the last hour of your dive, especially if it has been performed at a depth of more than 82 ft (risk of a decompression accident).

Electricity

220 V. Adaptor is needed.

Taxes and tips

A tax of around £3-4 per day has to be paid. Some hotels and restaurants include service in the bill. If not, leave 10%. There is no tipping for other services.

Telephone

To call the Maldives from the UK, dial 00 + 960 + the number of the person you are calling.
To call the UK from the Maldives: dial 00 + 44+ number, without the initial 0.

The Maldives : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Maldives website: our selection
www.visitmaldives.com (information on activities practised on the islands)
www.themaldives.com (with several search engines and information on the history, folklore and geography)
www.maldivesstory.com.mv (Official website, comprehensive information on the history of the islands)
www.maldiviancuisine.com (as the name indicates, offers a wide varitey of local recipes)

At the destination

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board.
Bank of Maldives Building
Malé 20-05
Tel: (960) 32 32 28

Also visit the official site of presidency providing information on laws, rights and duties.
www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv

The Maldives does not have a local British Embassy, but does liaise with the nearest one which is in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Address: 389 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo - 7. Tel: (94) (11) 5390639. Email: bhctrade@slt.lk.