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Tips & Facts

Season: November through April being the peak season, reservations for stay must be made well in advance. From May to October the demand and costs for acconommodation are comparatively lower. In June and July, the Maldives experiences regular showers with monsoons bringing in more wind and rain.

Social Customs: Handshaking is the most common form of greeting. Dress is informal. Light cotton clothes are recommended. Nudity is forbidden. Swimsuits and beachwear are to be confined to resort islands. When visiting an inhabited island or the capital, shorts and T-shirts for men, and blouse or T-shirts with skirts or shorts that cover the things, made of non-diaphanous material, for women, are a minimum requirement.

Currency: The basic monetary unit in the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MRf). They come in denominations of 500,100, 50,20,10,5,2 (notes and coins) and 1 (coins only). A Rufiyaa is 100 larees, coming in coins of 50,25,10,5,2 and 1. In the early days cowry shells were used instead of money. Coins, minted in silver, were introduce for the first time in the late 16th century under the rule of Sultan Al-Ghazee Mohammed Tthakurufaanu. The present currency was introduced on October 7, 1983. There are no restrictions on import or export of currencies. Major foreign currencies are converted to Rufiyaa at banks, resort islands, hotels and prominent shops. Hotel bills can be paid in cash, travelers’ cheques or credit cards. Credit cards most commonly used are American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard, JBC, MasterCard and Visa.

Customs Regulations: It is prohibited by law to import the following items into the Maldives: Alcoholic beverages; pornographic literature or pictures; narcotics; firearms; idols of worship; dogs; live pigs, pork or any porcine product; dangerous animals and exobiological material; dangerous chemicals; fog signals and fireworks; and spear/dart guns. With the government imposing a ban on the killing of turtles, export of tortoise shell and coral is forbidden.

Shopping: Male’ is the ideal place for shopping considering the choice of items available. With minimum duty on most of the items, price in Male’ have become competitive. Best buys include handicrafts like reed mats and lacquered wooden boxes, electronic items and souvenirs like coral rings and sea shells. Goods ranging from hi-fi stereo systems and cameras to watches and cosmetics can be purchased from well-stocked duty free shops at the Departure Terminal of Male’ International Airport. In the capital, the STO Trade Center with its many shops is one place where you can find a variety of items. Shops pull down their shutters for about 10 to 15 minutes, five times every day, for prayers. Most shops on resort islands are open throughout the day and close at dusk. Maldives is a very safe place to be in for tourists.

Telecomunication: The telecom network linking the various islands of the Maldives provides Plainline for local calls only, easyline which includes operator assisted international calls, and Quickline with full IDD access world-wide; public and private cardphones; DhiMobile SMS, VoiceMail and pre-paid service; fascimaile, 24-hour telex, and worldwide telegram services; a radio maritime service; a fully-automatic atoll communications service to over 140 islands in 20 atolls; the National Paging Service; fully-automatic telephone and telex Inmarsat service to ships and oil rigs; internet dial-up service; Web Hosting and Domain Name Registration service; Cyber Cafe, amongst a host of other services. The facilities are provided by Dhiraagu, the Maldives telecom company.

Newspapers: Aafathis,Haveeru, and Miadhu are the major daily newspapers, in Dhivehi. All three also have pages in English.

Water Transport: Local boats, or dhonis (average speed 7 knots),are the most common means of water transport. One can make use of the regular ferry service operating between Male, and the International Airport. Modern speedboats are also available for here. Safari vessels are an ideal way to explore atolls.

Road Transport: Travel on most islands takes no more than half-an-hour on foot. Bicycle and motorbikes are popular modes of transport. Taxis are unmetered, changing RF 15, if hailed on the road. On the other hand, if you call a taxi by telephone from the taxi service, it will cost only RF 10 per trip.

Air Transport: Apart from international flights operated by Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), India (Trivandrum), Qatar (Doha), Sri Lanka (Colambo), Singapore, the U.A.E. (Dubai), Seychelles (Mahe), and a number of European countries to and from Male’ International Airport, there are also regular domestic flights operated by Island Aviation to Hanimaadhoo, Kadhdhoo, Kaadhedhdhoo, and Gan. Inter-island services are operated by Trans Maldivian Airways and the Maldivian Air Taxi, the latter having the largest air feet. Sight-seeing trips, flights to uninhabited islands, photo-shooting trips, executive charters, and medevac operations are also carried out by them.

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