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Most-Googled questions: the Maldives
We’ll try and relieve whatever it is that’s caging your inhibitions so that you can start planning for the holiday of a lifetime.
Every Aussie’s after a taste of paradise, sense of adventure or journey of spiritual embracement. The Maldives has all this on offer and more, which makes it the perfect holiday destination.
Whether your heart’s desires involve perfect serenity, action-packed adventure or a perfect fusion of both, the Maldives awaits.
What to know before you go
Is the Maldives a country?
Yes. The Maldives is an independent country that became a member of the United Nations in 1965.
Is the Maldives part of India?
No. The Maldives is an independent country that is situated in the Indian ocean and India is one of the countries closest to this island nation.
Is the Maldives in Asia?
Yes. The Maldives is officially known as the Republic of Maldives, a South Asian island country situated in the Indian Ocean.
Is the Maldives visa-free?
To enter the Maldives, there is no requirement for pre-arrival visa. Aussies can apply for a 30-day travel visa upon arrival. You will need to have evidence of the following:
- a valid passport that has at least 6 months’ validity
- a valid ticket to depart the Maldives
- enough funds to cover expenses for the duration of your stay in the Maldives ($126 plus $63 per day) or a confirmation of your reservation in a tourist resort or hotel
Is the Maldives expensive?
If you compare the prices in Australia with those in the Maldives, overall expenses in the Maldives are significantly lower. Let's look at some of the examples of pricing difference for a better perspective.
In Australia we’d usually pay about $80 for a three-course meal for 2 people, whereas in the Maldives you’d be looking at something like $28.77 for the equivalent. However, if you’re staying at a resort (most are located on isolated islands) you may be looking at higher costs.
Draught beer is less expensive, as it would usually be in the region of $7 in Australia whereas in the Maldives prices are more like $3.49 (averaged out).
Coffee is cheaper too. We’d usually pay in the region of $4, and in the Maldives you’d be more likely to pay around $3.13.
Generally, public transportation and taxi services are a lot cheaper than back home too.
There are some areas of expenditure where you’ll notice a price hike. Groceries like bananas, lettuce and especially bottles of wine are all much higher in price in the Maldives. Even at McDonald’s, Aussies are used to paying in the region of $10 for their McMeals. In the Maldives you’d be more likely to pay closer to $15.
How is the Maldives formed?
The Maldives is made up of 1,192 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. The atolls are comprised of live coral reefs and sandbars positioned atop a submarine ridge 960 km in length that rises suddenly from the depths of the Indian Ocean.
Health and Safety
Is the Maldives safe?
The Maldives are overall quite safe for tourists and despite recent political turmoil, the tourist and islander lifestyles have had very little impact. As with anywhere new there are a few things Aussies should consider when travelling to the Maldives.
- Sun. The Maldives is set on the equator so it has some of the strongest rays the world has to offer. Cover up and use sunscreen. Take note that sunscreen alone is not protection enough if you’re in the water. Make sure you’re fully protected from serious sun damage by wearing a t-shirt when swimming.
- Customs. The strict laws of customs on the Maldives prohibit the importation of pornographic material (even semi nude magazines), alcohol and illegal drugs into the country. Exports of coral, shells and any other object removed from the sea is illegal too. Alcohol use is completely banned in the capital Male and getting caught will result in serious punishment. The alcohol regulations aren’t applied to the resorts so stick to drinking there.
- Sealife threats. Be on the lookout for sharks, stingrays and stonefish. Also watch out for triggerfish. The giant triggerfish grows to 30-40cm and is known to be very aggressive. Keep your distance if you spot one.
- Coral. Watch out for broken bits of coral when walking on beaches. They can be razor sharp and can easily cause infections if they break your skin.
- Petty Crime. Please ensure you take the usual precautions to safeguard yourself and your personal possessions as petty crime against tourists does happen.
Is the Maldives gay-friendly?
As a Muslim country the Maldives islands and people are very open, friendly and welcoming. Whilst the holding of hands would not create issues, out of respect for their culture and religious beliefs, it may be best to refrain from any public displays of affection. PDAs won’t get you deported but they might elicit unwelcome frowns.
Culture, customs and lifestyle
Is the Maldives a dry country (alcohol)?
Alcohol is not available in towns as it's banned in Sunni Muslim culture. However, you can get drinks at most resorts catered for international tourists.
Getting around the things to do
Which of the Maldives islands is best?
All of the Maldives islands are picturesque and idyllic. It really depends on what you are looking for in your holiday experience.
If you’re looking for action, adventure and in particular diving opportunities, then Biyadhoo is the haven for you.
If you’re looking for variety and choices in terms of activities, dining and accommodation, you’ll be wanting to stay on Meeru island.
If you’re hoping for a couples’ retreat that offers privacy and intimacy then opt for Veligandu island.
Which of the Maldives island is best for snorkelling?
You can snorkel anywhere in the Maldives, but Biyadhoo probably boasts the best opportunities. The laid-back atmosphere and the breathtaking snorkeling on the house reef are exactly what you’ve been looking for. The dive center also presents great opportunities. It’s multilingual staff offer lots of help and individual attention to beginners. The equipment is well-maintained and they’ll recommend an expansive choice of dives suited to every level from beginner to advanced dives.
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