Here are five facts about the Maldives you might want to familiarize yourself with before you book those plane tickets!
1. The Maldives Is a Muslim Nation
Holidaymakers traveling to the Maldives might be forgiven for thinking they will see a plethora of bikinis and other skimpy swimwear on the beach. However, the Maldives is actually a strictly Muslim nation, and obeying local laws and traditions are mandatory.
If you travel to Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives, you should dress modestly. If you want to visit some of the historic religious spots, a casual head cover might be in order.
2. Alcohol Is Forbidden Outside of Resorts
Because of the country’s strict Islamic beliefs, tourists are expected to respect and obey Islamic traditions while on the island. Alcohol is prohibited everywhere except in resorts and hotels.
If you visit Malé during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn till dusk, expect to refrain from drinking, eating and smoking during the day. Some restaurants will still open their door for tourists but they might roll down the curtains to shield you from public view.
Almost all resorts in the Maldives hire local employees, most of whom are Muslim. A resort like Club Med Kani in the Maldives provides its Muslim employees with a mosque to perform their five daily prayers.
3. There Is Never a Bad Time to Visit
In the Maldives, you rarely have to rely on weather reports. With a tropical climate, plenty of sunshine and temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, every day is a good day to visit the Maldives.
However, the tiny archipelago does have two distinct seasons that you might want to pay attention to when planning your getaway there. The dry season usually begins in November and lasts through April, while the wet season begins in May and lasts through October.
According to Club Med Kani hotel service manager Chokri Ferchici, heavy rain showers can fall at any time of year but they are nothing to worry about.
“The rain tends to be short and difficult to predict. If you happen to catch one, it usually only lasts two to five minutes.”
The dry season is the best time to visit the Maldives but there is nothing you shouldn’t be able to handle if the only time you have to go there is during the wet season.
4. US Dollar Is Accepted Everywhere
If you forget to exchange your money to the local currency before you jet off to the Maldives, or don’t even know what the Maldivian currency is, fear not. US dollars are accepted everywhere on the islands.
The Maldives’s official currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa, a non-convertible currency that cannot be purchased outside of the country. If you don’t have any US dollar in hand, you can exchange your own currencies at the Bank of Maldives Foreign Exchange counter in the Malé International Airport’s arrival hall. This is the only dedicated foreign exchange in the Maldives.
Keep in mind that only major currencies can be exchanged for Maldivian Rufiyaa. Hold on to your exchange receipt since you will need to show this when you leave the islands if you wish to exchange your leftover Rufiyaa back to your own currency.
5. Maldivians Are Very Well Educated
Compulsory education begins at the age of five in the Maldives, and the Republic of Maldives government provides free education up to Year 10.
English is the second most used language in the Maldives after its national language, Dhivehi (closely related to Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese). As the country becomes more popular as a holiday destination, most schools in the Maldives now require their students to study English.
Almost all resort employees on the islands are trained to converse in different languages, especially English.
But as it always is when you travel, a few stock phrases in the local language might come in handy.
Since most Maldivians are Muslims, you can say “assalamualaikum” (hi) as a greeting and “adhes khofa” (please) and “shukuriyaa” (thank you) when you ask for a favor.
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Source URL: Google News