How to be culturally sensitive when you travel to Maldives

Being a predominantly Islamic country, it’s hard to imagine that the tropical islands of Maldives have many rules to follow — especially after you get lost in paradise! Before jetting away, here’s how you can be culturally sensitive. Do keep in mind that breaking some rules might result in a hefty fine and sometimes even a jail term — if the crime is really bad!

1. Attire
As you may well be aware of by now, wearing revealing clothes in an Islamic country is heavily frowned upon and in some cases a big NO. When you’re travelling to Maldives, it can be easy to forget that you’re not exactly in a care free heaven of sorts, and that there are strict rules to follow. If you’re staying at a hotel or resort such as Velassaru Maldives, located on its own island, swim wear and resort wear is completely acceptable, however once you step away from your hotel and head to public space like at Male city, then you will need dress modestly. Wearing swimwear in the capital city is strictly prohibited, and tourists are advised to cover their shoulders and knees when walking around Male. Revealing, transparent or attire that looks provocative are advised again when you’re in Male, however most hotels and resorts don’t have a dress code for their guests.

2. Food and Liquor
Consuming alcohol or being intoxicated while in the main city is against Sharia law. Depending on the severity of the situation, the penalty for being caught can vary from fines to jail terms. However, if you’re staying at an island resort, alcohol is usually served to guests. With regards to consumption of food, remember that pork is prohibited on the islands and the capital city. If you’re visiting Maldives during Ramadan, you are not permitted to eat or drink in public, as this will also result in a fine. However, you are permitted to eat and drink at your hotel and resort. Do make sure not to offer a Muslim individual any beverage or food during this period, as it could be considered as highly insensitive and rude.

3. PDA
Like most Islamic countries, public displays of affection are banned and can tend to offend Muslims, who might be in the vicinity. Unless you are in the safe spaces of your resort, do ensure to keep your hands where everyone can see them! Various forms of PDA including holding hands or kissing, regardless of your sexual orientation is frowned upon and prohibited.

4. Other obvious things
With plenty of things to do in Maldives island, always remember to be safe when partaking in activities, like snorkelling and diving. Listen to your instructors and take extra precaution. Avoid partaking in these activities if you’re intoxicated, as it could be fatal! Although this may not apply to you, it may come as a surprise that there a number of people who seem to forget some of the basic things. Carrying illegal drugs, disrespecting the religion in any way, vandalism or engaging in risky, illegal behaviour is not allowed and if you’re found on the wrong side of the law, it can be hard to get out of!

5. Moderate behaviour
Most people might get offended if your behaviour is loud, obnoxious, rude or even promiscuous. When you’re in Maldives, take extra care not to offend anyone by being loud. Again, this only is applicable when you’re not in your resort’s island, and are heading in to public space like at the airport or at Male city. Avoid swearing and shouting obscenities when you’re in the city and sometimes even in some resorts, as this could be highly disrespectful to anyone at the hotel; including the other guests, especially those travelling with children.

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Source URL: Medium

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