The Currency Used in the Maldives
The currency of the country is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. The currency is non-convertible, which means it cannot be acquired ahead of time. You can find the Rufiyaa bank notes in the following numbers; 5, 10, 50, 20, 100, 200, and 500. However, US Dollars are widely accepted and most places including resorts such as Kurumba Maldives accept payments through cards. If you do wish to exchange currency, you can visit the Bank of Maldives Foreign Exchange, the only dedicated foreign exchange stand in the country.
Any service for a tourist will sustain a ten percent service charge and a twelve percent T-GST. The service tax will be implemented on the entire amount while the T-GST tax will be applied to the entire amount plus the service tax. There is an additional Environmental Green Tax that is applied to a lodging which lists itself as a hotel or a resort in the Maldives. Always read the fine print and clear any doubts about the tax to avoid any shocks at the end of the stay.
Getting to a resort
All international flights to the country land mainly at Hulhule airport, which is the main airport in the country. However, there are three other airports that take on international flights. Leading airways such as Emirates and Qatar Airways make daily flights to the country. Proceeding from the airport to the resort will be done by the use of boat, seaplane or a domestic flight. The journey via the seaplane is an exhilarating experience that is totally worth it. There is something mesmerizing about viewing the tiny island nation and its many atolls from a birds view. However, seaplanes only operate in the daytime so if you land in the Maldives at night, you will be forced to spend a night at the capital, Male.
Being a completely Muslim country, the Maldives is quite conservative and you should take great care to adhere to the local traditions and respect the natives. Women are advised to avoid wearing bikinis unless on a resort or uninhabited island. There is a law that prevents the use of bikinis on local islands, however, quite a few guesthouses provide private beaches.
Be mindful of the weather
While the country’s sunny and tropical climate is always advertised and plastered on travel brochures, the country has its monsoon seasons. The northeast monsoon occurs from January till March while the southwest monsoon takes place from May till November. Thunderstorms are a part of the country’s weather too and it is best you pay attention to these details before you book your dates. There is hardly any point in booking a vacation expecting the sun and spending it in your room due to the strong rains!
As with most Muslim countries, the Maldives business week starts on a Sunday and goes on until Thursday. The majority of the stores are shut on Friday till the prayers are done. A large number of ferries do not work on that day too. There is no time enforced on the opening times of stores and so stores open at different times all over the country, although they tend to open before 9 AM. They are also known to close to allow the employees to pray but worry not as they are closed for only 10 or fifteen minutes.
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