Frequently Asked Questions

Business hours
Banks: Open Sunday to Thursday from around 9:00 14:00.
Post office: Open Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 until 13:30
Shops: Usually open on Saturday to Thursday from around 9:00 until 23:00 and on Friday from about 13:30 until 23:00. The shops close several times during the day for prayer, with a longer break in the evening between approximately 18:00 and 20:00.
The Maldives has a tropical climate with warm temperatures all year round and enjoys a great deal of sunshine. The temperature varies very little throughout the year and is usually found between 25 and 32 Co. Although the weather pattern is determined by the monsoons, the Maldives sits on the equator so the monsoons aren't as defined as in neighbouring countries. Severe storms are very rare.

The hottest month on average is April and the coolest, December. During the Southwest monsoon there is more rainfall, but it is rare to experience continuous rain for several days in a row.

Generally the humidity rate is rather high as is usual in the tropics.
The local currency is Maldivian Rufia (MRF) and it is possible to change money at the airport upon arrival. The exchange rate varies roughly between 15 MRF and 15.45 MRF to 1 USD. Only licensed shops are allowed to accept foreign currencies and USD are the most commonly accepted.

Banks are all located in Malé and on some of the larger inhabited islands. The national bank is the Bank of Maldives, which has several branches in Male and also one at the airport. There are also a number of international banks such as the HSBC, State Bank of India, Habib Bank and the Bank of Ceylon, which are all situated along the north harbour.
Dress Code
The Maldives is a Muslim country and it is rightfully expected that visitors respect this by adhering to a certain dress code when visiting local islands.
In Malé one can get the impression that a dress code doesn't exist, as many tourists ignore it, despite being informed at welcome meetings and by their tour guides. Although things in Male 'appear' to be slightly more relaxed than on local islands, the dress code still reflects the great modesty expected by Muslim culture. Appropriate dress for women would be to cover their shoulders and knees, whereas shorts are acceptable for men.
The electric current in the Maldives is 220V, 50HZ AC. The most common standard for power outlets is the British system. It is always wise to bring a travel adaptor as you can occasionally find yourself in need of one in some hotels. We use British power outlets onboard Scubaspa Ying and Scubaspa Yang.
Import restrictions
Import of the following is strictly prohibited:
  • Alcohol
  • Food items containing pork meat
  • Narcotics
  • Objects of religious character
  • Pornographic material
  • Weapons
PLEASE NOTE that all luggage is scanned prior to exiting arrivals.
The national language is Dhivehi but English is widely understood and spoken, especially in the capitol Male' and with the younger generation who are taught English as part of their education. On all tourist islands, English is the main language used.
Local custom practices
Maldivian people are very hospitable, warm and friendly. Generally local Maldivians like to have their picture taken and appreciate the reciprocate smile.

Overall the Maldives is rather liberal. However being rooted in Muslim tradition, means that certain customs need to be considered.

Alcohol - This is only available on tourist islands, at the Hulhule airport hotel and on safari boats. It is strictly prohibited to bring alcohol into the country or into Male' from a tourist island or from your cruise vessel.

Clothing - On local islands women wear the traditional long dresses with the Hijab (head cover), whereas in Male' a lot of young women now dress in a more European style but modesty is always evident with shoulders and knees always covered. The traditional clothes for men are sarongs and shirt or t-shirt but this is now only seen on local islands and with fishermen. In Male most men dress in trousers and shirt. Business men will often combine this attire with a tie.

Religion - The Maldives is a Muslim country and it is prohibited to openly practice any religion other than Islam. The Maldivian people are very religious and the daily life is built around prayer times.
Medical facilities
There are several clinics and hospitals in Male' and every local island has its own medical centre. However it is important to understand that the Maldives is a third world country and even though reasonable, medical facilities are not up to European standards.

There are also a few hyperbaric chambers in the Maldives, staffed by European Diving Physicians.
  • DAN Maldives - Bandos Island Resort (+960) 6640088
  • Kandoludhoo Divers Rescue - Kandoludhoo Island Resort (+960) 6680790
  • Kuramathi medical centre - Kuramathi island Resort (+960) 6660527
Souvenir shops can be found in Male and on many local islands that sell a large variety of different souvenirs. However it should be remembered that only a small percentage of souvenir goods are actually manufactured in the Maldives.

Shells, corals and shark jaws and teeth are commonly sold souvenirs, but we at Scubaspa strongly discourage our guests from purchasing such items, as it is vitally important to protect the delicate Paradise under the surface of the Indian Ocean.

Please be aware that the export of any item made of turtle shell or black coral is strictly prohibited by law and if found, the goods will be confiscated at the airport upon departure. PLEASE NOTE that all luggage is scanned prior to check in.
Stay connected
The international dialing code for the Maldives is 00960 followed by a 7 digit local number. The area code is part of the phone number and no 0 is to be dialed in front when phoning a local number within the Maldives.

There are two phone/network providers, Dhiraaghu and Wataniya. Both offer prepaid mobile phone and internet sim cards, which makes it easy to stay connected. These can be purchased at the airport, in Male' and on other local islands.

Overall there is a good phone reception throughout the Maldives, although not uninterrupted. Especially while crossing channels between atolls where "dead areas" are often experienced.

Most major European phone providers offer roaming contracts allowing the use of your own phone.
Time zone
The official time, also referred to as "Male' time" is GMT+5:00 throughout the year.
For visitors from the UK the difference means UK summer time plus 4 hours and UK winter time plus 5 hours. For other European visitors the difference means European summer time plus 3 hours, European winter time plus 4 hours.
However some of the resort islands have their "own" time in order to enjoy more daylight, which in most cases is one hour ahead of "Male' time".
As in general it is advised but not mandatory to have Tetanus, Polio, Diphteria and Hepatitis A. Proof of a Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory when coming from an affected country.
Visa regulations
A holiday visa, valid for 30 days is granted upon arrival, however passports must be valid for at least six months exceeding at date of arrival.
The weekly day of rest in the Maldives is Friday, which is the only day on which shops are open only half day in the afternoon/evening.
Government offices and banks are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.