Who hasn’t fantasized about hitting the road to the Maldives? That right, most travellers have already visualised themselves on a sandy beach, sipping on a coconut cocktail and contemplating the meaning of existence. But before we delve deeper into the arcane, let us hop back into reality and explore the top six things to know before visiting the earthly paradise that is the Maldives!
1. Snorkelling heaven:
If you thought that Moorea of French Polynesia or Mauritius are the best possible locations for snorkelling, think again, for the Republic of Maldives is a strong contestant as well. Underwater life is so abundant and colourful there that you are bound to stay entertained even tens of kilometres away from the islands themselves. The water around the Maldives is riddled with coral reefs that will offer you unique insight into the lives of majestic manta rays – they indubitably represent the most imposing underwater sight. Oh, and you can always upgrade from snorkelling to SCUBA diving, as even the greater depths are formidable!
Here’s the thing: technically, tipping in the Republic of Maldives is not compulsory due to the fact that a 10% extra for the service is added to each bill. However (and this is a huge “however”), it is important to know that people working in the hospitality industry do not earn noteworthy salaries there. For this particular reason, it is considered polite to go above your bill and leave another 10-15% extra (depending on the case). No matter what you choose to do, the Maldivian service is famous for being one of the best in the world. Oh, and hotel staff should always be tipped for they always work with tourists and are used to it.
3. Religious awareness:
Did you know that the predominant religion in the Republic of Maldives is Islam (in fact, practicing other religions openly can get you into trouble with the law)? Taking that into consideration, know that alcohol on the islands is only available for tourists and for those not practicing Islam. The presence of mosques also means that if you wish visit them, you have to dress modestly (without too much uncovered skin sticking out). If you are one of those ladies who like to “free the bosoms”, know that topless sunbathing is prohibited by the law. Always strive to respect the traditions and the values of the places that you visit and stay on the polite side of the coin.
4. Language barriers:
The Republic of Maldives has a single official language and it is called “Dhivehi” (also known as Maldivian). While that may sound inconvenient, know that the locals learn English at a very young age in school. For this particular reason, even the older adherents of the local population are perfectly understandable. In fact, there is no possible way for you to face language barriers in the Maldives. English, thus, is not a problem but let’s spice it up with a little extra: due to the abundance of Italian and German tourists visiting the Republic, you will find that a great number of locals are proficient in those languages as well. So, if you know Dhivehi, English, Italian, or German, you are bound to make a few friends as well (wink)!
Unfortunately, the Republic of Maldives is not a cheap place and budget travellers are most probably not going to be able to get by. It really is one of those places where you could be spending the equivalent of thousands of USD just on housing and basic meals (not to mention the price of the flight). Oh, and did you know that there are rooms for more than 10,000 USD there as well? There is no limit to how much you can spend in the Maldives and for this particular purpose, we recommend that you plan your budget ahead and watch out for expensive souvenirs (wink). Oh, and Malé is especially pricy for tourists – keep that in mind when you land.
6. Lights in the night:
Have you seen the movie “Avatar”? Right, it is the highest-grossing film of all time! Well, if you happen to be lucky enough to catch one of the most spectacular natural sights in the world, then you will feel like you are on the planet Pandora. What we are talking about are the bioluminescent beaches of the Maldives (photos have been captured on Mudhdhoo Island), of course. That really is a sight that will make you wonder whether this is the real life, or just a fantasy. Alright, we admit, we had to throw that Queen tribute in there, but, seriously, the bioluminescent beaches are something that will remain in your heart for a lifetime.
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in the Republic of Maldives and what do you have to share with the world? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it! Safe travels!