Know before you go – The Maldives

Know before you go – The Maldives

With perfectly blue seas, swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches, the Maldives are the perfect exotic wonderland for families looking to escape into nature and a romantic backdrop for honeymooners and lovebirds. This oceanic wonder is made up of 26 coral atolls, comprising of around 1,200 islands, each a picture-perfect paradise ready to be explored by sail boat or seaplane.

To help you prepare for your island escape, we’ve created this guide to the Maldives with everything you need to know before you go, from currency info to culinary advice.

Club Med offers two picture perfect Resorts in the Maldives including Kani and The Exclusive Collection Finolhu Villas.

Weather

The Maldives have a sunny, tropical climate perfect for an island getaway. Temperatures in the Maldives are fairly consistent throughout the year at 25-31˚C, so you’ll enjoy warm weather any time you choose to go.

December to April are the driest months, making them the best time to go to the Maldives. May and the autumn-winter months are quieter, but get the most rainfall with about 15 rainy days out of the month with anywhere between 20-24cm of rain. However, no matter when you go the weather is rarely bad enough to disturb a holiday.

Getting there

A direct flight to the Maldives from London takes about 10-11 hours, whereas non-direct flights will take about 12 hours with a stopover in Dubai or Doha. All visitors to the Maldives fly in to Malé International Airport on Hulhulé island, right next to the island capital, Malé.

From here you’ll either catch a boat or a sea plane, known locally as an air taxi, to your resort. These tend not to run at night, so if you arrive late you may need to arrange a one night stay in Malé or at the Hulhulé airport hotel before traveling on to your destination. At Club Med, we’ll organise your transfer for you

Currency and Costs

The currency of the Maldives is the Rufiyaa (Rf) but most of the resorts prefer to use US dollars, so check with your accommodation to be certain. You’ll generally get about 20Rf to the pound and food and drink are fairly inexpensive. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Malé will cost about 366Rf or £18.

Food and drink

Maldivian cuisine is made up of rice, spicy coconut-flavoured curries and fish – particularly the tuna that live around the islands - with a mix of Arabic, Indian, Sri Lankan and Oriental influences. Head to the inhabited islands or to Malé to try an authentic Maldivian meal.

Maldives culture

The Maldives has a warm, island culture with Indian, Sri Lankan, Arabic and African influences and conservative Muslim values. Island life is completely dominated by the sea, with many of the locals working as fishermen and whole island communities helping to bring in the day’s catch.

Etiquette

If you go on an excursion to the inhabited islands or spend some time on Malé, don’t go wearing just your swimsuit. Honeymooners will also want to save the passionate embraces for the resorts. A good rule of thumb is to treat the islands outside the resorts with the same respect you would show a Cathedral in Venice.

Music and dance

Bodu Beru - Very popular on the islands, Bodu Beru rhythms start slow then build up as dancers leap in time to the drums. Almost every inhabited island has a Bodu Beru troupe and onlookers are welcome to join in.

Bandiyaa Jehun - A Maldivian take on the Indian pot dance, young women sing and dance as they tap out a rhythm on metal pots.

Crafts

Lacquered wood - Called Laajehum in Dhivehi, this is one of the Maldives’ most popular crafts. Wooden boxes, bowls and vases are coated in layer upon layer of brightly-coloured lacquer and polished with coconut leaves to a high shine.

Thun’du Kunaa mats - These patterned, hand-woven mats are ubiquitous in the Maldives. The pattern on the mat lets you know what it should be used for, whether it’s sleeping, seating or praying.

What to do in the Maldives

Local laws and restrictions

It is illegal to bring alcohol, pork or pornography into the country, so be careful you don’t pack any in your luggage or take any with you outside of the resorts.

It’s also illegal to take any sand, seashells or coral with you when you leave. This is to protect the precious natural environment of this beautiful island nation, so you may want to pick a different keepsake to take home with you to remember your trip.

Topless swimming and sunbathing is also illegal for women, even on the resorts.

For fun things to do with the kids, see our article showcasing 10 family-friendly activities in the Maldives.

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