Malι International Airport, the only international gateway,
is situated on Hulule island, just a kilometre or about 10
minutes by boat from Malι, the capital island. There are daily
flights to the airport direct from Singapore, Colombo and
India, as well as many chartered flights from European centres.
The national carrier, Air Maldives also operates between Malι
International Airport, Colombo, Trivendrum, Kuala Lumpur and
Although no visa is required in advance, it will be issued
on arrival and free of charge to all visitors in possession
of valid travel documents. A tourist visa lasts for 30 days
and can be extended to maximum 90 days on request for a fee
of Rf450 (US$40). An Inter Atoll Travel Permit is required
to visit islands outside the tourist zone, and the Ministry
of Atolls Administration will only issue them to those whose
visit is sponsored by a resident of the island concerned.
The main form of local transport is the dhoni, a traditional
all-purpose vessel now usually powered by a diesel engine.
Visitors generally remain on their resort island for the duration
of their stay, although island-hopping trips by ferries are
widely available. Larger boats called vedis are used for longer
trips to outer atolls. It is possible to arrange trips to
the outer atolls when the neccessary permits are obtained
by the operators. Helicopters and seaplanes are used to transfer
guests to some of the more remote islands.
Most islands are so small that transport is not a problem.
Exploring the islands mostly take longer than half an hour
on foot. However, there are taxis, motorcycles and bicycles
available for hire in the capital.
The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa (Rf) and Laari. (1Rf
= 100 laaris). Notes are in denominations of Rf500, 100, 50,
20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of Rf2 and 1,
and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 laari. The US Dollar is the most
commonly used foreign currency. Travelers' cheques and credit
cards are accepted in most resorts and hotels.
Banking and Business Hours
Weekend falls on Friday and Saturday in Maldives.
Banking hours: Sundays to Thursdays 8.00am - 1.30pm.
Business hours: Sundays to Thursdays 7.30am - 2.30pm (government
sector); 9.00am - 5.00pm (private sector).
Maldives has a sophisticated communications system which includes
up-to-date technology and international satellite. IDD facilities
are available on all resorts and card phones are available
on all inhabited islands. Dhiraagu, the Maldives Telecommunications
Company also provides mobile telephones for daily rental and
is also the Internet Service Provider (ISP).