What cant you do in the Maldives
When organizing any trip, it is important to be careful about preparing your vacation and studying local morals and laws. This is especially true for tourism in countries with a culture different from that of the West and a strict religion. When planning your leisure time in the Maldives, it is worth knowing in advance what is not allowed in the Maldives for travelers. Most of the restrictions can be divided into two main categories: prohibitions related to Islam and prohibitions resulting from the need to preserve the unique flora and fauna of the area. The laws of the Maldives are better enforced because even tourists are severely punished up to the actual prison term, not to mention the huge fines.
The table of contents:
- About the ban on alcohol
- Customs restrictions
- What else can’t you do in the Maldives?
- Myths about bans in the Maldives
Islam treats the use of alcohol extremely negatively, as well as the use of any substances with narcotic and addictive effect. For Muslims, drinking alcohol means committing a great sin. That is why there is a dry law in the Maldives, active for both local people and tourists. It used to be possible to drink alcohol for those who came by visa, but now this relaxation has been abolished. For anyone who chose to spend a holiday in the Maldives on an island where, apart from tourists, indigenous people live, it will be necessary to give up alcohol.
Not only can’t you drink alcohol, but you can’t bring it in. So at the airport of Male all strong (and low-alcoholic too) drinks, including everything bought in Duty Free, will be immediately picked up (but can be returned on departure at the customs on presentation of the appropriate receipt).
If you hope for the all-inclusive system, it’s not all that simple: expensive alcohol has the right to distribute only on the islands-resort. But there you have to pay the appropriate price for it, because hotels and restaurants pay huge taxes. In the same case, when you are staying in a regular all-inclusive hotel, there may be no alcohol at all, or only a mini-bar is expecting you a beer, and by lunchtime you will have a modest glass of wine. However, the more expensive the hotel, the better the choice of drinks. However, you will have to pay extra for champagne and luxury bottles in your room beyond the basic price.
An alternative to drinking alcohol on holiday in the Maldives is bars on the water. Boats are often moored to the islands, which take everyone and go to the open sea. In this neutral territory, away from civilization, spirits and light cocktails are sold, but also at high cost.
Interestingly, in those places on the islands where you can order alcohol, work only employees from Sri Lanka and India. Again, this is due to the fact that the law forbids Maldivians to sell such drinks.
When it comes to bans on the import of various products and goods, in addition to the alcohol already mentioned, we must take into account pork products and objects used for religious rites. Pornography in any form is prohibited in the Maldives, and even a lingerie catalogue may fall under this category. Any videotapes entering the country will be confiscated and sent to a special storage room from where they will be taken for you when you leave. Cigarettes and perfumes can be imported within reasonable limits.
Both off the coast and off the islands, tourists in the Maldives are not allowed to collect coral. It will be impossible to take them out at customs, and you will not prove that you just collected the wreckage. In addition, it is not possible to take out different elements of wildlife, such as stars and shells (at least in large quantities). Another ban associated with illegal poaching activities is the turtle shell handicrafts.
It is better for travelers to buy special souvenirs on the islands, which will definitely be regarded by customs as simple trinkets of no special value. Also, if you buy black pearl products on the islands, you will need a special certificate from the manufacturer, otherwise the goods at the customs will be recognized as illegal and seized. If you are visiting the Maldives with children, you will need to explain to the children the restrictions that apply in that country.
- Touching sea creatures. Sure, this ban is unofficial, but you don’t want bites and burns, do you? So you should avoid all the colorful and unusual fish, creatures with spikes, rays, jellyfish and sharks. And, of course, do not touch scalding corals and seemingly harmless rocks, which can be dangerous poisonous fish.
- Tampering with wildlife. It’s about not breaking corals (live or not – it does not matter). And in the Maldives, underwater hunting and fishing from the shore is prohibited. The fine for breaking this rule is about five hundred dollars. It is also prohibited to throw garbage outside, whether it’s a single can or a couple of bottles – only in special bins.
- Swimming in a bikini. This ban applies only to public beaches and residential island villages. However, almost all the islands have specially designated areas for European holiday – tourist beaches. You can also swim in a short and open swimsuit on those beaches that belong to individual hotels, and on the entire island resorts. However, there are no nudist beaches in the Maldives, so it is not possible to sunbathe naked in any case. Also, you should not walk the streets in usual beach clothes.
- To bring your pets with you. Above all, the ban concerns dogs of all breeds and sizes. It must be said that the Muslim religion in the Maldives lists four-legged and shaggy pets as dirty as a pig. That’s why locals are forbidden to keep dogs, and even for tourists. The only exceptions are those dogs that are on police duty. In theory, you can get a pet cat to the islands, but to do this you need to find an appropriate hotel.
- Eating pork. In Islam the pig is considered to be a dirty animal as it does not scatter any waste and likes to rest in puddles. In addition, pork is a very perishable meat, and the Maldives has a hot climate that reduces the storage conditions for food. Thus, not only are pigs untidy for Muslims, but they are also potentially dangerous animals that can cause poisoning when eaten. In the Maldives, not only is pork not eaten by locals, but restaurants on the islands with locals are not prepared. In addition, it is almost impossible to find bacon in shops. However, all gastronomic restrictions are offset by the islands’ excellent quality and variety of seafood and fish. Hotels on the islands with no locals may have pork on the menu.
- We do not recommend you to sniff flowers growing on the ground and trees! Some of them are toxic. European residents are used to enjoying the scent of flowers, bringing them to the nose and breathing in the smell. You shouldn’t do that in the Maldives! The main dangers are allergies, poisoning with essential oils and skin damage.
- Building high buildings. This rather amusing ban, above all, is of value for hoteliers in the Maldives. The fact is that the Republic has a restriction on those objects that are above the largest palm tree on the island. However, there are often exceptions, including on a developed island such as Maafushi.
- Promotion of a different religion. You cannot even bring the Bible into the Maldives for personal use. The Republic takes its faith in the islands very seriously as Islam has won several victories here, first over Buddhism and then over the onslaught of Catholic colonizers. So you will have to keep your Christian or other beliefs with you during your holidays.
- Celebrating Halloween. This strange but official ban is most likely linked to the importance of the Muslim religion in the Maldives and the opposition to Western culture. Of course, for Russian tourists such a restriction is not as offensive as for English-speaking travelers who are used to the autumn atmosphere of horror and painted pumpkins. So you won’t find any costume parties on the islands in late October. Fortunately, the Maldives has many other exciting holidays, including, for example, the grand Fisherman’s Day.
- Job. If you come to the Maldives on a tourist visa or as a traveler at all, employment will be forbidden for you. However, there are also ways out: you can get a job on a work visa, for example, in a hotel, or to volunteer to protect the environment. The main thing is to check the labor code of the Maldives in advance.
Not everybody has been to the paradise islands, so life in the Republic, as well as tourist holidays in these parts of the country are regularly growing rumors and legends.
- It is believed that night swimming in the ocean is prohibited. Or rather, the ban on simple free diving from the beaches is in force at night in all hotels. On the one hand, it is caused by the activity of plankton, which stains the water in bright blue light, and on the other by the flowering of corals. Also, during this period, many aquatic predators go hunting. However, this does not mean that you can’t swim at night in the Maldives at all. Firstly, you can dive with flashlights, and secondly, go snorkeling in the company of an instructor. The main thing is to comply with safety regulations.
- There is also a myth that travelers should not wander into islands with local people because of the severity of Muslim culture. In fact, the form of Islam in the Maldives is very soft and even the hijab is in many cases just a tribute to tradition. Everywhere you can find girls in short skirts. Well, the people in the Republic are very decent and sympathetic.
At first glance, the Maldives does indeed have a wide range of restrictions. However, many of them will not be faced by a responsible and honest traveler in the process of rest. The most important thing is to treat with respect for nature and people on the islands. Learn all the prohibitions of the Maldives beforehand so that you can enjoy your private or family vacation at the highest level and leave only pleasant impressions.