Getting Here
Travelling to the Maldives
The Maldives, though isolated in location, is easily accessible from anywhere in South-East Asia, the Middle-East and Europe.

Airport
As your plane breaks through the clouds revealing the emerald islands below, prepare for one of the most exciting flying experiences. The runway of Hulhule’ airport, that runs parallel to the shore creates a (rather safe, of course) adrenalin rush, for a second, when it makes you think that the plane is landing on water.

The Male International Airport is mere fifteen minutes from Male’. The airport is small, but well-equipped with souvenir and duty-free shops, restaurants, medical facilities, and provides banking and postal services.

The airport is accessible via Male’ on a dhoni ferry, that run every few minutes between the two islands.

The airport island also hosts the five-star Hulhule’ Island Hotel.

What to pack
Visiting the Maldives is the chance for you to break out the brightly coloured summer clothes that are so often out of place in colder climates. The higher temperatures and ever-present sunshine means that locals and visitors alike prefer dressing in lightweight materials. T-shirts, cotton clothing, skirts and shorts would be the best option to stay cool. The ideal footwear would be sandals and flip-flops.

Whether to pack only the more casual options like shorts and khakis or the newest Gucci number depends on what you plan to do, or where you plan to stay. Smart casual clothing is usually enough for Male' or resorts, but the more up-market resorts may require that you dress up for dinner.

Sunscreen, insect repellent, and hats are widely necessary for a comfortable holiday, but they are available widely for purchase in resorts and around Male'.

Immigration and Visa
Tourists are issued a 30-day visa on arrival. A valid travel document is necessary. You can obtain circumstantial visa grants through the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Male'.

Customs
It is prohibited to bring in firearms, drugs, pornography or idols of worship into the Maldives. Tourists also cannot bring in dogs, pigs and pork items. Alcohol and pork products under a special license are available in resort islands.

Health Requirements
Visitors to the Maldives, if arriving from infected countries, require an international certificate of inoculation against yellow fever and cholera to come into the country.

Info and Assistance at the Airport
The Airports Company has a counter outside the Arrival Terminal to provide information and assistance to tourists. The counter also has a variety of free brochures in different languages.

Transfers
If you have a booking at a resort, the transfer would usually be arranged for you prior to your arrival into the country. The option of speedboat or seaplane (where available) will be left to you to choose from. Travelling in between inhabited islands are done through various ferry services. Ferries to nearby islands Villingili and Hulhumale' can be taken from Male'.

Departure tax
The airport departure tax of US$12.00 is usually included when you purchase your airline ticket.

Duty-Free shopping
Duty-free shopping is available at the departure terminal at the Male’ International Airport. There are specialized shops with a wide variety of international brands selling well-known products and competitive prices. Products include souvenirs, perfume, electronics, toys, watches, fashion accessories and jewellery, liquor, tobacco and confectionary.
Airlines
The main airlines flying in from Europe are the UK, German & Italian charter flights which fly direct. Main scheduled services from Europe are those airlines flying direct: Sri Lankan Airways out of Heathrow and British Airways out of Gatwick; and those flying via their main hub: Qatar Airways via Doha, Emirates via Dubai and Oman Airways via Muscat. Sri Lankan also have some flights via Colombo. The Sri Lankan timetable changes throughout the year, so it is important to check whether the flight you are booked on is 'non-stop' or not. From Asia there are flights from Singapore on Singapore Airlines, amongst others. The following charts show the main airlines flying to the Maldives. Note that some only fly during the peak season and that these are subject to change. View live filght schedule from HERE
FLIGHTS FROM EUROPE
COUNTRY AIRLINE AIRPORT
Austria Austrian Airlines Vienna
France XL Paris/Charles de Gaulle
  Emirates
Etihad 
Paris; Nice
Germany Condor 
Etihad Airways  
Frankfurt 
  Air Berlin
Etihad Airways  
Munich;
Dusseldorf 
  Emirates Dusseldorf;
Frankfurt;
Hamburg;
Munich
Italy  EuroFly  Rome(Fiumicino);  Bologna
  Air Italy
Meridiana
Neo Spa  
Emirates 
Etihad Airways  
Milan (Malpensa)
Russia Trans Euro Airline
Domodedovo
Moscow
Switzerland Eidelweiss
Emirates
Swissair
Zurich
UK British Airways*
Thomson Fly*
Emirates
Etihad Airways  
London Gatwick
  Oman Air
Qatar
Sri Lankan Airlines*
Emirates
 London Heathrow
  Emirates Birmingham; 
Manchester
Newcastle; 
Glasgow
FLIGHTS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST
COUNTRY AIRLINE AIRPORT
Oman Oman Air Muscat
Qatar Qatar Airways Doha
UAE Emirates
Etihad Airways
Dubai
Abu Dabi
FLIGHTS FROM THE INDIAN SUB CONTINENT
COUNTRY AIRLINE AIRPORT
India Airtours
International
Bangalore; Trivandrum
  Island Aviation Trivandrum
  Kingfisher Dehli
  Swissair Goa
Sri Lanka Sri Lankan Airlines Colombo
FLIGHTS FROM ASIA
COUNTRY AIRLINE AIRPORT
China Air China
China Southern Airlines
Peking
Guangzhou
Korea Korean Airlines Seoul
Malaysia Malaysian Airlines Kuala Lumpur
Singapore Singapore Airlines Singapore
Thailand Bangkok Airways Bangkok
Malé, The Capital
Male', complete with its own artificial beach, swimming track, historic sites, and a spectacular skyline of candy-coloured skyscrapers, manages to be both an island and a city. Previously a sparsely populated island, Male' has evolved into a world-class city with all the modern facilities like schools, hospitals, restaurant. The resultant effect juxtaposes its islander roots and its forward-thinking attitude - a laid-back town with both quiet and fast lanes, of course the latter being more predominant.

Places to see in Male'
The Hukuru Miskiyy, (Friday Mosque) built in 1656 contains finely fluted coral block walls, and intricately engraved beams; Mulee-aage, the current Presidential residence was built right before the First World War and overlooks the Friday Mosque; the Islamic Centre that was built in 1984 and has a lovely, geometric stretch of white steps leading up-to the grand mosque; the sultan park and national museum that are housed in the same compound, the latter consists of an intimate collection housed in a quaint building surrounded by trees; and the artificial beach, and swimming track, both ideal for a refreshing swim.

Another interesting aspect of Male' are the names of houses. From names that pay tribute to island culture, like 'Sea-Breeze', and 'Sunshine Lodge', there are also slightly eccentric variations, like 'Forget-Me-Not', and ‘Always Happy House’. A quintessentially Maldivian feature, it provides an amusing accompaniment to a walk around Male' and an insight into the mindsets of the Maldivian people.

The Male' surf point Raalhugandu and the artificial beach lie on the south-eastern side of Male'. The area comes to life in the late afternoons and evenings, with hundreds of Male' dwellers coming out to relax and enjoy the fresh sea air and the day's end. The surf-huts overlooking Raalhugandu, built by local surfers and residents of neighbouring houses provide a vantage point for watching the waves. Whether you are there to see the surfers expertly guide their boards over the waves, or the strong curls of the waves themselves, the sight will not disappoint.

Shopping in Male’
Male' also hosts a wide range of shops that sell every imaginable good including supermarkets, chemists, electronics, books, clothes, footwear, and jewellery.

Notable shopping areas of Male’ include the two markets, one which sells local agricultural produce, and another that sells fish.

The local market stocks agricultural produce from all Maldivian islands. It is located on the northern side of Male', and distinguished by the sight of hanging clusters of bright yellow bananas throughout the market. The market is favoured by locals and expatriates alike, mainly because of the availability of fresh, local fruit and vegetable produce at inexpensive prices.

The fish market is located a mere two blocks away from the local market. The main feature of the market is its unmissable odour of freshly caught fish. Once your nostrils adjust to the strong smell, the market is a veritable delight of colour and energy. The best time to visit the fish market would be in the late-afternoons, when the local fishermen bring in their catch. Make sure you see the fish-cutters at work, with their practised blades slicing and dicing the fish neatly.

Slightly off the usual tourist track are the plentiful textile shops dotted around Male'. Favoured by local women who often get their clothes tailored instead of bought ready-made, these shops number in the hundreds and offer fabric of every imaginable texture, design and colour. Air-conditioned and well-maintained, these shops are well worth a visit if only to get a glimpse of local women in their element. Any tour guide will be able to point you in the direction of the larger textile shops, and you will come across a dozen stores on a walk along the main roads of Male'.

Male’ also has a range of bookstores, where you purchase stationery as well as a range of popular fiction, non-fiction and self-help books.

To take back memories of your holiday in a more material form, the souvenir shops on the northern end Chandhanee Magu provide the perfect outlet. Wooden ashtrays, turtle shaped salt and pepper shakers, shell necklaces and packs of playing cards, these shops offer kitsch of every kind and shape for the discerning traveler.

Eating Out in Male’
Open from early morning till 1 am in the night, the Male' restaurants aim to please. Menus ranging from Thai, Italian, Indian and other international, regional and local cuisine. They are served in a range of restaurants, from the cool air-conditioned bistros to the laid-back open-air cafes. For a truly Maldivian dining experience, try the fish, preferably while listening to the waves at a waterfront restaurant.

The local version of fast-food are served at what are known as Sai-Hotaas (teashops). In chatter-filled environment, these hotaas serve ‘short-eats’: a variety of (often deep-fried) sweet and savoury finger-food, mostly fish and coconut based, as well as local bread ‘roshi’ to be eaten with a variety of side dishes. Hotaas have a robust clientele, and serve food on communal tables. The atmosphere is extremely informal and should you want to engage in conversation with a friendly local, this may very well be the place to do so.

Cafés are big with the locals of ages and sexes in Male’. Over cups of steaming coffee, tea and hot chocolate, friends catch up on the day’s affairs and business deals are conducted. In addition to various beverages, cafés also serve snacks and smalls in an environment more tempered than that of the hotaas. Ranging from the cozy and air-conditioned to water-front and laid back, they are the perfect place to satiate a caffeine fix or to quench dry throats with a fresh juice.
Money Matters
The national bank, Bank of Maldives has several branches in Male’ as well as other major population hubs such as the Male’ International Airport, Seenu Atoll Hithadhoo, Haa Dhaalu Atoll Kulhudhufushi and Lhaviyani Atoll Naifaru.

Banks
The national bank, Bank of Maldives has several branches in Male’ as well as other major population hubs such as the Male’ International Airport, Seenu Atoll Hithadhoo, Haa Dhaalu Atoll Kulhudhufushi and Lhaviyani Atoll Naifaru.

Several other regional banks also operate in central city, Male’, including the State Bank of India, Bank of Ceylon, and HSBC.

ATMs
Most banks represented in Malé provide automatic teller machine (ATM) services and credit card services at several key points in Malé.

Currency
The Maldivian Rufiyaa is the currency of Maldives and is available in 1000,500,100,50,20,10 and 5 Rufiyaa notes. The currency code for Rufiyaa is MVR. One US Dollar is equivalent to Rufiyaa 15.42. Visit Bank of Maldives Website for currency exchange rate details.
Health Matters
In Male’, there are two main hospitals, that provide medical services to locals and visitors. In addition to this, there is a large number of clinics that provide specialist and GP services around Male’. All inhabited island have a health centre, and all Atolls have larger regional hospitals. All resorts have their own medical facilities.

Across Male’ and local islands are also are practitioners of local therapies, a form of alternative medicine called Dhivehi beys (Maldivian medicine). Dhivehi beys uses natural mixes and herbs to treat a variety of ailments.

For diving related injuries, some resorts have decompression facilities.
Getting Around The Maldives
After landing on the narrow strip of the Male’ international airport or any other airport in the Maldives, you need to catch either a boat or seaplane to your actual destination.

There are several options of transport within the islands, by sea and air.

Getting to Malé
To get Male’, the capital, you can catch a ferry from the airport, that leaves every few minutes for just a dollar or 10 Maldivian Rufiyaas during daytime. Dhonis have been used by locals for centuries and this ferry is a modern adaptation to the traditional one and are often bedecked in kitsch decorations.

Travelling around Malé
Male’ is most famous for its motorbikes, the fastest way to get around. Taxis are easily available and you will be charged Rufiyaa 20 for each trip, no matter where you go in Male’. You could always take the easier option and walk: anywhere in Male’ is reachable in ten minutes.

Tourist transfers
If you are going to a tourist resort, hotel, or safari cruise, a hotel staff will pick you up upon arrival to guide you to the hotel’s own transfer. You have the option of using a speedboat, seaplane, or local dhoni where offered.

Seaplanes are often used as a quicker option by tourist resorts located atolls further from the airport. Catching a seaplane is a rare treat that adds an extra layer to your experience of the Maldives by putting its unique geography into perspective through cottony layers of cloud. Flying over the islands at low heights you can see the shapes of reefs and colours of shallow waters around every island, and, if your trip is timely, perhaps even a couple of dolphins crossing the atolls channels.

Travelling by speedboat too, is, on its own a fun adventure. As it roars cleanly over the deep blue water, you feel the salt on your lips, the sun on your face, and the wind tugging your hair into a frenzy. Dhoni, the local boat used for travelling by locals is a more gentle, but by no means a less enjoyable means of getting to where you want to.

Travelling to local islands Resorts often organised island-hopping trips where tourists visit a series of inhabited islands. If you feel like taking a lengthier trip, you will need to catch one of the island’s scheduled ferries from Male’.

Find our all boat schedules from the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company through www.mtcc.com.mv