Maldives - Location, Language, Time Difference
The Maldives is in the Indian Ocean, a 10-14hr flight from the UK, around 370 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. It is made up of 1200 islands, stretching over 500 miles from north to south. The main arrival airport for all flights to the Maldives is Male's airport island (MLE). The Maldives is famous for its great snorkelling, manta cleaning stations, whale sharks, shark dives and fast drift dives through channels. The water remains a constant 27-28 C year-round.
Time Difference: GMT +5hrs
Language: Maldivian Dhivehi, English widely is spoken
Maldives - Weather & Climate
Whilst there are 2 monsoon seasons (Nov-Apr & May-Oct), the diving remains excellent year-round. Diving operators will change their dive sites in each season to find the best hot spots for the big fish! Traditionally, our summer months tend to be windier with a higher chance of rain, whilst the winter months are flatter. However, the seasons are much less predictable in reality and its a fabulous place to dive whatever time of year!
Maldives - Currency & Tax
12% GST is applied to all services paid locally. An additional 10% service charge may be applied in some instances.
How Do I Get There?
Our holidays to the Maldives can be quoted with most major airlines. If you would like to depart from a regional UK airport (eg. Glasgow/Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham or Gatwick) or have a specific airline you prefer to fly with, simply let us know in your booking request. Times and any applicable supplements will be confirmed by your travel consultant before you finalise your holiday. We are unfortunately not able to redeem Airmiles on your behalf. If you make your own flight arrangements to Male, please check the transfer arrangements before confirming your flights. Please do not finalise any flight arrangements yourself before your liveaboard space is confirmed as being held.
As most flights are not direct, it is simple to add a stopover en route - simply ask your travel consultant for a quote. Sri Lanka is our most popular, upcoming destination - with beautiful beaches, it's a great alternative to staying in the Maldives resorts. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, why not head into the jungle to look for elephants and leopards. Or if you are a culture vulture, we highly recommend a Kandy city tour. The choice is yours! As we are able to book most major airlines to the Maldives, you can also add a stop to break up your flight. Popular locations include Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi.
Are There Any Extension Options?
With daily flights between the UK and the Maldives, it's simple to add a few extra nights either before or after your liveaboard. We have a huge selection of Maldives resorts for all budgets. No matter if you just want to relax on a stunning beach or carry on diving, our travel team will be able to help you find your dream resort island or local island guest house. Speak to your consultant about the options.
Passports and Visas
Passports must be valid for 6 months from the return date.
UK passport holders are able to obtain a free 30-day visa on arrival. Please ensure your passport has 6 months' validity from your return date to prevent any issues with immigration. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid and you fulfill entry requirements. Regulations can change, so please review current FCO advice here:
Preparing To Fly
As you are flying with a scheduled airline, you will be able to check-in online with your airline. Please visit their website for more information about when online check-in opens.
You will be able to manage your booking online once you have been ticketed (after you have paid your holiday balance). Most airlines will now enable you to select your seating at this point. There may be a small charge for pre-bookable seating before online check-in opens. Please speak to the airline for more information about charges.
Prebook your airport parking to save money! If you have a long way to travel, why not also look at booking an airport hotel. These aren't as expensive as you might think.
The Maldives is an Islamic country. Please dress appropriately if visiting a local island. You are not allowed to bring pork or alcohol into the country. These items will be taken by customs on arrival. Resort islands and liveaboards have special licenses and they are freely available. Local island resorts are not permitted to serve alcohol in the hotel.
What Do I Need To Arrange Before I Go?
UK passport holders are able to obtain a free 30-day visa on arrival. Please ensure your passport has 6 months' validity from your return date to prevent any issues with immigration. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid and you fulfill entry requirements. Regulations can change, so check out the FCO Foreign Travel Advice: Maldives link above.
Scuba Leeds and our liveaboards and partner travel companies require all of our customers to have diving insurance. Please make sure that you have appropriate cover for your diving activities. We also strongly recommend you have travel insurance. It's worth taking out travel insurance once you have paid your deposit to ensure you are covered for unforeseen events and cancellation.
We also recommend you speak to your local GP or check out the latest NHS advice on travel immunisations.
What Happens When I Arrive?
On arrival in the Maldives, you will need to clear immigration and collect your baggage. You will then be met outside of arrivals by a representative from your liveaboard or resort. They will be holding a board with either your boat, destination or your name on it. If you have any issues at all locating your rep, please turn left from arrivals and go to the information desk at Male airport. We have an emergency contact, manned by a member of the team here in the UK. Please call either 0044 7956 804 869 or 0044 7747 488 002. We will be able to help your rep locate you at the airport.
If your holiday begins in Male you will be met and taken to your boat. The transfer takes around 20mins. Many of our Maldives holidays will include either a domestic flight or seaplane transfer. It takes approx 45mins -1 hour to clear immigration and collect your baggage at Male airport. We endeavour to keep the transit between flights as short as possible and your transfer will normally take place within 3 hours of your international arrival, but please be aware, you may have to wait at the airport between flights. The domestic terminal is right next door to arrivals. This has AC, bathrooms and a small cafe. You will usually be met by a rep, who will assist you in moving between the terminals.
The baggage allowance on domestic flights is typically 20kgs hold and 5kgs hand baggage. Excess baggage is charged locally $2-$5/kg. The seaplane check-in desk is to your right on exiting the arrivals hall. You will check your bag in here and then be transferred to the seaplane terminal by bus. This has AC, bathrooms, a small cafe, and shop. The seaplanes run regularly throughout the day and due to the way the scheduling is organised, the exact time of your seaplane cannot be confirmed prior to arrival in Male. Seaplanes do not run in the dark - the fist seaplane is around 06:00 Male time and ends around 16:00 Male time. The baggage allowance on seaplane flights is typically 20kgs hold and 5kgs hand baggage. Excess baggage is charged locally $2-$5/kg.
What Happens On Departure Day?
You will be taken back to Male Airport in time for your international flight. Domestic flights and seaplanes will arrive in time for you to make your connections. Typically you will arrive at the airport 1 1/2- 2 hours before your flight time. There is currently no departure tax when leaving the Maldives.
Plugs & Electricity
220V, 50Hz (European or British plugs)