LIFE IN MALDIVES
A geological eccentricity nestled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a series of ancient coral reefs that grew up around the sides of towering prehistoric volcanoes. These immense structures have long since sunk into the ocean, leaving behind coral islands of incredible natural beauty, now themselves being colonised by travellers seeking unbridled pampering and romance, from the modernity of Male' to the idyllic paradise of the Southern Atolls.
This is life stripped down to simplicity – bright blue skies, all-year sunshine and fantastic diving and snorkelling in lagoons the temperature of bath water.
Holidays and Week Breakdown
In the Maldives, the working week starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday evening, the weekend being Friday and Saturday.
Shops open from 9 am / 10am until 10pm, interrupted by the prayer breaks. Corner shops would be open from 6am.
The prayer breaks are approximately at 12pm, 3.30pm, 5.30 pm and 7pm. They last from about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Most shops would re-open around 8pm.
Maldivian Public Holidays
The Maldives calendar is punctuated by the Islamic calendar and anniversaries of historical events. Ramadan usually varies each year according to the Islamic calendar.
The academic year in the Maldives is from January to November, punctuated by regular breaks. Working hours reduce during Ramadan. Government offices open from 9am to 1.30 pm, and schools would only teach for 3/ 4 hours.
The people of the Maldives embraced Islam in 1153. Maldivians practice Sunni Islam. Although it is a liberal form of Islam in which Shariah is not strictly implemented, religion is enshrined in the constitution, and Maldivian citizens must be Muslims. No other religion is permitted in the Maldives.
There are 5 prayers a day, the first one around 5am. You will hear the prayer call each time.
During the month of Ramazan, volunteers are not expected to fast. However, out of respect for the local population, they will have to eat and drink in the privacy of your accommodation until sunset. Ramazan is a festive season in the Maldives. During that period of time, Maldivians gather in the evenings and stay up until late at night. Most probably, you would be invited to the different evening meals.
We recommend that you drink bottled water, widely available in the Maldives, with perfectly safe locally produced brands. The food tends to be very spicy, especially in islands outside the capital. Rice, curry, and fish and coconut are widely used ingredients.
There are 4 meals in the Maldives:
Breakfast: You will be able to find bread and cereal, but mostly powder milk is available in the islands. Maldivians eat roshi, a type of bread similar to Indian rotties, and Mas huni, a dish made of coconut and tuna. It is also very common to eat curry in the morning.
Lunch and Dinner are usually rice and different types of curries. The base is mainly fish.
Afternoon tea: expect to be served sweet black tea or tea with condensed milk and savouries such as samosas and other local cakes.
Male' - In the capital, you will have access to more entertainment with a wider choice of cafes, restaurants and shops. You will be able to find most of the things you need and can take a tour of the capital with a guide, and visit the local monuments: the Grand Friday Mosque, Sultan Park, the National Museum, the oldest mosque Hukuru Miskiiy (Friday Mosque), and the fish market.
There are 2 telephone networks in the Maldives and a very good mobile coverage throughout the country. Population will have internet connections, but it may be more difficult in remote islands.
Although women are not expected to cover their hair, they will have to dress modestly by covering shoulders and legs up to the calves. Sleeveless tops and swim suits would be frowned upon and will be expected to swim in shorts and T-shirt. When visiting resorts, you will be able to dress according to European standards. The Capital Male' is also a lot more relaxed with the dress code.
Upon arrival, you must not carry into the country alcohol, pork-based products, pornography and no religious material under any circumstances. Maldives is 100% Sunni Muslim country and does not allow other faiths. Personal religious practices are restricted to the privacy of the accommodation, and preaching religions is strictly forbidden.
Alcohol and pork will not be available in the inhabited islands and the capital, but can be consumed in resorts and the airport hotel. Drugs are forbidden and the Maldives authorities have very strict legislation combating drug abuse and the penalties are quite harsh.
You can also find some interesting insights into expat life in the Maldives by visiting the following link: