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Customs & Etiquettes
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Maldives Customs & Etiquettes


The majority of the indigenous population does not mix with the tourist visitors, with the exception of those involved with tourism in the resorts and Malé. Dress is informal, but locals who are Muslim will be offended by nudity or scanty clothing in public places, and the government rigidly enforces these standards. Bikinis and other scanty beachwear are not acceptable in Malé or on any other inhabited island; they should be restricted to resort islands only. When entering a mosque, the legs and the body, but not the neck and the face, should be covered.

The indigenous population not involved in the tourist trade lives in isolated island communities maintaining almost total privacy. A large number of locals smoke, but smoking and eating during Ramadan is discouraged.

Maldivians are brought up to respect elders and those who are educated while conforming to an Islamic
code of conduct. Strong loyalties tie the individual to the extended family.

Meeting & Greeting

When meeting a local for the first time, a handshake is the most common form of greeting, accompanied by the Arabic expression ‘Assalaam Alaikum’. As for greetings between a man and a woman, while handshakes are a common form of greeting, many times a simple nod or slight bow will do as many men and women generally do not engage in physical contact. To be sure, let the woman offer her hand first.


At the house of a Maldivian friend or acquaintance, be sure to remove your shoes before entering, leaving them at the front door or where you see others have left theirs.

Gift-Giving Etiquette

While gifts are by no means expected, they are always gratefully received, especially if you bring an item from your home country or something that is unavailable in the Maldives.

Dining Etiquette

At the dinner table, visitors should wait until all guests are seated before commencing eating.

It’s polite to try a little of everything that you are offered and to avoid emptying your plate completely as this might infer that you were not offered enough and may be taken as an insult by your host.

If you choose to invite Maldivian friends for a meal at a restaurant, you will most likely be expected to pay.

Religious values prohibit the locals to consume pork or drink alcohol, so it's best to avoid offering anybody either.





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