The Dhivehi Raajje, commonly known as the Maldives, is an archipelago of about 1,192 coral islands that are grouped into 26 coral atolls. Namely, these atolls mean 200 islands that are inhabited and 80 islands that shelter tourist resorts. The Maldives are in the Indian Ocean, south-east of India and are, therefore, considered a part of Southern Asia.
Interesting about the Maldives is that, out of the 280 islands, only 185 of them shelter the country’s population of 300,000 people. However, the rest of the islands are used only for economic purposes – mainly agriculture and tourism. Therefore, it’s no wonder that 28% of Maldives’ GDP comes from tourism and more than 90% of the state government income is based on taxes that are related to tourism and import duties.
Since it’s a known fact that tourism is the largest industry in this country, then you can expect some wonderful sight and an unforgettable experience if you decide to visit the Maldives.
First on the list, we have a tropical climate, with temperatures that stick around 30 degrees Celsius all year long. Still, if you are not a fan of quite extreme heat, then you can always choose to visit each and every one of these islands in the period between April and October when rainfall increases due to the southwest monsoon.
While the country is formed of 20 atolls, only 10 of these are important to you, as they are open to tourism – in terms of culture, the Maldivians are mostly Sunni Muslim, meaning that alcohol, drug, and pork are banned. However, on the 10 atolls that are open to tourism, everyone is free to express themselves and do almost anything they want – of course, in the limits of common sense and while respecting the law in force.
Still, due to a large number of tourists, it is only natural that we ask ourselves if is Maldives safe to visit, right? After all, you can’t just board a plane to a foreign country without knowing what you are going to be faced with once you land.
Therefore, in today’s article, we will be tackling the safety aspect of this beautiful country.
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Maldives
Overall Risks in Maldives: MEDIUM to HIGH
The latest update regarding Maldives informs us about the removal of the available information on the presidential elections that took place on the 23rd of September – basically, this means that you can expect rallies and protests, especially in the capital, Male.
Moreover, in the months of February and March of this year, there was a state of emergency in place in the archipelago – this was mainly caused by the political protests that occurred in Male and several other towns.
The capital, Male, is sheltered by Kaafu island, which is also the place where most of the Maldivian resorts can be found – thus, as a region open to tourism, tourists could easily come across a protest or a rally and be pepper sprayed by the authorities, as this has happened during some recent protests, according to various sources.
On the other hand, all of the things that have happened on Kaafu island seem to have not affected any outlying resorts or islands, including the Male International Airport – therefore, unless you choose to accommodate yourself on Kaafu, you are safe from any danger caused by rallies and protests.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Maldives: MEDIUM
Next, on our Maldives safety guide, we will be covering something that seems to be quite common across Maldives – namely, the loss and stealing of the tourists’ passports. On the other hand, we also have numerous accidents caused by improper swimming and diving – however, that’s not quite safety related, as you should be well prepared for diving/ swimming when visiting an archipelago.
When it comes to Maldives’ crime levels, these are pretty low, especially around the resort hotels most tourists stay in – however, let’s not forget the fact that petty crime exists everywhere, even in a place where everyone just wants to enjoy the beach and the sun.
- How to avoid pickpocketing and theft in Maldives?
So, one of our Maldives safety travel tips goes as follows – it is recommended that you do not leave any items unattended while at the beach and that you safely lock your hotel room before leaving for the day.
Furthermore, make use of the safe deposit boxes available on the island resorts and stash your valuables there – such as passport and any gadgets/ items that you may not use in a certain day. In short, if you leave for the beach, take only the necessary with you.
Moreover, you should stay away from the slums/ shady areas of Male and Hulhumale as, reportedly, gang-related violence has recently increased in these areas – most common being knife crime.
Scam Risk in Maldives: LOW to MEDIUM
In terms of scams, there have been no substantial reports – however, you should still apply a level of basic safety measures when traveling around the island you’re on.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Maldives?
For example, you should be extremely careful when withdrawing money from an ATM as some individuals behind you in line might not be as friendly as you think. Then, if you choose to travel with a cab, make sure that it is metered and that the driver does not accept any strangers/ locals to share the ride with you – as they may work together towards leaving you without your most precious valuables.
In short, avoid any contact with suspicious individuals, strangers, and locals and don’t accept any kind of help, items, or drinks/ food.
Kidnapping Risk in Maldives: LOW
Same as in the case of scams, there have been no kidnapping incidents involving tourists reported on any of the Maldives’ islands. However, this does not mean that you can wander through the city at 3 to 4 AM in the morning.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Maldives?
Yet another one of our Maldives safety travel tips recommends you that you stick to fairly big groups of tourists and that you do not go out of your way to explore the rest of the city – after all, the partying and fun are happening on the beach and in the clubs.
Make sure to avoid any shady alleys and any group of locals that might seem suspicious – if you do that, your trip won’t have any unpleasant events.
Terrorism Risk in Maldives: LOW to MEDIUM
While there is no actual threat of terrorism, some sources state that some men had been arrested, in November 2017, on terrorism charges – therefore, no tourist should rule out such a thing and they should always be prepared in case something happens.
Moreover, it is said that the attacks could be indiscriminate and that they could occur in places that are frequented by foreign travelers and expatriates – therefore, it is recommended that you avoid large crowds of people, rallies, or protests.
- How to avoid terrorism in Maldives?
Our Maldives safety guide recommends you that, if you notice anything suspicious or something that resembles a terrorist attack, you should flee the area immediately and go straight to the authorities and give them a full report of what you’ve just seen – you should not take any kind of situation into your own hands as terrorism is not something that heroes can fight against.
Risks for Women Traveling Alone in Maldives: LOW to MEDIUM
Naturally, as with any other tourist that visits a foreign country, it can get only worse if they are alone – of course, this goes for women as well, especially in a country like Maldives.
Remember that Maldives is an Islamic country and, therefore, certain customs must be respected, even though you are not a Muslim or do not act in accordance to religion – as a woman, you should dress appropriately, especially when visiting any of the atolls that are not open to tourism.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Maldives?
Moreover, alone or not, you should try your best and make sure that your actions or way of behaving do not offend any of the locals – especially during Ramadan and if you want to visit any religious areas.
These being said, women could travel alone, if they stick to the areas that are populated by tourists and if they are careful enough – however, if they intend to explore more of the island they’re currently on or want to visit other islands, it is recommended that they get a guide to accompany them for the duration of their travel.
Of course, if you are wondering if is Maldives safe for solo women travelers, then we can say that they can enjoy a day on the beach and an evening in the club without being exposed to any danger – however, as always, basic safety measures should be applied.
Rape Risk in Maldives: LOW
Once again, there is little to no risk of any unpleasant events – as most of these resorts are inhabited by tourists, it is highly unlikely that you will come across groups of strangers of locals that have ill intentions.
Even though there have been no serious reports regarding this aspect of Maldives’ safety, it is still recommended that you take the basic safety measures. When it comes to how safe is Maldives for tourists, the country is as safe as the tourists make it – therefore, with a bit of common sense and decency, nothing bad will happen to you.
- How to avoid getting raped in Maldives?
Therefore, avoid displaying any valuables, cash, or technology, as these might attract unwanted eyes – be them of the locals or of other tourists. It is always important to remember that some of the tourists don’t come here to spend a lovely holiday but to get some profit out of naïve tourists. Thus, always be aware of your surroundings and avoid any contact with strangers.
Risks for People Traveling with Children in Maldives: LOW
Due to the current situation of the capital and of the Kaafu island in general, you should avoid having your children with you if you plan on staying here – as previously mentioned, it is likely that protests and rallies occur again and you don’t want to be caught among the protesters, especially if you have a child with you.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
As there have been no reports of children-related incidents or kidnapping, the only thing left for you to do is look after them or have someone take care of them while you are out for a swim. The last thing you want is them getting lost and you having to look for them through a resort filled with tourists.
Natural Disaster Risks in Maldives: LOW to MEDIUM
Next, on our Maldives safety guide, we will be covering the natural disaster aspect – when it comes to this, two of the deadliest natural disasters that occur in Maldives are the tsunamis and the fires.
In terms of mortality, tsunamis come with a rate of 96,3% while fire with a rate of 3,8%. On the other hand, when it comes to economic losses, tsunamis are accountable for 74% of the losses while storms are in the second place, with 13,9%.
Furthermore, in term of frequency, flood, storm, and earthquake all come with a rate of 33.3%, being the most common, so to say, occurring natural disasters.
Therefore, another one of our Maldives safety travel tips advises you to always check the weather report before leaving your accommodation – by doing so, you’ll know if you have to get prepared for something and how to get prepared for it. It might make you leave a couple of minutes later, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Transportation Risks in Maldives: LOW
As mentioned a couple of times before, you, as a traveler/ tourist, will most likely spend your time on the resort islands - in case you want to travel to the non-resort islands, an advance approval will be required. In short, in terms of transportation, you will not come across any unwanted scenarios or such.
You will basically be limited to the resort island and the capital island, Male, in case you plan a specific trip there - traveling between these islands is done by either seaplane or boat, which are no longer available after sunset.
Naturally, you won't have to drive or rely on public transportation too much - after all, you are on an island, with beaches and resorts everywhere. You just have to pick your spot and spend the day there or walk to any other touristic attractions.
Night-Clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Maldives: LOW
Given the fact that the resort islands are under significant protection, so to say, there haven't been any reports if incidents occurring in night-clubs, pubs, and such. These facilities will most likely be frequented by tourists/ travelers only and by the locals that are employed there.
In this respect, only those that have too many drinks are likely to cause a ruckus and maybe become violent. However, you should still pay attention to your surroundings and never leave your drink unattended - even there have been no cases of spiked drinks or such incidents, you should still be cautious.
Moreover, if you plan to go to areas outside of the resort islands, it is advised that you avoid night-clubs, pubs, and bars, as you might get into trouble, mainly because you are a foreigner. Basically, if you stay within the resort islands and exercise a normal degree of caution, you should be out of any trouble and be able to fully enjoy your trip in Maldives.
Health Risks in Maldives
Overall, the medical facilities of Maldives are quite limited - depending on the resort island you are accommodated on, you might or might not be in reach of a doctor or medical facility. For example, the capital island and Hulhumale are equipped with only a couple of fully-equipped hospitals, capable to treat some more serious injuries or such.
When it comes to the resort islands, most of them do have doctors residing there and some of them even have their own medical facilities - naturally, we have in consideration the high-end resorts in this case.
In case of a serious injury, you are likely to be transported to a hospital in Male - this can take more than a couple of hours, depending on the resort island you are on.
As always, it is recommended that you come equipped with proper travel health insurance and enough money to cover all of the expenses that you might be subject to - in case you need medical assistance, it is advised that you contact your medical assistance/ insurance company as soon as possible, especially if you are referred for treatment within a medical facility.
List of Vaccines You Need in Maldives
Maldives, as most South Asian countries, has been classified as having a risk of the Zika virus transmission – in order to get more information about this and about other health-related issues that you may need to take care of, it is recommended that you visit your doctor four of six weeks before leaving for Maldives.
However, we have also prepared you a list of the vaccines you may need to get for when visiting this country.
- Yellow Fever
- Tetanus – recommended for all travelers.
- Hepatitis A – recommended for all travelers.
- Typhoid – recommended for all travelers.
- Hepatitis B – recommended for trekking.
- Meningococcal Meningitis
- Tuberculosis – for when visiting rural areas
- Tick-Borne Encephalitis
- Japanese B Encephalitis
Concluding Remarks: Is Maldives Safe to Visit?
Who wouldn’t want to spend their holiday surrounded by this beautiful archipelago? – there are resorts everywhere and the beaches are full of tourists and, of course, the scorching heat of the sun just makes the water even more enjoyable.
Indeed, the Maldives is a beautiful experience – however, is Maldives safe to visit? Well, taking into account all of the information we have exposed to you so far, we think that the archipelago is safe to visit and that you can enjoy a beautiful holiday here.
Still, remember the areas you have to stay away from or be extremely cautious in when visiting them – such as the capital and its surrounding areas. In short, stick to the wonderful resorts, take care of your belongings, and remember to respect the local customs – and just enjoy Maldives.