Local laws and customs

Maldives has very strong anti-drugs laws. Importing or possessing drugs can carry severe penalties, including life imprisonment.

Local laws reflect the fact that Maldives is an Islamic country. Serious violations of local laws may lead to a prison sentence. Public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2016, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 6 June and finish on 5 July. See Travelling during Ramadan

It is an offence to import the following items into Maldives: explosives, weapons, firearms, ammunition, pornographic material, materials deemed contrary to Islam including ‘idols for worship’ and bibles, pork and pork products, and alcohol.

Alcoholic drinks are only available on resort islands. Don’t take any alcohol away from a resort.

The export of tortoise shell and coral is forbidden.

Dress is generally informal but you should be sensitive to local dress standards when visiting non-resort islands. Nudism and topless sunbathing are not allowed anywhere, including on resort islands.

Same sex relations are illegal and convicted offenders could face lengthy prison sentences and fines.

Mariners in possession of firearms must surrender them to the local authorities. Any unregistered firearms will not be returned to the owner.