>  Travel Guides   >  Cultural Differences in the Maldives: 3 Things to Know Before You Go
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The Maldives, a tropical paradise known for its stunning resorts and beautiful beaches, is also a place with a rich cultural heritage. Here are three important cultural differences to be aware of before you travel:

1. Religious observance

The Maldives is a predominantly Muslim country, and Islamic customs and laws are strictly observed. This includes the prohibition of alcohol outside of the resorts and the expectation of modest dress, particularly when visiting Malé or other populated islands.

The Islamic history that dates back over a thousand years. Islam was introduced to the Maldives in the 12th century, and it has played a significant role in shaping the culture, society, and governance of the country ever since.

The exact date of Islam’s arrival in the Maldives is debated among historians, but it is generally believed to have been introduced in the 12th century. Islamic scholars and traders from the Arab world and South Asia played a crucial role in spreading the religion to the islands.

Islam had a profound impact on the culture of the Maldives. It influenced various aspects of daily life, including language, dress, food, and art. The Dhivehi language adopted many Arabic loanwords, and Islamic principles guided the legal and social norms of the society.

Islamic festivals like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are celebrated with great enthusiasm in the Maldives. Traditional Maldivian dances and music often incorporate Islamic themes and influences.  While the Maldives embraces its Islamic heritage, the growth of tourism has presented challenges in terms of maintaining the balance between religious practices and the needs of visitors.


2. Hospitality and service

Maldivians are known for their generosity and service-mindedness. The hospitality industry is a major part of the Maldivian economy, and you’ll find that the staff at resorts and hotels go above and beyond to ensure guests have a memorable stay.
When the Maldives first started opening hotels as a tourism destination for the world, the formal study of hospitality began. In 1979, the Maldives National University (formerly known as the Maldives College of Higher Education) established the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies. This marked a significant step in providing formal education in hospitality for Maldivians. The faculty offered diploma and degree programs in various aspects of hospitality and tourism management.
In 1992, the Maldives National University (MNU) was officially established, and it continued to offer hospitality-related programs. Over the years, MNU has expanded its offerings to include bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields such as hospitality management, tourism management, and culinary arts.

Alongside MNU, private hospitality schools have emerged to meet the growing demand for trained hospitality professionals. These schools often collaborate with international hospitality education institutions to provide globally recognized programs. These partnerships have enabled Maldivian students to access high-quality education and training in hospitality management.

Many resorts in the Maldives have their own training programs for staff. These programs often combine formal education with hands-on training within the resort environment. This approach allows employees to gain real-world experience while also receiving specialized training tailored to the resort’s unique offerings and standards.

3. Island life

The Maldives is made up of 26 atolls and over 1,000 islands, many of which are uninhabited. Life on these islands is significantly different from the bustling city life many of us are used to. There’s a slower pace, with a focus on enjoying the natural beauty of the surroundings.
The Maldives is renowned for its luxurious overwater bungalows and private island resorts. These accommodations offer stunning views, direct access to the clear turquoise waters, and a sense of exclusivity and privacy that few other destinations can match. It has also become a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Its rich marine biodiversity, including colorful coral reefs and a variety of marine species, is often cited as one of the best in the world. The underwater experiences in the Maldives are truly exceptional.
Many of the Maldives’ resorts are situated on their own private islands, offering a level of seclusion and exclusivity that can be hard to find elsewhere. This makes the Maldives an attractive choice for honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic getaway.


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