What to Expect When You Visit the Local Islands in the Maldives

What to Expect When You Visit the Local Islands in the Maldives

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Local Maldivian People

The Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean and has had many cultural influences over the years, including Indian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Persian, Arab, Indonesian and even African.

The local language spoken is Dhivehi which is closely related to Sinhalese from Sri Lanka but don’t worry you won’t be expected to learn the language to visit the local islands, many locals speak English and the local children learn English in school and love to try out their language skills with visitors on the island!

The Maldivian people are very family orientated and work closely together to run their businesses and raise their families. It is a wonderful experience visiting the local islands as they love meeting new people and are very warm and welcoming.

Islam is the national religion in the Maldives following the Sunny Sect which is often referred to as orthodox Islam. Maldivians pray five times a day at their local masque and Fridays is a prayer day (weekend) so many shops, restaurants and services are reduced or even closed. Many local women wear the hijab which is the traditional head covering and wear modest clothing to cover their arms and legs.

Your tour guide will be very knowledgeable about the island(s) you are visiting and will offer to give you a tour around with more information about the island and local traditions. It is a fantastic way to see island way of life and local industries.


Most people know the Maldives for the high end resorts at high end prices but the local islands offer a wonderful opportunity to experience the Maldives with local cultures and traditions. Most local islands offer guest house accommodation or boutique style hotels. The rooms are ideal with everything you need for your vacation. Most people who visit the Maldives spend little time in their rooms so really all you need is a clean room, comfortable bed, en-suite bathroom and basic amenities which all guest houses offer. Depending on your budget you may go more basic or add a little more luxury, but the prices never be as high as the resorts – nowhere near.

Getting to the Island

When you arrive in the Maldives you will arrive on the airport island which is a separate island to the capital Male. When you have booked your holiday, our team will ensure you have a tour guide come and meet you to assist with your transfer to your chosen island. For the most part our budget travellers opt not to take a sea plane as it really bumps up the costs. However there are local ferries which are the cheapest but will take longer or a speed boat option which will cost a little more but will get you to your island faster. Some islands are too far away and it would take too long to take a local ferry, this is when we suggest the speed boat. Either way it’s a wonderful experience and guests often get to see flying fish and even dolphins on their journey.


Maldivian food is called Dhivehi cuisine, which consists of coconuts, fish and starches. Coconut is used in grated form, coconut oil, and coconut milk. The most popular and favourite fish used is skipjack tuna which comes dried or fresh. A popular local breakfast dish is called Mas Huni which consists of tuna, coconut, onion and chilli. It is eaten with torn pieces of roshi (you may be more familiar with the name chapatti).  We love nothing more than introducing our guests to the local cuisine on the islands. We offer an opportunity to eat with local families and experience an array of delicious homemade dishes. Many guest houses offer a European option for breakfast which consists of turkey sausage (as the Maldives is an Islamic country they do not eat Pork), eggs, fruit, tea, coffee and fresh juices. Maldivian curries are very popular and simply delicious. The most well known one is cooked with diced fresh tuna known as mas riha. Curries are served with rice or roshi. Most of our package tours include a trip to the local café where you simply have to experience Hedika.  Hedika which means ‘short eats’ is a traditional snack option in the Maldives and available in the cafes from about 3pm. Traditionally you drink black tea which Hedika. We usually add at least one ‘short eats’ experience into our tour packages as they are something not to be missed.

Traditional Music

On many tours your guest house host will offer an evening of entertainment with local music, singing and dancing called Boduberu. It is believed the African influenced music was introduced by sailors in the Indian Ocean region. It is a wonderful experience and most islands form their own groups and travel around the guest houses performing.

If you have a question about what to expect when visiting local islands in the Maldives, feel free to get in touch with us we would love to hear from you. We have an array of packages suitable for all budgets, holiday types, solo travellers, couples, groups and families.

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BSmyth April 4th, 2018

Had no idea Islam is the national religion. Very informative. Thank you!

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