Maldives, located south of Sri Lanka in the Arabian Ocean, the island nation is one of the most remote destinations you can imagine.
The Maldives is made up of thousands of islands in the Indian Ocean. 200 are inhabited (and 1,700 uninhabited) which are well-known as tropical paradises. The islands offer pristine beaches, shallow seas and lots of reef life.
The Maldives, are a conservative Islamic society where open displays of same-sex devotion are sadly still less-than-welcome, and homosexuality remains illegal. However, it’s fair to say theirs is a very relaxed approach to the enforcement of these laws.
This is especially true on the exclusive island resorts run by the big international hotel chains, which operate rather like autonomous states with their own, more liberal, attitudes.
Although the situation for LGBTQ locals is not great, fortunately for gay tourists, the economy of the Maldives relies very heavily on tourism therefore as a LGBTQ tourist, they won't dare touch you, particularly when staying at the large privately owned resort islands. So much so that LGBTQ honeymoons in the Maldives are becoming increasingly popular.
Everybody needs to make a personal choice on visiting destinations where LGBTQ laws exclude same sex relationships.
Our attitude is supporting LGBTQ friendly\LGBTQ owned businesses is far more productive to help to effect positive change than just boycotting a country completely.
Practically, what this means is that you should absolutely be careful when outside a resort which includes the airport and the capital of Male. However, the second you arrive at your resort destination, you can be more relaxed and enjoy your Maldives holiday.
Technically, the Maldives is not a gay-friendly destination. As a country under strict Sharia law, homosexuality is illegal under threat of severe corporal punishment and prison. This may seem scary, but many gay visitors are not put off as the reality within the Maldives’ many luxury resorts are very different.
LGBT Rights in Maldives
When it comes to other LGBTQ rights, such as recognising gay couples, anti-discrimination laws, the right to change legal gender, the right to serve openly in the military etc, we'll be quite clear, there are none!
The main airport in Maldives is the Male International Airport, also known as Velana International Airport.
You will need to take a sea plane or a speed boat to reach your resort from Male Airport. The trip can range from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the location of your resort.
Places to stay
If you’re in the mainland capital of Male you’ll find that alcohol is banned and public displays of affection are not advised, especially for same-sex couples. However, different rules apply in The Maldives’ many resorts, and people travelling to The Maldives will only stay in the resorts.
With its pristine beaches, impeccably azure waters, and decadent luxury resorts filled with every sort of experience you can imagine, it’s no wonder the Maldives have become one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations in the world. Isolated in your island resort, with little to do but enjoy the sea, sun, and entertainment, you can truly relax and leave everything else behind.
The local staff are well-trained and are far too fond of their jobs to have any issue about LGBTQ community, and no one will generally take any notice of gay guys or same-sex couples. This is especially the case in any hotel managed by a large international brand.
The resorts are private holiday destinations that attract people from all over the world, and Sharia Law is not imposed. The resorts are often western-managed and owned and the country realises it relies on tourism to even function.
Generally speaking, well known private resorts in the Maldives are welcoming towards all LGBTQ couples. They have their own private islands, where they will allow alcohol to be purchased.
Booking a double bed in a resort in the LGBTQ friendly resorts in the Maldives for you to sleep in the same bed with your other half will go unnoticed
All resorts bookable on our websites are LGBTQ friendly.
The top experiences in the Maldives are mainly related to the Indian Ocean.
Water sports is popular from or canoeing, jet-skiing, parasailing, paddle boarding, scuba diving and windsurfing. The island crystal clear blue waters are spectacular. Most of the hotels can arrange these activities or you can book in advance or online whilst in the Maldives.
Vitamin Sea to get vitamin D from pure beach relaxation. In the Maldives, the weather is typically hot and tropical all year round, with daily temperatures rarely falling below 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit). Make sure you do not book during monsoon season.
In terms of beaches, if you're staying on a private island, they will have their own secluded beach where you can do whatever you want. If, however, you're staying on a local island, make sure it has a “tourist” beach. These are more private beaches where women are allowed to bathe in their swimming costumes.
The Maldives is a paradise for scuba diving, whether you're a total beginner or a pro due to the countries’ coral reefs. Whilst scuba diving you are likely to see a huge selection of tropical fish, manta rays, turtles and possibly even a few sharks. If you want to go whale or shark spotting then you should look for these specific experiences.
Snorkelling is easy to do alone by grabbing your mask/fins and pop your head in the water and see the beautiful colours of coral and fish. To experience the best snorkelling the book a tour with a local guide. If you have one do not forget to pack your underwater camera.
Cafes and Restaurants
Within the resorts there is a huge choice of international cuisine. As the Islands are in the Indian ocean then the traditional dishes have an Indian influence.
The typical Maldivian food is healthy with fresh fish, fresh fruit and coconut-based dishes.
Mashuni is the traditional breakfast in the Maldives which includes three main ingredients: finely chopped tuna, onion and chilli, which is then mixed with grated coconut.
The tradition “Maldive Fish” (a type of cured tuna). Mashuni is typically served with freshly baked roshi, along with plenty of sweetened hot tea.
Roshi is similar to the Indian roti flat bread but made with a different flour and includes the addition of coconut
As a group of tropical islands there is a wonderful selection of fresh tropical fruits available. Since coconut palms grow on each, and coconut forms pare of many of the national Maldivian dishes.
As an island nation, the Maldives has plenty of delicious fish and seafood to eat. Tuna is available in abundance along with mahi-mahi, mackerel and wahoo. Fish based dishes like curries, fish soups and cured fish dishes, are available along with the freshly caught fish straight off the grill!
As cynical as this may sound, as a foreigner in the Maldives, you're treated and seen differently by locals. No one will want any Foreign Embassy issues and the reliance on tourism in Maldives generally ensures your safety as LGBTQ community member on the islands.
DO NOT go walking around waving rainbow flags and kissing in public or any form of affection to attract negative attention.
Despite all the harsh anti-gay laws, the Maldives still remains a popular destination for LGBTQ honeymoons.
For example, despite being a Muslim country, you can purchase alcohol in these resorts, and women don't need to cover up at the beach. It is very unlikely you will encounter any type of homophobia if you spend your LGBTQ honeymoon in a private resort.
The staff in these resorts will usually be from all over the world, open-minded and will have undergone thorough training expected from large brands, which includes welcoming the LGBTQ community and couples. It is in these private resorts where LGBTQ travellers will feel most welcome in the Maldives.
Currency – Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)
Language – Dhivehi, English
Visas – Tourist visa is granted for all nationalities on arrival to the Maldives
Best Time To Visit – March - November
Timezone – Greenwich Mean Time + 5 hours (GMT+5)
Homosexual Activity – Illegal be discreet. Attitude to LGBTQ tourists is more relaxed at some of the internationally owned resorts !
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