Travel guide Maldives – “no news no shoes”

The Maldives are known for their idyllic, almost deserted beaches, the tropical weather, clear blue water and one of the most beautiful coral riffs in the world.

Visiting the Maldives in the Indian Ocean is often very expensive, but you will be rewarded with a unique experience and a holiday that helps you slow down.

Despite the many luxurious resorts, the Maldives are a poor island country with all the problems that come with it. Tourists are usually kept away from this side of life at all costs, but there are a few situations where this is not possible.

In case you are in an accident or are ill, you are confronted with the logistical and medical problems right away. In the following text, you will find helpful medical information and advice on travel preparations.

Travel preparation:

You will arrive in the Maldives by plane (travel time Frankfurt to Malé – about 10 hours non-stop). Since it is very warm and humid on the Maldives and the airport does not have air-conditioning, you should get enough fluids on the plane. You should also have in mind that the Maldives are an Islamic country and that for instance carrying magazines with half-naked women is therefore a punishable offence. Accordingly, nude bathing is also forbidden.
On arrival, you may sometimes be asked to pay entry fees that did not exist before. From the island where you land, which is situated right next to Malé (the impressive capital city island which has a high population density and building next to building), you will get to your destination island by speedboat or seaplane. Since locals and tourists are strictly separated, you will rarely see the true and poor life of the Maldivians.

Medical care:

There are only three hospitals on the main island (the private ADK hospital, the ADMC and the Indira Ghandi Memorial Hospital). In the south of the Maldives, you will find the Gan Regional Hospital and in the north the Lhaviyani Atoll Hospital. These hospitals provide a basic treatment that is far from European standards. In case of a real emergency, you will, if possible, be transferred to Sri Lanka.

In the different atolls, there are many small medical centres with very different medical equipment. Nevertheless, they are always the first point of contact, have a variety of medication and sometimes even European doctors among their staff.

You will find hyperbaric chambers on Bandos, Kuramathi and Kuredo, which are all located north of Malé. Diving accidents are most often than not treated quickly, professionally and in an uncomplicated way.


Nothing is for free and everything costs money – that is the most important principle in the Maldives. As a patient, you may sometimes not be let off the island without a guaranteed payment (credit card). Especially the small medical centres live off the tourists and corruption is not unheard of.

Due to the geography of the Maldives, transports by boat or plane are almost only possible during the day and in fairly good weather.

Common illnesses:

  • Inflammation of the outer or the middle ear is very common, since the temperature of the ocean of 30 degrees invites you to stay for hours.
  • Gastrointestinal infections are not uncommon either, although the food at the hotels is mostly of very high quality.
  • To prevent injuries from marine animals or corals, you should only go snorkeling, swimming or diving with water shoes.
  • You can get a severe sunburn even after only a short time of being exposed to the sun without protection.
  • If you have a severe injury, you will almost always have to deal with a long route to a medical facility and limited medical care.
  • Chronic cardiopulmonary or respiratory diseases can worsen fast in a tropical climate.

For your travelling pharmacy:

  • Sun protection
  • Mosquito protection such as fenistil or a cortisone cream
  • Antibiotic eye or ear drops
  • Decongestant nasal drops
  • A broad-spectrum antibiotic if necessary (e.g. amoxicillin)
  • Painkillers (e.g. ibuprofen)
  • Antiseptics (e.g. Betaisadona cream)
  • Sufficient quantities of home medication
  • Foreign travel health insurance
  • Some dressing material

Something else to keep in mind:

Since the Maldivians are poor, theft and crime are a topic on the hotel islands every now and then. High-quality equipment such as cameras, sun glasses or phones should not bet left out in the open. Since the monthly income of the average Maldivian is no more than a German tip in a restaurant, you can give a generous tip. Most of the time only one family member has a job and has to support their entire family.

In case of emergency

We recommend you save our emergency hotline +49 421 240 110-10 in your contacts and, if possible, always have your dive card close by when you are on holiday. Even if it is something seemingly harmless, you can always call our hotline. We always recommend to call us in more complex cases, especially when the costs are high or it seems necessary for you to be treated in a hyperbaric chamber or a hospital. We will coordinate your treatment with the local doctors and handle settling the costs. You can handle simple insurance cases yourself if you feel up to it and have enough money with you.

(February 2018)