Driving in the Maldives

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Updated 2018-12-13 08:44

When moving to any foreign country for a relatively long period of time, you will want to have an efficient way to get around. The Maldives, a group of small islands in the Indian Ocean, may not provide you with too many opportunities to drive. In fact, the city's capital of Male and the nearby island of Hulhule Island are some of the only places where you would have the infrastructure to get behind the wheel.

Seaplanes and speedboats dominate the local transportation when it comes to island hopping while walking or hopping into a cab are pretty much the best ways to see the small but busy capital city of Male. But if you are still eager to explore the city from the comfort of your own vehicle, make sure to take some time to review the related rules, regulations, and conditions.

Road conditions

Male is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. With an area of just six square kilometres and the population of over 150,00, the city has very little on-land driving infrastructure. While the roads on the airport island of Hulhule are well-maintained, driving in Male itself may not be the most relaxing of endeavours. The streets are, for the most part, very narrow, which often leads to mini-traffic jams of cars, bike and buses to form across the city. Plus, the cobblestone roads do not make for the gentlest of rides on their own.

Good to know:

Due to congested narrow streets and a large number of bikes and bicycles on the road, it is strongly advised to exercise extra caution when driving.

Driver's license

In order to drive in the Maldives, you will need to obtain a local driver's license. Note that you can't use your original license or even an international licence to drive a car or a bike in the country.

If you already have a driver's license and would like to acquire a local one, you will still need to take a practical driving test. If you do not have a driver's license, a theoretical exam will be necessary as well.

Here's what you will need to apply for a local driver's license:

  • Filled in LL1 application form that you can download from the official website of the Transport Authority in the Maldives (please see the link at the bottom of this article)
  • A passport-sized photo
  • Work Visa Card original and copy
  • Foreign driver's license (both copy and original)
  • Passport (both copy and original)
  • Letter of authenticity of license card from issued
  • authority /government

Note that fees apply at this stage

You will then be directed to take a practical driving test with a local instructor. During the test, you may be asked a few theoretical questions as well. While taking the test, make sure to be extra careful and closely follow even the smallest rules as driving instructors in the country have a reputation for being strict.

Upon completing the test, you will need to supply the following documents to obtain your license:

  • A passport-sized photo
  • Driving exam pass slip

Note that fees apply here as well.

Driving rules and regulations

Theoretical and practical driving differ quite a bit in the Maldives. Because of the narrow streets and crowded roads, regulations are often ignored and it is advised to pay extra caution when behind the wheel. The speed limit in the city is 30km/h for four-wheeled vehicles and 25km/h for motorbikes and you would drive on the left.

Useful links:

Republic of Maldives Transport Authority

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