One of the most common questions from tourists about the sea in the Maldives is whether it is part of the Indian Ocean. While it is true that the Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean, there is more to it than just that. I will tell you everything you need to know about the sea in the Maldives, including the tides, water temperature, and more.

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sea in the Maldives
The Maldives seen from above look exactly like this: all the islands are of coral origin.

Sea in the Maldives or ocean

Here are a few general facts on this topic:

  • Most tourists believe that the Maldives is part of the Indian Ocean.
  • If we don’t get into technicalities, then this is indeed the case. The water temperature, color, underwater world, and more are just like those in the Indian Ocean.
  • However, if you look at a world map, technically it is not part of the Indian Ocean.

Good to know:

The Maldives is located in the Laccadive Sea.

The Maldives is in the Laccadive Sea.

The Laccadive Sea is considered a peripheral sea of the Indian Ocean. And if we are used to the idea that the sea is a large body of water surrounded by land, separated from the ocean by a strait or something else, then the Laccadive Sea differs from the standard sea in this regard.

Only about 20% of the boundary of this sea adjoins land, in this case India. The rest of the sea borders directly with the Indian Ocean. Moreover, the boundary lies precisely along the western and southern atolls of the Maldives.

ocean in the Maldives
A map of the Laccadive Sea would show that the western and southern borders pass directly through the Maldives.

The world is not filled with many seas like the Laccadive Sea, one of the best examples being the Sargasso Sea, which is simply surrounded by the ocean from all sides. Hence, if you’re planning to visit the Maldives, you will actually be relaxing on the Laccadive Sea, more specifically, on its border with the Indian Ocean. And no one can tell you exactly where the border lies. Even the locals say that the Maldives is the Indian Ocean :).

About water temperature and currents in the Maldives

If you take a look at the world map, you will see that the Maldives are located on the equator. The majority of the republic lies in the northern hemisphere, while the southern atolls are in the southern hemisphere.

Here are two useful articles that will help you better understand the climate and weather in the Maldives:

But to put it briefly and succinctly:

  • The coldest month has an average daytime air temperature of 28°C.
  • The hottest month has an average temperature of 30°C.
  • There is a fluctuation of only 2 degrees in the air temperature throughout the year. The temperature remains constant throughout the year. However, there is a monsoon season, read about it in the weather article.

It is important to know:

The water temperature on the Maldives is the same all year round. The fluctuations, like air temperature, are negligible. Only about 2 degrees throughout the year. The water temperature on the Maldives’ islands is approximately 27-29 degrees Celsius all year round.

Ocean currents play a significant role in the climate and marine ecology of the Maldives. These currents, including the Southwest Monsoon current, the Northeast Monsoon current, the Equatorial Countercurrent, and the Indian Ocean Dipole, impact the water temperature, rainfall, and distribution of marine life in the region. The ocean currents are an important factor to consider in understanding the overall climate and ecosystem of the Maldives.

  • There is a current around any island of the Maldives Republic.
  • In some places, the current is quite strong.
  • Almost all islands are surrounded by reefs. In some places, the reef is right by the shore, at 30 meters. In other places, it is 200-300 meters from the shore.
  • Thanks to the reefs, the current near the islands weakens, but it still exists.


Be cautious when diving near the outer reef of an island. Snorkelers often face this issue. The outer reef has more fish, including harmless sharks, turtles, and rays, but it also has strong currents. There are places where it can be difficult to swim back to shore even with fins.
Maldive sea
Here, the reef around the island is clearly visible and in some places it approaches the shore very closely. Beyond its limits, on the outside, there are already strong currents. Try not to swim out there.

However, on the beaches, the current is very weak and safe even for children. If you do not swim close to the outer reef, no one will be swept away into the ocean.

Useful articles:

The sea in the Maldives: tides

What about the tides on the Maldives? – asks the traveler. Since on other resorts of the Indian Ocean, such as Zanzibar, tides can reach 2 km.

There’s not much to say here: The Maldives do not have distinct high and low tides. They don’t affect your holiday and this natural phenomenon will pass by unnoticed.

In conclusion, I hope you have figured out what the sea in the Maldives. Although most people think that the Maldives are part of the Indian Ocean, and it’s also obvious when looking at a world map, in reality the Maldives are bathed by the Laccadive Sea. Which, in turn, is part of the Indian Ocean water area. Therefore, it won’t be a big mistake to say that this is the Indian Ocean, the locals say so 🙂

Bright photos to you on the shore of the Laccadive Sea!

If you enjoyed the article and the content in this guide, you can buy me a coffee ^_^

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives

  • Flight tickets and the best deals
  • Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
  • Hotels and guesthouses on any island:
    • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
    • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
    • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • 12go is the largest Asian transfer service. It gathers all Maldivian carriers, even the small ones that operate between local islands.
  • Tours and excursions: Viator – a limited selection of excursions, but convenient and reliable.
  • Comprehensive insurance: EKTA
  • eSIM at the same price as in telecom office in Male.