It may seem like a half-sentence topic, but I have something to tell you about the time in Maldives. It’s not just about the time difference, but also about the schedule and peculiarities of store hours, the locals’ attitude towards time and their punctuality, and all about jet lag in the Maldives. I will tell you everything a tourist needs to know about the time on the Maldivian islands.

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Time in Maldives: time zone and general information

First, let’s address the most important questions about the time in Maldives, time zones, and the difference from our time:

  • The Maldives are in the fifth time zone from Greenwich. If we are correct, it is GMT +5 or UTC +5. UTC and GMT are different standards, but time is calculated from the London time zone.
  • London is in the GMT 0 or UTC 0 time zone.
  • For example:
    • Berlin: GMT +1
    • New York: GMT -4

This means that the time difference with the Maldives is:

  • 5 hours ahead of London, and on the Maldives, it’s 5 hours later.
  • 4 hours later than in Berlin
  • and 9 hours later than in New York. When it’s noon in New York, it’s already 9 pm in the Maldives.
maldives time difference
Time zone in Maldives highlighted in color

It is important to know:

As the Maldives is a small country, the whole nation is located within one time zone.

I recommend reading a general article about the Maldives on the world map. It will help you better understand both the time in Maldives and how to adjust your watch.

Good to know:

But to summarize, the Maldives is located on the equator, and as a result, the sunrise and sunset are approximately the same time throughout the year. Therefore, there is no need to adjust your watch for daylight saving time.

If your country adjusts the clock twice a year for daylight saving time, then the time difference with the Maldives mentioned earlier was for winter time. From April to October, the clocks are moved forward by one hour, reducing the time difference with the Maldives by 1 hour.

For example, the time difference between New York in winter is 9 hours, while in summer, it is 8 hours.

  • As for how long it takes to fly to the Maldives from your city, you can find out in the article on how to get to the Maldives cheaply.

About working hours

Remember one rule that exists throughout the Muslim world, but is particularly pronounced in the Maldives.

It is important to always remember:

Friday is a day off in the Maldives. Nothing works. Even ferries between islands do not operate. If you arrive on Thursday evening, there is a chance of getting stuck in Male until Saturday.

On Fridays, banks, shops, and even some restaurants do not work. On tourist islands, it is a bit easier, as the tourism industry tries to cater to the needs of tourists. Today, on popular local islands, you can find a small grocery store that is open on Fridays, albeit with reduced hours.

time in maldives
The standard working schedule for most establishments in the Maldives is Friday and Saturday off.

It is best to plan your purchases on the island and your movements between islands, taking into account that nothing works on Fridays, even ferries between islands.

Some establishments do not work on Saturdays either, especially banks and exchange offices.

This is one of the key points on which you can save money, or rather not spend unnecessarily. If you arrive in Male on Thursday evening, your expenses will increase significantly.

The article at the link is very useful for budget travelers: traveling to the Maldives independently or how to have a cheap vacation. I strongly recommend it to those who want to come here but cannot afford a package tour to a resort island.

Locals’ punctuality

About time in Maldives and the locals: overall, everything is good. If we compare the Maldivians’ attitude to time with other countries in Asia and Africa, then the Maldivians are very punctual.

For example, on Zanzibar, if someone tells you “5 minutes,” it doesn’t mean anything at all. It could be an hour or two. If someone tells you “tomorrow” in the Dominican Republic, it means never. Being an hour late is not considered being late at all there.

In this regard, the Maldivians are great. They are not overly punctual, but everything is in moderation. You can do business with them, negotiate something, buy a tour, order a boat transfer, and be sure that everything will be on time or almost on time.

Even ferries between islands run on a strict schedule. They depart from the initial port minute by minute, and then it’s up to chance 🙂

what time is it in maldives
Time in Maldives: transportation runs strictly on schedule, which is much better than neighboring Sri Lanka or India, where transportation often departs on an as-needed basis.

Although time in Maldives flows at a leisurely pace and no one is in a hurry, the locals are generally punctual. You can find more information about the people who live here in the article on the population of the Maldives.

Jetlag and all you need to know about it

And a bit about jet lag, as this topic is directly related to time in the Maldives.

Jetlag is:

A condition or disorder associated with a sudden change in time zones, jet lag disrupts your biological clock and your body doesn’t know when to sleep or wake up. Jet lag is also known as “traveler’s disease.”
time in maldives now
I really don’t like jet lag, as it throws off my usual routine for 2-3 days.

If you’re flying from Istanbul, the 2-hour time difference in the Maldives won’t be too noticeable. But if you’re coming from Berlin, London, Lisbon, or even distant America, you’ll feel the full effects of jet lag.

Children are particularly susceptible to it. Check out our helpful and informative article on traveling to the Maldives with kids to find out what you need to know and what to expect.

Good to know:

Jet lag is often confused with acclimatization, as they have similar symptoms: temperature, weakness, nausea, and general malaise. Usually, by the second or third day, jet lag has already passed.

For this case, it is important to have the right insurance and first aid kit with you. I don’t think I need to tell you that it is absolutely necessary when traveling with kids. And without them too. Everything about insurance in the Maldives: what types there are, how much it costs, and what it covers.

The small time difference between the Maldives and Europe is one of the reasons why it’s better to come here for a vacation than to Southeast Asian countries like Bali. The chance of getting jet lag in the Maldives will be much lower.

In conclusion, during the winter, time in Maldives is ahead of London by 5 hours, and in the summer, it’s only 4 hours. The locals are pretty punctual, so if you’ve purchased a speedboat ticket or a tour at 5 in the morning, you can be sure that everything will be on schedule, well, almost :). And remember, Friday is a day off here, so plan your activities accordingly.

Wishing you always-open stores and no jet lag!

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.