tipping in Maldives

The Maldives is an archipelago of sand bars and coral beds barely cresting the Indian Ocean in the equatorial band west and south of the southern Indian coast and Sri Lanka. It is a small, proud nation with its own culture and history dating back to when humans in the region first took to the seas in their primitive rafts. It has traversed differing religious and political regimes and endured the catastrophic 2004 tsunami, which swept away lives and buildings in one fell sweep.

The official Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa (MVR). While this currency is used by the locals, tourists are probably better off sticking with the smaller denominations of the U.S. dollar for boat rides, souvenirs, drinks and tips of course.

Tipping the generally poorly-paid, local staff in Maldivian venues is generally not expected and thus genuinely appreciated in this predominately tourist economy. Not tipping does not earn you snide comments and apathetic service, as Maldivians are by nature neither rude nor presumptuous. Travellers should bear in mind that a service charge of 10% is applied to all bills, but one can never be too sure if this money finds its way into the hands of those actually servicing.

tipping etiquette for hotels in Maldives

In The Maldives Tip $1-2 at a hotel

When tipping at a hotel in The Maldives a couple of dollars is a good rule-of-thumb, and usually goes a long way. At the resort you should calculate one dollar per bag and two dollars for any hefty suitcases. From then on, tipping staff such as maids, waiters, bar staff and cleaners on a daily or weekly basis is a matter of personal preference.

should you tip your tour guide?

in The Maldives Don't Tip your tour guides

Tour guides in the Maldives are licensed professionals who can show you around the main historical and cultural sites of the capital, expose you to some of the remarkable forms of marine biology in the area, and take you on exhilarating fishing expeditions. Tour prices are generally group prices, and they are not cheap. You should not feel obliged to tip your guide, but if you must, it would probably need to be in the order of $10 or more. If the group as a whole agrees, then perhaps a group tip of between $50 and $100 would be a good idea.

tip etiquette at spas in Maldives

At a Spa Tip $5 per treatment in The Maldives

When you’re off to the spa and you’re wondering what to tip, remember that it depends on how many different indulgences you’re planning on in the one session, and how many people will be working new life into your tired, worn body. Massages and facials usually take between 90 minutes and two hours, so a $5 dollar tip for each is an adequate and comely expression of gratitude. Tipping is not a given, though, and it is unlikely that staff will think any less of you if you opt not to.

tips at restaurants in Maldives

In the Maldives Round up your restaurant bill

Tipping in restaurants is usually just a question of rounding up bills or leaving the change. If you’re paying by credit card in a larger establishment, you should probably tip the waiter with a bit of cash. The amount to tip is, of course, commensurate with the size of the bill and the quality of the food and service. Remember that you will be charged an extra 10% service surcharge, but there is no way of knowing what portion, if any, of this extra money is going to the waiter.

should you tip your hairdresser

In the Maldives Don't Tip your hairdresser

When you go to the hairdressers, you will find the same 10% service surcharge that you will see on any other bill in the Maldives. Here, as in many other circumstances, tipping is neither obligatory nor expected, and should really only be given to show special gratitude for exceptional work or service.

should you tip your taxi driver?

In the Maldives Tip $5-$10 for a boat taxi

In the Maldives, you won’t be tipping taxis, you’ll be tipping boat crews as you move to and from the main island, or visit some of the other islands of the archipelago. The amount to tip here is a little more complex because the services range from state run operations to smaller, private endeavours. Generally speaking, if you’ve had a memorable ride on a little boat with a friendly crew, a modest $5 to $10 tip is an elegant way to end the occasion.