There's a disparity between the reality of the Maldives and the country's Islamic law
A holiday to the Maldives is certainly something at the top of many people’s bucket lists – and rightly so. Not only does it offer some of the most beautiful resorts on the planet but the people are friendly, the atmosphere laid back and the drinks aplenty. It also boasts some of the bluest, clearest waters on all of the planet – it’s something that has to be seen at least once in your lifetime.
But the harsh reality is that it is still illegal to be lesbian or gay in the Maldives. The hundreds of islands are under Sharia Law which means that being LGBT in the Maldives is punishable by 100 lashes and up to eight years in prison. Most people let out a gasp at that point, but we should also probably tell you that drinking alcohol is illegal in the country too, and is confiscated at the airport in Male when you arrive.
And therein lies the main point. Whilst the mainland capital of Male is likely to throw up problems for anyone spending an extended period of time in it (and no traveller really does), the hundreds of luxury resorts in the Maldives that cater to tourists know exactly where their income is coming from and therefore the reality doesn’t mirror the official law when you’re on a gay holiday in The Maldives.
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Being Gay in the Maldives
At many Maldives luxury resorts, you’ll find alcohol freely flowing and attitudes to LGBT couples welcoming. Plenty of gay couples travel to the Maldives each and every year with Out Of Office (and other travel agencies) and as with all destinations, it’s about empowering yourself with the knowledge to make informed decisions before you go. We help all of our clients empower themselves with our expert knowledge, so they can be safe and happy when they travel.
For example, holding hands in the Maldives for a gay couple on arrival at the airport isn’t a sensible idea but if you were to do so in the comfort and privacy of your resort, you are unlikely to encounter any major issues. PDAs in general are considered highly offensive in Malé, whether you’re hetero or homosexual – but of course, in the resorts, PDAs are commonplace.
Many of our expert team have traveled to the Maldives with their same-sex partner and so know the ins and outs of visiting the country and its beautiful islands.
There is a lot of competition amongst Maldivian nationals to work in the islands – it’s a job that is seen locally as quite prestigious and hard to come by. For this very reason, the staff who work in the hotels are well trained and understand how lucky they are to have secured a job in a resort and it means that they are welcoming to all guests.
At Out Of Office, we only work with LGBT-friendly Maldives resorts we know and trust. If you’re traveling on a gay honeymoon, we can extend honeymoon benefits to you too regardless of who you married – another quirk where reality differs from the law. There are even resorts in the Maldives that have gay managers who will arrange private symbolic wedding ceremonies and celebrations on their private beaches.
Clearly, no one can license for other guests or an isolated incident and anyone who says they can is not only foolish, but they are lying. But if you’re a gay couple on holiday in the Maldives then you can be confident of a warm welcome from the properties we work with. We think honesty and trust are paramount when it comes to providing the level of service our clients have come to expect.
Lesbian Travel to the Maldives
Traveling as a female same-sex couple in the Maldives is equally possible. As a lesbian couple, you are likely to have experienced discrimination when traveling. We have sent many female couples to the Maldives and our staff often visit too to ensure they can educate the resorts and also learn about which are most suitable for you. Here’s Maria from our team of experts explaining her trip to the country:
Should we visit the Maldives as a gay couple?
This is very much an individual decision. We recognise that some people will still not wish to visit or support a country that is so outwardly homophobic, but we also know that many clients want to experience the beauty of these stunning island atolls and luxury resorts, and we don’t believe they should be stopped from doing so. For those that do, we can assist in ensuring you have all the information you need and we can offer personalised recommendations from our own trips to the Maldives, to make your travel experience as safe, judgment-free, and exciting as possible.
If you are still feeling a little nervous about a gay holiday to the Maldives then we can help arrange little touches like being met directly off the plane and taken to a private lounge rather than having to go through immigration – just speak to our luxury travel experts who will be able to plan your trip to suit your needs.
Alternatives to the Maldives
If you are concerned about the laws in the Maldives, there are other Indian Ocean destinations that are more welcoming to LGBT individuals. For example, in the Seychelles you’ll find that the law is supportive of LGBT individuals, and it still features some of the most incredible scenery. Watch our video below for more information.
Further afield, you’ll find that French Polynesia has some of the best protections of any country when it comes to LGBT rights. It’s one of the only countries on earth where it’s never been illegal to be gay. Beautiful Bora Bora is a great alternative to the Maldives – we send clients time and time again to experience its stunning blue waters and lush and leafy landscapes.
Read More: Which is better – the Maldives or Bora Bora?