Why Some Resorts In The Maldives Ask Tourists To Change The Time On Their Clocks

You've probably heard of Pacific, Central, Mountain, and Eastern Standard Time zones, but are you familiar with Maldives Time (MVT)? While we'd all like to completely ditch the time pieces while on vacation — unless you're going on a long cruise — unfortunately there's still a need monitor your meal times when staying at one of the best Maldives resorts for food lovers, or to show up on time for the dreaded flight back home. 

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If you're planning a trip to the Maldives, you're likely aware the main island of Malé operates at five hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in London and 9-10 hours ahead of Eastern Time, depending on whether standard or daylight time is in effect. The Maldives does not participate in Daylight Saving Time and never has, so at least that's one adjustment you won't need to account for.

However, the Maldives give new meaning to the phrase "Island Time". While you might associate the saying with slower service or a reduced focus on timeliness for events, some resorts within the Maldives actually set their own clocks, and they'll ask you to reset yours, too. We're not talking about physically moving the hand on the face of the clock when we say they set their own clocks. What we mean is: They get to decide what time it is, and that often runs one to two hours ahead of the 'mainland' capital of Malé.

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The Maldives island time explained

To understand how this works, you need to know that the Maldives is an archipelago that spans nearly 1,200 islands. Most of the islands are quite tiny. In fact, several resorts encompass an entire island all to themselves. That gives them a lot of latitude to set their own regulations. If you're lucky enough to venture out to one of these samples of tropical paradise, you'll find the 'Maldives Island Time' clock is pushed ahead in order to maximize your time in the evening sun. Think about it, while the sun is setting around 6 p.m. on Malé, it will still be light until 7 or 8 p.m. at your resort.

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Malé and the rest of the Maldives lie very close to the equator, which means there isn't a lot of variation in the time the sun rises and sets each day. Year round, sunrise is between 5:49 a.m. and 6:19 a.m. while sunset falls between 5:49 and 6:23 p.m. While you shouldn't have to concern yourself with the time while on vacation, all you need to do is reset the clock when you arrive, then bask in the bliss of your sensational Maldives beach accommodations.

Behavior modification in the Maldives

When you think of the Maldives, you likely picture the iconic over-the-water bungalows that leave us all yearning for an escape. Or maybe you envision sharing the experience with the family at one of the Maldives best kid-friendly resorts. However you plan it, you should also be aware the Maldives is a strictly Muslim community, which means you may need to be more reserved than you are at home. 

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While resorts on private islands are exempt from most of the rules, if you're headed into cities like Malé, want to experience a popular beach, or plan to head anywhere in public, note that some customs should be observed. For example, consumption of pork and alcohol are not allowed, so don't transport them or try to sneak a sip of vino while you're out. Also dress conservatively since women are not allowed to show elbows, knees, or shoulders — even on the beach. You'll also need to be on your best behavior considering any public display of affection is against the law. Minding your p's and q's is essential even when transferring to and from the airport, but if you're staying at a resort the biggest requests you'll have to endure are resetting your clock and deciding what kind of cocktail to sip.

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