Maldives Currency Exchange Guide

Maldives is the perfect destination for you if you’re seeking a serene and tranquil escape from everyday life. This stunning archipelago offers crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, and warm year-round weather. From scuba diving to snorkelling, surfing, fishing, and more, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained. You’ll also find world-renowned luxury resorts and private villas offering exceptional hospitality, exquisite cuisine, and endless amenities.

General Maldivian Currency Information

What is the currency of the Maldives?

The official currency of the Maldives is the Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR).

What do Maldivian notes & coins look like?

Maldivian coin

The Maldives is well-known for its stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and luxurious resorts. But have you ever wondered what their coins look like? The Maldivian coins come in eight denominations – 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 laari, and 1 and 2 rufiyaas. The obverse side of each coin features the State title in Thaana and English, as well as their respective value. The 1 and 2 rufiyaa coins also come with a unique design- a rope with knot. On the reverse side, each coin showcases a different aspect of Maldivian culture or nature, such as the Coconut Palm, the Coat of Arms, the Male’ Minaret, the Sailing Boat, the Tuna, the Turtle, and the Conch Shell. 

Maldivian rufiyaa notes

As for the Maldivian rufiyaa notes, specifically the Ran Dhihafaheh series, they are more than just pieces of paper with value. They are a visual representation of the country’s unique features and culture. By using mixed media and distinct colours for each note, the illustrations showcase the Maldives’ natural beauty and the craftsmanship of its people. These notes serve as a reminder of what it means to be Maldivian and stand out from the rest of the world.

Economy

Maldives has emerged as a thriving economy, with considerable progress in poverty reduction over the years. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the tourism sector, which has been the primary contributor to economic growth, the country has exhibited resilience in its recovery. Maldives’ upper-middle-income status is a testament to its sustained growth trajectory over the past decade.

With its dispersed population across 185 islands, the country has performed well on poverty outcomes, surpassing its regional and small island peers’ standards. The economic potential of Maldives remains high, backed by its growth-driven policies and diverse array of industries.

Brief currency history

Currency has been in use in the Maldives since the 13th century, with cowrie shells being the earliest form of currency. It was extensively traded and was estimated to be 400,000 shells per single gold dinar observed by Ibn Batuta in 1344. From the 17th to 18th centuries, lārin was imported and traded as currency, a silver wire parallel strap with dyed Persian and Arabic inscriptions. This currency was most likely traded for cowry shells, indicative of the country’s profitable trade with other countries.

The first known coins in the Maldives were introduced during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar from 1648 to 1687. These coins were made of pure silver, with the legend “King of Land and Sea, Iskandhar the Great” on edge. During Sultan Hassan Nooruddin’s reign in 1787, gold coins replaced silver coins, using two different gold qualities, with Mohoree being of higher value. However, the origin of the gold remains uncertain.

Bronze coins denominated in laari were issued in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with the last of them being struck in the United Kingdom in 1913. In 1947, the Maldives started using the Ceylonese rupee as its legal tender as it was a British protectorate under Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) at that time. Following Maldives’ independence from British, the Ceylonese rupee was replaced with the Indian rupee which remained the official currency until 1983 when the Maldives introduced its own currency, the Rufiyaa.

Taking Travel Money to Maldives

Visit Maldives

What currency should I take to Maldives?

If you’re travelling to Maldives, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollars (AUD) for Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR).

Is it better to convert currency in Australia or Maldives?

When travelling to Maldives, it is better to convert Australian dollars to Maldivian rufiyaa in Australia. This is because it is more practical to do so before embarking on your trip. By converting your currency before leaving, you will know exactly how much travel money you have and can plan your expenses accordingly. Additionally, you will have immediate access to those funds as soon as you arrive in Maldives, without having to worry about finding a currency exchange booth or being charged high fees for doing so. 

How much money can I take to the Maldives?

Individuals carrying $10,000 or more (or its equivalent in Rufiyaa or foreign currency) upon entering or leaving Maldives must declare the amount to the Maldives Customs Service as per Section 24(a) of Law no. 10/2014, the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act.

Where to convert currency?

If you’re planning to exchange currency in Australia, you can visit Crown Currency Exchange. At our store, you can buy and sell not only major foreign currency but also exchange minor ones, such as the Maldivian rufiyaa, without hidden fees or charges.

We have 50 stores across the country and provide competitive foreign exchange rates. With almost 20 years of experience, our friendly professionals offer quality service without any hidden fees or commissions, so you can be sure to get the best exchange rate for your money.

Is tipping customary in the Maldives? How much is expected?

Tipping is not mandated or expected in the Maldives, as most establishments will already add a service charge to your bill. However, if you receive exceptional service and wish to show your appreciation, here are the guidelines to follow:

Restaurants: Tipping usually involves rounding up the bill or leaving small changes when dining at restaurants. Although a 10% service charge is already included, leaving cash as a tip is a good way to show appreciation to your waiter.

Housekeeping: When tipping housekeeping staff, it’s recommended to give a few dollars to each member or up to $10 per day. Avoid giving a large sum to one person and nothing to the others, as it’s uncertain if the tips are shared.

Tour guide: You can typically consider tipping 10-15% of the tour’s cost as a starting point, but feel free to adjust the amount based on your own judgment and the circumstances.

Spa: It is customary to tip 5-10% of the total cost at the spa, in addition to the 10% automatic charge. However, tipping is not mandatory.

What is ATM access like in the Maldives?

Throughout Malé and the international airport, ATMs operate around the clock, providing convenient access to cash. However, accessing ATMs on the islands can be more challenging, with limited or no options available. You can use debit or credit cards in larger establishments, while smaller restaurants and shops usually only accept cash. As such, it is important to bring a sufficient amount of local currency when travelling to outer islands.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

When planning your budget for a backpacking trip in the Maldives, we recommend budgeting around 900-1,200 MVR (AUD $86-115) per day. This budget assumes that you will be staying at a budget guesthouse and cooking your own meals to save money. It also assumes that you will not be consuming alcohol and will be taking public ferries to get around. By staying on one island and choosing free or cheap activities like snorkelling and relaxing on the beach, you can stretch your budget further without sacrificing the quality of your trip.

Moderate

If you’re looking to stick to a moderate budget for your travels, you’ll want to aim for around 4,250-4,600 Maldivian rufiyaa (AUD $407-441) per day. With this budget, you’ll have plenty of options for lodging, from budget hotels to private Airbnb options. Dining out for most meals is also an option, and you’ll even have some budget left over for guided tours, diving, and water sports. It’s also possible to visit a few different islands and take private water taxis for transportation.

Luxury

Splurge on a luxurious trip in the Maldives by budgeting around 10,000 MVR (AUD $959) or more per day. With this kind of budget, you can indulge in all the finer things like staying at high-end hotels, eating out for all your meals, island-hopping, and participating in guided excursions like fishing charters and parasailing. But if you really want to go all out, remember that the sky is the limit when it comes to luxury. 

Currency details

Currency:

Maldivian rufiyaa

Currency code:

MVR

Currency symbol:

Rf, MRf, .ރ

Central bank:

Maldives Monetary Authority

Nickname:

None

Currency sub-unit:

Laari = 1/100 of a Rufiyaa

Bank notes:

Rf. 2, Rf. 5, Rf. 10, Rf. 20, Rf. 50, Rf. 100, Rf. 500

Coins:

1, 5, 10, 25, 50 laari. Rf 1, Rf 2

Must-do's while you are in Maldives

Blue Lagoon

Snorkel in the Blue Lagoon 

The Blue Lagoon is one of the most stunning snorkelling spots in the world. You will be amazed by the vibrant colours of coral reefs, exotic fish species and dolphins that inhabit this area. This is a must-do activity while visiting the Maldives, as it gives you a unique opportunity to explore its underwater beauty. 

Male

Visit Male 

Male is the capital city of The Maldives and its main port of entry. It’s home to many tourist attractions such as mosques and museums, as well as some incredible restaurants and shops that provide plenty of souvenirs to take home with you. Don’t forget to take a stroll along beautiful Hulhumale beach while there!     

Maldivian cuisine

Enjoy Local Cuisine at Local Restaurants 

Nothing quite beats local food when travelling! Maldivian cuisine consists mostly of seafood dishes like Garudhiya (fish soup) and Mas Huni (a blend of shredded smoked tuna with coconut). Make sure to try these traditional dishes when visiting local restaurants — they’re delicious! 

Dhoni Cruise 2

Take a Dhoni Cruise

A Dhoni cruise is an unforgettable experience that allows visitors to explore both local culture and nature from sea level. You can also visit uninhabited islands or go on night fishing trips with locals! A Dhoni cruise provides many opportunities for memorable experiences during your stay in The Maldives. 

Maldives 3

Lounge on Beautiful Beaches

If you are looking for a peaceful place to relax, then look no further than any one of The Maldives’ stunning beaches! From private sandbanks to rooftop terraces with breathtaking views — each beach has something unique to offer visitors who want some rest and relaxation after their holiday adventures in this paradise destination! 

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