When visiting Maldives it is important to apply all of the normal safety precautions that one would use when traveling to a foreign country. Pickpockets do operate on some of the larger islands, especially in the capital of Male but overall the islands are safe to visit and the local people are friendly. The best way to get around is by hiring a private seaplane or helicopter for a truly breathtaking experience, however this can be expensive. Public transport is also available, either by public ferry or by speedboat though this can be a little unreliable.
The island nation has a vibrant culture with many traditions that have been shaped by the diverse influences that settlers from various parts of the world have brought over the years. These include Sri Lankan, Maldivian, Middle Eastern and Indonesian influences. Music and dance show African influences, with rhythmic drumming and songs sung in a language that resembles East Africa. Lacquered wooden ornaments, woven reed mats and coral carving are all popular souvenirs to bring home.
Seafood plays a key role in the cuisine, with rice and fish forming staples. Indian influence is evident in the use of spices and curries, with Roshi being a traditional dish that is made from a combination of fish, coconut milk, lime leaves and sliced onions. Betel leaf with areca nut, cloves and salt is chewed after meals, and older men enjoy smoking guduguda (an elongated pipe that goes through a trough of water). Alcohol consumption is prohibited outside of resorts, and the state religion is Islam.