Almost ready for your trip to Maldives? Welcome to one of the most unique countries in the world and I am sure you are ready to share all your photos and videos with everyone back home. Make sure you stay connected to the internet and avoid high roaming charges when traveling to Maldives. Get yourself a prepaid sim card for Maldives or an e-sim card for Maldives.
This is a complete guide with everything you need to know for staying connected when traveling to Maldives. Find out where to buy a local prepaid sim card, the best e-sim cards for Maldives, the best 4G/5G network in Maldives, why you need a sim card in Maldives, up to date prices as per August 2023 and more info about international sim cards.
All the information in this Maldives sim card blog is based on my own experiences. I have been in Maldives multiple times. Since I was often struggling with weak and slow WiFi in (luxury) resorts I asked the staff and locals how they were connected and they pointed me in the direction of local prepaid sim cards. I tried out buying a local prepaid sim card in Maldives and found out that this was so much more convenient.
However, on my last trip i simply used an e-sim card for Maldives and that worked like a breeze!
When I visited Maldives again recently I got myself an e-sim card and had great experiences with this as well. Depending on the resort but sometimes the resort's WiFi is slower than my 4G.
If you are traveling to the Maldives on a budget, you definitely want to get a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card for Maldives, but more about that later.
The time that visiting Maldives was exclusively for the rich and famous or honeymooners is long gone and many adventure travelers are discovering the Maldives on a budget. I have visited multiple local islands and LOVED it. Read here more about visiting Fulidhoo for example.
Traveltomtom recommends a Ooredoo e-sim card for visiting Maldives. For $50 USD you get 30 GB data for 30 days. Is your phone not e-sim card compatible than I recommend you to buy a Dhiraagu prepaid sim card on arrival for $50 USD with 30 GB data for 14 days.
Especially if you stay in a luxury resort I recommend getting an e-sim card. Most of the times you will use the WiFi of the resort obviously which in 2023 is pretty. But don't forget that if you walk out to the beach there is often no WiFi signal anymore. If you have an e-sim card for Maldives you stay connected at all times.
Buying a prepaid sim card in Maldives is very easy on arrival at Velana International Airport in Male but also in the stores in Hulhumale (the airport island) and in the capital Male at the official Ooredoo or Dhiraagu stores. That said, most travelers visiting Maldives will never get further than Male Airport before they are transferred to their hotel island.
It isn't too hard to buy a sim card at Male Airport, but if you want to avoid all the hassle and arrive prepared then by far the easiest way to have data on your phone when traveling to Maldives in 2023 is an e-sim card.
Another great way of staying connected is an international sim card. In my article about the best international sim cards for world travelers in 2023 I compared and reviewed all the travel sim cards deals for this year.
Best e-sim cards for Maldives
As I just mentioned there is no easier way to stay connected when traveling to Maldives than an e-sim card. Buying physical sim cards is from the past and most travelers are now switching to e-sim cards for many reasons. No more swapping sim cards and no more visiting a phone shop!
Order an e-sim card for the Maldives online, receive a QR code, follow the instructions and you are all set for your holiday within just a couple minutes.
Check out the amazing Ooredoo Maldives e-sim card deals below:
- 17 GB data + $6.5 USD calling credit for 30 days = $30 USD
- 30 GB data + $10 USD calling credit for 30 days = $50 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Maldives directly through this link.
The above e-sim cards for Maldives operate on the 4G/LTE network of Ooredoo and support calling and texting. Data, voice and text allowance is only valid in Maldives.
Much more expensive are international e-sim cards. The above international e-sim card is valid in more than 120 countries around the world but for 6 GB data for 15 days you pay $39.90 USD.
Click here to order this international e-sim card for Maldives.
Why buying a sim card for Maldives?
Logistics in Maldives are challenging and with so many tiny islands spread around the country finding good and reliable internet is not easy. Many coffee shops, restaurants and even guesthouses in Maldives do NOT offer complimentary WiFi.
Even if there is Wi-Fi don’t expect it to work like at home. You are on a tiny island far away from mainland Asia. So trust me, you are going to LOVE having a 4G connection on your phone when traveling to Maldives. It simply makes traveling in Maldives easier and more fun.
Especially if you travel to Maldives on a budget and not staying in one of the fancy resorts it is highly recommended to buy a prepaid or an e-sim card for traveling in Maldives.
That said, even some of the best resorts in Maldives used to have spotty WiFi. Read some of my luxury hotels reviews from the Maldives: Kanuhura Maldives, Soneva Fushi Maldives, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Westin Maldives or about my honeymoon at Anantara Kihavah.
No, no... I am not married! It was just a modelling job! ;)
Very limited WiFi on local islands
There is in general no WiFi available on local island, so are you a budget traveler visiting local islands in Maldives then definitely buy a local prepaid sim card with data on arrival. Most local islands have a connectivity tower with 4G or you are able to connect to a tower from a nearby island. Pretty much all tourist destinations in Maldives have a 4G signal.
Weak and slow WiFi on resort islands
Even if you stay in a fancy resort I recommend you to buy a Maldives sim card. You must ask yourself why? Resorts may be fancy, but Wi-Fi in Maldives is not! Some resorts sincerely have slow Wi-Fi and connectivity across the island is sometimes a pain.
Without a prepaid sim card for tourist I would have often gone crazy. Imagine going to breakfast in a fancy Maldives resort somewhere on the beach, but there is no wifi signal. If you pay $2,000 per night you may expect good WiFi everywhere, but unfortunately that is not always the reality and I speak from experience!
Some resorts are located on big islands, like Shangri La Villingili, Kuramathi Resort or Kandima. Big parts of the island are NOT covered with a Wi-Fi signal so if you want to do a Live video while playing golf at Shangri La Maldives you wont be able to unless you buy a Maldives prepaid sim card.
I know this sounds very spoiled, I wish I was playing Golf in Maldives right now and not having a phone signal! However, I am just informing you what is the situation. Some people need to stay connected at all times.
PLEASE USE REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN WHEN VISITING MALDIVES!
Please use biodegradable sunscreen and help protect our pristine coral reefs. Standard sunscreen contains chemicals that harm the fragile ecosystems of the Maldives islands. Check out the reef safe sunscreens below.
Mobile internet providers in Maldives
Figuring out the best prepaid sim card for tourists was a fairly easy task as there are only two mobile internet operators in Maldives: Ooredoo and Dhiraagu. Both providers offer prepaid sim card plans for tourists.
Where to buy a sim card for Maldives
Maldives Velana International Airport
Most travelers will travel onwards from the airport island straight after they land, but no need to panic. As soon as you walk out of arrivals at Male International Airport there is a Ooredoo and the Dhiraagu store on your right hand side and can NOT be missed.
It takes just 5 minutes to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival in Maldives and it gets activated instantly! Both shops are open from 08.00 till 23.00, even on Fridays (holy day in Maldives).
Male and Hulhumale
For the budget traveler that does not go straight to one of the private islands you can also buy a Maldives prepaid sim card in one of the stores in Male or Hulhumale.
In Male you will find a dozen phone shops that sell Maldives sim cards or pick either one of the official stores of Ooreedoo or Dhiraagu. Prices are the same so it does not matter which shop you will walk in to.
Always bring your passport, it is strictly enforced and without a copy of your passport you don’t get a Maldives sim card. A driver’s license or any other photo ID will NOT be accepted for foreigners.
Nowadays there is no easier place to buy a sim card for Maldives than on the internet. No need to visit a phone shop anymore. You can order a sim card for Maldives, right here, right now. The fastest way is by ordering an e-sim card for Maldives.
Maldives prepaid sim card prices in 2023
- Ooredoo Maldives prepaid sim card will cost you only 32 MVR ($2) and it comes with 20 MVR credit.
- Dhiraagu Maldives prepaid sim card will cost you exactly the same.
If you buy a sim card at Male International Airport prices are stated in USD. At the airport you pay the tourist prices, but it is of course the easiest place to buy a prepaid sim card in Maldives.
This shows again that getting an e-sim card for Maldives is such an easy way to stay connected when traveling to Maldives in 2023. You arrange everything online within just 2 minutes.
Ooredoo Maldives prepaid sim card
These are the up to date tourist sim card prices for Ooreedoo as of August 2023 at Male International Airport. All these sim cards packages are data only, but you can buy additional calling packages for a couple dollars.
Basically for $20 you will get 17 GB data for 7 days. Staying longer than you pay $30 USD for 17 GB and your data is valid for 14 days. For a country as expensive as Maldives this is not too bad.
The same offer you can buy online as an e-sim card, see more info above.
Staying longer in Maldives then I recommend you to have a look at this prepaid plan for 500 MVR, which is about $32.50 USD. For more info check the Ooredoo website.
Dhiraagu Maldives prepaid sim card
Data packages in Maldives got much cheaper over the last years. But be aware these package are only valid for a short-term stay in Maldives. with Dhiraagu you can already get 4 GB data for 7 days for just $15.
Staying longer in Maldives? These are the prices I found on the Dhiraagu website as of August 2023 for prepaid sim cards for 30 days.
The have significantly smaller data packages, but they offer 2 free social media apps.
Best sim card for Maldives in 2023
Personally I am not a fan of 1 GB data plan per day, I rather decide myself how many Gigabytes I use per day. But when comparing the Dhiraagu and the Ooredoo prepaid sim card plans for 2023 then we can see that prices for prepaid sim card plans in Maldives are pretty much the same.
And have you seen the e-sim card plans for Maldives? They are pretty much the same as the prepaid sim cards you can buy on arrival at Male International Airport.
Therefore Traveltomtom recommends to order an e-sim card for Maldives and arrange everything online within just a couple minutes and get online as soon as the plane lands in Maldives.
What is the data speed in Maldives?
Considering how difficult this country is in terms of logistics I must say they are doing a pretty good job delivering high speed internet to your mobile. Pretty much every local island and luxury resort now has a 4G signal. Resorts near Male International Airport obviously have faster internet because of their proximity to the capital city.
Other resorts away from Male invested heavily in high speed WiFi. At Lux South Ari Atoll I was able to watch Netflix and do Facebook Live videos.
Update for 2023: almost all luxury resorts in Maldives now offer fast WiFi and streaming Netflix on the WiFi of a luxury resorts is totally fine these days. However, if you walk away from your room for example out on the beach, the WiFi signal gets weak.
Expected data speed on a prepaid or e-sim card for Maldives is around: 70 Mbps download and 35 Mbps upload.
Is there 5G in Maldives?
Yes, there is now also 5G in Maldives. However, at the moment this is limited to the capital city Male and Hulhumale (airport island).
Coverage Ooredoo Maldives
Coverage Dhiraagu Maldives
The above 4G coverage maps for Ooredoo and Dhiraagu are pretty similar and there is hardly any difference.
My experience buying a sim card in Maldives
I have traveled around the Maldives quite extensively and found out that both the Ooredoo and Dhiraagu prepaid sim cards have a 4G signal at most luxury hotels as well as local islands. If your trip to Maldives is less than 14 days then buying a prepaid sim card at the airport is definitely worth it.
Prices are fairly the same, it comes down what kind of user you are. I also stayed a lot in local islands and then I used a lot of internet. Fair enough prices are very reasonable. On my last trip to Maldives I bought an e-sim card for Maldives online from Ooredoo and it worked very smooth. No complains at all and I enjoyed fast mobile data internet.
Maldives tourism for every budget
In September 2017 I was one of the speakers at the World Travel Writers Conference in Maldives where we discussed how storytelling could contribute to successful destination marketing for Maldives and how to attract all kind of travelers. A trip to Maldives is HOT!
Tourism in the Maldives is picking up quickly again and with so many developments and investments going on Maldives will soon be a tourist hotspot in South Asia. Cheap flights are reaching Male already from South East Asia, India, Sri Lanka and Dubai. Or even on your way from Europe to Asia you can find stopover flights here with many airliners.
Maldives is working hard to also please the budget traveler and a trip to Maldives is now within reach for everyone. Check out my travel guide for Hulhumale Island, the man-made island attached to the airport island with stunning beaches as well.
Hulhumale is not the only local island I traveled to, I also visited Rasdhoo and Fulidhoo. Did you know that Fulidhoo has one of the best scuba diving in Maldives and is only about an hour by speedboat from Male? This beautiful island is also perfect for beach lovers, people who like snorkeling and a great way to get a slice of local Maldivian culture.
I hope the above tips for buying a sim card for Maldives were helpful for your upcoming Maldives holiday. In case you have any questions don't hesitate to leave me a comment below. Im more than happy to help you out!
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Maldives!
Some links in this article about the best Maldives sim cards are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!