Ways to Greeting Locals in Maldives – Master Saying ‘Hello’ the Maldivian Way

Travel Destinations

By Omar Perez

The Maldives, an enchanting archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine white sandy beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. But beneath its breathtaking beauty lies a rich cultural heritage, with the Maldivian language being an integral part of it.

When visiting this exotic paradise, it’s always a good idea to learn a few basic greetings to connect with the locals and immerse yourself in the Maldivian way of life. “Hello” is a universal word that serves as a gateway to communication and friendship. So, how do you say “hello” in Maldives?

In the Maldivian language, Dhivehi, “hello” is commonly expressed as “Assalaam Alaikum.” This traditional Islamic greeting holds deep cultural significance and translates to “peace be upon you.” Saying “Assalaam Alaikum” not only shows respect for the local customs and traditions but also fosters a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Basic Greetings

When visiting the Maldives, it’s always polite to greet the locals with a warm and friendly hello. Here are some basic greetings you can use during your stay:

1. Dhivehi Hello: The official language of the Maldives is Dhivehi, so it’s always nice to learn a few phrases in the local language. To say hello in Dhivehi, you can use the phrase Assalaamu alaikum. This is a common greeting in the Maldives and is used to say hello and also as a general greeting of peace.

2. English Hello: English is widely spoken in the Maldives, especially in tourist areas. So, if you prefer to stick to English, a simple “hello” or “hi” will work just fine. The locals will appreciate your friendly gesture.

3. Handshakes: When greeting someone in the Maldives, it’s common to shake hands. Make sure to greet each person individually and maintain eye contact while shaking hands. This will show respect and make a positive impression.

4. Smile and Nod: If you’re unsure about the local customs or language, a simple smile and nod can go a long way. It’s a universal gesture of friendliness and is sure to be well-received in the Maldives.

Remember, greeting people with kindness is always appreciated, no matter where you are in the world. So take the time to say hello and make a positive connection with the locals during your visit to the Maldives.

Traditional Maldivian Greetings

In the Maldives, traditional greetings play an important role in daily interactions. Here are a few traditional Maldivian greetings that you may come across during your visit to the islands:

Addu Bas}

This is a traditional greeting used in the southernmost atolls of the Maldives. It is a warm and friendly way to say hello and is often accompanied by a smile and a slight nod.

Sa-aam Alaykum

Similar to the Arabic greeting “Assalamu Alaykum,” this phrase is often used by the locals to greet each other. It is a traditional Islamic greeting meaning “peace be upon you.”

Adhives Salaam

Adhives Salaam is a traditional Maldivian greeting that is used by the locals to greet each other. It is a respectful way of saying hello and is often accompanied by a handshake.


This is a casual greeting often used among friends and family. It can be translated to “How are you?” and is a polite way to initiate a conversation.


Maafun is a traditional Maldivian greeting that is often used by elders to greet younger generations. It is a sign of respect and is used to acknowledge someone’s presence.

Next time you visit the Maldives, try using these traditional greetings to connect with the locals and show your respect for their culture!

Informal Ways to Say ‘Hello’

While the formal way to say ‘Hello’ in Maldives is “Assalaamu alaikum”, there are also some informal ways to greet people:

  • Haalu Kihineh? – This is a casual way to say ‘Hello’ and it translates to “What’s up?” It is commonly used among friends and peers.
  • Kihineh? – This is another casual greeting used among friends and acquaintances. It is a shortened version of “Haalu Kihineh?”
  • Faseyha Kihineh? – This is a playful way to say ‘Hello’ and it translates to “What’s the news?” It can be used to greet someone you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Koi Kihineh? – This is a friendly greeting that translates to “What’s going on?” It is commonly used among friends and family members.
  • Baaruga Kihineh? – This is a colloquial way to say ‘Hello’ and it translates to “How are you doing?” It can be used in informal settings.

These informal greetings are commonly used in Maldives and can help you connect with the locals on a more casual level. However, it is important to note that the formal greeting “Assalaamu alaikum” is more widely recognized and respectful in formal situations.

Formal Ways to Say ‘Hello’

In the Maldives, greetings play an important role in the local culture. When meeting someone formally, there are a few ways to say ‘hello’ politely:

  • Assalaamu alaykum: This is the standard way of saying ‘hello’ in the Maldives. It is an Arabic phrase commonly used as a greeting among Muslims, and translates to ‘Peace be upon you’.
  • Aanekun: This is a more formal greeting used when addressing someone older or of higher social status. It translates to ‘How are you?’. The appropriate response would be ‘Ran’galhu’ which means ‘I am fine’.
  • Edhihiri: This is a formal way of greeting someone in the morning. It translates to ‘Good morning’.
  • Bodubudhu: This is a formal way of greeting someone in the evening. It translates to ‘Good evening’.

It is important to note that the Maldivian culture is generally warm and welcoming, so even if you are not familiar with these formal greetings, a smile and a simple ‘hello’ will still be appreciated.

Greetings in Business Settings

In business settings in the Maldives, greetings are generally formal and respectful. When meeting someone for the first time, it is customary to greet them with a handshake and a slight nod of the head. Eye contact is important and demonstrates sincerity and respect.

When addressing someone, it is appropriate to use their title followed by their last name. For example, if someone’s name is Ahmed Ibrahim, you would address them as “Mr. Ibrahim”. This shows respect and professionalism.

In formal business settings, it is also common to exchange business cards. When exchanging business cards, do so with both hands and take a moment to read the details on the card before putting it away. This shows that you value the person you are meeting and their professional information.

When leaving a business setting, it is customary to say a formal goodbye. A simple “Thank you for your time” or “It was a pleasure meeting you” is appropriate.

Overall, the key to greetings in business settings in the Maldives is to be respectful, professional, and friendly. Showing interest in the person you are meeting and their professional information will go a long way in establishing a positive business relationship.

Etiquette and Cultural Considerations

When visiting the Maldives, it is important to be aware of the local customs and practices to ensure you show respect to the culture and people of the country. Here are some etiquette and cultural considerations to keep in mind:

  • Greeting: The traditional Maldivian greeting is known as “salaam.” It involves shaking hands, bringing your hands towards your chest, and saying “salaam alaikum.”
  • Dress Code: The Maldives is a Muslim country, therefore it is recommended to dress modestly, especially when visiting local islands or religious sites. It is important to cover your shoulders, knees, and abdomen.
  • Religious Practices: The Maldives is an Islamic nation, and Islam plays a central role in the lives of the Maldivian people. It is important to be respectful of their religious practices and customs. Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during the holy month of Ramadan.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: The Maldivian culture values modesty and humility. Avoid excessive displays of affection in public, and be mindful of your language and behavior when interacting with locals.
  • Visiting Local Communities: If you plan to visit local islands, it is important to observe and respect the local customs and rules. Seek permission before entering local homes or religious areas, and be mindful of conserving natural resources and keeping the environment clean.
  • Showing Gratitude: It is customary to show gratitude and appreciation when interacting with locals. Use phrases such as “dhanyaa vaahaka” (thank you) and “shukuriyaa” (thank you very much) to express your appreciation.

By being mindful of these etiquette and cultural considerations, you can ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience during your visit to the Maldives.


Last to Leave Freezing Water Wins!

Photo of author

Omar Perez

Omar Perez, a Caribbean correspondent at TravelAsker, is a skilled writer with a degree from Florida International University. He has published in prestigious outlets like The Miami Herald, Orlando Weekly, Miami Daily Business Review, and various New Times editions. He has also worked as a stringer for The New York Times in Miami, combining his love for travel and storytelling to vividly depict the Caribbean's charm.

Leave a Comment