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Maldivian Wedding Engagement Party

It's the season of love!

From where I'm standing, I'm seeing love all around me. First off, my cousin is getting married to his long-time boyfriend (super excited to go home for that!). Second, we got an invitation to a wedding engagement party in Male' City.

It was exciting because I haven't witnessed a traditional wedding, let alone an engagement party, here in the Maldives. The first questions were "what to bring" and "what to wear".

Uncle (the father of Jeico,the bride-to-be) told us it's custom to bring gifts during the wedding, but not on the engagement party. All we had to do was come in our traditional clothes and enjoy the night.

And we did!

We rented traditional skirts from a shop in Galolhu for only 53 rufiyaa. The boys got their own white top and bought feyli (sarong) for 75 rufiyaa at Lost Souvenirs.

Have a glimpse of that memorable engagement party with this video. Enjoy and happy Love Month!

Maldives cost of living for the 20-something

The common question before Filipino expats decide the big move to another country is whether their potential salary can afford them a comfortable life while still being able to save a generous amount to send home to their families.

Truth be told, Maldives has the highest cost of living among its South Asian neighbors.

Allow me to break it down for you.

These calculations are based on a single female working expat based in Male' City. This may vary if you stay in island resorts or you're with family.

First, let's start with the average income:

    • Salary                  : 600 - 1,200 USD (including service charge)
Given on top of the salary are:
    • Food allowance   : Free to 200 USD
    • Accommodation  : Free to 300 USD
Bank rate currency exchange as of this writing: 1 USD = 15.42 MVR

Now, let's break down the expenses:

While all resorts provide decent housing for their staff, this is not always the case for Male'-based employees.

c/o Employer
Usually alone or sharing this with 1-3 workmates;
Employer typically pays for utilities or gives provision so occupants will pay for the balance
Bed space
3,000 - 5,000 MVR
Usually with 1-3 roommates; Includes utilities
One-bedroom shared accommodation
6,000 – 10,000 MVR
This is renting one bedroom in a multiple-bedroom apartment;
Includes utilities

Just like housing, some companies offer their employees either free meals or meal subsidies. If you're in the latter group, check the average grocery prices in MVR below:

:  18/kg
1L Milk Carton
:  22
Water (5L)
:  14
:  12
Cooking Oil (18L jerry can)
:  350
:  2
Chicken (1 kg)
:  40
Beef (1 kg)
:  75
Fish (from local fish market)
:  15/pc
Whole wheat pasta (500g)
Soft drinks (500 ml)
:  12
Basic lunch for 1 pax
(simple cafeteria)
:  80
Basic lunch for 1 pax
(top restaurants)
:  150
Loaf of White Bread
:  14
Assorted groceries for 1 week (for 1 pax)
:  150


Taxi (fixed fare) 6am-12mn
:  25
Taxi (fixed fare) 12mn-5am
:  30
Addition for luggage
:  5
Ferry to Hulhumale
:  6
Ferry to Villingili
:  3.25
Speed boat to Airport
:  25


Paracetamol (Panadol)
:  1
Sanitary Napkin 8’s
:  35
Shampoo (330ml)
:  60
Toilet Paper (1 roll)
:  10
Deodorant (50ml)
:  30
Toothpaste (100ml)
:  25
Bath Soap (85g)
:  7
Liquid Detergent (1L)
:  50


Haircut (no shampoo)
:  100
:  350
:  400
:  400
:  600
Medical Consultation
:  200


:  100
Drinks in Hulhule
:  800
Expat Parties in Resort
:  1,000
:  70
Gym Membership
:  1,500
:  70
Mobile Data (4GB)
:  300

Whether Male' is an expensive city or not will totally depend on your lifestyle!

💗 Spend wisely! 💗


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