Mrs. Rapid Traveler will continue to remind The Rapid Traveler of the proper pronunciation of Maldives in English and Chinese until she gets her trip.
The Maldives has the most hospitable visa policy in the world: tourists of all nationalities are granted 30-day visas on arrival. No exceptions other than the 90-days given to citizens of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, while other nationalities need to make an application for an extension to. Few bank accounts can survive anywhere near that long in the Maldives.
Lonely Planet has a good summary. There are standard restrictions and procedures on employment and residency; the full regulations are at the Department of Immigration & Emigration website (English pdf). It is worth taking a peek at the local Dhiveni script.
For nationals of many countries this unconditional welcome creates tremendous goodwill and Chinese in particular are packing charter flights to visit.
The only cloud over the atolls seems to be about marriage. Don’t even think about marrying a local without permission prior to arrival. And if you and partner are heading to the Maldives for your nuptials, better hope the new regulations are working and bring a trusted translator just in case. A Swiss couple obliviously achieved unwanted notoriety when their ceremony included Dhiveni insults (the morbid can view the sad episode on YouTube).
But don’t let a bad switch of seaweed discourage you from what looks like a wonderful place. Mrs. Rapid Traveler certainly isn’t deterred.
Readers, are there any other countries with visas on arrival for all? And what are your Maldives experiences?