The idyllic islands of Maldives are located in the Indian ocean. They are home to some of the most beautiful and luxurious resorts in the world. It has all the quintessential features of a tropical paradise. Pristine beaches, turquoise water, palm-fringed atolls and diverse accommodation options for any holiday style.
With more than 100 resorts and various package options, it can be confusing to plan a perfect holiday to the Maldives. And the cost of anything going wrong could also be high.
Here are some tips to consider while travelling to the Maldives to make the most of your time and your money.
Applying for a Visa
The economy of Maldives is governed by the tourism industry. Keeping that in mind, the country provides visas on arrival to nationals of all the countries without pre-approval. You will need a valid passport, a prepaid hotel booking and a return ticket. The process and the documents required for travel and visa to the Maldives is listed on the following website: immigration.gov.mv
Which season to choose for the Maldives
The Maldives is a warm tropical country. The equator runs right through the islands that accounts for an average temperature of 80°F year-round. But there are distinguished dry and wet seasons on the island.
The months of November to April promises a lot of sunshine and almost no rain. These months are the typical tourist season, and the time of the year when the resorts are sold out and the tickets are expensive.
May to October is the wet season when there is moderate to heavy rainfall. But that does not mean you should not travel to the Maldives in this season. It does not come as a surprise that the cost of travel is comparatively low, and the resorts offer good deals. Moreover, if you want to surf, the ideal waves occur usually from April to October with the biggest swells experienced between June and September.
Since the Maldives is an expensive destination, for people who want to maintain a budget, placing their bets in a shoulder season like May or October might help them save some bucks, and the chances of rain to ruin your vacation are worth the money you could save.
Flight connectivity and transfers
Male is the capital of Maldives and also the port of entry. The United States does not have any direct flight to the Maldives. But you can fly to the Middle East or Sri Lanka and take a connection from there to Male. Emirates might be an option to consider for it serves most of the major airports of the US.
If you are flying from Europe, British Airways offer a direct flight to Male. Other major airlines such as Qatar, Aeroflot, Turkish and Air Asia have a direct flight to Male. You can find an appropriate flight connection that is the best fit for you.
Once you arrive at Male, there are two ways to reach your resort island: by high-speed boat or by seaplane. If your resort is too far away from the Male, then you might have to take a domestic flight first and then a speed boat to reach there.
Seaplanes are ubiquitous in the Maldives and are uncommon in most parts of the world. Trans Maldivian Airways(TMA) is the biggest seaplane operator in the world. These planes can add a lot to your Maldivian experience but also extra cost on your budget. The tickets for the plane are not booked by guests but by the resorts directly for a flat fee. These can range from 300-400$/person for a roundtrip.
If you plan to resort hop and your other property is not a part of the same group, you will need to come back to Male and get picked up by another resort from there.
Property and accommodations in the Maldives
The Maldives has more than 1000 islands, out of which roughly 185 are inhabited and the rest are for tourism, agriculture or left uninhabited.
With more than 100 world-class resorts, there is no dearth of options of accommodation in the Maldives. Here one island is equal to one property. Choose your options carefully and wisely because you will be stuck with the property for everything including, activities, food and entrainment for your entire trip. Make sure you check the reviews on TripAdvisor or booking.com before you book. You can also check the size of your resort island. The bigger the island will have more facilities, a beachline, and more space to stroll around.
Most of the properties in the Maldives feature luxury accommodations of various types. But over the water villas is what comes to mind when you think of a Maldivian vacation. Undoubtedly, they are unique, but they are also exorbitant. They usually start at anything between 500-1000$ and can go up to 3000-4000$ per day for uber-luxury properties. The Maldives is all about indulgence, and you must not think of going there on backpacking or a low budget trip. Staying in an over the water villa for at least a day or two is an absolute must. Where else can you descend from your room directly into the ocean with your sundowner?
You can split your stay between a beach villa and the water villa, which can save some money. If have thalassophobia where seeing or hearing sounds of crashing waves can make you feel sick after a while, a beach villa will make more sense after one day in a water villa. Some of the villas have private pools attached to them. They are great! But, it is ok if you don’t rent one because of your budget constraints. You are never far away from the ocean in the Maldives for a swim. Your property might have multiple pools, including a lagoon pool and infinity pool, which will be free to use.
What to pack for the Maldives
Leave your worries and your woollens at home! This vacation comes with a heavy price tag but a very light suitcase. You can wear loose, cotton, comfortable clothing since it’s hot during the daytime. Your typical day in the resort island will be a mix of shuttling your time between the jacuzzi to the private pool, to the sea underneath your room or lounging around the resort pool with intermittent trips to restaurants and bars.
Considering you’d either be in or around water for most of your day, shorts, linen trousers and T-shirts for men, sundress, kaftans, crop tops and shorts for women will serve the purpose. Pack more than one swimwear and coveralls for a quick change.
You might want to wind up your day getting dressed up eventually for dinner. The dress code in most restaurants is semi-formal or smart casuals. No evening gowns or tuxedos, but think maxi dresses and satin or cotton shirts. Pack flip flops or sliders and sandals. Keep one closed-toe footwear for dressier apparel. It is not required to get your sports shoes unless you plan not to miss the gym or daily run.
Don’t forget a good sunscreen with more than 30 SPF, chic sunglasses and a protective hat. Some statement jewellery or a few stoles can pep the look and come in handy to cover yourself when visiting any local island.
The Maldives is a predominantly Muslim country. To respect the local culture, refrain from wearing revealing clothes out of the resort or even if you plan to spend some time in the city of Male. Do not try and bring your alcohol into the country. It is illegal to consume, import or carry alcohol anywhere in the Maldives besides the resort island. Rest assured, if you have an all-inclusive package, you won’t feel the need to have your bottle inside the room.
Package options and inclusions
All the properties in the Maldives will appear a lot similar in pictures, but what makes it different is its inclusions. The Maldives is a logistics nightmare, and anything you have to buy outside your package inclusions will cost you much more than its actual price. There are lots of costs because many things in the Maldives are imported. There are no grocery stores in the resort islands. Even if you have to buy a bottle of water or a pack of cigarettes, it will be at whatever prices the resort decide to charge.
It is better to pay upfront so that you know the actual cost of your trip. You can opt for a full board or an all-inclusive package. The full board offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is economical than an all-inclusive package, but snacks, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages will cost you extra. Most holidaymakers choose an all-inclusive package that gives them freedom of a wallet less vacation. You can eat what you like, drink what you want without having to worry about how much it’s going to cost you. There is also an option of half board packages, which includes breakfast and dinner. This option is only recommended for people who have a very light or almost no lunch after a heavy breakfast because ordering from a la carte menu can eventually add up to the price that can be compared to a full board package.
Be sure to check for the following when booking for inclusions:
- Transfers from speed boat or seaplane from Male Airport
- Covid test if required
- Use of restaurant bars and pool sides. Make sure that at least one of the restaurant of your property offer multi-cuisine dishes or have a buffet spread
- The quality of inclusions. E.g. some properties will serve you cheaper liquors in the package. Check if they have premium scotch and wines as a part of the package
- Replenishment of mini-bar
Some of the optional inclusions that many good resorts will provide:
- Water activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, jet ski and kayaking ( some properties offer non-motorized rides as a part of the package)
- In house sports, games and courts
- Having a part glass floor in your water villa (it’s amazing to see the blue of the ocean as soon as you step out of the bed, and you may even see fish swim by)
- Relaxing complimentary massages overlooking the ocean
- Sunrise or sunset cruises
- A private butler to help make your stay even more comfortable and luxurious
- Swings and hammocks in the middle of the ocean
- Dolphin watching cruise
- Sundowners at the pool
- Private dinner to celebrate special occasions
- Floating Breakfast in the pool
Even if you don’t have some of these inclusions, you can still pay separately for things like private dinner on the beach or floating breakfast in the pool if you are keen on it.
The currency in the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. You can get an exchange at the airport where there is a dedicated foreign exchange counter. The Maldives is not a shopping destination, and if you have an all-inclusive package there won’t be much need for the local currency, and it is suggested not to buy any.
The Rufiyaa is a non-convertible currency. You can use dollars for your souvenir shopping, but they will give the change back in the local currency. Alternatively, you can also use your credit or debit cards for transactions but remember these may come with an additional charge, which is worth checking with your bank.
Involving a travel agent for your Maldives trip is a good idea. There are many resorts, and with all of them looking similar the agent can give you a piece of advice on the kind of inclusions. The agent can also assist you with all the options available for your budget, which can be tiresome to figure out on your own.
The Maldives can have an erratic climate. The weather predictions might not be accurate here. A slight disturbance in the Indian ocean can bring a significant change to your travel plans. This includes delays in seaplanes for both arrival and departure. It is highly recommended to get travel insurance for this particular trip so that you can claim those expenses later in case of missed flight connections or an added room booking.
A visit to the Maldives is a dream come true. It is a trip worth breaking your bank. This trip will provide you indulgence, exclusivity and tranquillity. Most importantly, you will create magical memories with your loved ones.
Noticed a mistake? Let us know.