The Maldives is a tropical paradise located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka and India, and is spread over 90,000 sq. km. Comprising 26 atolls made up of over 1,000 coral islands, it is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and honeymoon destination as well.
The Maldives is an archipelago situated on the equator, making it a tropical destination with a warm climate throughout the year. The islands are grouped into 26 atolls, and each atoll consists of coral reefs and a collection of islands.
Male, the capital city, is a bustling and vibrant urban center situated on one of the atolls. It serves as the political, economic, and cultural hub of the country and is close to many well-known destinations like Hulhumale beach, and city museums. Here are the breakdowns of the background of the culture as well as things to know in the Maldives travel guide.
Tourism & Culture of Maldives:
The Maldives has a unique cultural blend influenced by South Asian, Arab, and African traditions. Tourism is a major industry in the Maldives, attracting visitors with its luxurious overwater bungalows, world-class resorts, and diverse marine life.
The underwater world, with its vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine species, makes the Maldives a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts. Dhivehi is the official language of the Maldives. Fishing and tourism are the main contributors to the Maldives’ economy. The country is known for its tuna fishing industry and its luxury tourism sector.
The Maldives is famous for its overwater bungalows, where guests can stay directly above the ocean on stilts. The diverse marine life includes coral gardens, colorful fish, and larger species like sharks and rays.
In summary, the Maldives is a tropical paradise that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and luxurious tourism experiences, making it a sought-after destination for travelers seeking relaxation, adventure, and a glimpse of island life.
Planning a Trip to Maldives: Preparations
Planning a trip to Hong Kong can be an exciting experience! Here are some essential reparations to make before your journey:
1. Travel Documents:
Ensure that you have a valid passport with at least six months of validity from your intended departure date. Depending on your nationality, you may also need a visa to enter Maldives, so check the visa requirements well in advance.
2. Flight and Transport:
Velana International Airport (MLE) is the primary international gateway to the Maldives, located near the capital city, Malé.
Numerous airlines operate flights to the Maldives. Popular carriers include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia and others.
Direct and Connecting Flights:
Some destinations offer direct flights to Malé, while others may involve one or more layovers. The duration of the flight depends on your departure location and the chosen airline.
Direct flights from major hubs typically take around 4 to 8 hours, with longer durations for connecting flights.
Flight prices may vary seasonally. High tourist season, typically from November to April, may have higher airfares.
Book flights well in advance for potentially better prices. Consider flexible travel dates to find more affordable options. Subscribe to airline newsletters or travel platforms for notifications on deals.
Transport Options from Airport:
Resorts typically arrange transportation from the airport, which may include speedboat or seaplane transfers. Confirm transfer options with your chosen accommodation.
3. Accommodation in the Maldives:
The Maldives offers a diverse range of accommodations, including luxury resorts, guesthouses on local islands, and budget-friendly options. Many visitors opt for overwater bungalows in luxury resorts situated on private islands.
These resorts often feature world-class amenities, private beaches, and exclusive services. For a more authentic experience, consider staying in guesthouses on inhabited islands. This option allows interaction with local communities and is often more budget friendly.
Use online platforms like Booking.com, Agoda, or Airbnb to browse and book accommodations. Read reviews to ensure the chosen property meets your expectations.
Resorts may offer all-inclusive packages that include meals, or you can choose to explore local restaurants. Guesthouses often provide a more immersive culinary experience.
Special Deals and Packages:
Resorts frequently offer special packages, especially during off-peak seasons. Look for promotions that may include complimentary activities or discounts.
Some resorts emphasize sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Inquire about a property’s commitment to environmental conservation if this is important to you.
4. Currency Exchange:
The official currency of the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). The currency code is “MVR”. While the Maldivian Rufiyaa is the official currency, US dollars (USD) are widely accepted, especially in tourist areas, resorts, and atolls. Many transactions, including tours and activities, are priced in USD.
Banking hours in the Maldives are typically from Sunday to Thursday, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Some banks may have limited services on Fridays. ATMs are available in Malé and on some inhabited islands. However, their presence is limited on remote islands, so it’s advisable to carry sufficient cash when traveling to such areas.
5. Weather and Packing:
Since it is a tropical destination with a warm climate throughout the year, it is advisable to carry Summer Clothes. Before you start packing, familiarize yourself with the Maldives dress code. While it’s not overly strict, Maldives is a Muslim country. There are some areas where you may need to dress more conservatively. There are also some specific restrictions to be aware of.
6. Travel Insurance:
It’s advisable to purchase travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost baggage, and other unforeseen circumstances.
7. Public Transportation:
The Maldives, being an archipelago of coral islands, has a unique transportation system that relies heavily on boats and seaplanes due to the dispersed nature of the islands. Here’s a brief description of public transport in the Maldives:
Speedboats and Dhonis:
Inter-Island Transportation: Speedboats and traditional Maldivian boats called dhonis are common modes of transportation between islands. Speedboats are faster and often used for shorter distances, while dhonis are slower but widely used for local transport.
Resort Transfers: Resorts typically provide speedboat or dhoni transfers for guests arriving at Velana International Airport to reach their respective islands. These transfers are often arranged by the resorts.
Resort Transfers: For more remote resort islands, seaplanes are a popular mode of transport. Seaplanes offer scenic aerial views of the atolls and are used to transfer guests directly to their resort islands from the main airport.
Local Island Transport: Public ferries connect inhabited local islands and provide a means of transportation for residents. These ferries are used for inter-island travel and are a more affordable option compared to speedboats.
Local Island Transport: On local islands, small taxi boats or launches may be used for short trips between neighboring islands or specific points on the same island. These are often operated by locals.
Inter-Atoll Travel: For longer distances between atolls, especially in the southern parts of the Maldives, domestic flights are available. These flights connect regional airports and facilitate quicker travel between distant atolls.
Bicycles and Walking:
Local Island Exploration: On local islands, transportation is often on foot or by bicycle. Many local islands are small enough to be easily explored on foot, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the local lifestyle.
Taxis and Motorbikes:
Local Island Transport: On some local islands, especially those with larger populations, taxis or motorbikes may be available for hire. However, the availability of these services can vary.
Resort Islands: Some resorts offer bicycles or golf carts for guests to move around the island. Additionally, water taxis or small boats may be available for short trips within the resort.
Sustainable Practices: The Maldives places a strong emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly transportation. Many initiatives focus on reducing the environmental impact of transport services to protect the delicate marine ecosystem.
Public transport in the Maldives is primarily designed to cater to local transportation needs, while resorts often provide specialized transportation services for tourists. Understanding the available modes of transport is crucial for planning inter-island travel and exploring the unique beauty of the Maldives.
Maldives Travel Guide: Things to Know Before Travelling to Maldives
Bringing Adapters and Power Plugs: The power plugs and outlets used in Maldives are of types C, D, G, J, K & L. Type D and G plugs are used in Maldives. Type D plugs have three round pins arranged in a triangular pattern, and type G plugs have three rectangular pins arranged in a triangular pattern.
Most Europeans may need a travel adapter when traveling to Maldives, as most device plugs will not work with the outlet types in Maldives. However, the voltage in Maldives is the same as in Europe.
Clothing: Understanding what to wear in the Maldives will be useful for having the best trip experience possible while respecting the values of the local people. Many of the private islands allow you to wear whatever clothing is comfortable while you are at the resort. Local islands with people living on them might have stricter dress code policies. This is because it is a Muslim country, and you should be respectful while you’re there.
Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions. The Maldives has a rich cultural heritage shaped by its geographical location and Islamic influences. Understanding and respecting local customs is essential for visitors to have a positive and culturally sensitive experience.
Health Precautions: Check if any vaccinations or health precautions are necessary for your trip to Maldives. Carry any essential medications and bring a basic first aid kit.
Research Attractions and Activities: Make a list of places you want to visit and activities you’d like to experience.
Safety: The Maldives is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it’s always good to exercise common sense and take basic safety precautions, such as keeping your belongings secure and being aware of your surroundings.
Best Time to Visit the Maldives:
The best time to visit the Maldives is during the dry season, which typically extends from November to April. This period is characterized by clear skies, calm seas, and lower humidity, offering ideal conditions for various outdoor activities and water sports. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons in the Maldives:
November to April: This is the peak tourist season in the Maldives. During these months, you can expect plenty of sunshine, minimal rainfall, and calm seas. The air and water temperatures are generally warm and pleasant, making it an excellent time for beach vacations, snorkeling, diving, and other outdoor activities.
May to October: This period is characterized by the southwest monsoon, bringing higher humidity, occasional rainfall, and stronger winds. The wet season doesn’t mean constant rain, but there is an increased chance of short, heavy showers. June and July tend to be the wettest months.
Peak Season: The months of December to March are considered the peak season, with December and January being especially popular due to the Christmas and New Year holidays. During this time, accommodation prices may be higher, and popular resorts can be fully booked.
Off-Season for Less Crowd: The months of April and November can offer a good balance between favorable weather and potentially lower accommodation prices. These months are on the cusp of the high and low seasons. You can plan an island tour with less crowd by Maldives travel guides.
Diving and Snorkeling: While marine life is abundant year-round, the dry season is often preferred for diving and snorkeling due to better visibility. However, some divers enjoy the wet season for the possibility of encountering larger marine species.
Crowds: The Maldives is a popular destination, and the number of visitors increases during the dry season. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons.
Special Events: The Maldives has a rich cultural calendar, and if you’re interested in experiencing local festivals and events, check the dates of Islamic holidays and cultural celebrations.
In summary, the best time to visit the Maldives for ideal weather conditions is during the dry season, from November to April. However, the choice of when to visit may also depend on personal preferences, budget considerations, and specific activities you wish to pursue during your stay.
Maldives Travel Guide | Activities to Enjoy and Their Cost:
Scuba diving at Maaya Thila, enjoy sunset cruise, visit glowing beach on Vaadhoo Island, Surfing in the Maldives, Spa treatment at Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, stay in a overwater bungalow like Six Senses Laamu, Stroll at Hulhumale beach, Explore the Capital Island Male, Water skiing at Meeru Island resort & spa, Take a helicopter tour of Maldives and more.
The fun-filled things to do in the Maldives make vacations on this archipelago a laid-back yet an action-packed affair. From water sports and shopping to island hopping and food touring, the island nation is packed with a wide range of activities that suit the demands of every fun and thrill seeker.
If you’re planning what to do in Maldives, get yourself ready for a myriad of activities both over and under the ocean waters. While honeymooners can pamper themselves with exotic couple massages and laze on the pristine white sand beaches, adventure seekers can indulge in many undersea activities, including snorkeling, diving, & underwater walking.
While party animals can drink & dance the night at the underwater bars, shopaholics can buy unique seashell souvenirs from the flamboyant street markets.
Although the myriad of exciting activities to do in Maldives can never be compiled in a list, yet here is a guide to the most recommended things to do in Maldives that can be done on the archipelago for a memorable island vacation.
Here are some of the best things to do in Maldives:
1. Scuba Diving at Maaya Thila:
If you are wondering what to do in Maldives, then you certainly need to know about the stunning oceanic beauty that surrounds the tiny cove of Maaya Thila.
Protected by the Marine Conservation Law, the oceanic floor of the Maldivian Coast of Maaya Thila is home to some of the most stunning marine life that can only be experienced firsthand if you decide to take a plunge into the deeper depth. Snappers, Angel Fish, Tunas aside, the overhanging caves surrounding the coral cove and the Grey Reef Shark are the two most exclusive sights one cannot miss while scuba diving at Maaya Thila.
Location: Maaya Thila, Maldives.
Price: Start from US$ 72.50 per head.
Planning a trip to Maldives, Checkout: Maldives Tour Packages
2. Enjoy Sunset Cruise:
If you want to experience the real beauty of the pristine islands of the archipelago, one of the most recommended activities to do in Maldives for you is taking a sunset cruise.
Take a rejoiceful hour-long ride on a local dhoni or a boat in the evening and soak in the mesmerizing sunset views as you sail on the serene waters. In addition to the panoramic views of nature, you may also get the opportunity to spot some adorable dolphins while you enjoy cruising.
Location: The Maldives.
3. Visit Glowing Beach on Vaadhoo Island:
Add a twist to your regular beach days and pay a visit to the “Sea of Stars” on Vaadhoo Island. The sea waters here seem to be glowing brilliantly under the moonlight.
This phenomenon is known as bioluminescence, which is exhibited by the free-floating microscopic planktons of the ocean as a defence technique when they are attacked by fishes. Due to the bioluminescence phenomena of the sea, the water appears blue and shining. Since the blue light emitted is cool and no heat is generated, the water is absolutely safe for you to play with.
Location: Vaadhoo Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives
4. Surfing in the Maldives:
Surfing is one of the most beloved watersports, however not every ocean-facing landmass is ideal for surfing. Gigantic waves that curl up at the optimal most time to offer that click-worthy time frame to surf makes Maldives one of the most favourite surfing destinations in the entire world.
Known as one of the best surfing destinations of the world, Maldives has a suitable geographical advantage that allows a chance for an all-year surfing, especially in and around Male Atoll, Central and Southern Atolls.
Location: Thulusdhoo Island, Baa Atoll.
Price: USD 130 per head for 2 hours.
5. Indulge in Spa Treatment at Adaaran Prestige Vadoo:
Pampering yourself with the exotic spa treatments at Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, set on a secluded Private Island of Maldives, is one of the most tranquillization things to do in Maldives.
Far away from the humdrum of city life, you can detoxify your body and mind at this Japanese Themed spa with their wide range of therapeutic spa therapies rendered by professional experts by leveraging medical grade formulas.
While you are at Adaaran Prestige Vadoo head to their exclusive in-house Mandara Spa and enjoy traditional aromatherapy massages, Balinese massage, head massage, foot massage, couples massage, & facial treatments. While you enjoy your body therapy session here, you can also bask in the 360 degree stunningly perfect oceanic view.
Location: Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, South Male ‘ Atoll, Republic of Maldives, South Male ‘ Atoll 20105, Maldives.
6. Stay in an Overwater Bungalow like Six Senses Laamu:
Enjoy a tranquil overwater stay at the renowned Six Senses resort in Laamu Atoll and lose yourself to the panoramic views of the lush vegetation and the blue waters surrounding you.
You can choose from a wide range of overwater accommodation options at Six Senses, including Lagoon Water Villa, Ocean Water Villa, Ocean Water Villa with Pool, Laamu Water Villa, Sunset Laamu Water Villa, and many more.
These spacious and tastefully adorned overwater bungalows are designed to offer the best of comfort, cosiness, and privacy. During your stay here, you can also pamper yourself with the invigorating range of spa and massage therapies amidst the serene blue waters, alongside reconnecting with nature. You can also get into the clear waters and try a number of exhilarating watersports, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunset dolphin cruise.
Location: Six Senses Laamu, Laamu Atoll, Maldives.
Price: Starts from US$ 2437.68 per night (As per official site)
7. Stroll at Hulhumale Beach:
One of the most suggested activities to do in Maldives for beach lovers is to take a leisurely tour of the breathtaking Hulhumale Beach. Strolling on the soft white sand of the beach with naked feet with your loved one is undeniably one of the most romantic experiences anyone would love to enjoy on an island.
As you walk on the beach in the evening, you can also soak in the most awe-inspiring sunset views. Furthermore, you can also relish some authentic and delicious seafood at the various cafes and stalls lining the white sands on the beach.
Location: Hulhumale Beach, Maldives.
8. Explore the Capital Island Male:
If you are planning what to do in Maldives on your trip to the island nation, remember to pay a visit to the capital island, Male. While you are in Male, explore the heritage buildings, intriguing museums, breathtaking parks, and pristine beaches. You can also just choose to stroll through the flamboyant streets and relish the local food and shop your favourite souvenirs from the colourful and lively open markets.
Some of the top attractions to explore on your tour to Male include the Old Friday Mosque, the National Museum, the Male Local Market, Sultan Park, Artificial Beach, and the Tsunami Monument. You can also try many thrilling water activities in Male, such as snorkeling and submarine touring.
Location: Male, Maldives.
9. Water Skiing at Meeru Island Resort & Spa:
If dashing through the water surface at a groundbreaking speed seems both exhilarating and exciting to you, pay a visit to Meeru Island Resort & Spa to engage in water skiing. In water skiing, you will use skis on both your legs while you glide at a great speed over the sea waves.
Water skiing is safe, easy, thrilling, and lets you meet turtles and dolphins. Even if you are a complete amatuer, Meeru Island Resort and Spa has a water-skiing facility in the property where one can learn to ski on the water with the help of expert professionals.
Location: Meeru Island Resort & Spa, Meeru Island, North Male Atoll, Maldives.
Price: US$ 75 per head for 20 minutes.
10. Take a Helicopter Tour of Maldives:
Helicopter tour of the beautiful Maldivian archipelago is one of the most beautiful experiences one can have while vacationing here. Taking a helicopter tour over the island nation will let you break the monotony of life and soak in the ultimate splendours of nature while flying in the deep blue Maldivian sky.
In the course of your flight, you will get the chance to catch a panoramic view of the breathtaking sandbars, turquoise blue lagoons, and pristine islands. You can also spot the shallow waters surrounding the picturesque islands, the soft white sands, and the swaying palm trees.
Foods to Explore in The Maldives:
Maldivian cuisine is influenced by the country’s location in the Indian Ocean, and it features a variety of seafood, tropical fruits, and coconut-based dishes. Here’s a brief description of some traditional Maldivian dishes and foods you might encounter:
A popular Maldivian breakfast dish, Mas Huni consists of finely chopped tuna mixed with coconut, onion, chilli, and lime. It’s typically served with flatbread called roshi or chapati.
Fihunu Mas translates to “grilled fish.” This dish features fresh fish, often tuna, marinated with Maldivian spices and grilled to perfection. It’s a common and flavorful preparation enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Garudhiya is a traditional fish soup made with tuna, coconut, chilli, lemon, and onion. It’s often served with rice, lime, chilli, and flatbread. This dish is considered a comfort food in the Maldives.
Bis Keemiya are deep-fried pastries filled with a mixture of tuna, onion, chilli, and sometimes cabbage or other vegetables. They are a popular snack or appetiser.
Sai Vishnu is a seafood curry that can include various types of fish, shrimp, or lobster. The curry is flavoured with coconut, chilli, garlic, ginger, and Maldivian spices.
Fihunu Mas Huni:
This dish combines grilled fish with Mas Huni, creating a delightful blend of flavours. It’s a fusion dish that brings together the popular grilled fish and the traditional breakfast dish.
Kulhi Boakibaa is a savoury fish cake made with tuna, coconut, rice, and various spices. It’s baked until it forms a firm texture and is cut into squares for serving.
Hedhikaa refers to a variety of Maldivian snacks, including pastries, fritters, and fried snacks. Items like bajiya (deep-fried pastry with fish or vegetable filling) and gulha (fish-filled pastry) fall into this category.
Foni Boakibaa is a sweet and dense cake made from wheat flour, sugar, and ripe plantains. It’s a popular dessert enjoyed during special occasions.
Dhivehi Beys are traditional Maldivian sweets and snacks. These can include coconut-based treats, sweetened rice preparations, and various forms of local confectionery.
Given the abundance of coconuts in the Maldives, coconut is a key ingredient in many dishes. Coconut milk, grated coconut, and coconut oil are commonly used to add richness and flavour to curries, rice, and desserts.
When visiting the Maldives, be sure to explore the local flavours, try seafood dishes, and enjoy the unique culinary experiences that the islands have to offer. Resorts often feature a mix of international and Maldivian cuisines, providing a diverse range of dining options.
Here are a Few Tips from Maldives Travel Guide for Those Interested to Visit Maldives:
- When in mainland Male, dress appropriately. Always respect the traditions and culture of the country you visit.
- We bought just one sim card for everyone to share and made use of free hotel Wi-fi. Much to our delight, all the hotels we stayed in had a good Wi-fi connection that even reached our rooms.
- Never be afraid to ask around. We got good deals by asking around and engaging with the locals.
- We always bring USD when we travel because when changed to another currency like Maldivian Rufiyaa, the rate is usually higher.
- Be adventurous in food! I like trying out local dishes each time I travel.
- I find it interesting to strike conversations with fellow tourists and locals because most of the time, they also share their experiences and give out helpful tips.
- When in Maldives, I suggest that you will really experience their signature water bungalow accommodation. Pricey but worth it!
- We bought water at Maafushi Island before heading to Fihalhohi Island Resort because bottled water costs USD 4 at the resort and we bought ours at 7 Maldivian Rufiyaa (USD 0.5) only. Talk about savings and practicality.
- We only paid half board at the Fihalhohi Island Resort, meaning we were only served with breakfast buffet and dinner buffet, so we brought along chips, coffee, cookies, chocolates and bread with us that we munched on as we enjoyed beach bumming and swimming.
- We moved from one place to another so if you follow this itinerary, bring along luggage bags that you are not afraid to be scratched. We brought our Rimowa luggage, and we were always concerned about the handling.
- Bring a neck pillow for this long flight. I was glad I brought along mine.
- They said that Maldives is a honeymoon destination, but we proved that it can also be a good vacation place for a group of good friends sharing the same interest in travelling and beaches.
- Take a lot of pictures. Although pictures do not give justice to the beauty of this island, I wish I took a lot of them.
- Bring a whole lot of sunblock lotion for skin protection and tanning lotion for those of you who want to get a glowing Maldivian tan.
Memories are treasures that nobody can take away from you. So, travel as much as you can. You don’t have to be rich to travel. You can enjoy just the same even with a trip on a budget.
|Airfare via AirAsia Kuala Lumpur– Male – Kuala Lumpur
|Accommodation at Coral Queen Hotel 60 USD per night /2
|Accommodation at Arena Beach Hotel 100 USD per night/2
|Accommodation at Horizon Inn Hotel 50 USD per night / 2
|Accommodation at Fihalhohi Island Resort Peak Season Water bungalow – 2 x 600 USD per night / 2
|Day tour at Adaaran Vadoo Resort
|Speedboat transfers and fares
|Food drinks and other miscellaneous expenses
Here are some suggestions to make your Maldives more pocket friendly.
- Cheaper airfares can be bought from Airasia website as long you are flexible with your travel dates. We travelled during Holy week with specific dates in mind, so we did not get the best prices for airfares.
- For transfers to / from Male and Maafushi, you can take the public ferry at USD 3 each per way instead of private speedboat which will cost you USD 25.
- You can spend your day with activities like fishing, sand bar hopping, etc. Also, you can take day tours to Resort Islands instead of booking a room in the resort. You can arrange your excursions easily by several tour operators found in Maafushi.
- Visit Maldives during low season (June – October) as resorts are cheaper. Book in an inland room. They are usually half the price of the water bungalow.
In conclusion, a trip to the Maldives is a journey into a tropical paradise, where each moment is filled with beauty, tranquillity, and the allure of a unique island experience. Whether you’re a honeymooner, an adventure seeker, or someone looking for a luxurious retreat, the Maldives promises a once-in-a-lifetime getaway that leaves an indelible mark on your travel memories.