Maldives has always been on bucket list📝 for all travellers. No doubt, its an exotic get-away. Its on the top 5 honeymoon destinations🏝️. This honeymooners destination comes with quite a price tag💰 hence availed by some and marked as 10 wedding anniversary destination for others.💸💸
The thing is that a trip to Maldives is expensive but the term expensive has a different meaning for different people.
So lets see how a trip to Maldives can be planned.
First of all you have to decide between a luxurious vacation💵-the one that is shown as a dream honeymoon destination all over google with water villas and five star suite that makes your eyes ogle out like anything? Or you want a realistic vacation🏖️🏝️ with a little compromise on the accommodation but availing all other beautiful things that this exotic necklace of islands has to offer?
Rest assure all over Maldives you will get to have turquoise blue water🌊, white sand beaches 🏝️and amazing cloud works. 🌧️🌫️⛈️. Diversity of sea life seen in the clear waters is beyond imagination. The further you go the clarity of the water increases. You might get to see Mantra rays just by the way while sipping coffee standing by your water villa railling. Fish swim freely in areas in which there is little or no disturbance.
🔷 WHEN TO VISIT:
Ideal time for visiting Maldives is from Nov-Apr.🗓️ (Don’t worry even in December the water is warm since its located in the tropics). This is known as the dry time. They have their monsoon from May to Nov. And being an island country, the monsoon is not as simple as experienced in rest of Asia. Monsoon in Maldives is waaay beyond our imagination. These people face cyclones during their monsoons. 🤷
Weather during the monsoon season is very unpredictable. And all the water sports🚤🛶⛵🛥️ depend a lot on good weather conditions. Spending all this money and not being able to enjoy or risk it all…wont be wise.💁 So plan accordingly. Off season month May and June being the beginning of Monsoon can be risked.
View from the plane. Look at the shades of blue!
🔷HOW TO GET TO MALDIVES: Maldives is located in the tropics of Indian ocean. You can reach their by a flight. 🛫Qatar, Etihad, Emirates and air lanka all provide services in and out of Maldives. Plan your transit such that you land in Maldives during morning hours so that you can enjoy the amazing aerial view of the islands in the indian ocean.🗺️ Ticket from Pakistan to Maldives is around $530 with a 50minute transit in Srilanka if Air Lanka (Srilankan airlines) is opted. I chose Air Lanka as it provided the shortest journey but i reached at 11pm that night hence missing the view. 😟 But got to enjoy that view at the time of departure.😍 Visa is on arrival.
🔷HOW TO REACH YOUR HOTEL/RESORT:🎣
Velana international airport is at airport island also known as Hulhule island which is about 10 minutes ferry ride away from Malé, the capital city. So where ever place you book, ask people from that hotel to arrange accommodation for you.
Maldives has around 2000 islands. Which are distributed into atolls (provinces).
Means of transportation are ferry, 🛶speedboat 🚤or sea plane🛩️. If you plan to go to a nearby island the ferry goes there on daily basis but to faraway islands they go on alternate days. (Speed boat takes about $30-80 per person depending upon distance and ferry takes less than $5 but would take more than double the time of the speedboat). So what you will be required to do is that you will have to go by a ferry to Malé. Ferry from airport island to Malé leaves every 15 minutes and speed boat after every 30 minutes ($2). Last speed boat leaves at 6pm. Spend the night at Malé and the next day catch a ferry/speedboat to the island you want to go to. And till the departure of ferry you can explore Malé by yourself or take a guided tour by local guides. But if you have chosen a water villa resort that is located at one of the faraway atoll you might need to take a seaplane from the airport. Sea plane charges about $300-350 per person per side. We will come to that in a while. Make sure its NOT a Friday you are landing here as its a public holiday and NO Atoll transfers are available. Also almost entire Malé is closed. In order to have an idea of the speed boat schedule and transfer charges you can visit this site: https://www.atolltransfer.com/buy-tickets
Ferry at your service! Each seat has an emergency life jacket in case of stormy weather.
🔷ISLANDS TO VISIT WHEN ON A BUDGET.
One of the most widely visited island is Maafushi. It is about 35 minutes away from Malé by speed boat ride and almost 2hrs by ferry.
These icom speed boats travel between malé and maafushi. You can book a ticket online as they have limited seats. Private speed boats are too over priced and not even worth.
This island is widely visited as it is:
A. Nearer to Malé hence speed boat transfer is of shorter duration and quite affordable ($30)
B. It offers all water sports facilities as well.
So, if you are looking for a budget vacation you can choose this island for sure. Amongst the hotels here, Kaani beach, Salt beach and Suntan are a few good options ($80-120 per night). The ones located immediately at the mouth of the beach are more in demand and slightly more expensive than the ones which are at the end of the beach strip. Air BNB is available as well(even $40/ night).
The hotel people have their own local guides or you could hire guides from water sports agencies who will take you for scuba diving, snorkeling, paragliding, joy ride (a person on jet ski pulls an air filled seat that can accommodate up to 4 people), banana boat and jet ski, dolphin watching and kayaking. They have half day and full day tours. You can discuss your options with them and choose accordingly
You can have meals at the hotel you are staying or at the cafes that are located around the beach. (Meal plus small dessert costs around $10). Do try their grilled fish. Milk coffee all over Maafushi is ahhmaaaazing.
WELCOME TO MAAFUSHI!
Hulhumale is an island city 🏬which is located close to Malé at about 15 minutes speed boat ride. A bridge is under construction which will join Hulhumale with Hulhule, the airport island. It is an artificial made island which was made while keeping in mind the existing and developing future needs of Malé. A lot of people working in Malé reside here. So, a ferry leaves from Malé after every 30 Minutes. You will get to see big roads, two way traffic and even a bus. All of which are highly unlikely on any other island. 🤷The beach strip is located at the opposite end of the island. Usually hotel people are present there to take you to ur already booked hotel. On the way to the beach strip you will notice big apartments as well. Over here you can get hotels as well as guest houses. Hotel Ocean Grand and Beach Sunriser Inn are two good hotels ($70-120). All water sports are available here as well which can be arranged by your hotel people or even dive centres. Sites to see in hulhumale are the central park, the golden dome hulhumale Friday mosque (located close to the park) and the food at tandoori flames.😋👍
Even spending a day will get you good sunshine, white sand, hammock to curl up with a good book and not to forget Kurumba! (Coconut water to drink and then its cut in half and served with its own hard skin acting as a spoon).🥥
#TIP for budgeters : Day excursions to resorts.
If you want to enjoy the water villa in a limited budget you can do one day resort excursions. You can spend the entire day and avail all their facilities at a price of around $100. You just wont get to spend the night there. So not a bad deal. For this you can contact these resorts directly via email or keep an eye🧐 on the online sites. Booking.com, expedia and agoda are a few good websites. Check all before making the final deal.
Walkway under the thick tree shadows.
Beautiful beach at hulhumale
The capital city is the least talked about. Tourist usually explore Malé while waiting for their trip to the other islands or last day while waiting till the time of flight. But this city has its own beauty. Detailed description of Malé shall be done in a completely separate post. Here, i will just mention the must visit places. Local guides are present who do an on foot tour for $40-50. Or you could visit places on your own. Must see places are:
*STO: the reasonable supermarket where you can buy your munchies or snacking items for the On foot trip from. Also go to the fruits section to grab those awesome exotic fruits. Just above STO are a few shops that sell souvenirs at slightly reasonable rates.
*The local fruit market: Hawkers there have special Maldivian delicacies for foreigners to taste and then buy. Coconut honey dipped bars are real good, fish crackers are also good. Look out for exotic fruits.
*The fish market: be amazed at how professionally they deal with the sea life creatures. You can see all sizes of fish and sometimes even octopus.
*Sulthan mosque (ministry of islamic affairs): beautiful mosque thay you can even go inside and explore. And rasthani bagheecha just opposite to it.
*Rasfannu: one of the two artificial beaches in Malé
*Chandhanee Magu a street that has shops for souvenirs. Very expensive. A lot of bargaining is possible.
*The national museum, old president house, hukuru misikyii are a few more places that you can visit.
Sulthan mosque. Ministry of Islamic affairs
Rasfannu~the artificial beach.
Presidential Jetty- just before the storm
🔷LUXURY VACATION IN STYLE 😎
For a luxurious vacation you are required to visit websites of different resorts. Check out the different activites that they offer and select one that meets your demands the most. Each resort is practically a complete island. The resorts have their per night rates from $250-$2500. You can choose what suits your budget.
#TIP: Take rates from the main resort website then also check out other online booking application mentioned above. Sometimes a very good deal might be present on any one of them where you can strike a good bargain. At times even the official website for the resort announces unbelievable 2-3 days packages. You can also plan such that you stay in the resort for 3 days and then spend rest of the days in Malé or any island nearby Malé. This would let you taste a bit of both. Some resorts in alphabetical order would be:
*Adaaran Prestige Vadoo.
*Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa.
*Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu.
*Dusit Thani Maldives
*Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives.
*Paradise Island Resort & Spa.
*Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa.
*Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa.
*Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa.
Various exotic luxurious villas in Maldives
🏝️WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE RESORTS:
You might feel as if all the villas are providing the same thing, same activities but that is not so. 🤯A few trivial looking things which turn out to be of major deciding factor are discussed below.💁 You can ask the resort people regarding the following stuff:
*Mode of transportation from airport or Malé to your resort? Is it inclusive in the charges?
Sea planes charges around $300-350 per person per side. And inorder to catch a sea plane you need to be at airport before 1pm. 6am to 2pm they leave from the airport. And from resorts usually they leave between 10 am to 5pm. No sea planes on Friday. Confirm timings so that you can adjust thing regarding your flight timings.
For example you have a flight on Sunday morning at 9 am.You will have to take the sea plane from your resort to airport on Saturday and then spend the night at Malé.
*Also inquire about the weight allowed by the sea plane. Usually 20-25kg is allowed. You will have to pay for the extra baggage unless you plan on dumping some of it in the Indian Ocean🤔🙄🤐
* Usually these resorts take up the entire island. Some might have locals living as well. So, for food you are dependant on the hotel mostly. You can choose between half board which includes breakfast and evening meal. Or full board that includes all three meals. Inquire charges before hand.
* Inquire if you will be provided snorkeling equipments free of charge or on rent?
* Visit to see sunset at some distant island, picnic for a couple at an uninhabited island where they have complete privacy, romantic dinner for a couple in the middle of water, snorkeling, scuba diving, dolphin watching, whale watching, kayaking are all other activities that can be done there. You can chose that you would like to do and get to know their budget as well.
* Inquire what in-house activities they have incase the weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities. Some have indoor golf clubs⛳ as well as tennis and squash courts. 🎾🏸🏓
⚠️ GOLDEN INFORMATION
✔️ Maldives is a Muslim country.📿 Any non halal stuff cannot be carried over here in luggage. Malé, the capital city does not allow alcohol and pork. And also no dogs. When in the capital city, you are required to dress appropriately. No bikini beaches in Malé. No public display of affection on the streets.
✔️Currency used is Maldivian ruffiya. You can get them at the Srilankan airport or Malé. Or simply carry Dollars as they are widely accepted.
✔️You will get Halal food🍔🍗 all over Maldives.
✔️Bring in a lot of sunblock SPF more than 60 (UV index is on EXTREME usually) and moisturizer.
✔️Any medicine that you use should be brought along as limited medicines are available. Do bring along Ors, capsule loperamide, Capsule Omeprazole and thank me later.gatorade is nit available.
✔️ There is no night life in Maldives. People sleep early, wake up early and hit the beach
✔️If you are planning a visit to see the stars of the sea (the planktons causing the beach to glow in the dark) please know that nobody can guarantee their presence. Its like searching for the northern lights.
✔️Bring an under water camera or get an air-seal bag for your cell phone. It can manage upto 1-5metres underwater.
✔️Flip flops and easy on the foot shoes. Lots of walking in Malé and with the heat on, you need something comfortable.
✔️Wi-fii services are not soo good in hotels. If you want you can get a sim from oredoo or dhairgoo office located at airport. Both sim cards are available for $2 and you can get 1Gb data in $10-13. Get a reasonable data package thats suitable for your needs.
✔️Inquire about service charges (10%) and tax (12%) if thats inclusive or not. ⚠️
✔️Do bring universal🔌 charger/adapter, Mosquito 🕷️🦗 🐜🐝repellent sprays and lotions, Sunshades😎, hats👒🧢, DRY bag for keeping safe electronic items during 🎣fishing/ snorkeling🏄 trip and a beach bag.
✔️NOT TO MISS their Grilled fish, Kurumba, Tuna🥫And Exotic fruits:💟 To name a few pineapples🍍, rambutans, mangosteen, dragon fruit, passion fruit, green apples🍏, seedless green and red grapes.🍇 and last but not the least the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
✔️Dont think about shopping when coming to Maldives. Souvenirs(keychains, fridge magnets, T shirts, Laquer work stuff) bought from resorts are bit reasonable as compared to those at Malé.
Whether its a tour on budget or a luxurious water villa vacation, MALDIVES has a lot to offer. Whatever number of pictures you may see be sure that they arent doing justice to what really lies there. For enjoying the real beauty of Maldives, you gotta experience it LIVE at Maldives. And if you are a water person, you will be in heavens, no doubt. I have tried to mention everything that could help you visit this beautiful place. Still if there are more queries, i shall be more than glad to answer.
🏖️🏝️⛵🛶🚤🌪️🌩️☔🌈 🎣 🤽🏼 🏊🏼 🏄🏼