When you hear about Maldives the first things that instantly come in mind are the crystal clear water and whitest beaches – so to stay heaven on earth. You might also think it’s very expensive country to visit on mostly on the bucket list for the honeymooners.. But i’m happy to say that you can start planning your trip right away since there is so much more to this beautiful country! You can visit so many different ways depending on if you want to see a local island or resort. I had absolutely good times travelling alone.
The Republic of Maldives is formed from 26 different atolls which all together count up as around 1200 islands and sandbanks in the Indian ocean South-West from the tip of India. The location and geography makes the Maldives very unique location and there are around 200 islands that are inhabitet so many places still stay hidden.
Currency: Rufiya – Rf (1€ is about 15-20 rufiyas depending on the course). US dollars are also widely used.
Getting to Maldives
The easiest way to arrive to Maldives is by flying and there are several different airlines that provide flights to Male which has the only internation airport in the country. It’s worth booking in advance specially in high season to avoid the prices going up. Depending on the where you come from the flights can be quite time consuming . The long-haul flights usually need to make a stopover instead of flying straight to Male. Personally I first flew to Sri Lanka and from there it was only quick 1 hour 30 minutes with the Emirates so it’s very interesting option to combine these two for your trip. Another quite popular route seems to be from Dubai.
After landing you can reach the city of Male by a quick 10 minutes ferry ride from the airport which cost only 22 rufiyas (around 1,5€). From Male you can catch either a speed boat or local ferry to your chosen island. Some resorts also have their own private boats to pick you up directly from the airport or Male. Depending on your style of travel you might want to know that the speedboats are much more expensive. I paid $25 to get to Maafushi and for far away islands the prices go up. The local ferry cost 22 rufiyas for the ride but it is also a slower option. NOTE: Local public ferries don’t run on Fridays! Some more remote islands they only go every second day (speed boats should still be available).
Choosing an island
It can seem very confusing to choose your dream destination from all the different islands. There are so many options available but let me try to help you with this with my little experience:
Budget: This is the key thing in any travel when choosing destination or place to stay. After deciding price range it will be easier to narrow down the options. These days the tourism is grown so you will be able to travel even on small budget.
Local island or resort: The difference between these is huge. The resort will have everything organised with top quality and the whole island can be reserved just by one hotel which quarantees very peaceful on private environment. The down side of this that there are only tourists and the staff so it will hard to get to know local people or the real maldivian culture. I decided to go on a local islands which for me was the perfect choice. Here you can live with local people around and get to see their daily activities. The might be more noice, people and contsruction around but I really recommend atleast visiting a local island if you decide not to stay on one. I made friends for life on Maafushi and had a change to join a local family for their meals which made the experience even more unbelievable.
Travel time: How fast you want to get to the island from the airport? Some islands are much closer from the airport than others so you should also take in count the travel time (specialle when departing to make it to the airport on time). The island of Maafushi where I stayed was only around 30 mins with speed boat but these can even take up to 90 minutes for some islands. Few places you can also reach by private sea plane but this is very costly ($$$).
Good to know
Some good to know things before you arrive that I noted on the way:
Visa: All nationalities should get tourist visa valid for 30 days on arrival. If in doubt double check for your nationality online on the official page: http://www.immigration.gov.mv/pages/entry.html
The Maldivian ruffiyas are only available to change or get from the Maldives. There are plenty of options for money exchange and ATM’s on the airport. Most of the local don’t have an ATM so you should think in advance how much money is needed. In some biggest places it’s possible to pay by card. I tried to use the ATM in Maafushi but it didn’t work with my two cards.
With the main religion being islam shoulders and knees should be covered in public places to respect the locals. Also it is not allowed to bring any alcohol in the country. Resort island will serve you alcohol normally but it’s not available on local islands (there was a floating bar in Maafushi which was allowed).
Can’t tell enough how importan it is to protect from the sun! Sun cream also available from local pharmacies but good to also bring one.
This is a quick guide to important information so if you have any questions just get in touch and I try to help the best I can.