Six Tips for Your Trip to the Maldives

written on May 24th, 2018 by

A mention of the Maldives evokes images of paradise. And why not? White sand beaches (often empty), crystal clear waters, and an underwater world teeming with colorful and abundant wildlife. A lot of people have this small country on their bucket list.

If the Maldives is in your bucket list, too, here are things to consider when planning a trip to paradise:

1. Should you stay in a local island or a resort island?

There are actually two types of islands you can visit in the Maldives: the exclusive resort islands and the local islands inhabited by the local Maldivians. The local islands used to not cater to tourists, but a few years back, local hotels/guesthouses/resorts started to operate.

If you are traveling to the Maldives on a budget, then the local islands are the way to go just on the basis of cost, but other things to consider in your choice include: amenities you can live with or without, availability of alcohol, range of activities that can be done, and meeting locals and having a taste of the genuine Maldivian life.

2. How far is the island from the airport and how will you get there?

The Maldives is an archipelago composed of 1,192 islands.

Even the airport is an island separate from the capital of Male. When choosing an island to stay in (resort or otherwise), consider how far it is from the airport as well as how easy or hard it is to get there. Inter-island options include the local ferry (for local islands only), scheduled speedboats, chartered speedboats, and flying on a domestic or chartered seaplane; the transportation options get more expensive respectively.

3. Should you get full board meals in the hotel/resort or order ala carte?

Resorts and hotels offer their guests full-board meals or ala carte dining. A main benefit of full-board meals was that it is cheaper than going ala carte (there are more portions or the meals are served buffet style). Ala carte dining, however, offers flexibility. You can eat whatever you feel like eating. You can even try the restaurants in the local islands.

4. What about money?

The local currency is Maldivian rufiyaa but US dollars are accepted, even in the local islands (and some give change in USD, too).

The exchange rate is fairly stable and competitive even in local stores. If you don’t intend to exchange all your money, bring a small amount of rufiyaa. I changed my money at the airport (at the pharmacy).

5. Can I get a drink of alcohol there?

The Maldives is a Muslim country and alcohol is not allowed in. We left our champagne bottle in the airport and got it back when we flew out.

6. What to wear? 

As a Muslim country, they adhere to a strict dresscode (knees and shoulders should be covered), but in the local islands, sans the capital, we wore shorts and tank tops while walking around the island. Only bikinis were restricted and can only be worn at the bikini beach.