14 min read
25 May
25May

Here is a handy Maldives travel guide that will help you have better experiences without any hassles when you’re touring the beautiful nation of Maldives. Take a look at these travel tips to the Maldives islands before you head there. How to plan a trip to the Maldives and a few interesting tips while traveling are explained below which will help you to understand things.

 

A Little Bit About Maldives


The Maldives is a popular destination for honeymooners and couples. No one can resist its beautiful turquoise blue waters, sandy beaches and the pure beauty of staying in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is a travel bucket list place to visit in your lifetime. The Maldives is a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, that spans across the equator. The country is comprised of 1192 islands that stretch along a length of 871 kilometers. While the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of that is dry land. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls. 


The country’s unique geography mesmerizes the visitor. Reefs that offer bands of color, tiny jewel-like islands rimmed with the whitest of soft sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and a select few on each of the atolls are resorts and some of the islands are used for industry and agriculture. The beauty of the Maldives is not only above the water. The Maldives is home to about five percent of the planet’s reefs that comes with an explosion of color contributed by soft and hard corals that form them. The reefs are home to a thousand species of fish. Lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents, large pelagic fishes such as manta rays and whale sharks also make the Maldives their home.



Although home to just over half a million people the Maldives has its own unique culture and traditions. While heavily influenced by various cultures around the rim of the Indian Ocean, the Maldivian culture, craft and traditions have been shaped by the island environment and the seas that surround us. Dhivehi is the language of the Maldivian people. Their current script, Thaana is unique and was developed from Arabic numerals around the 16th century. Maldivians are master boat builders. The traditional Maldivian boat, dhoni has been shaped over centuries, resulting in a craft that perfectly suits the various conditions of the seas. The traditional cuisine is heavily based on fish and coconut, with several dishes that have no parallels anywhere in the region. Maldivian music and dance display strong influences of East Africa, Arabia and the Indian subcontinent. There is a rich tradition of Maldivian crafts; lacquered wooden ornaments, finely woven reed mats, and coral carvings are crafts that have been passed down through several generations.


The Maldives is well connected with the rest of the world. Several flights from Europe, Middle East and South East Asia operate to Velana International Airport, the main gateway to the Maldives. The highest international traffic is from Colombo, Sri Lanka, various Indian cities and Dubai, while several scheduled and charter flights bring in passengers from all major European capitals, and South East Asian cities.


Best Time To Visit & Important Travel Information


Year-round temperature hot tropical climate. The average high temperature is 31.5 degree Celsius and the average low temperature is 26.4 degree Celsius. The Southwest monsoon from May to October brings rain and the Northeast monsoon from November to April is generally sunny. Therefore, the best time to visit Maldives is between November to April. 


All nationalities receive a 30-day visa on arrival, provided that you have a valid passport, an onward to ticket to continue your journey and a reservation at a tourist facility or enough funds to cover your stay in the country. However, it is highly important that all passengers arriving to and departing from the Maldives are required to complete the Traveler Declaration form within 72 hours of the flight time, which is called the Imuga form. 


A Tourism Goods and Service Tax (TGST) of 12% is levied on all goods and services at tourist establishments. A Green Tax of US$ 6.00 per person per day is payable for guests staying at tourist accommodation except guest houses where the Green Tax is US$ 3.00 per person per day. 


Unless you are into specific activities that require time such as diving & deep-sea fishing, Maldives is perfect for a short stay instead of a long one. Anything more than 1 week will be too much. 4 to 5 days is usually sufficient if staying in one hotel and perhaps 7 days if you are planning to stay 2 different hotels. Option for quality vacation rather than quantity when in the Maldives. While planning a stay in the Maldives, make sure to pick just one hotel or resort and spend your vacation there rather than doing island hopping. Moving from one place to another in the Maldives is quite hectic and it doesn’t seem like a seamless transfer.  


Once in the Maldives you can travel to any of the twelve domestic and international airports to which several daily flights are operated. Scheduled ferry services also operate from Male’ to most of the atolls. If you are travelling to a resort, your transfer will most likely be prearranged at the time of booking your accommodation. Transfers to resorts around the airport are by speedboat and transfers to resorts and islands further afield are by seaplane. Speedboat transfer is the norm to resorts close to the International Airport. The rest is covered by seaplane or domestic flight. If you are travelling to Male’ you can take a taxi from the airport. Several daily flights operate from Velana International Airport to the 12 domestic and international airports in the country. Scheduled ferries also operate from Male’ to many of the atolls.




Bucket List Things To Do


Maldives is not only one of the best places on Earth to take a honeymoon, couples retreat or just to get away from the every day city life. Maldives has a lot to offer for people who love water sports, nature, surfing and diving. 


Surfing

The Maldives is located right in the middle of the Indian Ocean and benefits from full exposure to southern swells and to excellent surfing conditions on the outer reefs of atolls. With an average water temperature of around 28-degree Celsius, surfing conditions are good throughout the surfing season from in mid-February to November, however you can experience the best conditions from March to May and September to end of November. 


North Male’ Atoll was the first to be discovered for its waves and hence it is the most popular with surfers and the most accessible as well due to the large number of resorts and its close proximity to the international airport. The consistent waves at various surf points in the atoll offer some of the longest rides in the country. Some famous surf locations in the atoll include Cokes at Thulusdhoo, Lhohis, at Lhohifushi island, Jailbreaks, Honky’s, Male’ Island Point, Sultans and Ninjas, all along the eastern rim of the atoll.For many surfers, Huvadhoo Atoll, in the southern group of the atoll chain offers the coolest waves in the Maldives, most of them located on the southern rim of the atoll. Beacons, Tiger Stripes, Castaways, Blue Bowls, Airports, Five Islands, Two Ways, Love Charms and Antiques are some of the well-known surf points in the atoll. 


You can click on the following link Maldives Surf Resorts to have a look at the surfing resorts options in Maldives.



Natural Attractions - Baa Atoll & Addu Natural Park

Baa Atoll located in the central region of the atoll chain that form the Maldives is considered globally significant in terms of its biodiversity. The atoll covers an area of over 139,000 hectares and is situated just north of the Kaashidhoo channel that geographically separates the northern chain of atolls from the central chain. Baa atoll consists of several habitats that support the rich biodiversity of the atoll and includes coral reefs, islands, sea grass beds and mangroves. Coral reefs are the most important habitat type in terms of area as well as biodiversity and is home to a high diversity of reef species, which includes 1,200 reef associated marine species, 250 species of stony and soft corals and populations of marine turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and seabirds. These also include threatened and endangered species such as the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, Napoleon wrasses, and tawny nurse shark. The reserve consists of nine core areas in which extraction of any kind is prohibited. The areas are highly protected and are conferred the highest levels of conservation. They are clearly defined management areas that have a high ecological significance in terms of marine and terrestrial biodiversity. 


The limited activities permitted within the boundaries of these areas are monitored through stringent management systems, codes of conduct and due diligence from all users. Anchoring of any boat, unless in emergencies is prohibited in these areas. Around the Core Areas are buffer zones which are also managed and monitored. Here non-damaging, non-extractive uses are allowed. Core areas and the buffer zones are enveloped by transitional areas, which cover the whole of Baa Atoll. Sustainable activities are permitted in the transitional areas. Hanifaru Bay is the highlight when it comes to Baa Atoll’s biodiversity, attracting large numbers of visitors every year. This tiny Bay located on the eastern flank of the atoll has seen some of the largest gatherings of manta rays anywhere in the world. Up to a hundred of these gentle giants are seen in a single congregation, gliding through the waters to feed as the tide pushes abundant plankton into the bay. 

There are several daily flights from Velana International Airport to Dharavandhoo Airport offering convenient connections to international flights. The flight time to Dharvandhoo is approximately twenty minutes.



Addu Atoll is the southernmost atoll in the Maldives atoll chain. There are altogether five inhabited islands, which form six administrative districts, in the atoll. The islands on the western flank of the atoll are connected by a 16-kilometer link road and stretches from Hithadhoo in the north to Gan in the southernmost point of the atoll. The atoll consists of islands that have their very own unique characteristics that are quite different from the rest of the country. 


Addu Atoll hosts the second largest wetlands area in the Maldives. The Addu Nature Park encompasses the beautiful Eydhigali Kilhi wetlands and protected Koattey area in Hithadhoo Island. The park features charming piers extending out to the lakes, mangroves and scenic cycling routes through the lush vegetation of the wetlands. You can take a guided nature tour through the park and observe the unique fauna and flora of the rich habitat. Canoeing in the bay area known as Bedhi famous for its beautiful red mangroves, baby stingrays and sharks is one of the most memorable experience in the Park.


The flight time to Gan from Velana International Airport is approximately one and a half hours. Several daily flights operate from Velana International Airport. International airlines also operate to Gan, mainly from Colombo.

 


Diving & Snorkeling

Male' Atoll offers a large number of varied and well-established dive sites for the avid diver. Being the first atoll to have established tourism, the dive sites in the atoll are among the most popular in the country. Amazing underwater scenery, marine species ranging from colorful reef fishes to large species such as manta and sharks are all on offer in the atoll. The Maldives Victory Wreck is perhaps the most popular wreck dive in the atoll. The wreck sits at a depth of about 35 meters and since it sank in 1981, it has been encrusted with an amazing array of colorful corals. Groupers, fusiliers and batfish are among its residents. Although Ari Atoll is famous for its pelagics, North Male’ Atoll offers some parallels. Located in the southeast of the atoll, Manta Point is famous for its mantas which gather at the site to feed during the southwest monsoon from May to October. The reef offers a colorful array of corals and a variety of marine life. Nassimo Thila with its beautiful caves and coral formations, HP Reef with its caves and crevices, and Banana Reef with its wealth of fish and sea life are also some of the most popular dive sites in North Male’ Atoll.



The Shipyard is one of the biggest dive attractions in Lhaviyani Atoll. There are two wrecks in this location both of which are covered with a variety of soft and hard corals. The wrecks are forty years old. The bow of one of the wrecks protrudes out of the surface and therefore it is a sight you may come across when you are travelling inside the atoll. While one of the vessels, sits upright, the other is on its side at about 30 meters below the surface. There is a profusion of corals on both the wrecks because of the currents that pass through the channel.  The wrecks are home to a multitude of fish including, schools of yellow sweeper, butterfly fish, damsels, Napoleon wrasse among many others. Several morays have also made their home in the wreck. The channel is also a hangout for large pelagics, nurse sharks and grey reef sharks. Dive trips to the site are organized by resorts and guesthouses in the atoll.


Cultural Hotspots

Muleeaage is the official palace of the President and is a must-see in any Male’ tour. Muleeaage marked its hundredth anniversary in 2019. The Palace that stand today was built during the period 1914 to 1919. The site was the ancestral home of former Sultans and royalty. However, Muleeaage never served as a Sultan’s Palace.


The island of Kaashidhoo lies about 86 kilometers from Male, the capital. Although the island belongs to the administrative region of Male’ Atoll, the Kaashidhoo atoll is a separate natural atoll north of Male’ Atoll, separated by the Kaashidhoo Channel. Kaashidhoo is known for its agriculture and is one the biggest suppliers of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Male’ market. The island is the site of one of the largest archeological sites in the country that demonstrates the Buddhist past of the Maldives before the advent of Islam. The site known as the Kuruhinna tharaagandu are the ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery believed to have been in use in the pre-Islamic period. The excavated site is almost 1900 square kilometers and revealed more than sixty coral stone structures, which archeologists believe is just a part of the whole complex. As one would expect only the lower part of structures have survived during the nine hundred years since it has been abandoned. Kaashidhoo is linked with Male’, by ferry services. Contact your guesthouse or resort for further information on schedules.


Malé is the densely populated capital of the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. It's known for its mosques and colorful buildings. The Islamic Centre (Masjid-al-Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam) features a mosque, a library and a distinctive gold dome. Near the harbor, a popular fish market offers the day's catch, and a produce market is stocked with local fruit.  



Where To Stay In Maldives?


My husband and I have traveled twice to Maldives - the first time we actually stayed in Male Island and had daily visitors passes to luxury resorts (that you can check in any resort and ask how much they charge for a daily access to their resort to enjoy some luxury moments). We also managed to discover the main Island Male, which was an experience on its own. Our second visit we actually stayed at Coco Bodu Hithi Resort for 4 full nights in a 5 start luxury resort all inclusive (which is super comfortable and beneficial), the resort where we stayed did not disappoint. It was a gorgeous place to stay, a lot of privacy, many activates to choose from, beautiful privet cabanas, different restaurants etc.

Maldives has a big selection of privet island resorts in different price ranges, hotels on main islands, guesthouses and liveaboards - so their is a lot to choose from for any travel budget you might have. November through April is the peak season of Maldives vacation due to prime weather with endless soft sunshine. Obviously, you will get sky-high prices on everything from accommodation to activities. For a budget Maldives trip plan, traveling during shoulder season, i.e., between the peak season and off-season, will be among the best Maldives travel tips as the weather will be still pleasant and 20% reduced occupancy in resorts will bring you exciting discounts and great services. 


Below I have listed some easy go to links for different stays in Maldives as per your travel budget, as well you have a short description for all of them:

Resorts - https://visitmaldives.com/en/resorts

Hotels - https://visitmaldives.com/en/hotels

Liveaboards - https://visitmaldives.com/en/liveaboards

Guesthouses - https://visitmaldives.com/en/guesthouses

One of the most important tips for first-time visitors to the Maldives is to choose regional or domestic flights from Middle East Asia as these are cheaper options. Choosing a flight to Male and then a speedboat for Maldives transportation between islands to reach the specific islands will be affordable although you can also choose a round trip seaplane ride which will be unforgettable, though expensive. You can also choose the Maldivian domestic flight for the transfer. Flights can get delayed and there is also no scheduled time for seaplane transfer within its dawn-to-dusk window. So try to plan for the flight that lands in the first half of the day to get transferred to the island before 4 PM, otherwise you have to spend the night at Male and take the earliest transfer the following day.


When figuring out how to travel to Maldives, you must have all your options in hand to consider properly. Depending on the average cost of Maldives vacation, you can either go for the less expensive hotels on the local islands or make the best out of the luxury and privacy at the five-star resorts on private islands. Choosing those which offer excursions, airport transfers, and ferry service is a good idea according to tips for the Maldives given by previous travelers. Check out the restaurants, bar, pool, kid-friendliness, reef condition around the island and of course, the view around. For those traveling with kids, choosing overwater villas can be a bad choice as they can be unsafe for them to play or climb on jetties. But living amid the reef fishes, rays and corals can be tantalizing.


When you are out on the beaches or enjoying water sports in Maldives, going for the all-inclusive deals can be quite expensive. All-inclusive buffet breakfast and lunch can be a great choice while half-boards will include breakfast, lunch, and drinks with access to A-la-carte restaurants according to many Maldives travel tips. Before choosing a deal, make sure there are coffee, drinks, and special delights included, any activities or excursions offered, and whether there is a kid-friendly menu available if you are traveling with kids. Checking these things in advance is only going to make your Maldives trip fun and easier.



Things To Keep In Mind


Island resorts tend to operate on a “barefoot luxury” basis, with an easygoing, laidback vibe. With that said, some of the more upscale restaurants will likely have a dress code. Women can get away with casual dresses, but men may need collars and trousers — less than ideal in sweaty tropical heat. With this in mind, if you plan to dine at any resort restaurants, make sure you pack a pair of smart, lightweight trousers and a shirt or two with sleeves and collars. Even if you’re not eating out, you’ll be grateful for shirtsleeves when the evening breeze cools the air.

 

The Maldives is a country that is slightly Muslim dominated and the only place where someone can enjoy a drink without any worries, is at the private resorts and hotels. One of the best Maldives travel tips we can give you is to not carry alcohol while entering the country. There is a risk of them being taken away or the travelers might be fined by the custom.


The Maldives offer some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. If you plan on trying some watersports — and I strongly recommend that you do — consider splurging on a decent underwater camera. The Maldives offer a trip of a lifetime, and preserving your memories is well worth the cost.

 


The typical vision of the Maldives is of gin-clear water and bone-white sand. This is certainly a reality — but not all the time. The best weather in the Maldives is between November and April, and the high tourist season falls between December and March. Beginning in May, the weather is less predictable (but rarely bad enough to completely dampen a holiday). Temperatures remain warm during the rain, which rarely lasts very long.


Dress modestly while on inhabited islands, including the capital, Malé. Men and women alike should avoid wearing shorts above the knees. Women should cover their shoulders and elbows and wear loose-fitting clothes. Couples should refrain from public displays of affection. Inside your accommodations, you are free to dress as you wish — but do note that sunbathing topless or in the nude is prohibited, no matter where you are.


 


For Weekly Travel Updates Follow My Instagram Page @sigrid_ballard

Comments
* The email will not be published on the website.