Are you planning to visit the Maldives? Travelling to the Maldives is definitely most people’s dream in life. If you are planning to go to the Maldives for the first time, here is my list of essential tips to know when you plan to visit the Maldives.
Note: Travelling to Maldives does not have be expensive, check out my previous post on how I managed to travel to the Maldives for USD 600.
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Choose the Time to Visit the Maldives
The best time to visit the Maldives is from December to April which is also known as the Maldives peak seasons. It is a great to come to the Maldives during peak season but the accommodation and flights tend to be expensive compared to traveling during the low season (May to November). However, it is certainly still possible to get a great flight deal travelling on peak season. Just keep your eyes open for flight promotions.
Visa for Maldives
Tourists from all nationalities either get a free visa or visa on arrival for up to 30 days from your arrival date in the Maldives. Keep in mind that visa on arrival is free of charge.
The Maldives is a Muslim Country
Most Maldivians are Muslim so you will definitely find mosques on the local islands. As it is a Muslim country, alcohol is restricted so you are not allowed to bring alcohol to this country. The rule of female clothing is also strict, you have to cover your body and legs in public so remember not to wear a bikini in public if you stay on a local island. However, don’t worry, you are still able to wear a bikini but only on the bikini beaches, not the local beach, and there will not be any stores selling alcohol in local islands so you have to get it on a private island.
If you stay on a private island, it should not be a problem because most local does not live there so you can wear a bikini in public and also buy alcohol in your resort bar.
Currency to Use
The Maldives has a local currency called Rufiyaa (MVR) but you can also pay with US dollar as every shop accepts that currency.
Should you convert USD to MVR? It is totally up to you but I did change some rufiyaa for easy payment in local stores. If you wish to get some MVR, there is a money changer in the airport and do keep the receipt safely. I am sure you do not plan to keep the rest of MVR when you go back to your country and by showing them the receipt, you can change your MVR back to USD at the same rate.
It is also important to bring enough cash because not all islands will have an ATM. Also, if you wish to pay the hotel with your card, there will be some additional charge so save your money with cash prepared.
Free Phone to Use in the Airport
In case any emergency happens when you reach the Maldives, for example you have a pickup arrangement from your accommodation but you cannot find them or you want to book last minute transportation to your resort, you can go to the customer service center to ask for help. The staff is pretty helpful and also will offer you to use the phone free of charge.
Transport in the Maldives
The Maldives consist of a lot of islands and it is definitely not easy to travel between one island to another. When you land at the airport, you still have to get a boat or seaplane to your resort and sometimes it will take some time depending on which island you are staying on.
Do Research for Airport Transport to the Resort
There are two airport transportation types that the Maldives offer: Seaplane and Ferry/speedboat ride. It is important to do research for your airport transport before you decide to book a place to stay because not all resorts can be reached by ferry ride. Most resorts on private islands or islands which are further than Male (Capital of Maldives) can only be accessed by seaplane and seaplane transport often costs a lot.
At the same time, you may also check whether your accommodation does provide any pick up arrangement. Some resorts offer a pickup arrangement for a certain rate and it is absolutely very convenient to have someone wait and pick you up once you reach the Maldives.
If you travel to the Maldives on a budget, I will suggest you take the public ferry if they are accessible to your accommodation. Otherwise, you may consider to book a direct speedboat from a private tour service like iCom Tours. This will cost more than the public ferry but it is much more quick and convenient.
Choose the Right Island for your Trip
Before you decide where to stay in the Maldives, it is important to know what type of vacation you are looking for: luxury or budget. The reason is because both choices will have an effect on your decision of the right island category to choose for your Maldives trip.
There are two Island categories in the Maldives: private islands and local islands. Private Islands are where you find those luxury resorts with beautiful overwater villas or bungalows. If you are not on a budget, I totally recommend to stay on a private island as they are really beautiful and not all private islands can be visited by non-guests.
Local islands are where most local people stay and you can find a lot of cheap accommodations in the Maldives. It may not be as luxury as a private island but you can still enjoy the beautiful beaches on the island. If you are on a budget, you should definitely check out the local islands. It is the cheapest way to travel to the Maldives. Maafushi Island is one of the local islands in the Maldives that I recommend to visit. It is not so far from Airport or the capital city, Male and it is very budget friendly island.
Things you should consider:
- Experience Over-water Villas or Bungalows
- Luxury accommodation
- Alcohol is available
- No strict rules on female dress code – Can wear bikini in public
- Clean and pristine beaches
- Expensive accommodation
- Limited choices to book your activities excursions and mostly cost more
- Expensive food unless you book all-inclusive
- Expensive airport transport (mostly need to take seaplane or speedboat)
- Less interaction with local people
- Affordable Accommodation – Hotels or Guest houses
- More choices to book your activities excursions
- Easy to find more choice of food at a reasonable price
- Cheaper airport transport (Can access with public ferry)
- More interaction with local people
- Alcohol is not available on the islands
- Strict female dress code – Only can wear bikini in bikini beach
- Beaches are less pristine and clean
- Bikini beaches are not as big as public beaches
- Unable to experience the beautiful Over-water Villas or Bungalows
So those are the things you should know when you are planning your Maldives trip. If you are planning to go to the Maldives, I hope that this info is useful for you. The Maldives are undeniably one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I had a really amazing time there and I absolutely recommend to visit this place at least once in your lifetime. It is the kind of experience you probably will never forget in your life. The kind of memories you are always going to remember, and the kind of beauty you are going to capture in your eyes. The Maldives are just incredibly beautiful.
>>What do you think of my essential tips or Do you have any other tips to know ? 😀 <<
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