Find out where is Maldives located, when to go, what to do there, where to stay, how much is a trip to Maldives and much more.
This is a full travel guide with everything I learned during my 30 days trip to Maldives while visiting 10 different islands. In this article, you will find out all you need to know about the country: where it is, where to stay, when to go, how to get around, what to do there and much more.
Let’s start planning your Maldives vacation?
What you need to know before planning your trip to Maldives islands:
The Republic of Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, near India and Sri Lanka. It is part of the asian continent.
Check where is Maldives on the map:
The population is about 400.000.
The archipelago has over 1,190 islands grouped in 26 atolls.
The Maldives International Airport (airport code: MLE) which is called Velana International Airport is located in Hulhumale, and not in Male (the capital) as most of the people think.
Dhivehi / Divehi is the Maldives local and official language. English is widely spoken by those working in the tourism industry, but do not expect every Maldivian to speak it.
Rufiyaa (MVR) is the currency in Maldives but dollars are accepted. Bear in mind that ATM’s are available only in a few islands, so you always need to have cash with you. In Dhigurah, for example, there isn’t an ATM and luckily I had some cash with me =)
Islam is the official religion in Maldives.
No, it is not mandatory. But we highly recommend you to get travel insurance whenever and wherever you travel.
Being very honest, I felt safe at all times in Maldives, even being a woman walking around by myself.
If you are looking for being a digital nomad in Maldives it is better to think twice. The Internet isn’t the best there, even at resorts and guesthouses.
If you would like to keep connected during your trip it is nice to get a local sim card.
I bought a prepaid package with Dhiraagu at the airport which helped me a lot.
Why you should visit the Maldives
As you probably know, Maldives is a country well known for its pristine waters, white-sand beaches, luxurious resorts and great surf and dives sites. A lot of people also see Maldives as an excellent place for honeymooners, because of the bungalows.
Well, I stayed there for 4 weeks: 2 with a friend and 2 by myself. I can affirm that besides being a great place for couples it is also amazing for a group of friends on holidays or for single travelers, who are looking for a place to recharge their batteries.
Which island to visit
The answer may vary according to what you are looking for. In Maldives we have:
- Local Islands: These islands are inhabited by the Maldivians, the native people.
- Private Islands: These islands are private properties and in the Maldives the resorts are only allowed to be built in private islands.
My suggestions based on my experiences are:
Dhigurah is a beautiful and quiet island, really nice for those who like scuba diving and want to dive with whale sharks.
Maafushi is the best one if you are traveling on a budget or only have a couple of days in the archipelago.
Rasdhoo is a great choice if you want to stay for about 7 days in Maldives and enjoy a mix of scuba dive, local culture and romance.
But Maldives also has many other islands and there are some which are great for those who like surfing for example. So it is always good to search for more information about it.
Requirements to get in Maldives
You need to have a passport that is valid for at least another 1 month. It used to be 6 months but in October/2020 they changed it.
A 30 days visa is given during arrival.
Yellow fever vaccine
Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers arriving from a high risk of yellow fever transmission countries.
To check the countries that are listed, click here.
Also check our Travel Medicine article for more information about vaccines and how to keep healthy during a trip.
Flight ticket to Maldives
During the check-in, the airlines ask for the return flight ticket, to confirm when you will leave the country. In my case, I wasn’t sure how long I would stay in the country, so I booked a flight considering the fee I would pay in case of changes.
Accommodation in Maldives
Besides the return flight ticket, they also ask for accommodation reservations. I ended up booking a hotel on Booking.com that had a free cancelation fee.
LMTM tip: You may also check with the hotel you will stay in for the first nights if they can send you a confirmation for the whole trip, knowing that, in fact, you will stay only for a couple of nights.
Tourism in Maldives and best time to visit
Did you know that tourism in Maldives has begun recently? Maldives’ tourism started in 1970 with luxurious Resorts. In 1984, the Government created a law saying that tourists were only allowed to stay in Resorts. Only in 2009, the Government allowed the local islands to build Guest Houses, making tourism in the country affordable.
Because of these changes, it is now possible to find fancy Guest Houses that provide you a high-level service at the local islands.
How is the weather in Maldives? What is the best time to visit?
It is hot all year long, the temperature average is 23-31 degrees Celsius.
The best time to visit Maldives is between November and April because it is least likely to rain.
High Season: From December to February. You can expect little rain and high prices.
Low Season: From May to November due to the monsoons. The monsoons peak is in June.
Surf Season: From April to October.
I was there in April, it did rain a couple of days and I also noticed that when it rains in one island it isn’t necessarily raining in the others.
What to do in Maldives
The archipelago is a dream destination to several people around the globe and there are plenty of things to do in Maldives:
- Dolphin Watching
- Island hopping
- Manta Watching
- Romantic Dinner
- Sandbank visit
- Sandbank BBQ
- Scuba Diving
- See the bioluminescent planktons at night
- Watching the sunrise or sunset
- Whale Shark Diving or Snorkeling
And if you are lucky enough like me, some local may invite you to have dinner with them. 😊
Check on my Instagram the incredible experience I had while dressing up like a Maldivian and eating at a local’s house.
How to get around in the archipelago?
You can get around the Maldives’ islands by ferry, speed boats, seaplanes and domestic flights. Be aware that the islands can be extremely far one from another, so you need to consider the distances while planning your trip ok?!
A little more about transportation in Maldives:
Ferry is the cheapest way to move around in Maldives, but it is not available to every island. They run on specific days and times and it may take many hours for you to get to your destination.
The ferry schedule is available at MTCC’s website, but unfortunately their website is not really foreign friendly as they separate the files per atoll.
– Speed boats
Speed boats are run by several companies. My recommendation is for you to get the company’s name with the hotel you will stay in and contact them directly, so you don’t need to pay taxes twice.
– Local Flights
Flights are operated by Flyme, Maldivian and Trans Maldivian and they are quite expensive.
LMTM Tip: I recommend you to make sure you check the transportation options, dates, times and prices before making your trip itinerary and bookings to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Respecting the locals and the local culture
Since Islam is the official religion in Maldives, they have some specific laws that are applied on the inhabited islands. So it is important for you to know that:
1) Some animals are forbidden
Dogs and pork are forbidden in Maldives.
2) Alcoholic drinks aren’t allowed
Alcoholic drinks are also not allowed, unless you are in a resort, safari boats or the airport hotel called Hulhule Island. Do not bring any alcoholic drink to the country, otherwise they will be confiscated at the airport.
3) Bikini Beach
Because of their religion, everyone shall cover chest and thighs in the local islands. Swimsuits are allowed only at the accommodations, boats, and the Bikini Beach.
P.s.: Every local island has a Bikini Beach which is designed for tourists.
In the resorts though you don’t need to worry about it.
4) Weekly holiday
Please, note that Friday is their weekly holiday, so you will find most of the establishments closed. To check prayer times, click here.
Why is garbage a problem in Maldives?
Unfortunately, you will see some garbage at the local islands, which doesn’t happen at the resorts islands.
Before judging the locals, please understand why it happens
Couple of decades back, the only garbage Maldivians would produce would be things like fish bones and other natural stuff, so they were used to throwing their garbage in the ocean. Every island had a swimming beach, a fishing beach, a garbage beach…
As tourism started to grow, they had to import things and have started to receive several packages like cardboard and plastics. Now, imagine how hard it can be to address correctly the garbage of over 1,000 islands? Soon, this became a big issue as they were not ready (and still are not) to deal with it.
Is the Government doing something about it?
Yes, the Government is working to change it. They failed while trying to change adult’s mindset about it. Now, they have a program with the kids at school, where they show corals to the kids, show all the bad impacts plastic makes to the environment, so they can see and think in a different way.
To have an idea, nowadays the kids can only bring reusable bottles to school, they can’t bring single use plastics anymore.
Why you won’t see this happening in resorts
In the meantime, life at the resorts are totally different. With the high rates and less people to deal with, resorts can keep their private islands clean.
Why you need to know about this
Knowing how hard it is to take tourists’ garbage out of the islands and how it became a huge problem to this country, we shall be responsible travelers and do our best to reduce waste while traveling.
We have an article with 10 zero waste travel tips in case you are interested in learning more about it.
It is hard to not produce any garbage though, so while you are in any remote island, please make sure you take full responsibility for your garbage and take it back at least to the capital 😉
How much does a trip to Maldives cost?
Just like anywhere on the planet, the cost of a trip varies according to the profile of each traveler, but to help you estimate the price of your trip to the Maldives, we did a research and wrote a specific article on the topic, and we also developed a calculator where you can estimate the value of your trip according to its duration, number of tours, people and much more. Check it out!
If you are looking for traveling as luxury as you can and as cheap as you can, check Luxury Travel Hacks website 😉
I hope this post can be useful to you! =D
Any questions? Feel free to ask below =)
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