Last year, in March, when COVID was not a threat like it is now, we visited the Maldives. We spent 5 days in luxury and comfort in one of the most beautiful, exotic places in the world. We had booked this trip in advance for our marriage anniversary celebration. But when the time came, our relatives and friends advised us to cancel it due to a potential increase in COVID cases. But we took our chance as COVID there were very few cases in India and none in the Maldives.
We took basic precautions (masks & sanitizers) and left for the Maldives. At that time there were no temperature checks at airports, masks were not mandatory and of course no travel restrictions. The trip went well and it actually proved to be one of our best trips. On our last day of vacation, the first case in the Maldives was reported. We came back safely without having any idea that this is going to be our last trip of 2020 through Air Travel.
Now since everything is quite normal and travelers are planning their trips, I decided to share some tips and useful facts from our expeience. Here are 10 points to consider before you plan for trip to the Maldives :-
1. Visa:- Many people (mostly Indians) assume the Maldives as part of India (its territory), as its name sounds very familiar. But the Maldives is an independent Islamic country for which you will need a valid visa. But don’t worry, the visa is issued on arrival at Male airport. The traveler just needs to have a valid passport. Visa is issued for 90 days.
2. Currency:- Maldivians accept payments only in USD, Euro, or Maldivian rufiyaa (their local currency). We used our USD credit cards for the payments. Even though all resorts are surrounded by water, we never found any issue with card payments. If you prefer cash, exchange your money at the airport in Maldivian rufiyaa, Euro or USD.
3. Stay:- Maldives is an Islamic country consisting of 1,192 coral islands, each unique in its own way. It’s not a typical place where you roam around the streets or try local restaurants. The idea of Maldives vacations is just for one thing – Relaxation. It’s the best place to recharge and refuel. So choose your stay wisely, look for all the facilities your resort is providing. These are few factors you should keep in mind during the booking:-
- Distance of your resort from the airport (Ferry charge from airport to resorts are additional to the booking)
- Available food options (especially if you are Vegetarian like us, check the menu before booking)
- Water sports (If interested in sports, check their website. It’s not necessary that every resort will provide Scuba or Snorkel)
- Activities (Check activities and facilities available like spa, gym, yoga classes, play area, etc.)
- Villa preferences (water villa, sunrise or sunset-facing, across the beach, etc.)
4. Culture:- Maldivians are very nice and great in hospitality. They treat their customers very well. In resorts, you will find local people as well as people from different countries working in the hospitality industry. Maldivians follow Muslim rules strictly, you will notice the females wearing scarfs with full-body covered with clothes.
5. Atmosphere:- Lol, the atmosphere is just out of the world. Crystal clear blue water, luxurious stay, and top services along with great hospitality, but that comes with humidity and heat. It’s really a good place for those who like sun tanning. Be sure to bring sunscreen with you, it will prove to be very useful.
6. Food & Drinks:- While selecting your stay, you can also choose your food plan which usually comes as Half board and Full board. Generally, the Half-board includes Breakfast and Dinner while the Full board includes Lunch as well, but make sure to check what is included in the plan. They also provide an All-inclusive meal which has drinks too. We had selected Half board which came with a breakfast buffet, rest of the meals we bought during our stay. Alcohol is banned in the Maldives, but don’t worry, it is allowed in resorts, they just have to have a valid license for it. Just make sure not to drink in the main city or to carry it with you.
7. Clothing:- Similar to alcohol, clothing also has some restrictions. In public places like airports, city or even ferries, you need to be appropriately dressed. Swimwear, shorts, or sleeveless are highly discouraged. Although you are free to wear anything in the resort, there is no restriction there.
8. Transportation:- Best mode of transportation between islands is through Ferries. Make sure to consider ferry charges during your booking. Charges are actually very high, we paid 180 USD per adult for our trip from the airport to the resort (round trip included). That’s why it is advisable to remain on your island and enjoy the activities there only. You can also go to other islands for activities, but that would increase the budget of your trip. So book your resort wisely, it should have everything you need.
9. Things to do:- Resorts in the Maldives are of International standard and very luxurious. They are costly as well. They provide a lot many activities to do which are inclusive in your package except premium services like Spa. Below are some common activities:-
- Fly board
- Yoga classes
- Indoor games (Chess, Foosball, Carom, Dominoes, Checkers, Pool, etc)
- Outdoor games (Volleyball, Ping pong, etc. )
10. Cost:- This is the most important part. So basically cost depends on your planning and choice of stay. Although the Maldives is costly, it’s still affordable. We have booked our trip from Expedia as a bundled deal that included Resort, Air travel, and Food. The rest of the expenses were on top of that. Our approximate cost for the trip was 4000 USD which included 3300 USD for Resort & Air travel and 360 USD for ferry transportation. Spa, food, drinks, non-inclusive water sports will cost you more, even villa prices vary depending on the view and type. So plan according to your budget.
Few other Tips:-
- Invest in a good underwater camera. You wouldn’t want to miss the chance of capturing beautiful underwater life.
- Keep sunscreen with you, that would be really helpful.
- Avoid unnecessary travel, enjoy the activities at your resort only.
- Check the variety of food items on the menu and the number of restaurants in your resort during booking.
- Wake up early and take a walk across the beach, watch sunrise and sunset. You will just love it.
Happy Reading! Keep Traveling !!!
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