A holiday in the Maldives is almost every couple’s dream especially those who are on honeymoon or celebrating their wedding anniversaries. Though nowadays, Maldives is becoming a family destination too.
Planning your trip could be overwhelming and choosing a resort from about 200 options is not that easy so I’m writing some general tips that can help you plan your trip. And though I know that a lot of bloggers have already written tips on how to plan a trip to the Maldives, I’m still writing this from a perspective of a person working in a resort in the Maldives and I can give insights that are different from that of a tourist (I hope so).
Almost all the major airlines fly to the Maldives.
If you are coming from Manila, you can fly via Air Asia or Tiger Air. The rates will be around USD 350 without luggage and meals.
If you’re coming from Singapore, you can get Tiger Air flights from about USD 250++ and if you’re coming from Dubai, you can always book the luxurious Emirates Airlines (from AED 2500++) or opt to a much cheaper flight that is Fly Dubai and Sri Lankan Air (from AED 1,900++). However, with Sri Lankan Air, you’ll spend more time as you’ll have a stop over at Colombo. If you are hesitant about Sri Lankan Air, I’ve used this airline three times already and the only thing I didn’t like is the food because I’m not a big fan of curry.
There are about 200 resorts in the Maldives as of now and the numbers are still growing. Hence it might be difficult to choose.
Here are some things to consider when choosing your resort:
If you are travelling to the Maldives on a budget, then you can choose to stay in Guest Houses on Local Islands. You can get a room from USD 60++ per night.
The average nightly rate of 3 to 4 star resorts in the Maldives would be from USD 300 and above and luxury hotels would be from USD 1000 and above.
Overwater or Beach Villa
Here in the Maldives, they don’t usually call the rooms as rooms, rather Villa or Bungalow. You call room a room, when it is in a big building block with lots of rooms, and building blocks are not usual in the islands here. In the Maldives, most of the rooms are called Villas or Bungalows because they are stand alone and are more spacious that the usual room. Usually it has a bed and a sofa bed, an open door bath and shower, and sometimes a jacuzzi or pool.
Overwater Villas are everyone’s dream, however, expect that the price is higher than Beach Villas.
Note: Visiting the Maldives is not like visiting a city where you can book a small room for USD 50 per night because you only need it to keep your luggage and to sleep at night. Usually when you are on a city tour, you will always be out and about hence you wouldn’t care much about your room as long as its clean and safe. However, Maldives is a totally different story.
Maldives has a very unique concept of one resort per island (except in local islands where there are several Guest Houses). This means that once you are in your resort, there’s only a handful of places where you can be: on the beach, under water, in the restaurant or bar and in your villa. And at noon time when the sun can burn your skin, I’m sure you will seek refuge in your villa. Some of the hotels here doesn’t really have a night life (I mean clubs and stuff, there are only a handful I believe) hence after dinner, there’s nothing else to do than to go back to your villa. This means, you will spend a lot of time in your villa. So I highly recommend that you also consider your comfort when choosing a villa.
And say, your budget per night is about USD 300, please don’t try to squeeze yourself into a hotel of USD 50 per night.
Mode of Transportation
There are several ways of reaching the resort from the airport. The first one is by speedboat. Resorts located near the airport, or in the North and South Male’ Atoll, can be reached by speedboat which costs about USD 150 to 300 per person.
Guest houses in local islands near the airport can be reached by public ferries which are much affordable yet time consuming.
The other resorts further away from the airport can be reached by seaplane. The price per person ranges from USD 400 to 600 depending on the distance of the resort. It is quite expensive but if you can afford it, I recommend choosing a resort that you can reach via seaplane. The seaplane ride is already an experience itself. It’s like you are getting an aerial tour of the Maldives, and there are only a handful of countries where you can ride a seaplane.
Another mode of transportation is by domestic flight. This is usually used by resorts that are really far from the airport.
The seaplane operations are from 6am to 6pm only. Hence if your arrival to the Maldives is late night and you need to take a seaplane to your resort, that’s not possible. You have to stay the night either in Hulhumale (the same island where the airport is) or Male’ (the country’s capital) which is just one ferry away from the airport at just USD 1 per person.
As I have mentioned already, Maldives has a unique concept of one resort per island only and if you are staying for only 3 to 4 nights, then its better not to island hop. It’s not like you can stay in one resort and then have dinner somewhere else. Though this is possible if there’s another island nearby but the resort will charge you for the rent of the speedboat.
If you really want to island hop, and if you are willing to spend around 1 to 2 hours in the ferry and stay from one local island to another then that’s fine too. Usually, backpackers and adventurers do this.
But if you are in the Maldives to relax then better not do it.
When choosing a resort, check the number of restaurants that they have. As I have said, you cannot just leave the island and go out for dinner somewhere else. It will be better if the resort has different dining options so you won’t get bored with the food especially if you are to stay for more than 5 days.
Walk Around Male’ – The Capital of Maldives
If you’re flight out to Maldives is late night, you can leave the resort earlier so you can check out Male’, the country’s capital. You can walk around the city by yourself as the place is pretty safe and you can also ask for a local guide to help you out if you want to.
I’ve roamed around Male’ a few times already and you might want to check out some photos here.
When To Visit Maldives
It is sunny in the Maldives whole year round though rain can be expected during the monsoon season from June to August and this is when the rates are lower. The peak season will be from November to April so the rates will definitely be high.
Don’t worry about the monsoon season. It’s not like there will be thunderstorms all month long. I’ve been here for a year already and the worst that I’ve seen was a week full of soft rain but this doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes it rains for 15 minutes then the sun is up again. Sometimes it rains heavily in the night and the sun will be very bright the next day. The weather here is unpredictable and we don’t really rely on the weather forecast.
When and How To Book Your Holidays
You can always book the whole trip including your flights via Travel Agency as they might provide a good package deal. You can also book through booking engines such as Agoda, Booking.com and Expedia as they have very low rates for non-refundable bookings, but make sure that you’r dates are fixed already or you can always book with free cancellation so in case there’s a change of plan, you can always cancel even at the last minute.
Sometimes if you contact the hotel reservations directly, they will give you a good offer so it’s also worth a try. They might also have good offers on their website and it’s always good to check different channels first for you to get the best rates.
Maldives is a visa free country. You won’t need a visa unless you will stay for more than 30 days.
Things To Do
If you have been interested in visiting the Maldives, I’m sure you have done your research already and by now you probably have an idea of things that you can do here. However, I’m still listing some of the things that you might want to try when you are in the Maldives.
- Sunset Cruise
- Dolphin Cruise
- Whale shark & Manta Diving or Snorkeling (this can be seasonal and by resort location)
- Water sports
- Destination Dining (Sandbank dining, castaway dinner)
- Sun Bathing
- Wedding Ceremony
- Photo shoot 🙂