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Maldives is known as one of the most beautiful destinations in the entire world. Made of thousands of atolls, home to overwater bungalows, and located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, it has become a top destination for honeymooners and couples. However, one does not need be in a relationship to go to Maldives. More travelers are going solo nowadays more than ever.
Here are our top tips when planning a trip to Maldives:
Depending on your origin, Maldives may or may not be a far destination for you. Most flights to Maldives originate from the UAE, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. In the recent year, additional flight connections have been added between Bangkok, Istanbul, and Kuala Lumpur. Maldives is an average of 4-5 hours flight time from most airports that provide service. The closer you are to Maldives, the cheaper the flights.
Airfare can be found usually at high costs when one looks – $2000 for a roundtrip flight from North America and Europe. I recommend you perform a more diligent search as you CAN find flights for $900 on Emirates during certain weeks. Flights that originate within Asia can be found in the low $300’s and I have even seen sales for flights under $100. There have been Groupons available as well for Maldives.
During my calculations, I have found that it is best to book a Flight+Hotel package when coming from half way across the globe. I ran the numbers myself when planning my honeymoon in Maldives and the numbers end up being close to the cost of a flight alone. This means you can book a week-long trip in the low $2000’s per person instead of a plane ticket alone.
These packages include major island resorts, such as Meeru Resort & Spa where I stayed, and not inns or bed and breakfasts. The same goes for when I performed my search in result for resorts. The cost is very similar as booking a resort alone as it is for a resort and flight package.
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Usually a destination has a “high” season or a period of time when it is best to visit. In the case of Maldives, you can visit anytime. No hurricanes or cyclones or typhoons hit this country. As per monthly averages, September appears to be the rainiest but as most tropical destinations, rain comes and goes.
I visited in middle of August where it was forecasted to storm daily. I experienced three hours of rain during the eight days I was there. The forecast is usually incorrect or it does not affect every island. Half of the Maldives islands are in the Northern Hemisphere and the other half are in the Southern. This means- book a ticket when it is cheapest. You will most likely have sun!
Culture & Dress Code
Maldives is an Islamic country and all citizens are Muslim. Remember to be mindful of their religion and their cultural ways. Respect is very important, especially to the elders.
Dress appropriately in the local towns and on the mainland of Male. Swimwear is acceptable at major resorts, but not anywhere else. Wear a short sleeve shirt and shorts if you are outside of a resort. Anywhere you go out to eat, your arms must be covered as underarm hair is not hygenic when food is present in their culture. Do not bring alcohol into the country and do not drink it in public (outside your resort).
Where to Stay & Getting Around
There are over 100 major resorts in Maldives spread out among the atolls. If you did not know, it is mostly one resort per island. That’s right, the resort takes up the entire atoll as they are small enough to walk in entirety. The largest atoll, Gan, is 4 kilometers long. Island hopping is not easy unless resorts offer day trips to nearby sister resorts or to residential islands where locals reside.
In Malé, there are more and more accommodation options everyday. Inns, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and even Airbnbs have popped up. These are very convenient options as one would not need to take a boat or seaplane to get to another island once they land at the airport.
The costs are much lower as a shared room can go for as little as $20 per night. Average costs of private rooms are estimated around $50-60 per night. As compared to a room or villa at a resort which can go for $250 and up, staying in or near Malé is a budget friendly option.
You can experience Maldives solo and have a great time. If you choose to stay at an island resort, I would recommend up to 3 days to have time for excursions and relaxation. Find out what is included at the resort (kayaking usually is) and get the Calendar of Events. Many excursions include snorkeling, cruises, helicopter tours, and visits to local towns. In the evenings, there are many shows, dances, events, and special dinner nights. If you book an overwater bungalow, trust that you will want to spend a lot of time in there as well even if you are solo. There is nothing like it!
Staying on the island Hulhumale, where the Malé airport is located, is convenient and budget friendly. You can explore the beaches there and cross over to the city of Malé easily back and forth by ferry. There are no beaches on actual Malé island, but you will find a beautiful skyline and the vibrant city that is home to 116,000 Maldivians. Visit the National Museum, watch showcases of ancient artifacts, and explore the historic mosques.
If you only want to visit a resort island for a day trip, it is possible to do so from the island of Malé. Head over to Villingili, Gulhi Falhu, or Kuda Bandos for a day trip. You can ask your hotel or locals as some even offer to take you their on their boat for a negotiated upon price. Many packages offered by guesthouses are to Bandos for $30 roundtrip or $60 if they include an activity.
Have you explored Maldives? Where did you stay?