6 Practical Things to Know About the Maldives
Maldives is a tiny country that consists of paradise-looking islands spread all over the Indian Ocean just south of India and Sri Lanka. That is pretty much everything I knew about the Maldives before visiting.
If you are thinking of a vacation in the Maldives, or you are just curious, then read on!
Here are some things that I wish I knew before visiting the country along with some interesting statistical facts about the Maldives:
1. DON’T WAIT FOR YOUR HONEYMOON TO VISIT!
You do not need to wait for your honeymoon and you don’t even need a girlfriend of a boyfriend to enjoy the Maldives!
Believe it or not, Maldives is a destination not only for honeymooners but for everyone, really. You will find there an endless list of activities that you can try regardless of age and interests and, most importantly, you will never get bored!
In fact, I have written a post about 7 best excursions you have to do in the Maldives
I have traveled the Maldives with a group of friends and we had a blast!!
Along the tourists, we have seen there maaaaany families, people celebrating their bachelorette parties and more. But heck, you can even go in the Maldives by yourself!
2. MALDIVES IS NOT ONLY FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS
Me, and maybe you too, when we think of Maldives, we imagine something so luxurious that is absolutely unreachable to a normal person. A dream that will never come true, a place you will probably never visit in this life.
Did I guess it right? Well, at least this is how I imagined the Maldives before I visited…
It is partially true though, I won’t deny that you will not find a 5$ per night accommodation there, like in Thailand or Bali, but it is definitely way more affordable than you might think!
Starting at $200 – $250 US a night you can treat yourself with a very nice bungalow in a luxury resort on a private island. Be sure to book in advance though!
A minimum price for an all-famous water villa will start at about $450 US for 2 people with breakfast included. Not thousands, right?
For an average European or a North American, this can be done once in a lifetime, can’t it? And believe me – this is an experience that’s worth every penny!!
If this is still a bit too expensive for you then no worries, there is a solution! It may not be a water villa, but you can stay on a local island in a guesthouse. But hey, you know what? The sea has the same blue color everywhere in the Maldives!
Guesthouses on local islands start from around $50 to $100 US per night.
This is also not that budget-ish, I agree, but think about this: at your regular hotel in, let’s say, the middle of nowhere in USA or Australia, a simple room will cost you about $200 US.
Can this be compared to the beauty of the Maldives? I doubt so.
3. ALCOHOL IS ONLY ALLOWED ON RESORT ISLANDS
It might come as a surprise to some travelers, but alcohol is banned on all local islands.
Maldives is a Muslim country, so the locals do not drink, nor sell alcohol.
If you are staying on a local island, not a resort, you can just enjoy this holiday sober.
However, there is a walk around to this rule on some local islands. For example, Maafushi has a genius solution to this problem – they have an offshore stationed boat with a complimentary transfer. There, you can drink alcohol with no problems! That is not land, so, technically, it’s perfectly okay! 🙂
Similar restrictions apply to your bikini and other open clothes if you are staying on a local island. Try to dress modestly and respect the local traditions. You will usually find special “bikini zones”, where you can swim in an open swimming suit, but you should be dressed in a conservative way (long dress and a scarf to cover your shoulders) when passing through the village to get there.
This, of course, does not apply to those staying in a resort island; you can wear whatever you want there!
4. YOU CAN TRAVEL TO THE MALDIVES ON A BUDGET
With tourism gaining traction in the Maldives, accommodation options are becoming more affordable. I am not talking about those overwater private island villas, as those properties will probably always be expensive.
What I’m talking about are the local guest houses.
A flight to Maldives can be dirt-cheap if you are already in Asia (check prices from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Colombo) and it’s becoming more and more affordable to fly there from Europe and North America too, especially if you catch some crazy promos!
So many people tell me how lucky I am when they see my colorful Maldives pictures on Instagram, and I mean, do not get me wrong, I love what I am doing, but not many people know that my way to travel blogging success was far from a bed of roses.
Anyway, what I am saying is – You can travel to the Maldives on a budget too! The sea has the same turquoise blue color both in a luxury resort and on a local island, and the underwater life is just as breathtaking!
Plus, if you cannot afford to spend your whole vacation in an overwater bungalow and sip amazing cocktails on a private island, then guess what, you can still do that for a fraction of the price of actually staying there!
5. YOU DO NOT NEED TO STAY IN A POSH RESORT TO ENJOY ALL ITS FACILITIES
How about enjoying everything the best resort has to offer not for $1000+ US a night, but $100+ US a day?
The trick is that it’s possible to visit those islands for a fee (it really depends on the island and conditions, but the prices start from $100 US) and enjoy all the best they have to offer – swimming pools, alcohol bars, delicious food, amazing views over water bungalows etc.
The catch? You won’t be staying there overnight, so you do not pay for the actual accommodation.
You will still get to take amazing pictures like this:
What you need to do is to take a speedboat from a local island that will take you to the closest luxury resort and then it will pick you up in the evening. How about this deal?
By the way, the day tours are also cheaper on the local islands, the prices usually start from $40 – $50 US.
Check out this video to see which were my 7 favorite excursions in the Maldives:
Which local islands can you go to?
Maafushi, Fulidhoo and Male/Hulhumale are the most popular local island and all of them have the necessary infrastructure to host tourists.
Here are some fast tips to travel on a budget to the Maldives:
- Change your money to MVR. Opposed to the private islands where you can only pay in USD, if you stay with the locals you should pay in Maldivian rufiyaa
- Travel in a group, as this will help you save a lot of money on shared accommodation and transfers to places
- Go to the Maldives during off-season, as prices for villas in luxury resorts can drop 2 or even 3 times (April to September)
6. THE PRICE YOU SEE IS ALMOST ALWAYS NOT THE PRICE YOU WILL ACTUALLY PAY
You should know that there is also a 12% tax and 10% service charge. This applies to everything in the resort – from your restaurant bill to a sandwich in a Deli, or a sun cream that you buy from a shop.
So expect to pay 22% more for everything you see on the price list. There is also no need to leave any tips at the restaurants in your resort – you have already paid the service charge for that.
As you probably won’t deal with any cash at all during your stay on the island, this information is useful so that it doesn’t come as an unpleasant surprise at your check out.