Travel Tips Maldives – The forecast was sunny, but it was raining when we landed in the Maldives. Naturally, I began to worry about the coming days. I didn’t come this far to see gray clouds rolling over gloomy seascapes. Thoughts of the gently undulating shallow waters beneath the iconic overwater bungalows these islands are known for began to recede.
The next morning, we were greeted by the sun, shining over the ivory beach. It never rained again at any time during our stay.
Travel Tips Maldives
The Maldives is one of those countries that I never imagined I could visit. If you asked me ten years ago if I would like to go to the Maldives, I would probably laugh in your face not because there is anything wrong with the idea of being there, but because I knew it would never happen. Even me five years ago, someone who had just started to blog, would never have guessed. At that time, there were only three things I knew about the Maldives:
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But like I said, the universe has a way of surprising us. Before I knew it, I was sitting on a wooden platform, trying to dip my toes into the most turquoise lagoon I had ever seen in my life. Maldives was never a dream for me, but when I was there, I felt like living in one.
Beaches are what tourists come to Maldives for, but you need to ask yourself what kind of beach vacation you want to enjoy here. In terms of cost, there are two ways to do this: budget and luxury.
To better explain this, we need to say more about the islands. Located southwest of India and Sri Lanka, the Maldives is a tropical country, consisting of 26 coral atolls that are fragmented into 1,192 islands, only 200+ of which are inhabited. Tourism fuels its economy. In fact, 80+ of the inhabited islands are exclusive luxury resorts, designed to attract tourists.
So basically there are two types of islands here: private and public. The public islands, also called “local islands”, are the inhabited ones, meaning that there are locals who live there. This also means that there are establishments available for everyone such as stores, tour agencies, shops, etc. Private islands are usually occupied by luxury resorts, most of which are open only to their guests and staff. Some of these private islands are open to non-guests staying elsewhere, but on a day tour. (I will discuss this later.)
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One of the key differences between local and private islands, apart from cost, is that most restrictions do not apply to the latter.
If you’re after luxury and privacy and don’t mind spending a lot on this trip, you might want to consider staying at an exclusive resort. This is a good option for honeymooners and those on romantic getaways.
Exclusive resorts also come in all forms. Some charge thousands of dollars per night (like the Four Seasons). But those on the lower end of the spectrum are a bit cheaper. For example, Fihalhohi Island Resort Island Resort and Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort offer beach rooms for only 200 USD (low season) and 300 USD (high season).
Most exclusive resorts have two main types of accommodation: beach/land rooms and overwater bungalows (water villas). Of course, staying in a water bungalow seems tempting, but they are usually the most expensive rooms. Those on the beach are much cheaper.
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If online users are to be believed, here are the 6 best resorts that are on the lower end of the budget spectrum.
I stayed at Olhuveli for two reasons: price and amenities. Olhuveli is simply much better in pictures and seems to offer much more. I got a limited discount via Agoda and paid only 177 USD per night (including all taxes) for our beach room, which is considerably lower than the cheapest room in Fihalhohi.
But if you are aware of the budget, it is better to stay in one of the local beaches or in the areas near Male, the capital, and just go to the island from there. The public beaches here are gorgeous too! And staying here means you have access to more restaurants and accommodations. There are guesthouses and lodges that offer rooms for 30 USD in these areas.
The best part is, from these beaches, you can rent a boat or a speed boat to visit other islands in a day tour, even some of those that are considered private and exclusive.
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If you choose to stay at a guesthouse or inn on a local island, be prepared to shell out 50-100 USD per night. For lodges and inns, try booking with Agoda and HostelWorld. For guest houses, try AirBnB.
December to April is considered “high season”, with the period from December to February being its peak. This period is when the most favorable weather passes. In anticipation, it is also at this time that most tourists flock to the islands. The downside: higher prices for accommodation, transfers and tours, especially during Christmas and New Year.
May to November is considered “low season” – rates are at their lowest – but storms are likely. For some reason, the prices go back up in August, most likely because of the European summer break.
Malé International Airport (formally known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) on Hulhulé Island is the primary gateway to the Maldives. It is connected to a number of airports by several commercial airlines. But if you come from Southeast Asia, you can connect in the following cities through these low-cost carriers:
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Most beach activities. And the rates vary a lot depending on where you book. The tours offered by private resorts are a gazillion times more expensive than the ones you can book at a public beach like Maafushi.
Whichever tour you book, make sure you arrive on time because you will join other tourists. You don’t want to be the cause of delay.
You can also visit other local islands from Maafushi by ferry: Fulidhoo (4 USD), Guraidhoo (2 USD). You just have to be more careful trying to understand the schedules. They can be very confusing at times.
By now, I hope you have decided how you want to travel to the Maldives and where you want to stay. Whatever you choose, I have prepared simple sample 5D / 4N itineraries below, one for a budget stay at an exclusive resort and another for a stay in Maafushi. These are sample routes only, feel free to change what it is. (They had not included.)
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If you are ALONE and spend 10 USD per meal and 60 USD per night in a guesthouse in Maafushi, the total cost of this itinerary (excluding airfare) is around: 465 USD (21,855 PHP).
You can also lower the cost drastically by skipping the Fihalhohi Day Tour and just do a snorkeling tour instead on Day 4. That will put the total cost at: 402 USD (18, 894 PHP).
Another way to save is to stay in a cheaper guesthouse or keep your meals to just 5 USD.
If there are two of you traveling together, you will split the cost of accommodation. That brings the total to only 291 USD (13, 677 PHP).
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While many luxury resorts charge thousands of dollars, there are exclusive resorts that are cheaper. One of the best we found is Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort. We booked their cheapest room at 177 USD per night (531 USD for 3 nights). It is also important to contact the resort before your trip and arrange airport transfers.
One thing you can do to reduce the cost is to take advantage of the free breakfast buffet, which was open until 10 am. If you are not a breakfast person, have a heavy meal around 9:30 and then dinner around 6:30. For lunch, you can have some cookies to get you through the afternoon. Apparently, they allow you to bring some types of food. (The other couple with us brought some drinks and food from the shop in Hulhumale and the staff didn’t call or stop them). honest LOL.
It still seems too steep, but trust me, with other luxury resorts charging USD 1000 per night, that’s actually pretty low already.
This travel guide is a work in progress. If you have something to add, spot something that needs to be corrected, or want to ask a question, hit the comments section below. 🙂
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Yosh Dimen is a full-time travel blogger. He has three passions in life: social media, travel and movies. Yosh has won 3 Philippine Blog Awards and a Palanca Award. Learn more about his personal travels at Yoshke.comHome » Articles » Asia » Maldives » 8 Tips to help you plan your trip to Maldives
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The idyllic islands of the Maldives are located in the Indian ocean. I’m at home