The Maldives is an archipelago of 1,200 islands and islets in the Indian Ocean, covering an area of 90,000 square kilometers. There is no better place in the world for water sports aficionados than the islands, with their white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, and romantic, calm environment among tropical splendor. This comprehensive Maldives travel guide includes information from traveling about Male and the islands to regular activities, visas and vaccines, and travel advice.
Maldives Travel Guide – Visa and Vaccinations
The Maldives International Airport’s immigration counter issues free 30-day tourist visas to citizens of all nations. Nationals of India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh are exempt from this restriction and are issued a 90-day visa.
Staying in the Maldives for more than 30 days requires obtaining a visa from your local embassy ahead of time or leaving the country for 30 days and returning. The first Visa is free of charge, but it may be renewed for approximately US$70 if you want to keep it. You’ll need a return flight ticket, US$30-50 per person per day in cash, or a verified hotel reservation for the duration of your planned stay to get your Visa.
Don’t forget to set aside a few bucks for the airport exit tax. Most airlines include the departure tax now, but not all do. It’s $12 per person, each trip.
All travelers to and from the Maldives must fill out and submit a Traveler Health Declaration (THD) at least 24 hours before departure. You may use IMUGA to send the form to us electronically. To travel to the Maldives, you must be immunized against yellow fever, and evidence of this is only needed if you have recently visited a nation in the yellow fever zone. Malaria is not a concern, but you should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Purchasing medication over the counter is not advised due to the prevalence of fake medications and pharmaceuticals that are either improperly kept or out-of-date.
Emergency air repatriation should be covered by your health insurance policy, if possible. All of these services will need payment in cash from you. There are no major health issues in the Maldives. The majority of visitors’ health issues are caused by diving or sun exposure. Drink enough water, prevent overexposure to the sun, and proceed with care while scuba diving.
Travel guide to the Maldives: Island Attractions
In the Maldives, surfing is a popular pastime in the resorts. Swells from the southern Indian Ocean provide reliable surfing conditions to the Maldives, making it one of the world’s best spots. For surfing, the North Male Atoll and the 450-kilometer-south atolls are the most popular locations.
In Maldives resorts, water sports, private pools, spas, and lounge spaces abound. Snorkeling, scuba diving, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, night diving, night fishing, and kiteboarding are just a few of the island activities available in the Maldives. Kiteboarding even involves surfing through gorgeous lagoons in waist-deep water. Guests staying at Maldives resorts have the option of taking part in activities such as paragliding and island hopping while on their vacation.
In the Maldives, almost every resort offers extra services, including diving schools and car rental agencies. In addition to this, Maldives resorts provide a wide range of recreational options, including swimming pools, discos, karate lounges, saunas, tennis courts, table tennis, billiards, game fishing, and cultural performances, live music, restaurants, and barbecues.
For the most part, your time will be spent diving, visiting islands, and taking in the beauty while onboard your cruise ship if you’re like most other divers.
Mainland Male Travel Tips:
If you have the time, explore Male Town’s attractions. For those interested in learning more about the history and culture of the country, the National Museum, Mulee-Aage Palace, and Friday Mosque are all excellent choices. Enjoy the sensory pleasures of the local fish market, the firewood market, and the fruit bazaars on your personalized Maldives trip for a more contemporary perspective on the nation.
Even though Male, being the commercial center of the island, does not have many sandy beaches, an artificial beach is a favorite gathering place for the residents in the late afternoon and evening. Swim, sunbathe or take a walk around the island with locals and visitors alike. Water sports and entertainment, such as live music, carnivals, and parades, utilize the artificial beach as a gathering place for their events.
Male is a bustling city with a diverse mix of businesses catering to the needs of both residents and visitors. Food and shopping are more local than chain-store type, so you know what you’re buying. Thankfully, this area has avoided the harshest effects of globalization. Local handicrafts, including traditional carpets and wooden curios, are available for purchase in shops and street vendors. As a souvenir from your Maldives liveaboard vacation, you may purchase a beautiful wooden carved dhoni.
Jewelry Shopping in the Maldives
Silver, gold, and mother-of-pearl jewelry may be found in abundance throughout the city. As a responsible tourist, you should use this chance to express your dissatisfaction with selling unethical goods like turtle shells and coral while on your Maldives vacation.
Leather products, cotton, polyester and silk clothing, coats, sweaters, and athletics may all be found in designer shops and a shopping arcade, many of which seem to be real brands. There are also plenty of electronic products, such as watches, cameras, and other similar devices.
Maldives Travel Guide: Shopping in the Maldives
Before you schedule time in your Maldives vacations for shopping, keep in mind that stores are open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday through Thursday. During Muslim prayer times, shops shut for 15 minutes five times a day. Thus, you may be in the middle of a negotiation when the shopkeeper interrupts you to give prayer.
Importing alcoholic beverages requires a formal permit. A small selection of alcoholic beverages is accessible at resorts across the Maldives. Still, you will be unable to buy it in the capital, Male, or on any other inhabited island during your stay.
The government has banned the export of products manufactured from turtle shells, coral, and pearl oyster shells to protect coral reefs and marine life. Among the items that can’t be imported into the Maldives are things like pork and dogs and firearms and drugs.
Maldives Travel Guide: How to Get Around
The Maldives’ population is over 300,000 people, with 70,000 people living in Male, the capital. It’s little wonder that officials had to be inventive to keep the city’s population, businesses, and international airport from overcrowding owing to the rise in demand for Maldives vacations.
Many streets are one-way, many buildings are multi-story and very small, and the roadways are likewise as tiny as they can be. Most people get about on bikes or cycles, although there are plenty of vehicles to be seen. This feeling of condensing may also be applied to the idea of passing the time. As a result, what many would consider a “near call” is frequently ordinary to locals, and despite all of this, you will have an exquisite Maldives holiday in the end.
Private yachts, Seaplanes, and Boats
There are three methods to get about the Maldives: via boat, seaplane, or private yacht. When it comes to transportation, yachts, and aircraft are mostly used by visitors. You may use a cab to travel about the island if you’re on Male or one of the other bigger populated islands in the region.
While walking is the ideal method to explore the resort islands, most hotels offer golf buggies available for guest use. Between the capital and the airport, a 24-hour boat service is available.
Travel on Dhoni
Every 15 minutes before midnight, a dhoni, a traditional Maldivian wooden boat painted blue, departs from the airport pier. After midnight, they run every 30 minutes. You may hire dhonis for a trip to neighboring islands while in the Maldives, and it’s a lovely way to travel. Your bargaining abilities, where you want to travel, and how long you want to influence the price. If you want to start at 6 a.m. and use it continuously for 12 hours, expect to pay anything from the US $60 to the US $100 for the day. Most Maldives resorts provide the option to rent a Dhoni, although it is more expensive, costing about $200 or $250 per day, and is subject to availability.
Boats for Hire
Guests on Maldives excursions may even rent speed boats from several of the resorts’ on-site marinas. Small outboard-powered runabouts to huge multi-deck launches with an aircraft-style cabin are all available. It’s arguably the most expensive method to travel, costing around the US $350 each day. For a private Maldives vacation, you may hire a captain, a few crew members, and a launch for the whole day for an additional fee. In the case of day charters, it is customary for the customer to cover the cost of refueling the boat’s tank upon return to Male.
The resort-arranged island-hopping excursions do not need permits. The Ministry of Atolls requires an Inter Atoll Travel Permit for independent travel to populated islands other than Male.
Male and Addu, the southernmost atoll, are the only locations tourists will go by road. Both cities have taxi services, and driving is done on the left side of the road in both.