An Ultimate Travel Guide to Maldives for First-Time Travelers

Thinking of rocking Maldives this year but not sure where to start? Read on to gain some insight from our expert’s guide!

Nguyen Oanh

Maldives, a paradise on Earth pampering its visitors with fringes of tropical forest enclosing the untamed beaches. Down under the sea, thousands of coral reefs sway to the beat of the ocean where the vivid marine life is waiting to blow your mind.

Within recent years, Maldives has gradually become the apple in tourists’ eyes. The sense of luxury and secluded setting Maldives offers is never before seen. And if you’re seeking a lavish retreat to reconnect with nature, look no further than Maldives! Newcomer? Read on to find out our essential tips for a hassle-free vacation!

Maldives at A Glance

MALDIVES

The award-winning archipelago of Maldives is outperforming the world’s favorite beach destinations including French Polynesia and the Caribbean. Known in full as the Republic of Maldives, the country consists of nearly 1200 coral islands of all sizes and sandbanks scattering around the Central Northern part of the Indian Ocean. 

Admired from above, these islands look like a chain of a broken necklace dropped into the Indian Ocean and grouped into 26 atolls. The prestigious World Travel Award recently announced Maldives as the world’s leading destination, giving Maldives an outstanding reputation to rival any heavyweight. 

What sets Maldives apart from other famous islands is the sense of isolation and luxury that you cannot find elsewhere. The generous offer of snorkeling, diving, and other water sports turn Maldives into the cream of the crop peaking the bucket list of many passionate beach lovers. 

Fame and outstanding hospitality gives Maldives no room for budget-friendly vacation, and even if it does, budget trips only take a fraction. If the myriad of marine life and an utmost sense of romance are what you’re looking for, Maldives is the right place to be!

6 Best Ways to Get around Maldives

Velana International Airport (Male) is the only getaway into Maldives for international tourists, which is located on a secluded island of its own. Holidaymakers usually arrive on a chartered flight from Velana International Airport to one of the 12 regional airstrips and these chartered flights are operated daily. 

There are many scheduled services offered by British Airways, Qatar, Air Sri Lanka, Singapore Airlines, and Emirates flying you to Maldives. If you’re a first-time visitor, note that each resort perched on an island of its own. Therefore, you need to take a boat, seaplane, or even a domestic chartered flight to arrive at your desired accommodation depending on the distance from the airport. 

Remember that all of these means of transportation must be booked in advance before you land at the airport. Therefore, it’s a common scene to have an escort pick you up right at the airport and accompany you all the way to your resort. It is impossible to arrange a transfer in person after you land so put this down in bold and underline!

Domestic flights from Male Airport are offered by either Maldivian and FlyMe. Seaplane is the next option to get you from a seaplane port next to Male Airport to your island resort. There are multiple seaplane services to choose from including Trans Maldivian Airways, Maldivian, and some offered by the resorts themselves. A seaplane also comes in handy whenever you need a sightseeing trip or an island-hopping journey. 

Public transportation in Maldives only exists in the form of the ferry. Speedboat is one of the latest add-ins to the collection of transportation in Maldives. It should be available by reaching out to your receptionist for a rental service. 

Bicycles are widely offered by the resort and it’s a useful alternative to drive around the island’s footprint for a leisure stroll. The ferry network, on the other hand, is not extensive and therefore it doesn’t cover long-distance routes, not to mention the schedule is not reliable as they are much likely to be delayed or not even operated.

Top-Rated Things to Do in Maldives for All Types of Travelers 

Maldives is a dream-come-true for many travelers when it comes to a tropical getaway. As an archipelago, there’s no wonder that the top things to do in Maldives have a lot to do with water sports. The best activities in Maldives can be boiled down to either leisure pursuits or adventures. 

No matter if you’re new to snorkeling or not, it’s time to conquer your fear because snorkeling in Maldives is taken to a whole level! Maldives carries its torch on the majestic world of marine life and coral reefs. Snorkeling is the best way to get you to uncover this incredible charm and be a part of the real Maldives. 

Fun tubing is another adrenaline-fueled activity in Maldives that peps up your day with lots of laughter and screams. Parasailing can be a little more on the thrilling side and it’s definitely a setback for those experiencing acrophobia. Then we have diving as another must-do activity in Maldives. If Maldives is your first-time encounter with diving, keep calm and go 12 meters deep to get a feeling of what the pristine sea has to offer. There’s a chance that you will spot an incredible marine life even only with a tiny bit of it. 

For those who are seeking a sense of romance and privacy, opt for a spa treatment with your significant other. Pampering yourself with an exclusive Balinese massage treatment to recharge after a long day on the beach, or have your skin rubbed and smoothened after soaking in the scorching sun! 

How about enjoying sunset from a plunge pool reaching towards the sea? Relaxing as it should be, sunset in Maldives brings you a splendid view formed by an impeccable show of sunlight hovering in the air when the sun beams down. Before packing your bag on the leave, remember to give a local island a decent visit

If you think Maldives is all about going luxury and there’s no room for an authentic sense, think again! In fact, paying a visit to a local island to capture the authentic scene and experience a day in the life of the dwellers truly takes you off the grid. There are small lovely cafés and sandy beaches where you can laze around and seek for a secluded feeling.

Here’s to have a sneak peek into the best things to do in Maldives that you should not miss. And to give you a full insight into what the Maldives has to offer, we have curated a list of our favorite things to do and places to visit right here to gear you up. 

Where Should You Stay in Maldives?

Now that you’re about to venture out to Maldives! And when it comes to accommodation, you get a little bit intimidated as the idea of choosing amongst 1200 islands springs to mind that you don’t know where to start. 

If budget is not a tricky task, feel free to pick amongst Maldives’s best resorts and hotels! The hospitality that these hotels offer is top-notch as the biggest names try to outperform one another with extra services such as a private pool, personal butlers, and even a pillow menu! 

The collection of hotels and resorts in Maldives range from family-friendly, eco-friendly to couple-oriented. Male is the best area to stay in Maldives where you can live up to the hype! It’s close to the airport and dotted with a museum, ancient mosque, food and beverage possibilities, and a wealth of water sports to experience. To help you save more time scrolling through the Internet to find the right place to stay, here is a list of Maldives’s best hotels and resorts!

Find Out Maldives’s best hotels and resorts

Maldives Essentials: All you need to know before coming to Maldives

Local Currency and Money Exchange in Maldives

Maldivian Rufiyaa is the national currency of Maldives but we don’t think you should carry as much local money while in Maldives. Euro and Dollar have been widely accepted in the Maldives because of the booming tourism industry. In terms of currency exchange, look around the exchange station at the airport or refer to the Bank of Maldives to sort it out. 

What Type of Electrical Plug Do You Need for Maldives?

Maldives operates on 230V as the standard supply of voltage. Upon your arrival into Maldives, don’t forget to pack along plugs type D and G! 

What Languages Are Spoken in Maldives?

Dhivehi is the official language used in Maldives. Given Maldives the cream of the crop for tourists, English is widely spoken across the atolls. At the biggest resorts where international travelers become a common scene, you will see French, German, Italian, Russian, and Chinese being used. 

A Brief Look into Maldives’s Rich Culture 

Maldives is an island country nestled off the coast of the Indian Ocean. And as part of South Asia, the system of culture and custom of Maldives comes in a respected diversity. This has a lot to do with the attachment of Maldives’s history as part of the crossroad in the Indian Ocean trading routes. 

The close-knit relationship these citizens share has built a solid cultural foundation of Maldives. And talking about religion, many Maldivians took root as Buddhists but Islam is the only official religion allowed on the islands nowadays. 

Upon your visit to Maldives, it’s crucial to cover your shoulders and knees to show your respect to the local culture. Swimsuits and bikinis stay at the beach and they should never be shown to the public. 

Some other sides of Maldivian culture are the heritage of crafts, instruments, and music. Some of the best Maldivian craftsmanship are wooden lacquerware, boats, and dhonis (a form of traditional sail vessel). 

How to Buy a Sim Card in Maldives?

Getting buzzed by morning texts and emails is the last thing you want as Maldives is meant to be lounging in the pool and dipping in the sea. However, a local sim card is still widely available at the Velana International Airport where you can browse through some packages. 

Note that 6% GDT is unavoidable to top up your sim card so get ready to have it added to the top of the bill. A better resort you can opt for is buying a prepaid sim card online that supports local networks in Maldives, or choose an international sim card if you’re country-hopping on a long day trip.  

Best Time to Visit Maldives

Put Maldives down at the end of your calendar because the best time to rock Maldives is from December to March, with November marking the peak season. This section of time welcomes the lowest temperature in Maldives, which hovers around 24ºC. 

The weather is the most bearable around this time but note that Maldives is dominated by tropical heat and sunny weather all year round. Maldives is not a winter land but rains do occur during the monsoon season from May to October. 

For those who are on a little budget, consider visiting Maldives during the off-season from May to October when the prices stop skyrocketing, making room for holiday deals.  

Dos and Don’ts in Maldives

Visiting any country as a foreigner, whether on a leisure or business purpose, there are some protocols that you shouldn’t forget. 

  • First of all, don’t sunbathe topless! Bikinis are also not allowed in the inhabited islands. That being said, you can only expose your skin at the hotel or resort after confirmation. 
  • Turtle shells and black corals should never be collected or smuggled following the matter of protected species.
  • Who can refuse the temptation of some booze and wine on a leisure retreat? However, keep in mind that only qualified accommodations and permit holders are legal to serve alcohol. Don’t attempt to bring liquor and alcohol somewhere out into Maldives if you don’t want to be called out by the local authority.
  • Be sensible about the coming of Ramadan month. Ramadan can be seen as one of the most important events in the Islamic world, and it goes the same way to Maldives. If you’re visiting Male during Ramadan, don’t attempt to smoke or consume food unless you want to mess with the locals!

And that’s about it! Just like anywhere else, Maldives is a fantastic place to put on your bucket list! All you have to do is bookmark our handy guide and take a closer look again before venturing out to Maldives!

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