{Travelling Tuesdays} Maldives Travel Tips

{Travelling Tuesdays} Maldives Travel Tips

Ever since photos from my Maldives trip appeared on my Instagram (@renzze) and blog post – The Beauty of Maldives, I’ve had quite a number of emails asking me about this and that about traveling to Maldives. In this week’s {Travelling Tuesdays} post, I’ll share some general knowledge and tips for those who are planning your next trip there.

All the photos used for this post is from an evening swim before dinner when I was in Maldives.

Top and skirt: Liz Lisa
Bikini: A dreamy Shop
Flip Flops: Havaianas

I think I don’t have to tell you again how beautiful Maldives is. This country is at the top of my “Favourite Places I’ve Traveled To” list and I would visit it again in a heartbeat. However, it is also one of the most expensive places destinations to visit. So let me tackle one of the most common questions I’m asked about – Cost!

There are no real budget hostels or motels while hotels can only be found in the capital, Male (pronounced as Maaa-lay). All the other beautiful islands are run by private resorts. When considering a budget version of visiting Maldives, you should be prepared to at least fork out SGD100++ a night (off-peak) for a simple standard room on the lower end of the available rooms in Maldives. The mid-range rooms are about SGD200++ to SGD500++ a night while the luxury honeymoon rooms can cost even more than an average worker’s monthly paycheck a night.

If you want to go on “a budget” (I’m using this term very loosely when applied to Maldives), it is best to choose full board. Eating and drinking can cost as much as your daily accommodation and since you are stuck on an island, you don’t really have much of a choice. Bottled water for drinking can start from around USD5 for a 1.5 litre bottle. If you stay on the mainland capital, Male, you can probably get cheaper food at about USD$5 a meal but I don’t recommend staying in Male because going to Maldives really is all about staying in the resort islands and spending all your time in their beautiful waters.

For spending, it always most convenient to use credit cards as it’s widely accepted and I usually go entirely cashless (except for tips) when I’m in Maldives. However, if you want to really want to bring cash, just bring USD. All the resorts are required by law to price their products and services in USD even though their local currency is the Maldivian rufiyaa.

I get asked a lot on when is the best time to go Maldives. December to April is probably the best time to go but it is also considered peak season and prices will adjust accordingly. If you go on the other months, there is a chance that your holiday will be plagued with rain so it’s up to you to take an informed risk because I really can’t predict the weather conditions when you are going to be there.

Next popular question is transport. You can reach the Maldives by sea (yacht/cruise) or by air. The airlines that fly to Maldives are: Sri Lankan Airways, Qatar Airway, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Indian Airlines, Balkan, Bulgarian Airlines, LTU, Condor, AOM French, Austrian Airlines and Malaysian Airlines. The other option is to use regular charter flights including, Britannia Airways, Balair, Monarch Airlines, Lauda Air, Air Europe of Italy, Sterling Airways, Air Holland, South African Airways, Air Tours International. So far, I’ve always taken Singapore Airlines there. The airport is small (only one plane can take off and land at a time!) but very safe. Please try to get a window seat when flying to the Male Airport because you’ll get an awesome bird’s eye view of the beauty of Maldives before you land! If you can’t secure a window seat then maybe it’s worth taking a seaplane tour.

Visa prior to arrival in the Maldives is not required. All tourists from all countries are granted a free 30-day visa upon arrival. Citizens of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Nepal are given a 90-day stamp.  This probably one of the contributing factors that makes it such a crazily popular destination despite the prices. However, all visitors need to have a valid passport. If a passport expiry date falls within 30 days of arrival, tourists cannot extend their stay beyond the passport’s expiry date. As for transport from the airport to the resorts you are staying in, this is normally taken care of by the resort you book with.

Before you embark on your trip to Maldives, I highly encourage you to buy travel insurance and make sure that your travel insurance covers you for expensive evacuations by seaplane or speedboat, and for any diving risks. Traveling for island holidays tends to give a higher risk of injury though so far I’ve been injury-free in Maldives (touchwood!)

The most likely “injury” you’ll sustain is sunburn because you are out most of the time  and probably soaking in the sea for the other half. Use sunscreen or sunblock with a high SPF and reapply diligently! It’s always easy to forget about sun protection when you are having so much fun. You can also bring some aloe vera for after sun care. Sunglasses are recommended while hats don’t work as well when there are strong winds.

Most actual injuries comes from the waters. Well, not exactly the water itself but from activities you do in the waters. Generally you won’t get hurt if you follow some simple guidelines.

Don’t touch coral, shells or fish. Colourful sea anemones are also poisonous and grabbing one can give you a painful sting. If you still somehow gotten yourself stung, soak the sting in vinegar then hurry to the resort reception desk to ask them for a doctor.

There is a good reason why you are always told not to touch corals or shells when snorkelling or diving. A lot of the corals are quite rough and possibly poisonous so a small cut can take a long time to heal. Wash any coral cuts very thoroughly with fresh water and then treat them liberally with antiseptic. Brushing against fire coral or the feathery hydroid can give you a painful sting and a persistent itchy rash. Please beware of the possibility of strong currents and don’t swim too far out from an island’s fringing reef, or too far from a boat on a snorkelling trip. Don’t try surfing unless you know where you are and what you’re doing – the surf breaks over coral reefs and you could be badly grazed, or knocked unconscious.

This is actually common sense but don’t step on sea urchins and stone fish! The waters are super clear so you should be able to see where you are going. You might encounter stingrays but they usually swim away when they are near humans, just don’t go chasing after them or you might end up like Steve Irwin. There are also many sharks in Maldives, but these are actually the least worrying of all the things I’ve mentioned (unless you are stupid enough to go provoke them) because the sharks all have plentiful supplies of their natural food, which they find far tastier than humans.

One last tip for this post:

It is good to note that Maldives are Muslim and alcohol is banned for the local population. You are not allowed to bring liquor to the Maldives. If you have bought liquor, beer and related items containing alcohol from a duty free shop while on route to the Maldives, these products must be bonded in the airport’s customs department upon arrival. These goods will be returned before departure. However, all resorts and hotels – other than hotels in the capital Male’ – offer world famous brands of liquor, beer, and other alcoholic beverages. Again, hotels in the capital Male’ do not offer liquor, beer and related products containing alcohol.

Getting drunk in Maldives is going to be expensive 😉



  1. January 16, 2014 / 1:15 am

    FlyDubai recently started flights to Male – often for very low fares. Also consider staying in Male and just do snorkeling trips to the hotel beaches. These often run for $20 or less per day and give you lot’s of variety.

    • January 23, 2014 / 11:46 pm

      Hi Mighty Travels,

      Thanks for the tip!

  2. January 16, 2014 / 1:15 am

    FlyDubai recently started flights to Male – often for very low fares. Also consider staying in Male and just do snorkeling trips to the hotel beaches. These often run for $20 or less per day and give you lot’s of variety.

    • January 23, 2014 / 11:46 pm

      Hi Mighty Travels,

      Thanks for the tip!

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