Last updated on July 30th, 2019 at 07:29 pm
Maldives is a popular destination. First thing is coming to the mind of people about the country is luxury resorts and paradise islands. In this blog post we will tell you all the things to know before visiting Maldives.
You will discover many useful things before your trip to Maldives. Since currency, religion (a few people don’t even know that Maldives is a Muslim country), food, culture and of course luxury resorts and local islands on a budget in Maldives.
Best time to visit Maldives
Maldives might be hot and sunny all year round, but it still consists of two seasons; the dry season and the wet season. December to April is the high season, which encounters the drier northeast monsoon and when most resorts rates rises. The best time to visit the Maldives is May to November. Although you’ll experience some rain during the southwestern monsoon that occurs at this time, you’ll have the least company and the prices of the resorts are a little cheaper.
Things to know before visiting Maldives
1. There are more than 1100 island in Maldives
There are more than 1000 islands in Maldives. You will be able to discover just a few of them but all of them are so beautiful. Just choose the best matching to your budget and things to do there.
2. Visa 30 Days free
There are 30 Days free visa in Maldives take advantage of it. You will have to enjoy properly the country with this time. People usually comes to Maldives for a week and stay in a luxury resort and when they leave home. They only had the experience of that dreamy luxury resort but there are more local islands to explore in Maldives.
3. Maldives is 100% Muslim country
Everyone in the country has islam as religion. They are very strict with food (no pork) and no alcohol except in luxury resorts. But in local islands they follow rules. They pray 5 times during the day in the mosque. Sometimes you will go to the supermarket and it’s closed during the pray time so just wait or come back later.
4. Luxury Resorts in Maldives
Luxury resorts in Maldives have private islands. Most of them you can go only by speed boat (prices can go $25-200 USD one way) and see plane (prices can go $300-700 USD one way). Prices are expensive for accommodation, food and tours in the luxury resorts. Everything is great staff, the island, food you will love them and there are many things to do around the island full of entertainment.
A night staying in a resort the cheapest that you can find in low season can go from $200-300 USD per night. Later you have to check if they offer full board meals, half board since food can be average $40-50 USD per meal and person. So make sure you check the packages for accommodation and food and you check your best option.
Read here our review of Park Hyatt Hadahaa in Maldives!
5. Local Islands on a budget in Maldives
In local islands in Maldives prices are cheaper than luxury resorts. Food doesn’t have so much variety but the islands are so beautiful. Remember is same ocean than private resorts. Almost all of them can be reach by public boat $2-4 USD (also speed boat $25-30 USD) against $25-200 USD speed boat going to the luxury resorts. At night is so quiet and local food can be found for $4-5 USD per meal. Accommodation prices aren’t cheap guesthouses offer $40-60 USD and inlcude breakfast for two people. They are usually luxury guesthouses and they will treat you really good. Day trips are affordable around $30 USD per person for 2-3 hours.
6. Almost everything is imported in Maldives
That’s why Western food is so expensive in Maldives since most of the products are imported. Apart from yellow tuna fish and other fish Maldives doesn’t have big variety of products. Just a few vegetables and fruits are able to grow in the country.
7. Alcohol is forbidden
As we mentioned they are 100% muslim and alcohol it’s not allowed in the country. It’s only allowed in the luxury resorts.And bar or floating boats outside the local islands. You have to go in a small boat 5 minutes ride to reach the floating bar.
8. Transportation can be crazy cheap or crazy expensive
Did you hear of public boats in Maldives. Prices for 2-3 hours boat ride as low as $1.5 USD one way. But speed boats can go from $25 USD for 30 minutes ride to $150 USD one way going to luxury resorts. Domestic planes can go for $400-600 USD return ticket and sea planes $600-900 USD for a return ticket.
9. British adapter for Maldives
Make sure you are bringing the British adapter with the 3 pin. We are using a multiadapter where we have all of them in one. It’s quite useful when traveling and you don’t have to be worried about plugs anywhere in the world.
10. Sim card
You can purchse a SIM card right in the airport. If you are planning to stay 14 days in Maldives there are SIM cards for $30 USD and 17 GB. We bought this one when we arrived and we didn’t use so much since wifi worked good in Maldives just when moving aroudn the islands.
And later we bought a local sim card for $2 USD and we were uploading load when we needed. 1 GB costs $5 USD but since wifi was working good we had enough with 1 GB for a week.
11. Wifi connection
In our last visit we realized 2019 that wifi connection improved a lot in Maldives. We found good connection almost everywhere comparing with our previous visit in 2018 when we had many problems with internet connection.
From Dhiffushi, Thulusdhoo, Maafushi, Gulhi, Omadhoo as local islands to luxury resorts like Kuramathi and Hadahaa. It was quite good for catching up online in most of the places. The only challenge with internet connection is when the rain appears.
12. There are 12 Airports in Maldives
Apart from Velana International Airport there are three more international airpots in Maldives: Gan International AIport with flights coming from Colombo in Sri Lanka. Hanimaadhoo International Airport with flights coming from Trivandrum in India and Villa International Airport.
Apart from these 4 International AIports in Maldives there are 8 more Domestic airports: Dharavandhoo Airport, Kadhdhoo Airport, Kaadedhdhoo Airport, Fuvahmulah Airport, Dhaalu Airport, Thimarafushi Airport, Kooddoo Airport and Ifuru Airport.
13. There are Guest Houses in Maldives
I know everybody knows about the water villas and luxury resorts in Maldives. But there are also local guest houses. Prices per night are around $40-60 USD depending on the season for a room for 2 people with breakfast included. Almost all the guest houses have air conditioning, big space, table, fridge and toiletries. So we could say luxury guest houses!
14. Almost No Nightlife in Local Islands
As we mentioned before alcohol isn’t allowed in local islands in the mainland. Only it’s allowed to sell alcohol in the floating boat 5 minutes far. So at night everything is quiet and it’s better if you wake up early morning to enjoy the sunrise.
15. No Exchange Office in Most of Local Islands
There are NO Exchange Office Foreign Currency in local islands so make sure you bring local currency or USD. If you pay with USD they will give your change with local currency Maldivian Rufiyaas. A few of them you will find ATM, guesthouses accept cash but make sure you bring cash for the island life.
16. ATM Commission in Maldives
The ATM will charge you 100 Rufiyaas per withdrawal which is almost $7 USD. Try to withdraw as much as you can so you will get less commission from the ATM.
17. Maldives isn’t so small country as we think
From North part of Maldives to South part of Male there are 600 kilometers. It looks like Maldives have small island but they are so far each other. We took a flight to Kooddoo Airport (very on the South of Maldives) from Male and the distance was 400 kilometers.
18. There are 400 000 people living in Maldives
There are less than 400 000 people in Maldives based in their demographics. Some of them living in remote islands. And more than one third of the population live in Male the capital of the country.
19. Most of the Maldivian speak English
You can manage perfectly with English language traveling around Maldives, It’s not like the Philippines where everybody can speak Englsih perfectly. But most of the people will know a few words to talk to you in English.
More Things to know before visiting Maldives
20. Languages spoken in Maldives
Dhivehi or Maldivian is the national language of the Maldives. There are a few dialects which include Mulaku, Huvadhu, Maliku, and Addu. But Dhivehi remains the dominant language in the Maldives.
21. No Crime Rate in the islands
There is no Crime Rate in local islands and resorts. And just very low in the capital Male. So we can say that Maldives is totally safe country for traveling.
22. Foreigners can buy a property
In many countries and parts of Asia foreigners aren’t allowed to buy a property. In Maldives foreigners are allowed to buy a property since 2010. So if you are traveling in Maldives and you would like to live there you can check that option.
23. Waking Up Early Morning
You have to wake up early morning and plan your day. After breakfast the day tours and excursions are leaving early. There are also many excursion going around sunset time for fishing and sunset as last opportunity to join them. If you are early bird sunrises are so beautiful and totally worth it.
24. Prices are expensive
Don’t think about prices in India, Sri Lanka or countries in Southeast Asia for Maldives. Guesthouses are expensive, local food is affordable, local transportation is really cheap. But speed boats and airplanes are so expensive and also luxury resorts. We already mentioned the prices above local food $4-5 USD, accommodation $40-60 USD and transportation can be $2-3 USD or $25 to 200 USD for one speed boat ride.
25. Weather in Maldives
Great to visit in rainy season. Don’t expect it will be raining the whole day. We spent 4 weeks in Maldives in rainy season and it didn’t rain more than 3 days. It was sunny and they days raining, it wasn’t all the time (couple of hours only) except one day which was raining all day long. Prices are cheaper and places are more calm and quiet.
26. Most of the people go to Maldives for a week
With all our travel guides in local islands and reviews in the luxury resorts we recommend you to spend 2-3 weeks in Maldives at least if you have the time. If you stay 3-4 days per island would be enough. It depends on how many of them you would love to visit. Or if you want to do surfing or diving maybe you want to stay for a week.
27. Make sure you have accommodation book in advance
Especially to plan your transportation and remember Fridays most of the local transportation isn’t working. Guesthouses and luxury resorts will help you with the transfers and they will arrange everything for you.
If you want to check places to stay in Maldives, click here to see what works better with your budget and comfort!
You can also use AirBnb in local islands and Male as we did. Just click here to get $30 USD of your first booking with AirBnB.
28. Trash is a huge problem in local islands
One of the main problems in locals islands was the trash. People will not take care in the same way that they do in luxury resorts. All the bikini beaches that we visited were clean. But around local islands and local beaches was full of trash.
29. Make Sure you Aren’t Bringing
You can’t bring pork and alcohol when entering Maldives if you don’t want to get in trouble. And also when leaving the country you can’t bring corals and shells outside Maldives.
30. Fridays Off in Maldives
Fridays is off and transportation stops. As Maldivians are muslim Friday and Saturday are their weekend. Especially Friday day off Friday would be like Sunday in catholic countries when most of the business are closed.
31. Different Time Zones in Maldives
If you travel South part of Maldives is one hour ahead than the capital Male. Make sure you check the time they go an hour ahead of Male time.
32. Taxes And Service Charge
There are 12 taxes in restaurants, sometimes is less and 10% extra for service. Also for accommodation you will find $3 USD per person taxes plus 22% in local guesthouses.
33. Guesthouses paying with Credit Card and Hotels
Sometimes guesthouses and hotels will charge you 2-3% commission when paying with credit card. Make sure you check in advance!
34. Sunsets in Maldives
Make sure you are ready with your camera for the sunset. In Maldives sunsets are amazing and colorful Our favorite one was in Park Hyatt Hadahaa. But we love it in Dhiffushi and Maafushi too!
35. Day Trips and Activities
Activities are quite cheap in local islands comparing to the resorts prices. The price of the activities are 2-3 times more in the resorts than local islands. You can pay $30 USD per person for a day trip in a local island but in the resort will be $100 USD per person.
So if you go to the resort enjoy the island life and relax and do the activities in local islands. The activities are the same snorkeling, dolphin watching, water sports, diving.
36. Sharks in Maldives are they dangerous?
Like all reef sharks on the Maldives, they are harmless to humans. We saw them in different islands like Hadahaa and Dhiffushi while snorkeling.
37. Visiting Male the capital
Most of the people skip visiting Male the capital of Maldives. It’s totally worth it to spend 1-2 days around. Even is small city there are local markets for exploring and also to try local food. There are local beaches in Hulhumale for relaxing. There are narrow streets and traffic but it will be an interesting experience for sure.
38. Water in Local Restaurants isn’t free
There are many countries like Philippines which offers service water. In Maldives they will serve you water to your table. But it’s not free! You will have to pay for it, not expensive it will cost $1 USD a big bottle of water
39. Maldivian Food
Coconut, fish and Curry. They use coconut milk and oil for cooking. You will find fish everywhere especially yellow tuna fish. And curries they add to their food in almost all the dishes.
Hedikaa is the name the short eats or snacks in Maldives like samosas. They are everywhere. Prices are around 3 Rufiyaas per piece. It means you can eat 5 pieces for just $1 USD.
Mashuni is a famous tuna salad with coconut that is traditionally eaten for breakfast with chapati bread called roshi . The fresh, spicy dish is made with tuna, coconut, chili, and onion, blended, seasoned and served with chapati bread.
40. Would you visit Maldives again?
Of course! We are planning to visit Maldives again to make our official year destination as we did with Bali in the past. So we can explore more islands and always visiting one or two island again to visit friends and see how they are developing. We found Thulusdhoo much more developed from last time but still great to visit. This year we felt in love with Dhiffushi and Gulhi island local islands 2-3 hours by public boat from Male.
If you want to book places to stay in Maldives, click here to see what works better with your budget and comfort!
You can also use AirBnb; just click here to get $30 USD of your first booking with AirBnB.
Hope it’s useful this blog post of things to know before visiting Maldives. And feel free to share with your family and friends going there.
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