In March, last year when COVID was not a threat like it is now, we visited Maldives. We spent 5 days in luxury and comfort in one of the most beautiful, exotic place in the world. We had booked this trip in advance for our marriage anniversary celebration, so when the time came, our relatives and friends advised us to cancel it due to potential increase in COVID cases. But we took our chance and as I said, that time COVID impact was quiet minimal, there were few cases in India and none in Maldives.
We took basic precautions (masks & sanitizers) and left for Maldives. That time there were no temperature checks at airports, masks were not mandatory and of course no travel restrictions. Trip went well and it actually proved to be one of our best trip. On our last day of vacation, first case in Maldives was reported. We came back safely without having any idea that this is going to be our last trip of 2020 through Air Travel.
Now since COVID has become a part of life and we are kind of comfortable with it, I see many couples are planning their vacations to Maldives. Here are some facts & tips that would be useful for your vacations to the beautiful country :-
1. Visa :- Many people (mostly Indians) assume Maldives as part of India (its territory), as its name sounds very familiar. But Maldives is an independent Islamic country for which you will need a valid visa. But don’t worry, visa is issued on arrival at Male airport. Traveler just need to have a valid passport. Visa is issued for 90 days.
2. Currency :- Maldivians accept payments only in USD, Euro or Maldivian rufiyaa (their local currency). We used our USD credit cards for the payments. Even though all resorts are surrounded by water, we never found any issue with card payments. If you prefer cash, exchange your money at the airport in Maldivian rufiyaa, Euro or USD.
3. Stay :- Maldives is an Islamic country consisting of 1,192 coral islands, each unique in its own way. It’s not a place where you roam around the streets or try local restaurants. Idea of Maldives vacations is just for one thing – Relaxation. It’s the best place to recharge and refuel. So choose your stay wisely, look for all the facilities your resort is providing. These are few factors you should keep in mind during the booking :-
- Distance of your resort from the airport (Ferry charge from airport to resorts are additional to the booking)
- Available food options (Especially if you are Vegetarian like us, check the menu before booking)
- Water sports (If interested in sports, check their website. It’s not necessary that every resort will provide Scuba or Snorkel)
- Activities (Check activities and facilities available like spa, gym, yoga classes, play area etc.)
- Villa preferences (water villa, sunrise or sunset facing, across the beach etc.)
4. Culture :- Maldivians are very nice and great in hospitality. They treat their customers very well. In resorts you will find local people as well as people from different countries working in hospitality industry. Maldivians follow Muslim rules strictly, you will notice the females wearing scarfs with full body covered with clothes.
5. Atmosphere :- Lol, atmosphere is just out of the world. Crystal clear blue water, luxurious stay and top services along with great hospitality, but that comes with humidity and heat. It’s really a good place for those who like sun tanning. Be sure to bring sunscreen with you, it will prove to be very useful.
6. Food & Drinks :- While selecting your stay, you can also choose your food plan which usually comes as Half board and Full board. Generally Half board includes Breakfast and Dinner while Full board includes Lunch as well, but make sure to check what is included in the plan. They also provide All-inclusive meal which has drinks too. We had selected Half board which came with breakfast buffet, rest of the meals we bought during our stay. Alcohol is banned in Maldives, but don’t worry, it is allowed in resorts, they just have to have valid license for it. Just make sure not to drink in the main city or to bring it with you.
7. Clothing :- Similar to alcohol, clothing also has some restrictions. In public places like Airport, city or even ferries, you need to be appropriately dressed. Swimwear, shorts or sleeveless are highly discouraged. Although you are free to wear anything in resort, there is no restriction there. 🙂
8. Transportation :- Best mode of transportation between island is through Ferries. Make sure to consider ferry charges during your booking. Charges are actually very high, we paid 180 USD per adult for our trip from airport to resort (round trip included). That’s why it is advisable to remain on your island and enjoy the activities there only. You can also go to other islands for activities, but that would increase the budget of your trip. So book your resort wisely, it should have everything you need.
9. Things to do :- Resorts in Maldives are of International standard and very luxurious. They are costly as well. They provide lot many activities to do which are inclusive in your package except premium services like Spa. Below are some common activities :-
- Fly board
- Yoga classes
- Indoor games (Chess, Foosball, Carom, Dominoes, Checkers, Pool etc)
- Outdoor games (Volleyball, Ping pong etc. )
10. Cost :- This is the most important part. So basically cost depends on your planning and choice of stay. Although Maldives is costly, but it’s still affordable. We have booked our trip from Expedia as a bundled deal that included Resort, Air travel and Food. Rest of the expenses were on top of that. Our approximate cost for the trip was 4000 USD which included 3300 USD for Resort & Air travel and 360 USD for ferry transportation. Spa, food, drinks, non-inclusive water sports will cost you more, even villa prices vary depending on the view and type. So plan according to your budget.
Few Tips :-
- Invest in a good underwater camera. You wouldn’t want to miss the chance of capturing beautiful underwater life.
- Keep sunscreen with you, that would be really helpful.
- Avoid un-necessary travel, enjoy the activities at your resort only.
- Check the variety of food items in menu and number of restaurants in your resort during booking.
- Wake up early and take a walk across the beach, watch sun rise and sun set. You will just love it.
So these were some important points to know before planning your next vacation. Hope you enjoyed reading.
Happy Reading ! Keep Traveling !!!