MALDIVES: Indian Ocean Begins at Your Front Door
Maldives is known for its transparent blue water and white sand beaches with ideal climate for swimming, especially with luxury overwater bungalows that allows you to sink into the warm water from the front door. Shorelines are decorated with palm trees, the reef as home to one of the most diverse marine flora and fauna, it’s a perfect destination for wedding and honeymoon, or simply just to lie in the sun and take a cool dip by the doorstep.
One of the biggest reason to visit Maldives as soon as possible, apart from it’s beauty is the rising sea level. It is the lowest country in the world, in which the majority of the land is composed of coral islands that is not even one metre above sea level. It could possibly be drowned by 2100.
Independence Day Celebration – 26th July
- Republic Square
- Sultan Park
It is recommended to visit Maldives during the week of 26th July as Maldivians celebrate their Independence Day and lights up the night sky of Malé City with red, green and white lights. This is the opportunity to understand and absorb the culture of young Maldivians, which is not very easy while sunbathing at one of the islands.
Visit Republic Square at the night of 26th July to witness the colorful dancing water and fountain. Also visit Sultan Park any nights during that week to see trees decorated with lights and it could be better than Christmas because even the floor is lit!
- Modesty of dressing
As an Islamic country, it is important to respect and beware of certain things such as the ban of pornography, non-Islamic religious material and pork. It is encourages to dress conservatively in Malé or on non-resort islands. Bikinis and swim shorts are only allowed in resort areas. Alcohol is only allowed on resort islands as well. Also, be considerate if you are travelling during the Ramadan.
It would be a better holiday without fines or jail time!
After knowing what to pack and when to arrive, I have one more tip before you departs. I would recommend day flights with seats next to the window and not blocked by the wings so you can enjoy the view of groups of islands while approaching or leaving the airport.
The main international airport of Maldives is Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. It is located on Hulhulé Island, which is close to Malé Island. From here, you can connect to international or domestic airports, seaplane terminals, speedboat transfers and ferries to Malé.
The easiest and cheapest way to go to and from Hulhulé to Malé is the Airport ferry. The jetty is right by the airport’s terminal (I saw a couple of lionfish, waiting for the ferry). The journey takes about 3 minutes. There will be help with your luggage and the price is 35 MVR or about 2 USD. I remember paying in US Dollars as I arrived late at night and there’s no open bereau de change at that time.
- Private transfers
- Domestic flights
- Taxis (Within Malé)
Some of the resorts are not reachable by speedboats or there are no seaplane services so you might have to get a connecting flight to transfer to your accommodation. Both domestic flights and especially seaplane rides are perfect for bird’s eye view photos.
Dhoni is public transportation ferry for local people. It is the best choice to go to non-resort islands such as Villingili and Mahibadhoo.
Check prices and schedule for flights and boat services at atoll transfer.
Even though, the whole Malé City is in walking distance, for about 2 hours to explore the whole island, there are taxis around jetties and beaches transferring within the city.
Things You Should Try
- Manta Point
- Banana Reef
- Broken Rock
- Victory Wreck
- Dolphin and Whale watching
- Day trips – island hopping
- Submarine tours
- Underwater hotels
- Glow in the dark beaches
If you are a diver, Maldives is your paradise. It is possible to dive at the house reef of some of your resorts or dive at the Manta Point or Victory Wreck. Maldives’ ocean is very diverse and active with whale sharks, mantas, hammerheads and barracudas.
If you can, try staying at one of the islands that has the possibility to witness the Glow-in-the-Dark beach phenomenon such as Rheeti, Komandoo or Kuredu. However, the phenomenon is not promised and it also differs during each months.
Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa
It can be difficult choosing places to stay in Maldives, especially if you are looking forward to stay in one of the water villas. It’s because one island belongs to one hotel and transportation could influences price and time. However, I do have a small list to consider when you are looking a perfect hotel that suits you.
- Price (obviously)
- Season and storms
- House reef
- Half board, full board and all inclusive options
The perfect resort that has everything I want is Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa. You need to take the seaplane in order to get there and from the seaplane platform, you will have to take a boat, which is already included in the trip. There is a house reef, perfect for both scuba diving and snorkeling. The water is clear and warm, filled by school of small fish, baby sharks, sting rays and octopus. These are visible without you following them in the water, you can just spot them from the beach or from your bedroom’s window.
At Vilamendhoo, there is Euro Divers office that can take you out to major Maldives’ dive sites or you can find yourself a diving buddy there if you happen to be soloing. You could also rent equipments from there.
The hotel also provides excursions options if the house reef and baby sharks are not enough. They can take you cruising or fishing.
Maldives’ awesomeness is endless, in my next post I’ll talk about how to stay in Maldives on a low budget, where to explore local’s cultures and activities such as non-resort islands, more Malé City guides and what to know if you will be sleeping at the Hulhulé Airport.