Nine Thingsto Know Before You Travel to the Maldives
All it takes is one look at a picture of the Maldives and then you’re consumed by wanderlust. This tropical getaway found in the heart of the Indian Ocean is any traveller’s dream. Small picturesque islands surrounded by turquoise waters and home to unparalleled luxury service– what’s not to love?
If you’re a first time traveller to the Maldives and in the beginning stages of planning your trip, here are 9 things that you need to know about your next holiday destination.
1. The Country is Made Up of 1,200 Islands
While everyone has at least heard of the Maldives, not many know that the country is actually made up of over a 1,000 low-lying small islands. Some islands are so tiny that you will have to zoom in all the way on Google Maps before you see the white dot in a sea of blue. Malé is the capital city of the country and it is where most Maldivians reside, apart from that the rest of them are resort islands, a handful of other local islands, and some uninhabited islands. The latter islands are so small that nothing can be built on it, however, resorts offer picnics on these uninhabited islands so that you can experience what it’s like to live on a private island!
2. Amazing Coral Reefs
The Maldivian reefs have been admired for centuries. In fact, Arab traders travelling the Spice Route would break rest on the archipelago and be mesmerised by the rich marine life. Today, the reefs surrounding the islands are still some of the best in the world and you can spot several exotic marine animals. Did you know that the country’s reefs are the result of prehistoric volcanoes? Yes, most of the islands we see today are the tops for these now extinct volcanoes.
3. The Climate & Island Time
Sitting on the equator, the Maldives is one of those special places that is blessed with year-round summer. Expect the temperature to range anywhere between 25 and 30 degrees celsius, the sun also seems to shine brighter and warmer here– so be sure you pack high SPF sunscreen! Another unique feature about the resort islands is Island Time. To make the most out of the sunshine, resorts have adopted a daylight saving, and are 2 hours ahead of Malé. While this can be confusing at first, after a while you forget about the concept of time altogether!
4. The Best Time to Visit
While the temperature doesn’t fluctuate throughout the year, you would want to visit the Maldives when the weather is at its peak. To do this, try and avoid the monsoon season which runs from May to October. The best time to visit the Maldives is considered to be November to April as you are guaranteed blue skies and warm weather. However, during the monsoon months, you are still likely to see more sun than clouds, and resorts generally have lower prices for the off-season. Read our in depth blog on Maldivian weather here.
5. Visas & Vaccines
Before visiting any exotic country, visas and vaccines are the two things you research the most. Well, we have some good news for you; the Maldives does not require any vaccines and a pre-arrival visa is not required to enter the country! A 30-day visa on arrival is given to all nationalities as long as your passport is valid for at least another six months.
6. Islam is the Offical Religion
Islam is the official religion of the Maldives and you must be respectful of this. If you plan on visiting local islands, it is imperative that you adhere to the law of the land. It is prohibited to consume and bring alcohol, pork products, tobacco products without a health warning printed on them, and religious texts to local islands. While resort islands operate freely serving whatever your heart desires, you must not behave the same way on local islands. If you do bring duty-free alcoholic beverages with you to the Maldives, customs at the airport will temporarily hold it for you, until your departure.
It is also advised to avoid wearing clothes that are too revealing, as it is a conservative society. If you plan on going swimming on a local island, either wear swimsuits that are more concealing or go to one of the designated ‘Bikini Beaches’.
7. Expensive Travel Costs
While the Maldives is known for hefty priced resorts, did you know that the travel costs can actually double the price of your trip? Seaplanes and speedboats are the two main modes of transport for domestic travel. Even though these are two wonderful experiences, and only add to the excitement when you’re on holiday, it is important to note that they can be quite expensive, especially seaplanes which can be priced upwards of $800 to $1000 USD per person. Also, if you arrive at night, or after sunset, then you will have to stay at one of the surrounding airport hotels as seaplanes cannot fly at night.
8. Overwater Villas can be Overrated
Of course, staying in a water villa is an experience all of us dream of having. However, if you’re on a tight budget you should not get upset about not being able to stay in an overwater villa. Yes, these stilted bungalows that hover above the turquoise waters are beautiful, but the Maldives is an expert in luxury, and the beach villas are just as amazing- sometimes even more so than the overwater villas. If you’re finding it challenging to decide between the two villas, read our blog to help make this process easier.
9. It is Illegal to Take Shells Back Home
Finally, although this sounds like an odd law that surely no one enforces, you may want to rethink that. The government strictly prohibits collecting sea shells, coral, and tortoise shells. Coral reefs are thriving ecosystems, they are the lungs of the ocean and the Maldivian government does whatever they can to protect these aquatic forests. While collecting shells seems like a rather harmless activity, shells end up being homes for hermit crabs which play a major role in controlling the sandfly population.
The Maldives is easily one of the most beautiful places on earth and you must definitely visit it at least once in your life. The country has so much to offer and caters to all travel groups whether you’re visiting with your parents or as a family, everyone will enjoy these paradise islands.