So you fancy visiting the Maldives? This is probably a destination no one would say no. But did you know …
- It is a strict Muslim country
Forget about alcohol, nudism or even bikinis on local island (except on designated bikini beaches). It is also forbidden to bring in alcohol, pornography, religious relics (you will have to leave all this at the airport and pick it up when flying out). Oh, and dogs are forbidden as well.
As the country is more ocean than shore, you’ll be using either boats or planes. Planes and sea planes are quite expensive (from 250 USD), speed boats are mid range from 25 USD and local ferries or dhoni are the cheapest with 4 USD, but very slow and they operate usually only once a day. Keep in mind that many resorts have mandatory speed boat transportation and I think I don’t have to say the prices are suitable for private resorts. So before you get all excited about the nice resort you found for a cool price, check the transport option, it may be half the price of your stay 😉
The country has a super wide range of different accommodation – from local guest houses for as little as 20 USD to fancy dream water villas for … I can’t imagine the price if I’m honest, but the most expensive room I could find was 22.000 GBP. Quite a difference, huh? Needless to say the first room is on a local island while the second room is on a private island. You can find differences between local and private islands, here.
When booking accommodation, be very careful about all the extras – usually there’s a 10% service charge, a 12% property charge and 3-6 USD environmental fee per person per night. On our last visit we arranged everything via phone or e-mail, which was much cheaper than booking on a hotel search website.
The local currency is rufiyaa, but you can operate with USD everywhere. Be aware that for every withdraw you’ll be charged 100 rufiya, which is around 5 €, for paying with a credit card you’ll be charged 3%. Also keep in mind that not all islands have ATMs and banks.
Huh, this can be tricky. Although they have wi-fi in resorts and local islands, it can be quite sloooow. That’s why we bought a local SIM card from Dhiraagu, the other provider is Ooredoo. On all 3 islands we visited – Ukulhas, Maafushi and Fulidhoo, we had 4G and it worked well.
Keep in mind that land is very limited in this country, that’s why a lot of food has to be imported, shipped and stored in huge refrigerator-containers on the islands. The environment here is very delicate, so please treat it gently– do not use unnecessary plastic, be economical with water and electricity. On resort islands the food is served in the resort restaurant, but on local islands you can choose from different options (ok, depends on the island). The food is a mixture of European, Arabic and Asian influence. If you can, try the local Maldivian breakfast – thuna+onion+shredded coconut with naan bread. Yum ❤
- Bring “women-stuff”
For your days, bring tampons or other sanitary things, as you will not be able to buy them here – from experience. 😉
For some moving pictures, welcome to watch our vlogs: