There are only a few places in the world you can confidently call Paradise on Earth, and the Maldives are definitely one of them. Sure, this archipelago looks smaller in comparison to French Polynesia, but the collectivity boasts a whopping number of 1,192 coral islands! If that doesn’t spell out “tropical adventure” for you, you must have seen it all already! However, if you count yourself among the lucky ones that are traveling to this corner of the world for the first time, here’s the freshman’s guide to the exotic paradise of Maldives!
The magnificent capital
Malé International Airport is named after the capital of the Maldives and it is located on Hulhule Island, adjacent to the urban hub. This will therefore probably be the first highlight of the Maldives you will lay your eyes on. The city is like a hypermodern Venice of the future, something between captivating neo-punk glitz and Miami glamour. The island that holds the city is only 1 kilometer wide and 1.7 kilometers long, but it still manages to accommodate a population of over 130,000 residents!
On the other hand, the Maldives cover an area of 90,000 square kilometers, and while the majority of the islands are uninhabited, over 100 of them have resorts and another 200 are regularly or partially inhabited. For 50 years, travelers from every corner of the globe could visit the archipelago’s designated resorts, but only recently did President Nasheed allow residential islanders to open guesthouses and their own accommodations.
Island hopping, the activity of traveling from one island to another within a designated area and during a singular vacation, has become a popular activity in the Maldives. Even some resorts will allow this in very limited ways. It is the essence of the “customized tropical vacation”. Opportune packages with customizable holidays emerge every now and then, so keep an eye out for the Maldives travel packages and offers that will treat you with the best bang for your buck.
When to visit
One of the best parts about visiting the Maldives lies in the fact that it is a viable destination all year long. The archipelago is located near the Equatorial belt, so temperatures are fairly consistent, rain or shine. While we are on the topic of rain, the monsoon season can spoil certain aspects of your vacation, so avoid booking your trip between May and October. Rains and thunderstorms tend to get really incessant during July and August, so the best bet is if you could squeeze your vacation somewhere between November and April.
Things to know
If this is your first time in the Maldives, you should definitely follow certain local customs. It is a Sunni Muslim country, so you will find no alcohol beyond the gates of your resorts and homosexuality is illegal. In addition, revealing outfits are frowned upon and displays of affection in the public are illegal. While you will rarely get into trouble if you are a tourist, especially if you keep to the resorts, you should keep such things in mind since you are a guest here.
You don’t need to go through any special vaccinations or other medical preparations in order to travel to the Maldives. The government follows the visa-on-arrival policy, which means that visitors do not need to apply beforehand. Your country of origin also doesn’t matter, just make sure that your passport is valid.
The name of the Maldivian currency is Rufiyaa (also denoted as MVR), though you can use dollars to pay for services, as well as credit cards, if available. If your resort is located on another island, your designated representative will take care of the transportation. You will get to your destination via speedboat, seaplane or even by taking a domestic flight. What’s left is to simply enjoy the gorgeous landscapes and exquisite activities on this archipelago of dreams.
If you are looking for the ultimate escape from the world, the Maldives will give you that romanticized “marooned in the middle of nowhere” feeling with no caveats. A touch of luxury and a sense of tropical delight will follow your each splash and every step. The archipelago is a surprisingly affordable equatorial dreamscape you’ll always remember as the best time of your life.