If life is a beach let it be Maldives!
Maldives is an emerald jewel embedded in the blue of the Indian Ocean.
The Republic of Maldives is a South Asian Island Country and Male is the capital city. Formed by a chain of 26 naturally formed Atolls (Islands)
Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries as well as the smallest Asian country by both land area and population (information courtesy Wikipedia)
This island is a visual delight, with aqua hued water lapping gently at powdery white sands and coconut trees swaying in the wind. The water is so crystal clear that you can see the sea bed. The depth of the water here is just right, and the temperature warm, all year around. Little wonder then that Maldives is the favoured destination for water sports aficionados.
Best Time to visit: November to March are the best months to visit Maldives. These are the dry months when the sun is out, the days are warm and the evenings pleasant. You could even be surprised with some cool days and evenings.
April to October are the rainy months, so you never know what the day would be like. If it rains you have no choice but to stay indoors.
Off season travel does happen, and resorts fight over each other to give you the lowest rates. Try your luck.
Weather: It’s sunny, warm and humid. Evenings can turn cool suddenly though. On rainy days the rain lashes out and an accompanying wind lets out a howl.
Visa: A Visa on arrival is free for Indians. It was a quick 5-minute procedure and nothing, except a Passport with at a least 6-month validity was asked of us. However, we had carried passport sized photos, a printout of our latest bank statement, hotel stay confirmation and return tickets.
Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa. 1 Maldivian Rufiyaa equals approximately 4.13 Indian Rupees. Resorts and the Airport accept Dollars and Pounds in foreign currency.
You could exchange currency at Male Airport. They accept only higher denomination Currency for exchange.
You are not permitted to carry Alcohol inside Maldives. Not even when brought at Male duty free. If you do, it is retained and you can collect it on your way back from Male.
How do I book my trip: My preferred choice always is to book through an agency. We used MakeMyTrip and they took care of everything.
The other alternative is to book the resort directly, through their website and book your tickets independently.
How to get to Maldives from India: The only direct flight to Male is from Delhi. The most popular choice is a Chennai-Colombo-Male flight or a Bangalore-Colombo-Male flight.
Chennai to Colombo was a 70 minute flight.
Colombo to Male was a 80 minute flight.
We flew SriLankan Air all through and it was a comfortable journey.
How to get to your Resort from Male Airport: A Seaplane or a Speedboat are the two modes of transport offered by Resorts. We had a Speedboat transfer and it was a stunning and scenic 50 minute ride, to and fro. Your transfer is provided by the resort and is part of your package.
What to carry: A good, strong, waterproof Sunscreen is a must. You cannot go without a hat/cap and sunglasses either. Comfy waterproof slip on footwear to walk around in. Swimwear. Comfort fit cotton and linen clothes. Your medication and toiletries.
Hotels do not have a dress code but if you are visiting Male or any surrounding villages on a day tour it is advisable to cover your shoulders and knees.
If you love photography, Maldives is a delight at every turn. Do carry waterproof cameras/cell phones for underwater photography. You could rent the same at your hotel as well. Please write/call ahead to find out if your hotel offers this service though.
Stay: Maldives is by no means an economical destination. A 4-day holiday could cause a big dent in your savings.
Resorts range from a couple of lakhs per night to few thousands per night. A bit of research when you plan your trip could get you a good deal if you are lucky.
It is advisable and economical to book a package with all meals included. If you enjoy your drink, find out about all meal packages with alcohol included.
Things to do: Eat. Sleep. Swim. Snorkel. Kayak. Scuba Dive. Go for romantic walks. Wade in the sea or soak up the sun in the pool. Read. Get a tan. Collect seashells. Contemplate about the life and universe as you sip on a drink and look at the ocean turn different shades of blue. Play beach volleyball. Carry Board games.
All Resorts have paid Day-tour packages, ranging from visiting Male for a day to Island Hopping, where you could visit local villages and see everyday life, sample local cuisine and shop for souvenirs.
You could learn Scuba Diving and get certified for the same here.
All hotels provide free Wi-Fi 24/7 of your stay. So you are connected.
Shopping: Souvenirs, fridge magnets, knick-knacks.
If you know swimming, you will love Maldives. If you don’t know swimming you will still love Maldives, as the water is safe (without any dangerous currents) not very deep and warm. We took a 20 minute Snorkelling Class (paid) before we ventured to try it.
Maldives imports almost everything, so anything you buy at the resort store is expensive. Even the drinking water placed in our room was rationed to jus 2 big bottles a day. Carry everything you might need.
Keep looking at the water, the Sea throws up some pleasant surprises. We spotted Baby Sharks and a school of Sardine’s about 5 feet away from the edge of the beach.
Be a good tourist. Follow the rules and regulations of the country and the resort you are living in. Admire nature, do not mar it. Do not litter the beaches.
Bon Voyage, have a great trip!