Home to over 1190 coral island and 26 atolls, the Maldives is hands-down one of the most beautiful tropical destinations in the world. A Maldives getaway is popular with celebrities and the jet-set crowd, honeymooners as well as loved-up couples. It also makes a wonderful vacation for families, with many Maldives resorts offering family-friendly accommodation and fun activities to keep all ages entertained.
When it comes to booking a Maldives vacation, things can get a little tricky. After all, there are over 130 different Maldives resorts to choose from – each offering up their own slice of paradise. It’s wise to get clued-up on things like high and low season timings, as well as monthly weather averages, culture and customs, and currency before you plan your trip. Luckily, we have done the hard work for you and put together this info-packed travel guide that will help you to book the best vacation (ever) to the idyllic Maldives.
Where are the Maldives?
The Maldives is perfectly positioned in the warm shimmering waters of the Indian Ocean. The many islands and atolls are spread out over a total area of 293 km, which makes it one of the most geographically dispersed countries in the world. The Maldives are nearest to Sri Lanka, and around 2,100 miles away from the Southern Tip of India.
Here are some of the distances from major cities to the Maldives.
Maldives to Lisbon 9085 km
Maldives to London 5292 km
Maldives to Perth 6003 km
Maldives to Kuala Lumpur 3133 km
Maldives to Los Angeles 15,692
Maldives to Paris 5149 km
Maldives to Mombasa 3812 km
Maldives to New York 8725 km
Maldive to Rio De Janeiro 12,835 km
How to Get to the Maldives
Just 15 years ago or so, it was rather expensive to book flights to the Maldives, as only a few major Airlines flew there which resulted in much higher prices. Nowadays the Maldives is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination, with more and more airlines operating flights here. But still, getting a direct flight to the Maldives may be difficult unless you are coming from London, parts of the Middle East, Singapore, India, and Hong Kong.
In fact, it’s a popular option to divide the journey into two flights and stop at one of the destinations listed above. Scoot is one of the newest Airlines to operate flights to the Maldives, and they can act as little as $100 per leg departing from Singapore, which makes them very affordable indeed.
Airlines that fly direct to the Maldives include:
Qatar Airways flights
Korean Air flights
Turkish Airlines flights
Air India flights
Hong Kong Airlines flights
Singapore Airlines flights
Etihad Airways flights
Cathay Pacific flights
AirAsia X flights
When flying into the Maldives, you will fly to Male International Airport which is located on the Island of Hulhule. From there you either need to get a seaplane or a speedboat to get your Maldives resort.
Seaplane rides are an incredible experience and all part of the Maldives adventure, so if you have the choice between the two and we recommend you to go for a plane over the boat. Saying that they can be rather expensive, and many people are shocked to find out that they may actually cost the same amount as your international flight! On top of this, seaplanes are any allowed to depart during daylight hours, so if your flight is late at night you may have to book an overnight stay on Huhule before departing onwards the next day.
Weather: High Season and Low Season
The Maldives has two distinct Seasons: the dry season and the rainy season, otherwise known as the high season and the low season. The high season runs between December and March, and the low between June and November. Expect room rates to be high in the high season, particularly around holidays and celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s. The resorts will also be busier during these time and rooms often get booked up with plenty of time in advance.
During the rainy season, you can expect drizzle – quite often on a daily basis, but this typically passes pretty quickly, and it’s warm rain too so you can still enjoy a nice swim in the sea. A benefit of visiting in the off-season is that you get some of the best deals on Maldives resorts – plus it will be a little quieter during this time too.
If you want more detailed information on Maldives weather, then check out this detailed guide which reveals month-by-month averages including rainfall, hours of sunlight and highs and lows.
Culture and Customs
It’s worth noting that the Maldives is a Muslim country, and they have a number of traditions, rules, and customs that need to be adhered to during your Maldives vacation. The first rule is that you should never bring any alcohol into the country. There’s are special machines in the airport arrival area where officers screen your bags to make sure you haven’t bought any contraband in. It’s also illegal to bring in any sort of pork products, as well as religious texts.
If you are visiting one of the local Maldives Islands, then you will also need to cover up properly, avoid wearing swimwear on the beach, and don’t partake in any public displays of affection. This only applies on the local islands, and on the Maldives resort Islands, you are free to wear what you want.
The currency in the Maldives is called the Rufiyaa, which comes in sizes of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 2. If you plan on staying in a Maldives resort then it’s likely that you won’t even need to use any of this currency. All of the large Maldives resorts are able to accept major credit and debit card payments. Your bill will be presented to you at the end of your stay.
Saying this, it’s always nice to take a little cash with you if you want to tip some of your favorite staff during your stay. The best way to do this is to place some money into an envelope and then hand directly to them. It’s acceptable to tip in US Dollars rather than the local currency.
If you want to get some money changed in the Maldives, then you’ll find currency exchange booths within Male international airport, as well as speckled around the main island of Huhule. There are also ATMs located within the International Airport, and it may be a better option to withdraw cash there rather than exchange it if you want to get a better rate on the conversion.
Where to Stay
The One and Only Reethi Rah is the go-to resort for A-listers and newlyweds. Glamorous, opulent and luxurious, this stunning resort is one of the most highly rated in the Maldives. It is home to 128 beautifully designed and decorated thatch-roof villas that are located on sugary beaches, in secluded lush jungles and of course, out on stilts in the ocean. Guests are treated to a range of out-of-this-world culinary experiences, which range from casual and chic beach dining to contemporary Japanese cuisine with a modern twist. We love how Reethi Rah goes above and beyond to offer complimentary services including fresh fruit daily, mineral water, laundry for children and garment pressing for adults, sea salt baths and some water sport activities.
It’s definitely one of the best resorts in the Maldives, and a great choice if the budget allows. Click here to see more photos and find out how much a stay will cost at the One and Only Reethi Rah.
Centara Grand is an excellent mid-priced option, as this resort offers overwater Villas, beach suites, palm-fringed beaches set around a shimmering lagoon. Past guests rave about the Reef Restaurant, which offers champagne breakfasts, casual lunches, and Asian-inspired dinners. The Coral Bar and Lounge is a wonderful spot to chill out and wind down. It features an elegant lounge area, fine wines, teas, and delectable handcrafted cocktails.
You can also indulge in a massage and the spa hit the overwater fitness centre, play badminton or tennis, scuba dive, snorkel, and swim in the beautiful infinity pool. They also have a great value all-inclusive package.
Low-Cost Maldives Accommodation
Kurumba Resort is known for being one of the original resorts in the Maldives. It is located amongst the warm waters of the North Male Atoll, on an island that was once a coconut plantation. The Enormous resort offers everything you’d expect from much higher-priced resorts, including a fabulous spa, sauna, steam room, tennis courts, indoor Fitness Centre, large infinity pool, private beaches, and a huge selection of dining options.
Are you interested in staying in the Kurumba Resort Maldives? Click here for more photos and the lowest prices on a stay at this wonderful resort.
What to Eat in the Maldives
Not only is the Maldives one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, the resorts here famed having some of the best food around too. Many of the larger Maldives resorts will often have a generous buffet, which include a huge selection of local and international dishes. In recent years, hotels are making more of an effort to cater for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free holidaymakers. There is actually a vegetarian restaurant called Just Veg by Atmosphere which is located at Kanifushi Resort.
Some resorts such as Soneva Jani also offer special food rooms, including an incredible ice cream room which offers over 68 different flavors of ice cream (with dairy-free options too), as well as a chocolate room and cheese tasting room.
Many resorts draw their food influences from the rich and vibrant Maldivian cuisine. If you want to sample some local dishes then try some bubbling coconut curries, breadfruit, cassava, and don’t forget the freshly caught fish.
What to Pack
You will want to make sure that you pack wisely for your holiday to the Maldives, simply because it can be rather difficult trying to purchase things when you are actually on the island itself. Shopping is often very limited and the even the larger Maldives resorts often only have a simple convenience store as well as a boutique or two.
No matter what time of year you go the weather is often warm and balmy, so it’s nice to pack cool and airy items for your Maldives vacation. think things like white flowing kaftans, sarongs which could be used in multiple ways, and many bikinis or swim shorts as you’ll be spending a lot of your time in them. You will also want to pack some athletic wear if you plan on hitting the gym.
Most resorts actually have a rather casual vibe and operate on a no news no shoes policy which means you are not required to wear any footwear. Saying this though, some top Maldives Resorts have a dress code policy for some of their main restaurants so you may want to pack some sort of evening wear and dressy shoes to look the part.
When it comes to personal toiletries, try bringing eco-friendly items. The Maldives has a very fragile ecosystem, and introducing chemicals from your personal products can actually affect sea life and corals in the Ocean; the same applies for sun cream. Hawaii has actually banned some forms of sunscreen because of the damage that they are causing to marine life and reefs.
You’ll also want to bring along things to help keep you entertained on rainy and lazy days. Think things like new books or a Kindle, and you may want to put together some music playlists, and even download some of your favorite movies.
For a more detailed article, check out our article Must-Haves for the Maldives: The Ultimate Packing Guide.
How to Get the Best Deals to the Maldives
Getting the best deals to the Maldives is an art form itself, and requires a little savvy travel know-how. If you want the best rate it’s best to book during the low season and avoid any sort of major holiday. It also pays if you are able to be flexible with your dates. Skyscanner has an excellent feature which allows you to search for flights over a month-long period. Studies show that the cheapest flights depart on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and if you don’t mind leaving early or late then red-eye flights unsurprisingly also come with the lowest rates too.
For a huge selection of the best resorts click here, which displays all the best rates on stays in the Maldives. All-inclusive is often the best option to go for, as it means all drinks, snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are included in your stay. Although you’ll obviously pay more for it to start, in the long run, you will save more money.
If you want to save up to 50% on your next vacation to the Maldives then click here for all our top money-saving tips.
So there you are our ultimate guide to the Maldives. Bookmark this page to refer back to when it comes to booking your dream vacation in paradise. Happy travels!