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16 Really Useful Things to Know Before Booking a Maldives Holiday

16 Really Useful Things to Know Before Booking a Maldives Holiday

A holiday in the Maldives is a dream destination that just about everyone wants to experience at least once in their lifetime.

To be able to feel the white powder-soft sandy beaches and dazzling azure waters of the Indian Ocean, to see the famous Maldivian sunsets and to stay in an overwater villa are some pretty good reasons to put a luxury Maldives holiday at the top of any travel wishlist.

But while a trip to paradise is a fantastic experience (check out my review on my stay at BAROS Island Resort), before you book a holiday to the Maldives, you need to know some insider Maldives travel tips to help you in planning a trip to the Maldives.

In this post, I have covered all the valuable things I uncovered that helped me when I booked my Maldives holiday and some Maldives trip tips I learned along the way.

I hope that this post will answer any questions that you may have and make the process of booking your Maldives holiday stress-free.

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Overwater villas at Baros resort in the Maldives

Frequently asked questions about travelling to the Maldives

1) Where are the Maldives?

They are in Asia and sit in the Indian Ocean between Sri Lanka and India.

a view of the ocean and two distant islands in the Maldives

2) How many islands are there in total?

At the last count, there were approximately 1200, comprised of island resorts, local inhabited islands and deserted islands. There will only ever be one resort on one island, it’s all about exclusivity in the Maldives.

3) How do you get to the Maldives?

International flights all land in the country’s capital, Male. You will then need to arrange onward transport to your island by boat or plane.

Seating area beneath the palm trees on the sand in the Maldives

4) How long does it take to fly to the Maldives from the UK?

Direct flights from London to Male take 10 to 11 hours. If you need to transit in Dubai will increase the flight time to the Maldives to between 12 and 13 hours.

A sunset above the overwater villas in the Maldives

5) Which month has the best weather?

January to April has minimal rain, hot temperatures and clear blue skies, making this one of the best times to visit the Maldives. I travelled in February and did encounter one afternoon of rain; however, it came and went very quickly.

Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen as you will be in the water a lot of the time, so will need to reapply frequently.

May to September is the “wet” season when rain and humidity increase. These months are when prices are lower, and there are fewer travellers, so it may suit your budget.

October to December is hot, and the dry weather returns, so expect long days of brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the high 20°Cs – low 30°Cs.

View of the Lighthouse restaurant at Baros resort in the Maldives

6) How do you get from Male Airport to a resort?

There are two atolls in the Maldives – North and South.

The North Atoll is the nearest to the airport, so resorts use speedboats to pick you up and transfer you to your dream island resort.

The South Atoll is further away, so these Maldivian resorts will use small aeroplanes to transfer you to your island.

Bear this in mind when you are choosing a resort because you may not want to have to take another flight once you are in Male if you have already had a long journey.

Prices for speedboats and planes are usually in addition to the cost of your accommodation and can be expensive. Make sure you factor them into your budget. They can be arranged through your resort.

three men putting luggage into a speedboat in the Maldives

Resort planes fly to specific schedules each day, so you must coordinate your international flight landing times with the resort to ensure you aren’t arriving too late.

Factor into the equation that your international flight might be delayed on departure, meaning a late arrival and the possibility of missing your transfer to the islands.

Make sure you give yourself enough time once you arrive in Male.

If you have booked an international flight that lands in the Late afternoon/evening, you may need to spend a night in the capital, Male and catch your boat or plane the next day.

7) What kind of activities can you enjoy?

All resorts vary, but generally, you can scuba, snorkel, fish, dive, enjoy boat trips and indulge in the spa. Remember, the islands are all about barefoot luxury and relaxation and doing nothing!

You will want to bring a waterproof camera with you as the tropical fish that swim on the house reefs are sensational. A GoPro is one of the best pieces of equipment on the market to capture great underwater images.

turtle swimming in the ocean in the Maldives

8) Where is the best place to scuba dive in the Maldives?

Divers can enjoy a vast array of aquatic life on both atolls; however, for those divers wanting to see the larger species, the south atoll resorts are the place to stay.

June to September (the wet season) is the best time to see manta rays and whale sharks.

a black tipped shark in the ocean

9) What to wear in the Maldives

The islands are tropical, and though they can be wet at times, they are always warm and humid. Bring cotton dresses, shorts and kaftans. Depending on which resort you stay at will determine whether you will go for the island life look or full-on tropical glamour.

A pashmina shawl is enough to put around your shoulders in the evening if it cools down too much.

Don’t bring high heels – island ethos is all about barefoot luxury, so do just that or wear flat sandals.

A straw hammock the beach

10) How long should you stay in the Maldives?

I stayed in the Maldives for six nights because I thought I would get a bit stir-crazy doing nothing other than eating, swimming and relaxing for any longer!

In all honesty, I could have spent a few days longer or done a little bit of island hopping (yes, it’s not only done in Greece), but I still felt I had experienced the Maldives I had dreamed of and not missed out on anything.

I recommend staying at least seven nights in the Maldives, but many guests stay for up to two weeks. If this is your plan, be prepared to have a healthy bank balance to pay-roll that kind of stay, especially if you want to stay in an over-water pool villa at one of the luxury resorts.

Angie wearing a white dress walking towards her overwater villa in the Maldives

11) Alcohol in the Maldives

The Maldives is a Muslim country, so alcohol is strictly banned. Do not purchase it from your airport duty-free, as it will be withheld by the airport authorities until your departure. I am speaking from experience!

You can only consume alcohol that is bought at your resort.

12) Which are the best resorts and islands in the Maldives?

Deciding where to stay in the Maldives is a million-dollar question because it depends on your budget and requirements.

Do you want an overwater villa or a basic beach bungalow? Do you want all-inclusive buffet dining or pay-as-you-go fine dining? The choice varies considerably.

Budget Stays – It is possible to stay in the Maldives even if you are on a tight budget, as many islands have local families who open up their homes as B&Bs.

Of course, you won’t get the luxurious stay you would at one of the Maldives resorts, but you will still swim in the same sea and see the same sunsets.

Middle of the Road Stays – There are many 3-star resorts in the Maldives that offer all-inclusive options at reasonable prices to allow you to experience the Maldives in a more manageable way. They don’t offer the fine details that the luxury resorts in the Maldives can provide, but they offer a way to holiday in the Maldives on a budget.

Splash the Cash – When we think of the Maldives, the luxury resorts, overwater villas and turquoise waters spring to mind. And, let’s face it, if you are travelling to the Maldives, it is probably to celebrate a honeymoon, anniversary, babymoon or something equally as special, so you will want the best.

Having said that, you will need to find deep pockets to cover a stay at a luxurious resort in the Maldives, as they can run into the tens of thousands; however, speaking from experience after my stay at Baros, they are so worth the money and like nowhere else on the planet!

a Bathtub surrounded by foliage in the outdoor bathroom of a villa in the Maldives

13) Beach bungalow or overwater villas

There really is no comparison to the two as to have the real Maldivian experience you have to book at least one night in an overwater villa, they are out-of-this-world!

That said, the beach bungalows are beautiful and you will have the added advantage that the beach is literally at your doorstep. Wake up in the morning and walk out onto the softest sand ever before a pre or post breakfast dip in the sea (or your private plunge pool).

14) All-inclusive vs pay-as-you-dine holiday packages

Which kind of package to book is one of the most important things to decide before you book your dream holiday, and it all boils down to what your budget will cover.

Pros of booking all-inclusive

By booking an all-inclusive resort, you have outlaid all your costs before you arrive and know that you can eat and drink without limitations. You may also find that certain activities are included within the all-inclusive package.

Take time to carefully read what the all-inclusive rate includes, so you aren’t hit with any hidden costs that you hadn’t expected.

Freshly caught red snapper

Cons of booking all-inclusive

If you don’t intend to drink large amounts of alcohol and won’t be using some of the facilities included, then it may not be value for money. You may also be a person that skips breakfast, in which case you are paying for one meal each day that you won’t have.

Pros of booking pay-as-you-dine

Some resorts in the Maldives are classed as so exclusive that they don’t offer an all-inclusive rate. This means that you only pay for what you consume and don’t feel you have wasted money on stuff you haven’t had or used.

Cons of booking pay-as-you-dine

Budgeting for your beach holiday is tricky, as the prices of alcohol and dining may not be apparent until you arrive. You may find that you are not ordering everything you want for fear of the bill at the end of your stay. Speaking from experience, I can confirm that the price of a bottle of wine in the Maldives can be excruciatingly high!

15) Where else can I go on a two-centred holiday?

Two-centred holidays to Sri Lanka and the Maldives are a very popular choice, as is a Dubai Maldives holiday.

16) Are the Maldives only good for couples?

The Maldives caters to all holidaymakers, from honeymooners to families and adventure seekers to solo travellers. Each resort will be geared towards a certain market, as is evident when researching holidays in the Maldives.

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