The bluest ocean, ultra plush resorts, sleeping above water (even inside it), do all of these conjure up images of a water paradise? Maldives is everyone's dream destination but not an economical one. Well here's a tip to make it happen in a pocket friendly way.
Where to fly from?
Everyone looks for flights from Mumbai, Bangalore or Delhi from where a layover flight to Male (the capital) costs around 30,000-35,000. Moreover it takes a lot of time and stress. There's only one city in India which operates direct flights to Maldives at unbelievably cheap rates. Indigo and Spicejet operates direct flights from Kochi to Maldives at about 10,000-15,000 both ways. In case you book well in advance (2 months) you should get it within 7500 ( both ways). We got it at 7219 to be precise.
When to go?
Possibly the most important factor which decides your budget. There are two tourist seasons in Maldives. The low one starts at May and extends till September. The hotel prices are a quarter of what they are during the other times of the year. The weather is extremely hot and humid throughout the year. Even if it rains it doesn’t last for more than 15-20 minutes. Prices shoot up from October since the skies become clearer and the ocean bluer. However its all your luck. We got immensely clear days during the low season. There are also cases of heavy rain during the high season.
Where to stay?
There are two types of islands in Maldives. Local Islands where local people live and have wonderfully built sea facing villas and hotels and Private Islands which are owned by the resorts themselves. If you prefer a flavour of both i would strongly recommend two nights in each. Private islands are plush and “isolated luxury” redefined. Local islands have their own charm with quaint cafes, souvenir shops and local food. We stayed at Paradise Island Resort and Kaani Grand Sea View at local island, Maafushi.
How to travel?
Yes, its expensive. Possibly the most expensive thing in Maldives. There are a thousand or so islands scattered around out of which a hundred or so are inhabited. Private resorts have their own speedboats which you have to mandatorily avail if you want to reach their island. A 20 minutes two way ride from airport to the island might set you back by 104 dollars per head which is payable directly at the hotel (if the cost of speedboat is not already included in your hotel price). The further your resort is from Male, the higher you pay. In case you choose a resort which is too far from the airport the resort will take you there on a seaplane, thus costing you hundreds of dollars. For a budget trip, choose a resort which is either in South Male Atoll or North Male Atoll. You end up saving cost and time both.
There are two ways to reach local islands from Maldives, a speedboat (which will cost you more) or a local ferry which is the cheapest but slowest option. Local ferries are not allowed in private islands. However some hotels( Kaani Grand Sea View) has their own speedboats which ply between Male and Maafushi (by far the most popular local island). So if you have time take a local ferry and relax which should not cost you more than 2-3 dollars. A speedboat might reach 20-30 dollars per person per way.
Book an all meals plan with the resort. All the resorts have wonderful buffets serving a variety of Indian, local and continental delights. You end up paying a lot if you order ala carte. Some resorts also have a drinks inclusive plan. Mail them personally for details.
Theres nothing much to shop. Regular fare with Maldivian designs and logos. However do carry something back home. All resorts have a souvenir shop.
Dollars are widely accepted. Maldivian Rufiyaa are accepted in local islands. Major Credit and debit cards are accepted everywhere.
They are expensive. Any water sport is going to set you back by 10,000 or more. Resorts charge you more than the local islands. However, resorts have some memorable experiences like submarine rides, island hopping on a seaplane flight and other exotic activities.
Indians are allowed to stay in Maldives for a period of 90 days with an on arrival visa. You just need a passport with minimum 6 months validity, your return tickets and confirmed hotel bookings. Immigration takes seconds and is extremely hassle free. Being an Islamic country, carrying alcohol inside the country is prohibited. In case you carry you can be prosecuted for that. No local island will serve you alcohol. Private islands have their own set of rules where alcohol and bikinis are allowed.
Well, that's quite a list of dos and dont's. I spent 39000 right from the time I left home till I returned back. So don't wait but pack your bags. Maldives is indeed any travellers paradise.
Address: Aabaadhee Hingun Road, Maafushi 08090, Maldives
Phone: +960 953-3626
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