Where is the Maldives?
The Maldives is a small island nation located in South Asia. It lies in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean and has Sri Lanka and India as its closest neighbors. This smallest Asian country by land area and population is made up of a chain of 26 atolls.
Capital of Maldives
The capital of Maldives is the city of Male, which consists of a central island, an airport island, and two other islands that are governed by Male’s city council. If you are flying internationally, you will land in Velana International Airport (previously called Ibrahim Nasir International Airport). This is the major airport in Maldives and is located in Hulhule Island in the North Male Atoll. Other major cities in Maldives are Fuvahmulah and Hithadhoo.
Population of Maldives
There are about 600,000 inhabitants in Maldives, and most of the people live in the country’s capital, Male. The people in Maldives are called Dhivehin, which roughly translates as ‘islanders.’ The Maldivian ethnic identity is a blend of people of Arab, South Indian, and Sinhalese ethnicity.
Language spoken in Maldives
There are two official recognized languages in Maldives – Dhivehi and English. Due to the increase in tourism in the country, speaking in English is very common in Maldives.
Currency in Maldives
During your Maldives vacation, you need to have Maldivian rumiyaa (MVR), the currency of Maldives, with you. You will find money exchangers in Male, and major credit cards are also accepted in bigger establishments, but cash is handy to have. 1 USD is equivalent to 15 MVR.
Time Zone in Maldives
Maldives time zone is GMT+5. So, if it’s 7AM Pacific Time, it is 7PM in Maldives. Clocks do not change in Maldives. Like most of Asia, Daylight Savings Time is not observed in Maldives’ time zone.
How to Get to Maldives/How to Travel to Maldives
Before traveling to Maldives, you need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least the next six months. All international visitors will also be required to present a proof of sufficient funds for the travel, return flight, and confirmed accommodation booking. A 30-day Visa is granted to almost all countries upon arrival, but make sure to check the Visa requirements that are specific for your passport before hopping on that flight. The tourist Visa can be extended if you wish to stay a bit longer.
You will likely land in Velana International Airport (previously called Ibrahim Nasir International Airport), which is the major international airport of Maldives with airport code MLE. If you are taking a flight to Maldives from the US, UK, or other parts of Asia, you might have to take a connecting flight from Singapore or Malaysia to Male. There are direct flights from some countries, but it may be a bit expensive and the flights are limited. If you are from the UK, British Airways has flights from London Gatwick Airport to MLE, or Male. A couple of airlines also fly directly from Vienna to Male and Zurich to Male. There are no direct flights from anywhere in the US to Maldives. If you are flying from Los Angeles LAX to MLE, you will have a layover in Istanbul IST if you are flying with Turkish Airlines.
How to get Around Maldives
The most convenient way to get to your hotel from the airport is to book an airport pickup service with your resort. The airport is on a separate island from the hotels and resorts; thus, you would need to hop into a seaplane, a ferry, or a boat. The seaplanes would be the best choice in terms of convenience, but it is also the most expensive one. Most of the resorts offer airport transfers in their vacation packages. You might want to check ahead and compare the costs.
Seaplanes in Maldives can take you to almost any island. They act as taxis here since the country is composed of 26 atolls. They might not be the most economical means to get around Maldives, but they are the most convenient. Taking a seaplane saves a lot of time as well, especially if you are transferring from one island to another. Most resorts arrange the seaplane transfers for their guests. The cost for the seaplane transfer is generally between 250 USD to 450 USD for a two-way transfer. The cost would depend on the distance and the season. The seaplanes only fly during daytime, which is probably a good thing since this will give you the perfect aerial view of the atolls below. There are also charter flights solely for sightseeing and photography.
If you are traveling in a large group, you might want to book a yacht transfer. The capacity of the yachts varies from 12-20 seats. If you would like to book this service, it will cost around 1300 USD to 4000 USD depending on the size and speed of the yacht. Yacht transfers in Maldives are ideal for tourists who would like to start their vacation right away. Welcome drinks and meals can be arranged. You can check yacht transfer services here.
Ferry/ Public Boats
If you are not in a hurry and would like to save a couple of bucks, ferry and public boats are available. Often called Slow Dhoni in Maldives, these boats can ferry 50 to 100 people at a time. A dhoni is a multi-purpose motorized sailboat that is widely used in Maldives. The traditional dhoni is built using coconut palm timber and was mostly used for fishing before they were used majorly for public transport.
If you are just wandering around the island, you can hail a cab. If you are staying in Male, taxis are everywhere. There are no ride sharing services in Maldives as of this writing.
There are buses that travel from Male to the adjoining island, Hulhumale. The bus comes every 30 minutes, but the routes are limited to these islands only. If your resort is on another island, taking the bus is not an option for you.
If you are staying for quite a while, there are plenty of cars for rent in Maldives, especially in Male, although you might not have a lot of opportunity for long drives since the country is made up of islands. You cannot use the license issued in your home country, so if you want to drive in Maldives, you have to apply for a local driver’s license. This involves filling out forms and taking a practical driving test. If you are only here for a week or two, this may not be the best option for you.
Just like most islands in Asia, locals get from one place to another using motorcycles. There are shops where you can rent motorcycles in Maldives if you are comfortable with driving one.
If you are staying on smaller atolls, walking may be the best way to get around. Aside from costing you nothing, you also get to appreciate the local scene up close. This is also a perfect opportunity to go on photo walks and check out quaint cafes and souvenir shops.
Weather in Maldives
Maldives’ weather is classified as tropical monsoon and has a consistent hot, humid climate because of its low elevation. Maldives’ weather is dry and wet, and the rainy season is from the month of May until October. Even during the rainy season, though, the temperature is still warm enough to be considered beach weather.
Best time to visit Maldives
Anytime is the best time to visit Maldives. This is a country where nobody ever wears thermal clothes, no matter what month it is. If you are deciding which month is the best month to visit Maldives, there are pros and cons for every month. Rainy season in Maldives starts in May and lasts until October, but the weather is still considerably hot and humid. This is the low season in the country, so coming here during these months means cheaper flights and hotels. Some island activities may be disrupted because of the rain. Rainy months also have stronger winds, which means bigger waves.
November to April is the dry season in Maldives. This means everything will be bright and blue wherever you look, but this also means expensive flights and hotels as well as thicker crowds. If you plan to visit Maldives during these months, make sure to pack your sunscreen. The average temperature during dry season in Maldives is 30 degrees Celsius or around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Which month is the best month to visit Maldives?
The best month to visit Maldives is dependent on your preference. Anytime between November and April seems to be the best time to visit Maldives since you will see clear blue skies, calm oceans, and crystal clear waters. This may be a bit too warm for some people, though, since the average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius. These are also the busy months, so the resorts are usually fully booked.
If you want to avoid the crowds and save a bit on airfare and accommodations, the best time to visit Maldives is between May to October. You might get rained on when you are out and about, but the weather is still generally hot and humid with a daily average of 25 degrees Celsius.
Is Maldives Safe?
In terms of crimes, there is minimal risk of crime in Maldives, although you should still exercise caution due to petty theft, especially in Male. The tourist resorts have remained relatively trouble-free for the past couple of years.
In terms of water activities, Maldives sometimes has strong ocean currents, especially during wet season. Be careful when diving in the water and always pay attention to the local guides’ reminders about undertows and riptides.
Maldives or Bora Bora
Maldives and Bora Bora are both island paradises. It is really hard to decide which is better, but there are, of course, areas where the other one stands out. If you are flying from the US, getting to Maldives would require a longer flight. Both Maldives and Bora Bora are secluded islands, but with the latter, you can visit other French Polynesian islands in a matter of minutes. While you can still do island hopping in Maldives, you would be limited to other atolls; most of the little islands in Maldives are also privately owned by resorts. Maldives may offer a more diverse scene, being in Asia. Also, getting to Maldives requires layovers in other Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, which means you can visit two countries in one trip. These countries are also tourist-friendly and allow you to just require a Visa on arrival.
Maldives or Fiji
Choosing between Maldives and Fiji as your next travel destination is no easy feat. Both countries are amazing and have beautiful beaches with sandy shores. The topography of these countries is different, though; Maldives is flat and low while Fiji has highlands and mountains. Fiji has other points of interest aside from the beach, such as waterfalls and hike trails. Maldives, on the other hand, offers wider and clearer views of the ocean and the atolls, which means romantic sunsets. This is one of the reasons Maldives is a popular destination for couples on their honeymoon.
Maldives or Mauritius
Just like the previous comparisons we have made in this post so far, both Maldives and Mauritius have their own characteristics that make them stand out. Being located in the Ski Lankan coast makes Maldives not easily accessible as one might like, but this also means it is not as crowded as Mauritius. If you want ultimate relaxation, Maldives is the place to be. This is also the reason Maldives is known for being a honeymoon destination. Mauritius, on the other hand, is one big island that has verdant jungles and colonial heritage sites which provide varied choices of entertainment. If you are looking for adventures other than the beach and do not mind the crowd, Mauritius would be a great place for you. If you are traveling with children, you will have more kid-friendly activities in Mauritius as well.
Maldives or Seychelles
Between Maldives and Seychelles, the former would be classified as more crowded. Maldives has more luxury hotels and privately owned island resorts. Maldives also has better diving spots. If you are looking at spending more time in and underwater, you might want to choose Maldives over Seychelles. Seychelles is a bigger island; thus, you have more opportunities to go to more secluded beaches without spending too much on island transfers.
20 Best Beaches in Maldives
1. Reethi Beach
Reethi is one of the best of Maldives’ beaches. This is located on a tiny island in Baa Atoll. From Male, you need to take a 35-minute seaplane ride to Reethi Beach. The beach resort offers detached and semi-detached villas built right above the water and furnished with luxury facilities one would want and need for a relaxing vacation.
Reethi Beach’s five-star restaurants and bars are open daily for your satisfaction and convenience. Here you can also find a five-star dive center, a spa, a wellness center, and water sports center. This is the perfect getaway for anyone looking for a luxury vacation in Maldives.
Start packing your swimsuits and book that flight to Maldives. You will have a lot of beach choices, but one of the best beaches in Maldives is Kanuhura. Kanuhura is a privately owned beach that features about 80 villas. The property itself encompasses three private islands – two neighboring islands and Kanuhura. This island resort is perfect for those in dire need of a luxury retreat. You will be surrounded by tropical gardens and stretches of pristine beaches. This beach resort is family friendly and has an outdoor cinema the kids will surely love.
3. Cocoa Island Beaches
Deemed for being exotic, Cocoa Island is a private island resort in Maldives that promises peacefulness, privacy, and a chance to slow down. Because of its proximity to the Kandooma Channel and Guardhoo Channel, the waters surrounding Cocoa Island are teeming with marine life, which makes diving and snorkeling a popular activity here.
Due to its size, there are only 34 overwater villas in Cocoa Island beaches, which makes it less crowded compared to the other islands. You can wake up and slide directly into the turquoise water below. This is not only a great place for honeymooners in Maldives but also for traveling families.
4. Hulhumale Beach
Hulhumale is one of the most popular beaches in Maldives. Aside from its white sandy shores and crystal clear waters, Hulhumale is also known for being an affordable destination in Kaafu Atoll. If you need a break from your daily grind without breaking the bank, Hulhumale is a great place for you.
The inexpensive cost means that it could get a bit crowded, especially during peak season. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing are the top activities here. Depending on the season, you can also see people who are kit surfing on this beach. Hulhumale Beach is located in the Muslim area, so wearing skimpy bikinis is a big no-no here. Women are expected to cover up even when going swimming or sunbathing on this beach.
Make sure to pack appropriate swimming attire and sunscreen before heading to the beach. If you are tired of the water, you can walk to Centro Mall for some shopping. Central Park is also nearby if you would like to take a walk, go biking, or take the kids to the playground. Hulhumale Beach is near the city area, so there are accessible places to eat, shop, and just relax. You can hang out at the beach during the daytime and go on a city night tour right after.
5. Vabbinfaru Island Beaches
Located just a 25-minute boat ride away from Velana International Airport, Vabbinfaru Island is where you go if you want a romantic island retreat in Maldives. This island and the beaches in it are popular for tourists who are on their Maldives honeymoon, anniversary, or random romantic getaway. The shallow waters and long shoreline in Vabbinfaru Island beaches also appeal to families with small children.
Wherever you look, you are surrounded by the breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean. If you have always wanted to go on a jet ski, this would be the perfect opportunity for you. Water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing, and snorkeling are extremely popular in the beaches of Vabbinfaru Island. Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is an island resort you can stay at on the island. The resort can also arrange activities for you, such as island hopping and a romantic beach dinner.
6. Bikini Beach
Of course, going on a beach paradise vacation also means wanting to wear a bikini. You may not be able to do that at all beaches in Maldives, but you can definitely do that in Bikini Beach. Technically, there are multiple beaches that share the same name, but the most popular one is the Bikini Beach in Rasdhoo Island. This official Bikini Beach is quite massive, so you will have a lot of room to lay your beach towel and work on your tan. The turquoise water, powdery sand, and green swaying palm trees prove the perfect background for a perfect Maldives vacation. Wear your cutest bikini because this is the only public beach in Maldives where wearing bikinis is allowed.
A Maldives honeymoon destination list must include Kandolhu Beach. This island offers the perfect mix of sandy shores and shallow waters for a relaxing swim and an incredible house reef for diving and underwater adventures.
Having an accessible house reef means you can go snorkeling or scuba diving anytime you wish. You can stay in the water villas or in the rooms surrounded by the palm trees. For a relaxing, romantic, and adventure-filled stay, Kandolhu beach has got you covered.
8. Cocoon Beach
Located in the unspoiled island in Lhaviyani Atoll, Cocoon is a 5-star, family-friendly beach resort that offers luxury and adventure that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family. Whether you want to sit in the bar with a glass of champagne or lounge on the beach with cocktails, it is hard not to relax while spending your vacation here. The resort also offers a kids club and a big swimming pool to spend warm sunny afternoons in. After a long day of ocean adventures, you can choose to dine in any of the three restaurants on the island that offers both local and international cuisine. For accommodations, you can stay in a villa built over the water and sleep to the sound of the waves below.
9. Mirihi Island Beach
If you would like to avoid the crowds while enjoying your Maldives vacation, head up to Mirihi Island beach. This privately owned island is located in South Ari Atoll.
You will be surrounded by the elements that make up a tropical paradise – palm trees, blue waters, and sandy beaches. You can simply sit back, relax, and inhale that ocean breeze.
10. Taj Exotica Beach
One of the best beaches in Maldives is Taj Exotica Beach. Taj Exotica may not have a house reef, but it has a long stretch of shoreline, white sandy shores, and crystal clear waters that are perfect for those who just want to relax and take it easy. If you are looking for an adventure that does not require a lot of physical effort, this is the perfect Maldives beach for you. Enjoy the sun and gaze at the stars at night from the comfort of your beach villa.
11. Baros Maldives
This island resort has the best lagoon in Maldives. Honeymooners love this spot. If you are in for romantic walks on the shore, sunset gazing, and a candle-lit dinner on the beach, then Baros Beach would be perfect for you. There is a certain calmness to this island that makes it extra romantic.
Wine and dine with your loved one while feeling the warm, salty, ocean breeze on you face and the fine sand on your feet. The resort is easily accessible from the airport. It only takes 25 minutes via boat to get here. Its proximity to the Maldives airport makes it possible for visiting tourists to maximize their time on the island.
12. Mudhdhoo Island Beach
Also known as Vaadhoo Island, Mudhdhoo Island is popular because of its glowing beach. Maldives glowing beach glows in the dark because of a natural phenomenon called bioluminescence. During this phenomenon, light is emitted or created by a living organism. It is believed that there are several marine animals in this area capable of performing light production action, thus making the beach glow.
It is no wonder why travelers, especially honeymooners, travel far and wide to spend their vacation days in Maldives glowing beach. This is a treat for children as well, who would not mind staying up past their bedtime to explore and play on the glowing beach at night.
This Maldives glowing beach has seen more marriage proposals than any other beaches in the country. It is definitely a treat to get to spend some time here. Locals also call this the Sea of Stars Maldives. I don’t know about you, but swimming in the Sea of Stars sounds like a treat to me.
13. Lily Beach
Located in Huvahendoo Island in Ari Atoll, Lily Beach is a privately owned tropical paradise. The good thing is you can stay here and have the vacation of a lifetime!
Spend your days basking under the Maldives sun or exploring the nearby diving sites. Lily Beach is only 25 minutes away from Maldives airport.
14. Dhigurah Beach
This is the beach for the adventurous at heart. Dhigurah Beach is a secluded spot in South Ari Atoll where you can go swimming with the whale sharks. There are local tour boat operators in the area that offer island hopping tours and whale shark diving activities. Make sure to go with a guide and stay at a comfortable distance from the whale sharks.
It is generally safe to swim with the whale sharks in Maldives, but one should not lower their guard. Also, the distance also ensures that you are not going to accidentally harm the whale sharks with your scuba gear and other equipment. There are local cafes and food stalls along the beachside that offer hearty yet affordable meals.
You might find this beach a bit too crowded, especially during peak season since locals also come here to swim with the whale sharks. The experience is a must, though, especially for those who are swimmers and are looking for an adrenaline-pumping experience. Wearing of environment-friendly sunscreen is highly requested, and it is also the most ethical thing to do for the well-being of the whale sharks and the rest of marine life.
15. Veligandu Island Beach
Compared to the other privately owned beaches in Maldives, Veligandu is more affordable. You can spend days on the beaches here without having to spend a lot and still enjoy the privacy offered by private beaches.
Located in North Ari Atoll, you can reach this Maldives beach by taking the public ferry to Rasdhoo Island and then hopping on a boat to reach the beach.
16. Nika Island Beach
Nika is one of the best privately owned beaches in Maldives. You need to take a seaplane to get here, and the plane ride takes about 30 minutes from Male Airport. The plane itself is an adventure, giving you the best view of the islands. Nika offers opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and other water activities. Honeymooners in Maldives love to walk along the beaches of Nika Island during sunset.
Bandos beach in Maldives is said to be a perfect tropical escape. This is one of the beaches close to the Maldives airport.
Bandos has a house reef so you can go snorkeling or scuba diving without heading out far into the ocean. The waters are shallow and the shoreline is wide, which is perfect for traveling families with little kids.
18. Fulhadhoo Beach
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and be far from the thick crowd of tourists vacationing in Maldives, head over to Fulhadhoo Beach. You might not find the luxurious 5-star hotels here, but you will be able to experience an authentic Maldives beach getaway. Fulhadhoo island is big, so tourists often have the beach all to themselves.
19. Kurumba Beach
Hailed as the honeymoon getaway paradise, Kurumba Beach lives up to the expectations. It has the white beaches, blue waters, and green palm trees one would look for in a tropical paradise getaway.
Get ready to fall in love as soon as you set your feet on the sand. Honeymooners and families alike tend to flock here, especially during summertime.
20. Sun Island Beaches
Jet skiing and scuba diving are top activities in Sun Island Beaches. This is popular amongst tourists, but the area is big enough for you to still find a private spot and enjoy a bit of privacy during your Maldives vacation. Lather on sunscreen and laze around the beaches of Sun Island in Maldives.
Top 20 Things to do in Maldives
1. Go surfing
Yes, you can go surfing in Maldives. The surf breaks in the country are often found in Male between the months of March to October. If you would like to give surfing a try during your Maldives vacation, head over to Farukolhufushi Island in North Male.
The bigger swells occur during the months of June to August. No worries if you have not tried surfing before because there are shops that offer surfing lessons with a guarantee that you will be taught and guided by professional surfers.
2. Go on a cruise
What is more romantic that a sunset cruise in Maldives? You can rent a local dhoni or a luxury yacht with your loved ones. If you are spending your honeymoon in Maldives, surprise your partner with a sunset cruise and cap it off with a romantic dinner by the beach. Most of the resorts have their own boats and boat guides you can rent for an hour or a day.
3. Explore the National Museum
Visiting the National Museum is one of the best ways to enjoy and learn more about the culture and history of Maldives. Gifted by China to the country, this museum in Male contains a well-labelled collection of historical artifacts. You can find a gallery that displays pieces from the ancient and medieval period of Maldives.
The showcase includes religious paraphernalia, household items, weaponry, and artistically carved Arabic and Thaana pieces of wood commemorating the conversion of Maldives to Islam in 1153. There are also kooky relics in the National Museum, such as the minutes of the famous underwater cabinet meeting in 2009 held under President Nasheed.
Of course, since Maldives is composed of islands with abundant marine life, you can also see an impressive marine collection here, which includes a 6-km skeleton of the rare Longman’s Beaked Whale. Spending an afternoon in the National Museum in Male is definitely one of the best things to do in Maldives.
4. Visit the Old Friday Mosque
Islam is the religion of most of the population in Maldives. During your Maldives vacation, pay a visit to the Old Friday Mosque in Male.
This is the oldest in the country, built in 1656. The mosque is made of coral stone with intricate decorations and Quranic script chiseled around it. Since this is a place of worship, please observe proper decorum during your visit.
5. Go birdwatching at Eedhigali Kilhi and Kottey Protected Area
Bring your binoculars and cameras and go birdwatching in Eedhigali Kilhi and Kottey Protected Area. This nature reserve in Addu Atoll can be found at the far end of Hithadhoo. This is the biggest lake in the country and is home to about 30 bird species. There are platforms and viewing decks built around the deck to make it easier for avid birdwatchers and photographers to get comfortable and get a glimpse of the birds.
6. Go for a run at Hulhumale Central Park
Being on vacation does not mean you cannot workout. There are a lot of spots in Maldives beaches where you can go for a run, but if you prefer paved or solid ground, head over to Hulhumale Central Park, which is close to Hulhumale Beach.
There is a playground in the park where kids can run around and play. During afternoons, the place is filled with locals and other tourists out for a walk or having a picnic. If you would like to slow down and just sit and read a book, Hulhumale Central is the best setting for such an activity. This is also a great place to people-watch and interact with the locals.
7. Dine in an underwater restaurant
One of the best things to do in Maldives is to dine in an underwater restaurant. Yes, you read that right – there are underwater restaurants in Maldives where you can wine and dine during your vacation. One of these restaurants is Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which is 16 feet below the sea level and offers 180-degree panoramic views of the amazing sea life.
You can enjoy your meal and see the colorful fish swim above and around you. You can book the place to have it all to yourselves for private events, too. They are open from 11AM until midnight daily and serve the most delicious European dishes. If you are looking for a nightclub vibe, visit Subsix.
This is the first underwater nightclub in Maldives. It has a mermaid theme and was built 20 feet under the Indian Ocean. Book your reservations ahead since the tables fill quickly because of how unique this underwater club is. Other underwater restaurants in Maldives that are worth checking out are SEA, 5.8 Underwater Restaurant, and Minus Meters.
8. Shop at Centro Mall
Speaking of shopping, you might want to drop by Centro Mall. This may not be the biggest or grandest mall you will ever come across, but Centro Mall offers goods that are not available in your home country. A lot of tourists drop by here on the last evening of their Maldives vacation to do some last-minute shopping.
The Centro Mall is near the pier, so if you have a connecting commute, this is also a good place to grab drinks and meals before continuing your journey. There are restaurants and cafes that offer local cuisine and delicious coffee.
9. Sleep in an underwater hotel
It is not every day that you get the opportunity to sleep in an underwater hotel, but Maldives will make it happen for you. You can stay in the famous The Muruka – a luxury two-level residence with a master bedroom submerged over 16 feet below sea level in the Indian Ocean.
This residence is part of the Condrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort and is the perfect accommodation for couples, families, or a group of friends. The upper level has two bedrooms and an outdoor deck with infinity pool. The master bedroom offers a 180-degree view of the ocean.
You can fall asleep and wake up to the murmur of the ocean and the sight of the colorful fish happily swimming around. For your convenience, the property also offers a 24/7 butler service. Be assured that you will have the most relaxing Maldives vacation while having the chance to sleep in an underwater hotel during your stay.
10. Drop by the fish market
Maldives island is a pescatarian heaven. If you have booked an accommodation in an Airbnb and would like to do your own cooking, drop by a fish market in Maldives for the fresh catch. The fish market in the capital, Male, is the most famous one in the country.
This is also the soul of Male. Tourism and fishing are the top two livelihoods of the people in Maldives. Come in the early morning to witness the fishermen bringing their catch from the adjacent harbor. Be on the lookout for fresh tuna, octopus, and grouper.
11. Cross the Sinamale Bridge
Originally called the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, Sinamale Bridge was opened in August 2018 as the first inter-island bridge in Maldives. This bridge links the islands of Male, Hulhule, and Hulhumale. Sinamale Bridge is a 2.1-km-long bridge with two car lanes and separate lanes for motorcycles and pedestrians.
The Chinese government provided funding for the construction of the bridge, which is why it was originally called the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge. This is an impressive piece of engineering and is considered one of the most prominent landmarks in Maldives.
12. Buy fresh produce at Male Local Market
Take a break from the hotel restaurants and cafés and pick up fresh produce at Male’s Local Market. All the locals buy their essentials here. It may not be the fanciest supermarket, but it is definitely unique in its own way. Here you can find colorful and sweet tropical fruits such as bananas, papayas, watermelons, and fresh coconuts.
There are plenty of fresh, local vegetables sold here at an affordable price. You may not recognize some of the fruits and vegetables, so being introduced to them here is an adventure on its own. If you would like to buy souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family back home, there are plenty of stalls and shops that sell assorted gift items in Male Local Market.
13. Pay respects at the Tsunami Monument
In 2004, Indonesia was hit by a devastating earthquake that caused a tsunami. As the tsunami passed Maldives, it caused 74 fatalities and extensive material damage. A memorial along the harbor in the southeast of Male was built as a dedication to the lives lost during the tsunami.
You will see the names of those who died engraved on the vertical rods that form the monument. There are 20 steel bars that complete the monument, which symbolizes the Maldives atolls. It might not be the most cheerful place to visit but seeing a piece of the country’s history will give you a different perspective on life.
14. Swim in the Sea of Stars
The Sea of Stars is basically the glowing beach in Maldives. The most popular one is in the island of Vaadhoo. Since the glowing elements of the beach are only clearly visible at night, visit just an hour before sundown. You can enjoy an overnight stay at the resorts nearby, or you can also have a local transport pick you up.
Prepare to have your breath taken away by the glowing sand which looks like a bed of stars. This is more prevalent during late summer until the end of the year. If you have seen the movie Life of Pi, you may have seen Sea of Stars before.
Thousands of tourists flock to Vaadhoo Island to swim in the Sea of Stars, but this bioluminescent phenomenon can also be seen in other islands in Maldives. Prepare your camera, for this is one of those moments you would want to capture on film. Make sure to check local forecasts, though, since nature has a way of changing course unexpectedly.
15. Play at the Sultan Park
This is a good place to visit if you are traveling with kids. If you want to take a break from the beach for a bit, head over to Sultan Park, which is a small park in the middle of the city. You can have a nice walk under the shade of the trees, and there is a play area for the kids. There is a small fee for foreigners to get inside, but it is free for the locals. The small fee collected goes to the maintenance fees of the park.
16. Go fishing
Fishing is an activity you can enjoy on almost any Maldives island. The waters of Maldives are filled with healthy marine life. If you are a fishing enthusiast, you can rent a local boat and guide and head out to sea and go fishing. In the local ports, seeing kids and local teens with fishing poles is a regular sight.
The local fishermen usually catch tuna with their spears, but if you do not know how to spear fish, do not worry because fishing rods work just fine. Aside from being fun, it is also fulfilling to catch your own dinner.
17. Go scuba diving in Maldive Victory
The Maldive Victory has been underwater since 1981 after it hit a reef and sunk. This is now one of the most popular dive sites in Maldives amongst advanced divers. If you are still learning the ropes when it comes to scuba diving, you might want to sit this one out; however, if you are experienced, you would love it here.
The dive is quite challenging because of the strong currents in the area as well as the obstacles created by thriving corals and colorful fish. The Maldive Victory can be found below the Hulhule House Reef, which stretches between the islands of Male and Hulhule.
Most resorts in Maldives offer scuba diving packages that include guides and equipment, so you can arrange yours ahead. Local divers have guaranteed that the diving site is good all-year, but you might still want to go scuba diving when the water is calm and quiet.
18. Go on a city tour around Male
Male is the capital of Maldives. It is also one of the smallest capital cities in the world, but it is packed with culture and history just waiting to be explored. One of the most recognizable landmarks in the city is the Republic Square. This green square is located on the northern edge of Male and is lined with palm trees.
The Republic Square was constructed in 1989 and has been a popular spot for locals to meet and hangout. During your city tour, the guide will also take you to religious buildings, important architecture, and even cozy shops. One of the best things to do in Maldives is to learn more about the country’s culture by touring the city of Male.
19. Have a spa day
One of the best things to do in Maldives is to just relax and be pampered, and the best way to do this is to have a spa day. Most resorts, especially the luxury ones, have their own spa services and facilities, but you can also go to the individually owned spa centers. One thing is for sure, though, most of the spa centers use island-sourced ingredients for their masks, treatments, and oils such as seaweed, papaya, and pineapple.
The basic facials and massages are a given, but you can also opt for services such as citrus-hydrating body treatments, customized acupuncture, or chakra balancing. If you want to level up your spa day experience, go for the underwater spa, which is Huvafen Spa. Huvafen Spa is the first and only underwater spa in the world and probably one of the best experiences you can have during your Maldives vacation.
Booking an appointment in this underwater spa is a bit expensive, but you will not get this experience anywhere else, so it is worth the expense. You can get massages and treatments while enjoying the calmness of being underwater. You will also be treated to the sight of fish swimming around the underwater spa.
20. Go on a street food trip
Eating local cuisine is one of the exciting things about going on a trip. What is even more exciting is trying the local street food, and Maldives has a lot of them. Breadfruit and cassava are the top street foods you will see in Maldives. They are cooked and prepared in different ways so you can have them for snacks or desserts – some taste savory, some sweet.
Night life in Maldives
One thing is for sure, Maldives knows how to party. Sure, the country is known for a honeymoon destination, but that does not mean that single people cannot have the time of their lives here, too. Once you have taken your sunset walks and captured your beautiful tropical sunset photos, get your party shoes on and head to the best places to enjoy night life in Maldives.
- Subsix – This is one of the coolest underwater bars in Maldives. They have a mermaid theme, and you can have flowing drinks with your friends and loved ones. A lot of people who like a good party come here, so this is also a great place to meet new friends.
- Kurumba – Even if you are not a guest in this 5-star resort, you can still come and join the party. It is located in Vihamanaafushi Island and offers varied entertainment every night. Kurumba has an open bar, so you can grab your favorite cocktail and dance the night away. They are open from 7PM until 2AM.
- Moodhu Bar and Restaurant – If you are looking for a more relaxed and casual setting to enjoy your night life experience in Maldives, drop by Moodhu Bar and Restaurant. It is built above the water, so you can enjoy your cold drink while feeling the warm ocean breeze on your skin. There is no single way to enjoy the night life in Maldives.
Expert tips for traveling in Maldives
To help you prepare for your trip to Maldives, here are some tips you can check before you go:
Follow the dress code – Keep in mind that you are in a different country with different customs and traditions. There are beaches in Maldives that do not allow bikinis. This may be an unusual code for you, but Maldives is generally a Muslim country, so proper dress code is expected in most places. There are beaches that allow you to wear a bikini and flaunt that body, but for public Maldives beaches, the general rule is no bikini allowed.
No alcohol in your luggage when arriving – This is pretty straightforward. You are not allowed to bring alcohol into the country. The Maldives is a Muslim country; thus, importation of alcohol is illegal. Don’t even try sneaking one in in your checked-in luggage or carry-on because everything will be checked, and it will be taken from you, which would be just a waste. Not to worry, though, the hotel bars are fully equipped with your favorite drinks. If you have a specific drink in mind, you may want to contact your hotel ahead to verify.
Prepare an extended budget – Although there are ways for you to cut costs, Maldives is not exactly a cheap travel destination. Make sure to extend your budget a bit when you come here.
Plan your activities first before you go – Since the country is made of islands, hopping from one island to another to do touristy things may not be cost-effective. If there are top activities that you would like to do other than just swimming and relaxing, check the location and how near or far they are from each other. Public transportation that goes from one island to another is available (especially to the privately owned ones), so taking the hotel’s seaplane can be quite expensive. Make sure to plan your activities first so you are not hopping around so much.
Buy a sim card at the airport – If you want to stay connected wherever you are in Maldives, get a sim card at the airport. Your hotels may have Wi-Fi, but it might be limited to your room or to certain places in the resort. Not to worry about a mobile data signal since most islands have their own cell towers.
Bring cash – Have USD with you since most establishments accept USD. If you would like to walk around and go to local shops, you need to pay using the Maldives currency, which is Rufiyaa. The bigger establishments also accept major credit cards, but having cash is always convenient.
Take advantage of the hotel-provided activities – Your Maldives vacation does not have to be so expensive. There are ways where you can enjoy it without spending so much. Check with your hotels about their free activities. Some resorts host outdoor movie nights at the beach and under the stars. This is not only free but also romantic.