Maldives is a country nothing less than a dream. Surrounded with water, spread over 1200 dispersed islands of which barely 200 are inhabited, this is what we call paradise. Interested to go but the costs are burning a hole in your pocket? Many would be surprised to know that this country can be visited on a budget. You do not have save it for a special occasion like a honeymoon or an anniversary, but visit this country multiple times as it is bound to surprise you every time. Here is how you visit the Maldives without splurging your savings.
Book flights early
This is a key to travelling within the budget. International carriers flying to the Maldives are a mixture of scheduled and charter airlines. Indian low cost carrier like Go Air operates from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Travel in low season
Go during low season, which runs from May to November, Maldives will surprise you with the rates of accommodation. However, since this period coincides with the monsoon season (May to October), you will get cloudy skies and rains, which has a charm of its own.
Stay in a local island
Maldives offers two types of islands: local and private. The private islands are usually owned by resorts while the local islands are the ones that are inhabited and offer the true Maldivian flavours and also offer a wider range of shops and restaurants. An ideal stay at this destination would include a guesthouse at a local island along with a few days in resort islands.
Since the tourism industry has been booming, the type of guesthouses are nothing less than a 4-star hotel and offer exclusivity as its unique selling point. Consider this, an island which has only 30 inhabitants including the staff of the guesthouse and you. Such could be your stay at Plumeria Boutique Maldives on the Thinadhoo Island (Vavoo Atoll). Enjoy a sandbank breakfast or swim with the sharks at reasonable prices here and be assured this would change your perspective on affordable luxury.
For those who wish to consider staying at private islands, the Aitken Spence properties—Adaaran Club Rannalhi (Kaafu Atoll) and Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi (North Male Atoll), are some good options to consider. At these properties stay in ocean villas to experience the ocean up close like never before.
Travel by ferries
Since 99 per cent of the Maldives is covered with water and only one percent contributes land mass, it is quite natural that most of the transport is by ferries and boats. Though speedboats are a faster way to travel, they cost much higher for a single trip as compared to a local ferry. Local ferries run on a somewhat infrequent schedule but are quite cheap. Avoid the seaplanes if you’re on a budget but if money is not your concern then this too is an experience not to miss.
Good to Know
- When staying a local island be aware of the restrictions on wearing a bikini in public beaches. There are designated bikini beaches for tourists.
- If you want to visit a resort, you'll have to pay for a speedboat, as the local ferries don't stop at the resort islands.
- Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) is a nonconvertible currency only available in the Maldives. US dollars, all major credit cards and currency are acceptable.
- Alcohol is only permitted for foreigners in resorts or on liveaboard vessels. Alcohol and alcoholic beverages are not allowed on any inhabited island even for guests staying in a guesthouse or hotel.
- A Green Tax of $6 per person per day is levied on guests staying at resorts, hotels and liveaboards. For those staying in guesthouses, the Green Tax is $3 per person per day.