With its crystal clear waters and sun kissed shores, the Maldives is to many an island dream come true. However, a holiday to this paradise can bring with it a string of hidden costs and scheduling headaches, all of which can rain big time on your vacation. To avoid that, read on for tips you should know before you go.
International flights arrive at Male International Airport on Hulhule island. However, most Maldivian resorts are built on individual islands, which means you’re likely to need a ferry, speedboat, or more often than not, a seaplane, to get to your accommodation. If it is a seaplane transfer, take note that seaplanes operate only in daylight hours, so be prepared to stay a night in Male if you’re arriving late. The same goes if you’re taking an early morning flight out. Ferries also rarely run on Fridays, as it is the Muslim sabbath. Take all these into consideration when booking your flight.
As mentioned, most resorts are built on individual islands, which means you are likely unable to travel outside for food and activities. It’s therefore important that you read up thoroughly on resort facilities before you commit to booking one. For example, some resorts have reefs that are a short swim from the beach, while others require that you book a boat trip to get to the reefs, which can mean additional costs for snorkelling. The same goes for food. As most produce is imported, food in the Maldives is notoriously expensive. Every purchase that is not part of your board package will be subjected to at least 10 percent service tax. This means that a meal for two, after taxes, can easily come up to SGD100. A no frills bed and breakfast package may seem cheaper at time of booking, but you may end up spending loads more on ala carte meals. The same applies to activities and equipment rental. Do you math before you decide — sometimes, all-inclusive meal packages can work out to be more value for money.
Dress the part
The Maldives is a Muslim state, but as most hotel resorts are built on private islands, it is alright for guests to bare their skin in swimwear and skimpier beach attire. You may want to throw in a few sets of chic beach linens for the evenings, when hotel guests tend to dress up. However, a much more modest dress code is required if you are visiting the capital Male or staying in a guesthouse, which is usually located on a locally inhabited island. Be sure to wear something that covers your shoulders and up to your knees. Some guesthouses may offer to bring you to a bikini beach, which allows you to swim and sunbathe in two-piece suits; otherwise, pack in a rash vest and knee length surf shorts for local beaches.