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Maldives For First-Timers: What Can You Expect?

Posted by on 15 Sep 2020 , in Islands

The Maldives is a picture-perfect archipelago, situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and home to over 1200 coral islands. The island nation is renowned for its beauty and is celebrated as one of the most unique travel destinations in the world.

Now that it is reopening its borders and commencing safe tourism for international travellers, the team at MMPRC is delighted to share some insights for first-timers.

The Maldives has its own language, Dhivehi, and the country also has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. This means that the majority of Maldivians speak fluent English, making it easier to communicate with tourists.

The country also carries its own currency, the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). Other forms of currency such as US dollars and Euros are accepted in most places and you can also pay using your card. There are Eftpos machines and ATMs available in most islands and resorts, but it is advisable to carry cash if you are on a local island, just to be on the safe side.

For many of us, obtaining a pre-arrival visa seems to be a hassle, especially when you have to travel abroad to obtain it. In the Maldives, it is not required; a 30-day visa is issued on arrival for all nationalities, but do make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity remaining and that you have a valid ticket to return home.

However, with current safety precautions in place, a health declaration card will be required as per the procedure. 

There are many stunning accommodation options for a variety of travellers to choose from, including resorts, hotels, guest houses and liveaboards. The best thing to do is research and book in advance. Choosing a place can get tricky but it all boils down to your budget and activity preferences.

In addition to its 5-star resorts for lovers of luxury, you can still travel to the Maldives when watching your budget by staying at a guesthouse or boutique hotel on a local island. Here you can immerse yourself in the traditional Maldivian culture, and the friendly locals will be happy to welcome you to their neighbourhood.

Alcohol and pork are served at resorts and on liveaboards; this is where the rules are a bit more relaxed and there will be plenty to choose from. However, as the Maldives is a Muslim country, they are prohibited on local islands.

While bikinis and bathing suits are allowed in resorts, they are not acceptable while staying on local islands, unless there is a specific “Bikini Beach”. Public displays of affection are also discouraged, so visitors should ensure they understand and respect the customs. 

What is there to do besides lazing on the beach and getting your Vitamin D in check, you may ask. There are several options to choose from. You see, you can enjoy every water activity imaginable in the Maldives; from snorkelling, diving, jet-skiing, windsurfing, kite-surfing and so on. There are also exciting excursions, fishing trips and even dolphin watching to experience. For those wanting a more luxurious experience, there are nearby lagoons and sandbanks for a magical dose of serenity and privacy. The possibilities are endless.

The transportation from the main airport, Velana International Airport, to your desired local island or resort is either done by speed boat or seaplane. The speed boat is used to transit tourists to islands in close proximity, whereas a seaplane is used to access remotely located islands and resorts. Travelling by a seaplane is a unique experience by itself – you can see islands and atolls from the air and take lots of lovely pictures on the way! Most of the time, you can always get a resort representative to escort you – this makes things a lot easier! 

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