Maldives is among the highly preferred tourist destinations across the world. Thanks to its stunning landscapes, spectacular coral reefs, several cultural attractions like the National Museum, Sultan Park, Grand Friday Mosque, varied range of water sports and delectable seafood, it never fails to impress its visitors. Malé, the capital island of Maldives is a prime tourist hub that assures a perfect experience through its breathtaking sites at every corner. But do remember, as the Maldives is an Islamic nation, alcohol is not allowed for the local people. However, if you’re 18 and not a Muslim, then you can buy or drink alcohol here. Almost all liveaboard boats and resorts have license to serve alcohol.
Best time to visit: The Maldives is a year-round destination but the best time to visit is from December to March.
Visa and immigration: If you’re an Indian passport holder travelling to the Maldives, then you are eligible for visa on arrival for 90 days.
How to reach
By Air: The main international airport in the Maldives is Malé International Airport, located in North Malé Atoll on Hulhule Island. IndiGo now provides flights to Maldives with direct connectivity between Maldives and Bengaluru, Mumbai & Kochi along with smooth connections to other Indian cities.
Getting around: The main modes to get around Maldives – boats, seaplanes and private yachts. The boats are equal to the cars of any other place, while the private yachts and planes are primarily used by the tourists. Besides these, cargo boats and public ferries are also available.
It is the world’s largest all-glass underwater restaurant and boasts of state-of-the-art design. A perfect place to satiate your gastronomical senses, 5.8 Undersea restaurant is a must visit.
Your craving for some Indian food can get fulfilled at Bombai Darbaar in Hulhumale. The restaurant is known for serving an enormous quantity of food, superb service and value for money option.
Enjoy a romantic meal and a stunning view of sunset by the waterside at Muraka restaurant. Don’t miss their yummy lobster, seafood and Angus beef; all served with a wide range of International wines.
If you are looking for a budget restaurant, then SeaSide Grill is an ideal option. Do try their delicious grilled meats and fishes along with lobsters.
Yet another breathtaking restaurant located on the waterfront in Niyama. The food gets served with perfection and the menu specialises in vegan dishes.
The best place to shop in the Maldives is Malé. You can take back some souvenirs other than local jewellery made from coral and seashells. Here are a few shopping spots that are worth visiting.
Malé local market: This place has several souvenir shops selling exciting items like miniature boats, slippers made of palm leaves, decorative products made from seashells, wooden vases and mat. You must try the street foods and carry cash.
Majeedhee Magu: Another great place for street shopping. You can find almost everything starting from fabrics to clothes to locally crafted items to electronics to delectable food.
Chaandanee Magu: It is probably the best place to buy souvenirs. At Chaandanee Magu, you must pick up Maldivian mat known as ‘Thadu Kuna’ and miniature versions of Maldivian sailboats called ‘Dhonis’.
Malé Fish Market: As the name suggests it’s a fish market selling almost all kind of fish. Even if you don’t want to buy, a visit to this place is a must.
Karaoke room, Aaaveee: It is one of the best places to enjoy after the sunset. The karaoke room is known to play original music with the sounds of birds and winds. This place sets up a perfect mood to spend a lovely evening with its ambience inspired by the house designs of late 1992.
Open air jungle cinema: The Jungle Cinema in Gili Lankanfushi redefines the open-air theatre experience in a new way. All you need is a comfortable recliner, an ideal company and perfect weather to set up the perfect mood for the evening.
Night fishing: As a part of Maldives nightlife, you must try night fishing at Bandos beach. Just learn the basics of fishing and wait for your catch by the seashore. As you get hold of your catch, enjoy a delicious barbecue along with some local music and folk dance.
Crab Racing: One of the most important attractions for tourists, crab racing is the highlight of Maldives nightlife. Few of the resorts organise such activity to entertain their guests.
Bar and pub hopping: Bars and clubs beautify and jazz up Maldives nightlife further. So, enjoy every moment of your stay by visiting different pubs and bars. Some of the must-visit bars are W Retreat, Moodhu Bar & restaurant, Club Med Kani, Sangu Beach Bar and Huvafen Fushi among others.
Gili Lankanfushi Located close to Maldives International airport, this hotel boasts of spacious villa accommodations. An ideal address to experience luxury at its best. You can have your own sun deck, private water garden as well as an open-air walkway to enjoy the water’s edge.
Jumeirah Vittaveli This high-end resort consists of 89 villas and suites having direct access to the beach or lagoon along with their own swimming pool. It’s an ideal stay option for families and couples as well.
Kuredu Island Resort & Spa A value for money resort, it is among the biggest resort islands in the Maldives. It boasts of 14 restaurants and bars as well as superb amenities such as a golf course, soccer field, three pools and two spas.
Kihaad Situated on a private island in Baa Atoll, Kihaad Maldives is known for abundant marine life, stunning beaches, delicious food along with family-friendly amenities. It is quite far from the airport, but the pricing is its highlight. The resort is almost half the cost of similar resorts.
Scuba diving: Cristal clear water and abundance of underwater life makes Maldives the best place for scuba diving across the world. The best diving sites here are Baa Atoll, Hanifaru Ray, HP Reef, Maanta Point, Fish Head and Banana Reef. And the best time for it is between January to April when the sea remains calm and visibility goes up to 30metres.
Surfing: Along with diving, Maldives is increasingly becoming a popular destination for surfing. June, July and August is the best time for surfing as the surfers can enjoy the biggest waves. Some of the most known surfing sites are in Male’ Atoll.
Water sports: Besides the best diving and surfing experience, Maldives is the hub for all water sports starting from Catamaran sailing, Banana boating, Flyboarding, Jet Skiing, Kayaking, Fun Tube, Parasailing, Kitesurfing, Waterskiing, Wakeboarding, Underwater Scooters, Kneeboarding and Stand up Paddling. You only need to select your favourite one and get started with it.
Maldives Submarine tours from Malé: Embark on a journey like never before to explore the underwater world of Indian Ocean in an air-conditioned submarine. It's a must thing to do while visiting Malé. Get close to colourful fishes and coral reefs by descending about 30 meters below the surface. The entire 2-hour tour includes pickup and drop and is full of thrilling and unique experience.
The Maldives is composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, including more than 1000 coral islands. Though it is quite impossible to visit each of them, you can explore most of them through island hopping. There are ample modes available for doing this activity. You can either use local boats or seaplanes to get from one island to other or even opt for the aerial views in a sea plane. Among all the islands, the most popular ones are Gan - the largest island in the Maldives, Mirihi – boasts of overwater bungalows and an exclusive reef, Kudahuvadhoo – rumoured to have ruins of Buddhist temples and Alimantha – considered ideal for children for its shallow water and another famous spot for diving and snorkelling.