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A call from the tropical Island, Maldives, is hard to miss! 2016 came with many unplanned adventures and the trip to Maldives Island was one of them. I always wanted to visit the tropics and chill on some cozy little island, tucked away from the hustle-bustle of metros. But I’d not really imagined that Maldives would be where I’d find such bliss.
It’s not like I haven’t been to beaches before or was new to the resort lifestyle. But the Maldives Island surprised me since it is so much more than your typical beach holiday destination. There is so much to see, so much to learn, above all, so much to experience. Take a look at this concise Maldives guide that might come handy when planning your trip to the tropics.
I think that at some level, the trip was just meant to be. For nothing had been planned till like a month before we set out. But thankfully for us, Maldives is a place where such last-minute decisions don’t pose so much of a problem. That’s because tourists are given visa on arrival and don’t need to apply beforehand. The limit is up to 30 days which is more than enough time to explore its many delights.
It is important for the citizens to hold a valid visa for the period of their stay. Apart from this, travelers should have 1 colored photograph attached with the form, confirmed hotel reservation vouchers, and a confirmed return ticket. Visas get issued on arrival itself.
Malé International Airport receives the maximum number of international flights in all of Maldives.
Once you arrive, you can either take air taxis or boats to get to Male, but these usually don’t operate in night. Some private services do offer night-time transfers too but their charges are very high – staying the night at the Airport hotel is a better option.
One may consider using the public ferries or cargo boats too. We had already booked a package with the Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort, and our boat transfers were included in the package itself. Well, the charges for boat transfer (round trip) for an adult for Olhuveli are $277 and for a child are $138.
The first morning in Maldives was spent settling into the lovely little accommodation that had been booked. I was originally quite keen to book a beach villa but then decided that’s more appropriate if you’re a large group of people. I finally settled on with a water villa (though it definitely was over my budget I had initially planned for). But staying in an over-water bungalow in Maldives was definitely on my ‘lust list’ and thankfully I am done with it!
There are plenty of other options available and depending on your budget, you’re sure to find something suitable if you book in advance. I was particularly mesmerized by the Presidential Suites at the Olhuveli Beach Resort as they had a pool and Jacuzzi facility facing the see, which was just enthralling. But then there’s no end to desires and as much as you can raise the bar, you’ll get the better accommodations.
A night in over-water bungalow would definitely cost you the double of a beach-side villa and for a 4 or 5-star resort the prices can start easily from $500 per night.
I also realized that if you’re going with people, renting a villa may turn out to be more economical. While there are all kinds of hotels here – small inns, budget motels and luxury resorts – the local taxes tend to make the whole deal pretty steep. Even when you book rooms through online portals, the prices are inclusive of VAT and Service Tax but a separate local tax is levied on-site.
8 % Goods and Services Tax.
10% service charge. So whether you want to use the spa, access Wi-Fi or indulge in some activities, you’ll have to pay the additional charge.
While the extra taxation is mentioned at some places, some people hear the first of it when they reach Maldives. Even if you book through a travel agent, I would recommend going over the hotel booking and prices carefully. I made sure I was aware of every penny I’d be spending before I got there. You see, unforeseen expenditure is not the kind of surprise I enjoy.
Another thing that adds to costs during hotel stay is the Wi-Fi connectivity. When we’re at home, we take those kinds of conveniences for granted. It’s when on vacation here is Maldives that I realized how much I use the internet on a daily basis. So most hotels here offer free Wi-Fi in the lobby area (ours did not) and the bigger ones may even have it at their bars or poolside. But mostly, the connectivity is sluggish and poor; it may be virtually impossible to browse if the number of guests is high!
A lot of hotels offer Wi-Fi in the rooms too, but that comes at a daily premium which tends to be quite high. Either be prepared to shell out the big bucks for Wi-Fi in your room, or just make-do with whatever glimpses you get off the virtual world in the lobby. We had to pay around $10 (inclusive of taxes) for one day access to Wi-Fi. Our suggestion – Get your Wi-Fi charges included while booking your package itself.
In the past few years, the concept of booking all inclusive Maldives resorts has become popular. Different resorts in Maldives have different packages at offer. Depending on the resort and their packages, the overall rate of your package will differ. While booking an all-inclusive package, ask the booking partner or resort, these following questions:
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