The Maldives is definitely a paradise on Earth! I just returned from this exotic country and I have madly deeply fallen in love with it. Be it the people or the blue clear ocean, I loved everything about this country. I was in Maldives for 4 days and I wanted to be there for even more longer period of time.
The capital city Male is the largest and busy city in the Maldives. And that is the city where one lands at from India.
PIN for later reference
How to get there?
Velana International Airport is the biggest airport in the city of Male. There are frequent flights between Velana and India. Air India and Indigo airline providers offer flight tickets for as cheap as INR 15000.
Note: There are around 12 airports in Maldives.
Stay & Getting to the resort island
Maldives has many resort islands. I strongly believe that if you are in an exotic location like Maldives, then you got to experience staying at an exotic resort island. But these resort islands are expensive. I found a way of staying at one of these resort islands without shelling a bomb of USD 1200 per night. For a trick to find a cheaper option for staying at a water bungalow, read the below section ‘Book a water bungalow‘. In a nutshell, I stayed at Ellaidhoo Resort by Cinnamon for two nights.
Another beautiful island to stay at is the Dhigurah Island, refer Dhigurah Island for a detailed guide.
The only way to get to these resort islands are either by sea plane or by speedboat. The speedboat is not included in the stay package. For me it was an additional cost of USD 202. There are counters set up for each resort island at the Male airport, and the time of the speed boat or the seaplane is based on the flight arrival time. This means one can be transferred to the resort island on the same day as the arrival date. This needs to be discussed with the resort staff during booking.
At Male, I stayed at Nap Corner in Flamingo, Male for two nights. It is very similar to a dorm and the cost for one night is USD 25. It is a great stay for a short period of time.
Book a water bungalow
From the time I had planned for Maldives (which was about 9 months ago), I wanted to stay at a water bungalow. And everyone knows that staying at a water bungalow in the Maldives is super expensive. It costs generally around AUD 800 to AUD 4000 per night.
Being a solo traveler, staying at a water bungalow was something that was way beyond my budget. I kept looking for cheaper options, every day from the time I planned for Maldives. Booking.com and Google were my only bet at that moment. Speaking to many fellow travelers who had traveled recently did not help me as well. Everything was in vain and the answer was the same – it is expensive.
Until one night, as a routine I was checking for options and I decided to search on Make my trip. I searched for 2 nights and Make my trip displayed me few results. After brainstorming different ideas (wearing my business analyst cap on :D), I concluded that I had to book the first night at a standard room and the second night at the water bungalow in the same resort.
Ellaidhoo Resort (Water bungalow)
I finalised on the Ellaidhoo resort by Cinamon in North Ari Atoll. This was still not that cheap but it was something in my budget. I am staying here for two nights – one night at a Standard room and the other night at the water bungalow.
The water bungalow including breakfast and lunch cost INR 22352 (AUD 447) per night. I know it is a lot of money for a single solo traveler. But hey! I was going to the Maldives and I was not going to miss an experience of staying at a water bungalow :).
Link: Ellaidhoo Resort
Currency exchange & ATM in Maldives
There are many money changers in the Artificial beach area in Male city. It is a bit hard to convert INR into USD/Maldivian Rufiyaa.
Not all money changers accept INR.
There are plenty of ATMs at the airport as well as around the city, so there is no stress about carrying cash around. So Indian credit and debit cards can be used as International credit cards to get cash.
Note: Almost all of them including the taxi drivers accept USD.
Local SIM card in Maldives
The local SIM card for 4 GB (7 days) is USD 15 and 20 GB (7 days) is USD 20.
Activities in Maldives
Generally resort islands have plenty of activities to do. Ranging from lawn tennis to table tennis, the resort has it all. But Maldives is all about water and the ocean. So, water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving are a must. I dived three times at North Ari Atoll and still craved for more dives. Read my detailed posts about diving in House Reef and the Manta Ray Exploration.
Do not miss the chance to snorkel or scuba dive in the pristine waters of Maldives. It is a must.
Is it safe for Solo female travelers?
Maldives is absolutely safe for solo female travelers. Not once did I feel unsafe or awkward, even at the resort and at Male. I walked around Male all alone and I was completely fine. So, I would say that this has been one of the safest countries I have traveled in.
However, like any other place always trust your instinct and be cautious especially at nights.
- Flights return = INR 15539 = USD 216.48
- Ellaidhoo Resort Water bungalow = INR 22352 = USD 311.39
- Ellaidhoo Resort Standard = INR 10167 = USD 141.64
- Nap Corner for two nights = USD 50
- 3 dives = USD 162
- Equipment hire = USD 48
- Boat = USD 45
- Speedboat = USD 202
- Taxi = Maldivian Rufiyaa 220 = USD 14.28
- Taxi = USD 5
- Food Thai restaurant = Maldivian Rufiyaa 340 = USD 22.06
- Resort Food = USD 100
- Groceries = Maldivian Rufiyaa 500 = USD 32.45
Total expenses = USD 1350.3
I traveled solo to this heaven and unlike the notion that Maldives is all about couples and honeymoon, I really had a great time as a solo traveler. People went out of their way to help me out and take care of me. I truly had a fabulous time here.