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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Things to do in Maldives-Complete list

Many people dismiss Maldives saying "There is nothing to do there".  Tourists arriving at Maldives usually wouldn't have planned their itinerary well so scramble for things to do after checking into the hotel. It is true that primary reason to visit Maldives is to relax in one of those pristine beaches but if you wish to try other things, there are a set of activities that you can undertake.

This post provides you with the complete list of things you can do in Maldives. Information is compiled from my observations during a short 2 day trip last week, along with information collected from hotel/operators and internet. I have not tried every item listed here and information like pricing etc may vary over time- please use your discretion.

Male, Maldives complete list of things to do:
#
Activity
Description
Time
Category
Approx Cost
Remarks
1
Stay in ultra-luxury island resort
Maldives is full of islands, many are owned by private resort companies. Stay in one of these
Min 1 day, usually 12 noon to 12 noon
Luxury, Relaxation
20000 INR onwards, up to 5-6 lakh INR a night 

Avg 600-700 USD per night, 2 pax
Too expensive for middle class, Recommended for honeymoon couples.

If you can afford spend a night or two in these resort islands and rest of the time in budget hotels

Transportation & meals extra- check details below this table
2
Submarine Dive
Sit in a passenger submarine and be taken underwater to experience marine life
45 mins dive + transport
Adventure / Excursions
85 USD per person for dive, transport extra
Monday Maintenance day.

Unique to Maldives, highly recommended
3
JetSki ride
Rent and ride jetski on your own or be driven around
Flexible
Adventure/ Watersports
50 USD for 30 mins (without transport)

4
Night fishing
Go on a local boat, try catching fish!
6 PM to 9 PM
Time pass/ Adventure
35 to 50 USD per person
larger the group, lesser the per person charge- usually min 2 person is required
5
Sand Banks
Go to areas where low tide will create temporary sand banks in the middle of ocean, swim/ snorkel or sunbath etc
Half Day/
Full day
Time pass/ Adventure/ Watersports
55 to 85 USD per person
Depends on tide
6
Island Hopping
Get on a boat, visit 3-4 nearby islands, shop, swim etc
Half day
Excursion
60 to 70 USD per person

7
Island Resort Day visits

Full day, 9 AM to 6 PM approx
Excursion
110-200 USD per person
Cheaper way to explore than spending 500-700 USD on staying there
8
Dolphin watch & Sunset
Go on a boat ride to areas known to have dolphins, enjoy sunset n return
2 hours in the evening
Time pass/
Excursion
40 to 90 USD per person
Dolphin sighting not guaranteed but highly likely
9
Male City tour

2-3 hours
Excursion
Free (walk on your own)

25 USD per person – if organized by hotel, includes taxi/boat fare

Sultan Park, Tsunami memorial, market, mosque, artificial beach etc
10
Sea plane watching
Position yourself in any strategic spot and watch seaplanes landing and taking off
as long as you wish
Time pass
Free! (Watching)

240 to 450 USD per person for a ride (one way)
Check this post

Try booking a ride also
11
Scuba Diving
One of the best places in the world to dive
Half day
Adventure
USD 50 to 200 per person
Depends on operator, facilities etc..

It is there in the name of the country itself- MalDives!
12
Snorkeling
Put on the mask n take closer look at the corals/ ocean bed
as long as you wish
Adventure

Usually clubbed with other activities like island hopping or resort visit-gear rental, if not included in package may cost about USD 10
13
Other water-sports

1-2 hours
Adventure/ Watersports
Equipment rental- 25 to 150 USD per hour
Banana boat ride Water Ski, wind surfing etc
14
Combo deals
Club 2-3 of above activities




1. Stay at Luxury Island Resorts
Maldives has 100s of small islands and most of these islands are acquired by hotel companies who have set up their resorts on these islands. Few are closer to airport while many are 30 to 60 min (or even more) boat ride away. The rooms in an ultra luxury island resort can cost upwards of Rs 20000 per night (USD 300+) all the way to even INR 4 lakhs a night. Most of these can be visited if and only if you book a room there whereas a few ones allow day visit without a room. Highly recommended for honeymoon couples and those who can afford these tariffs. (There are cheaper beach resorts, but they are usually shared properties with less exclusivity or amidst local residences)
 Above: An example of Maldives' resort islands- Dusit Thani Maldives. Dusit Thani Maldives has 58 rooms in total, ranging from 150 sq meters to 560 sq meters with room rates ranging from 1000 USD a night to 6500 USD a night (taxes and transportation extra). I chose Dusit Thani as example because I have stayed in their Hua Hin (Thailand) property. Above image and info taken from their official website, below pic gives you and idea of 100s of islands spread around in the Indian ocean, forming the country of Maldives. (Unless you zoom in properly you wouldn't even realize there are these islands below Indian territory on the map)
Pro tip: Keep scanning major travel portals for comparing room rates. During off-season or when resorts have very few bookings, some of these resorts might be offering huge discount on their published tariff. If you are lucky you may get as high as 66% off

Things to keep in mind while booking island resorts in Maldives
  • Is Transportation included? If not, boat or seaplane ride to far away island resort can cost almost as much as the room rent or even more, depending on how far it is from your arriving airport.
  • The best view of these resorts is from the air- unless you take a sea plane, the ground level view is not going to be half as good.
  • One or two nights is good enough in my opinion- after that you will begin to get bored
  • You’re the captive customer, so food, drinks everything has to be purchased extra at their terms
  • Most resorts have their own adventure activities- Scuba, water-sports etc. Check the cost and availability of activities that you are interested in
  • If the resort is allowing day visit guests then there will be more crowd and less privacy.
2. Water Sports
Wide range of water-sports can be enjoyed in Maldives- Scuba diving being most popular, followed by Submarine Dive, Snorkeling, Jetski ride/banana boat ride and so on.

Few generic activities like snorkeling, Jetski, boat ride etc can be enjoyed just walk in while others will need better planning/advance booking. Usually your hotel will organize these activities for you but their quote will include their margin, transportation cost and tax. If you deal with the operator directly you will save a few dollars, but it may not be very convenient (you need to figure out where it happens, how to go there etc)

Most ultra-luxury resorts have their own in-house crew and facilities for these activities, including PADI certified Scuba diving, so that you don’t have to go anywhere, at most cheaper resorts/hotel this will be somewhere else.

6. Island hopping:
There are few islands that you can reach using Govt operated ferries- lot cheaper, but you will be on your own. Example: Villingli, Hulhumale, Mausfoshi etc. Ferries to nearby islands are very frequent- like 10-15 mins each, ferry to far away islands (like Maufoshi) have fixed time-once or twice a day.\
Tour operators conduct island hopping to various other islands, with some time for snorkeling or exploration in each beach- but this will cost lot more and usually takes half a day to cover 3-5 islands.
Many islands have budget hotels also, spending a night there will be more memorable than quick visit.

7. Resort Day visits
If you can’t afford to (or don’t wish to) spend on ultra luxurious resorts in Maldives who have their own islands, the next best thing you can do is to go there on a day visit. One night stay in top resorts can cost anywhere between 300 to 7000 USD per night. Few of these resorts accept day visit guest- which means you can go there by boat, have some welcome drink, use the pool/beach, have lunch and return by evening. You will not get a room but you can experience the property. This kind of resort day visit usually costs about USD 110 to 150, usually inclusive of transportation from your hotel, lunch and use of resort facilities.

Please note that most resorts seem to have stopped this idea of day visit- as resident guests may not like the crowd of outsiders crowding what they were sold as private beaches. Booking few days in advance is recommended

9. Exploring the Male city
As such the city doesn’t have many places to explore- almost nothing. Still, there are few places which can be explored during your walk- Artificial beach, Tsunami Memorial, Sultan Park & Mosque area, market area and so on. Nothing very unique about these-can be skipped entirely if you have better things to do.(There is no need to go to Male just to see these things, but if you have a day to spare, go check them out) More details in a separate post.

Final Tip: Most of us think of only the Ibrahim Nasir International Aiport while visiting Maldives. There are about 10 airports in Maldives spread all over [list here]. See if you can fly into a different airport and explore different parts of Maldives.

Whom to contact/How to book these activities? Your hotel reception will be the best place to check, as they can coordinate and arrange transport/booking. Where possible you can try walk-in or contact the operator on your own.

Similar: 5D/4N optimized Singapore itinerary * Places to visit and things to do in Dandeli * 11 Adventure activities to try in Karnataka

4 comments :

Tomichan Matheikal said...

I wonder how you manage to do so many things. One day you are test driving a car in Hyderabad and the next day you are in Maldives...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Tomichan- they are two separate weekends...

rupam sarma said...

Great to know. Very useful post.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Rupam