India to Maldives (Male & Gan Island) detailed travel guide!

Maldives is a country close to India and a popular tourist attraction- just across the ocean, an hour away from India's shore by flight. The island nation offers free visa on arrival to Indians (and many other nationalities) and due to its proximity, inviting blue oceans and availability of cheap flights, Maldives is preferred destinations for many first time holidaymakers and even honeymoon couples.

This post offers one stop listing of all my blog posts related to Maldives and helps you plan your visit to Male, Gan Island and nearby places.

Why Maldives?
  1. Close to India with several flight options (A ferry is also being proposed)
  2. Lots of luxury islands, beach activities, clean ocean
  3. Free Visa on Arrival
Quick Summary of my Male and Gan Island Maldives Blog Posts & detailed guide
Before visiting Maldives
(Planning tips)
Places to visit in Male and Gan Island Maldives (Detailed Reviews)
Places to Stay & Eat
Other useful Maldives Blog posts
 Try local tender coconut


Flying to Male & Gan Island- from airlineblog.in
Similar destinations/Alternate options

My Experience with Srilankan Airlines

Lowest fare I have seen- INR 9999 return between Chennai and Gan Island on Srilankan

Normal low fare to Male from South India- around 12-15k INR return

More than 20-25k INR is not worth in my opinion

Major airlines flying to Male, Maldives from India- Srilankan, Air India, Indigo, GoAir, Spicejet, Maldivian

Srilankan also flies to Gan Island 2-3 times a week
Coming soon/Already live
1) Bali Indonesia detailed Guide
2) Melaka, Malaysia detailed Guide
3) Macau travel guide
4) Brunei Travel Guide
5) Vietnam Travel Guide
6) Myanmar Travel Guide
7) Phuket detailed travel guide

India to Male, Gan Island Maldives visit FAQs
0. Where to fly to in Maldives?
A: Male is the capital island and is the main airport of the country- Airport code MLE.
Most first time visitors land here and from here go to their respective resorts by speedboat or sea plane.

Gan island (Airport Code: GAN) is another island with an international airport down south right on the equator. Srilankan flies twice a week to here, Maldivian air flies almost daily flight to here from Male.

Hanimadhoo (HAQ) is the 3rd international airport. Not aware of any convenient flight to this airport. There're many smaller airports served domestic by Maldivian Air and other chartered flights. Domestic flights will be a lot expensive. Complete list here

For all practical purposes, fly to main airport MLE, if you're keen, check out GAN. You can possibly enter MLE and exit from GAN as well, but domestic flight will cost a lot.

1. How many days should I plan for Maldives visit?
A: 3-4 days recommended, more depending on your budget, interest and time

2. Where to stay while visiting Maldives?
Option 1: Budget hotels in Male city- will be cheapest option but no luxury, saves on speedboat/seaplane transport cost- might be good idea to spend one night here-on the day of your arrival or day of departure to explore places in the main city.

Option 2: Mid range hotels/resorts in nearby islands- many mid range resorts/hotels are available in nearby islands-accessible via short boat ride and few have public ferries as well- this will give you some privacy, space and luxury while keeping you not too far away from mainland.

Option 3: Luxury resorts in far away islands- will be most expensive option- besides room rental, you will also have to spend a lot on speedboat/sea plane ride to the resort and back. These resorts look great from top but eye level view may not be as exciting. You will be a captive customer within resort island- after a day or two you might get bored. If you have the budget plan a night or two in luxury resort for the isolation and sheer experience it offers.

3. How to get around in Maldives?
Public Ferries: Ferries operate between major islands at regular intervals for a nominal fee. Very convenient. But schedule information is not easily available online, so hard to plan and book. Short distance ferries keep operating at regular intervals so you can simply walk in, but for islands far away, some planning will be needed. Check with your hotel host or figure out after arrival.

Speedboat: To go to remote islands you might have to hire a speed boat

Sea Plane- Sea planes are lot quicker than speedboats but expensive at around 400 USD per person

Public transport: There is a bus service within Gan Island, autos in main Male Island that you can avail for short rides

Domestic Flights: Chartered and scheduled flights operate between various airports in Maldives, mostly by Maldivian Air. Prices are on the higher side.

4. How much should we budget for visiting Maldives?
Here's a rough estimate:
Air fare from India: Between INR 10000-20000 per person return (more than that, I would say avoid)
Stay- Budget hotel: INR 2500 per night, 2 people (hard to get, very few options)
Stay- Mid range: INR 5000 per night
Stay- Luxury resort- INR 20000 to even 5 lakh+ per night
Speed boat rides- depends on distance, easily 50-100 USD
Sea Plane ride- Around 400 USD + per person
Activities: Scuba diving, watersports, submarine etc- 50-70 USD per activity per person approx

Thus for a short 3-4 days trip, you might be able to manage for as low as INR 50000 for 2 people in budget mode, to all the way to 10-20 lakh rupees if you go for most luxurious options.

5. Best time to visit Maldives
Avoid peak monsoon season like June to August. Should be fine for rest of the year

6. Currency in Maldives
USD is widely accepted in Maldives. Local currency is Maldivian Rufiyaa, 1 MVR= 4.8 INR approx
Be advised few years ago Maldivian govt had demonitezied old 5 rufiyaa notes.

Most Indian forex agencies may not be selling MVR- you may have to take USD and convert locally.

7. Things to keep in mind/special tips for visiting Male, Maldives
- While booking resorts cross check what if all expenses are shown- many resorts are too far and will need an expensive speed boat ride or sea plane ride- this will cost more than room rental- several hundred dollars. Check on map where it is, how to reach there, cost of food n other activities and book after you're convinced everything is in your budget. Else you will regret at the total expense.
- Too many days at one island might be boring- I would suggest max 2-3 nights in one place.
- Sea planes and speed boats may not operate if weather is not favorable. So on your day of departure better to spend closer to Male Airport than in a far away island. This way your risk of missing your flight will be less.
- Tender coconut is very cheap- drink them a lot for hydration and refreshment while in Maldives- around 10-12 MVR

8. Availability of Indian vegetarian food in Maldives
Indian veg food won't be very easy to find. If you are staying in luxury resorts chef can possibly make you some. If you're staying close to Male, there're a few hotels. For other places, Indian/Nepali veg+non-veg restaurants are available with some difficulty. Coordinate with your host.

9. Extending your trip from Maldives
Option 1: Extend to Gan Island or other islands in Maldives

Option 2: Srilanka

Option 3: Kerala

Option 4: Fly to Dubai/Qatar/Malaysia etc

10. Maldives Visa
Free visa on arrival for Indians, up to 15 days

11. Maldives Itinerary
Maldives trip doesn't need complex itinerary planning.
If you are staying in a luxury resort island, you will be confined to whatever option resort has on offer. Check with resort helpdesk

If you are staying in main island or nearby, you can try various activities like scuba diving, submarine dive, watersports etc. No need to plan n book in advance. Upon arrival, ask around and plan your day.

Gan island doesn't have lots of options- check my posts, explore a bit on foot/bus/boat.

Coming up- Similar guide posts for other destinations.

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