Getting to Maldives

A holiday in the Maldives not only provides the perfect relaxation, but it also introduces travelers to the essence of pure natural.

The Maldives has everything, except for cold weather and mountains. However, there is air-conditioning to keep you cool, and skiing too - but that's in lagoons not down snowy slopes. If you want the adrenalin of adventure sports, the Maldives has it all, ranging from para-gliding to underwater scooters. Or you can go for a week-long safari on a Liveaboard vessel to dive, discover marine life, see dolphins leaping and try island exploring.

The resorts: All Maldivian resorts are on their own island. These range in size from 2.5km across to just 150m across. This means that the facilities on the resort you choose (restaurants, bars, sports facilities, entertainment, etc) are the only ones you will have access to during your stay. Most resorts offer excursions by boat to local fishing village islands, or to the capital Male, but otherwise, you will stay on the resort island for the duration of your stay. There are 106 resort islands to choose from, ranging from affordable to ultimate luxury. If you want to experience the 'real' Maldives then you might want to consider one of the Guesthouses that are now available on 5 inhabited islands, offering rooms at very reasonable rates.

And for sheer escapism, were better than the white sand beaches of the islands, fringed by swaying coconut palms and splashed by the gentle surf of a pristine blue lagoon, just a step away from luxurious accommodation enhanced with personal attention inspired by heartfelt hospitality.

With 118 resorts and 392 guesthouses, as well as 17 city hotels and more than 130 LiveAboard vessels, the Maldives has accommodation to suit every pocket. The industry has matured gracefully over 45 years since organized tourism began by chance in 1972. It is now the most sophisticated and well-run tourist destination in the world, with visitors welcomed warmly by every Maldivian.

With air travel as it is today, the Maldives has become very accessible. The Male International Airport is also called Velana International Airport. If you read about Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, that was once its name. It is a busy airport receiving flights from all over the world and depending on the time of the day, up to about 13 flights can come in per hour. Popular routes are via the Middle East, Singapore, and India. Velana International Airport has its own island and once you have disembarked, transfer to your resort is usually either via boat or seaplane, depending on the distance. Many of the luxury resorts arrange transfer and however, you get to your hotel will be a unique part of the Maldivian adventure.

Getting Here

There are flights to the Maldives direct from Europe as well as via the Middle East and from the main Asian airports with connections from the USA or Australia. Some airlines only operate seasonal charters and some have a code-sharing arrangement with other carriers flying to Ibrahim Nasir Male’ International Airport.

There are ferries running regularly between the airport and Male’ at a cost of US$1 per passenger. Other ferries operate on a daily basis from Male’ in the afternoons to nearby islands, returning to Male’ in the mornings. There are separate ferries on a regular basis operating from ferry terminals on Male’ to Hulhumale’ and Vilingilli. Taxis can be hired to get around Male’ and a bus service operates in Hulhumale’.

Resort representatives meet guests on arrival at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport and escort them to the jetty or domestic airport for transfer to their resort. Domestic carriers are Maldivian (Island Aviation) and Flyme, with Trans Maldivian operating seaplanes. Guests are met on arrival at every domestic airport for transfer by speedboat to their resort or guesthouse. Domestic airports are at:

  • Dharavandhoo, Baa Atoll
  • Fuvahmulah, Gnaviyani Atoll
  • Ifuru, Raa Atoll
  • Kaadedhdhoo, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
  • Kadhdhoo, Laamu Atoll
  • Thimarafushi, Thaa Atoll
  • Gan, Addu City, Addu Atoll (with facilities for international flights)
  • Hanimaadhoo, Haa Dhaalu Atoll (with facilities for international flights)
  • Maamigili, Alifu Dhaalu Atoll (with facilities for international flights)

If your resort requires a seaplane transfer, a few things to be aware of: the seaplanes only operate in daylight hours, so if you arrive after sunset you'll have to stay in Male overnight before being able to transfer to your resort. Ditto if your flight home is early in the morning - you will leave your resort the afternoon before - make sure you check with your tour operator that you will be given accommodation while you wait for your international flight.

The seaplane journey in itself is an experience, as you get stunning views of the atolls - make sure you get a window seat and that you get your camera out before boarding (your hand luggage will probably be put at the back of the plane as there's no space under or over the seats). The seaplane will usually land next to a floating platform, from which you will be picked up by boat to be taken the remaining few meters inshore to your resort.

Some resorts have landing stages that allow the seaplane to deliver you right up to the beaches of your destined resorts. It is an amazing feeling to get off the seaplane & right on to the sunny white beaches of the country where waves are sweeping at your feet. NB - seaplane transfer methods vary from resort to resort.