by Edgar Barany
Maldives – Breaking the myth of being expensive
Sitting on the plane and gazing out of the window to see picturesque islands surrounded by crystal clear ocean waters. You get down at the humble airport and proceed towards immigration. Getting your visa is a cakewalk as no pre-arrival is required to enter this country. So, you get your visa stamped with the blink of any eye, grab your baggage from the conveyor belt, through customs and then make an exit directly on the arrival at the ocean shore itself. You have happily arrived at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport at Male, the capital of Maldives.
Maldives is known for its exquisite and breathtakingly beautiful islands and beaches. There is also, no denying of the fact that some of the resorts charge you handsomely for the luxuries that they offer. However, the big myth associated with travelling to Maldives is that it is only for those who have deep pockets and are ready to shell out a fortune. You may not exactly picture Maldives with long-term travel or even independent travel, for that matter, but it would be a mistake to consider this country only for the rich and wealthy.
Maldives can be a part of your round the world itinerary and can certainly be done on a budget. This could be one beautiful experience without hurting your pockets too much.
Fares from India (South Asia) or Malaysia/Singapore/Philippines (South East Asia) for roundtrip to Male could cost you as low as $ 250 USD. There are host a cheaper options available in terms of flights and most are short haul flights (Air India, Etihad, Sri Lankan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, British Airways and much more). As your round the world ticket would have been booked in advance, you are almost certain to land a handsome deal to fit in Maldives in your itinerary.
Myth Busted: Getting to Maldives is certainly not an expensive proposition and once you are flying from Asia, it is reasonably convenient and easy.
All nationalities are issued a free visa by the Maldivian Government. There is no such thing as a pre-arrival visa requirement. So, no headaches or prior planning for getting any visa.
You can check this fact from the Maldives Government website itself.
Myth Busted: No visa requirements and formalities to be completed for getting your passport stamped. You just have to land up there.
Well, this certainly is at the heart of the subject. Maldives comprises of a host of big and small islands. Almost every island is home to a private resort and the concept of island hopping is certainly new. Given that the economy of the country and the livelihood of most of its people primarily depends on Tourism, there are a huge number of options when it comes to accommodations.
There are both expensive and luxurious resorts happily co-existing with budget resorts and guesthouses. It is also true that Maldives is still not on the list of typical budget travel or independent travel destinations and there aren’t any ‘cheap accommodations’ to be found.
If you want to go for a decent budget resort, you could get a handsome deal for as low as $ 100 USD per day which would include full board meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). You generally get free Wi-Fi along with air conditioning and hot showers. This could make some sense as you can add Maldives in your around the world trip for a decent budget. Some would call this not at all cheap but it is certainly not that expensive either.
Airbnb is a savior here. There are plenty of guesthouses spread across different islands that are listed with Airbnb and offer decent accommodation ranging from $ 25 USD to $ 100 USD a night. These rooms are generally clean and reasonably spacious and you can experience local life at one of the islands at affordable rates. The islands where you can get the taste of local Maldivian cultures and lifestyles are Hulhumale, Fulidhoo, Mathiveri, Maafushi and Guraidhoo.
Myth Busted: Maldives is definitely not only for the rich and wealthy. It is no more only a luxury destination but can be done on a budget as well. In the coming years, budget travel is almost there at its doorsteps.
Food & Drinks
The Maldivian platter is unsurprisingly full of seafood but there are great options. At guesthouses, the meals are affordable and reasonably priced between $ 12 USD and $ 18 USD. At the fancy resorts, the meals are generally included in the rates that they charge. Nonetheless, the breakfasts are anyways pretty heavy and you will find yourselves only going for dinner and skipping lunch on some occasions.
If you want to catch up on some spirit, it’s a mixed bag out there. Alcohol is prohibited by the Maldives government and is only available in the private resorts. So if you are going local on this, there will be no alcohol in store. On the resorts, the alcohol is reasonably priced where you can get a drink for as much as $ 7 USD or a beer for $ 5 USD.
Myth Busted: A myth associated with Maldives is that food and drinks are expensive. Be sure to be pleasantly surprised when you land there.
Local ferries are the most commonly used mode of transport in this part of the world. The timing schedules of theses ferries are often on erratic but costs a meagre $ 3 USD per person for long journeys.
Speedboats are the other mode of transportation. A bit on the expensive side, costing around $ 50 USD to as high as $ 200 USD per person for a return trip. The resorts usually pick up their guests from the airport to their place of stay by speedboats and the cost is generally included in the cost of stay.
Myth Busted: Given the fact there is water everywhere and no other means to get to another place, island hopping for $ 3 USD and even $ 50 USD is certainly not a bad deal.
Contrary to what you might think, excursions and activities can be done on a splendid budget. Snorkeling and Diving are the most sought after amongst travelers on the island country. Be sure to get mesmerized by the crystal clear waters, amazingly beautiful reefs and breathtaking aquatic life. Both guesthouses as well as the fancy resorts offer some value-for-money deals for getting to experience the beauty what lies in the ocean waters of Maldives. The price ranges from $ 50 USD to $ 130 USD per person.
Myth Busted: Either way, it is inexpensive to spend such money to get an amazing experience of a lifetime.
Maldives can no longer be referred to as the playground for the rich and wealthy. Given the location of the country and prevailing factors, there is no point comparing budgets of your trips to South East Asia or Eastern Europe. Choose options that suit your style of travelling and be sure to land in paradise without having to shell too much.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a visit to Maldives a reality and part of your round the world trip.
Interested in adding Maldives to your bucket list? Got any questions? Let us know you what you feel.