Prior to visiting the Maldives, the sound and thought of the country’s name gave only vibes of ‘opulence’ and ‘not for all’. I saved a gazillion photos in hopes that one day, good fortune will arrive and allow me the opportunity to visit the Maldives.
Good fortune is still on the way but guess what, I visited the Maldives and I loved it! It was everything I dreamt of and more. So this means you too can visit. Let me tell you all about it.
I won’t bite your head off if you say the Maldives is in heaven, because it sure does look like it. It is an archipelagic nation located in the Indian Ocean, and also the smallest country in Asia. It is nestled southwest of Sri Lanka and India and has some of the best beaches in the world, along with turquoise waters, a vibrant sea life and lush greeneries.
How to Get There
There are currently no direct flights from Nigeria to the Maldives, but there are up to three airlines – Turkish, Qatar and Emirates – that can get you there. The average layover is between 5-9 hours in whichever hub country (this is assuming you don’t buy the cheapest fare, as the layover could be up to 10-15hrs).
Most international flights will land in the main airport in Male where your resort representatives will then greet you and take you to your resorts, either by speedboat, ferry, domestic flight or sea plane.
The Travel Requirements
There are thankfully no visa restrictions as the Maldives is visa free to Nigerians with 6 months passport validity (some websites say 3 months but I’ll advise you keep is safe with the general 6 months).
It is however important to confirm hotel bookings and contact of your airport representatives for smoother immigration passage. At their own discretion, they could randomly pick any traveller to show evidence of travel allowance. Please don’t be distraught as most Island nations do this. If you’re with $500 cash, and staying in an all-inclusive resort, there is really no reason for anyone to stress you, because you won’t be expected to spend any more during your stay as you’ve prepaid for all.
The other thing to be mindful of (and this is a general problem in Asian countries) is Nigerian profiling. It is unfortunate that most Asian countries over the years have had dealings mainly with the ‘wrong set of Nigerians’ and it’s very easy for them to generalise. So rather than get mad when profiled, be kind and patient to educate them, it is the only way for us to get past the stereotype that all Nigerians are scammers or drug dealers.
Thankfully, our COVID-19 restriction days are becoming a thing of the past. For fully vaccinated people, COVID-19 test is not required, you’ll however need to complete the link.
When to Visit
The best times to visit are dependent on two things: affordability and weather. If you’re looking for the best times to go in terms of affordability, then it would be between the months of May to September as it’s their off-peak season, as well as the rainy season. So if you love good deals and you love to sing in the rain, don’t miss this window.
The best period in terms of weather is between November to March. It is, however, their peak period and you’ll be spending a whole lot more than you would have during the off-peak season.
Where to Stay
This again is dependent on your budget, as every resort has its own unique features. There are over 100 resorts and you’ll never be short of choices, you’ll only be short of money, haha.
So for budget-luxury, I’ll recommend accommodation on the local Island (these are not resorts but beach front hotels) which, in my opinion, does the job. It provides you with the Indian ocean, water sports, and all-inclusive good food. The only thing missing is water bungalows and all other ‘pepper dem’ things.
My opinion for those choices is to at least do 1 night in a proper resort, so they can get a balanced feel of the Maldives. So you can spend 5 nights on a local island and 1 night in a proper resort. A good combination could be Kaani resorts, Maafushi + Adaaran resort, Huduranfushi.
One of the disadvantages of staying on a local island is the unavailability of alcohol. The island is where the residents of the Maldives stay and since it’s a fully Islamic country, having alcohol there would be considered haram.
For those on affordable/mid-luxury, I would advise islands close enough to the airport, so you don’t have to spend so much on transfers. I would recommend Adaaran Huduranfushi and Sun Siyam Ohluveli. There are some other resorts – like Embudu or Equator Village resorts – that would require you flying domestic, but when you add the flight money to the resort money, it balances out.
For those on luxury, there is no spending cap, so you can stay anywhere as the sky is your limit. Distance wouldn’t be a problem for you either.
How to Move Around
The most popular way to move around within an island is either with a scooter or bicycle. To move around from one island to another, you would either need the local ferry, the speed boat (usually arranged by resorts), a sea plane (usually arranged by resorts ), or a domestic flight (there are at least 12 airports in the Maldives).
How Much Should You Budget?
I would be giving a guide in USD, mainly because what naira value is mercurial and I wouldn’t want you left with a ‘hoooge’ gap in the costing. I have also done this based on the off-peak period (May to September)
- Average for economy flights – $1250-1700
- Average for accommodation – I would recommend you go with an all-inclusive accommodation, so you don’t end up with expensive feeding in your resort.
- For budget luxury – between $200- $400 per night
- For affordable/mid-luxury – $500- $1000 per night
- Luxury – no cap
Bonus tip for your budget: don’t do it alone, if not for companionship’s sake, but for financial sake. For instance, instead of you paying $500 per night, you’ll be paying $250 if you’re pairing with a friend.
What to Eat
Sea food, sea food, and lots of sea food! Kidding, kidding, but there is an element of truth in there. The Maldives definitely provides amazing sea food, they are also a melting point for tourists from all over and so their resorts cater to all.
I definitely ate Italian, American, Indian and Balinese food during my stay, so that is something to look forward to.
What to Expect
If I’m allowed to type heaven, I’ll type it one more time (oops! I just did). Expect really warm and curious people- they would ask so many questions about you, your Ankara, your hair, and of course your flawless skin. They are very friendly and quick to show you things you need to make your stay memorable.
Most resorts I visited never for once gave ‘service attitude’ – you know those types we get on our side when you ask someone to show you something and they point, rather than take you there?
Expect a really chilled trip. You’ll do a lot of relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, whale watching, shark watching, manta ray watching (all dependent on the island you visit). Some resorts go the extra mile and throw in the nightlife for you, so that’s something else to look out for when selecting.
I was able to clear my head during my stay in the Maldives, get my 2022 business inspiration, and drafted my book (which I’ve been dragging for months). So, those having the creativity block, if you can afford it, please take a trip down to the Maldives.
How could I miss the one thing I didn’t stop doing? *Covers face* taking lots and lots of photos, so you can all lick your screen like I’ve been licking for years.
You should visit because Maldives tourism board is interested in making Nigeria closer than ever, through increased visibility within the Nigerian market. They are creating so many initiatives and discounts to encourage the Nigerian travellers to visit.
Also, Nigerians are spontaneous travellers without spontaneous passport, and Destination Maldives is one of the few countries that you can just vex and drive to the airport same day to travel, haha. The Maldives has also won 2 years in a row, the World’s leading destination (2020 and 2021). This is worth visiting for, to see why they won it.
Finally, the Geographical position of Maldives, also makes it attractive for multi-destination travel. This means you can get value for your time and money by taking on 2 or more countries in one trip. Typical combinations for Maldives would be with – Dubai, Turkey, Qatar, India or Sri Lanka.
Don’t just stay in your house saving Maldives posts on IG or licking your screen, let’s get moving, because your Maldivian dream awaits.
Did You Know?
The Maldives has been a tourism destination for 50 years and has been dubbed as the home of luxury tourism, which only makes it natural for them to have the highest-priced hotel stay in the world.
A four-night stay at the minimum and 50,000 USD per night gets you the Muraka at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. This is the world’s first underwater suite in what is one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world. So we’re speaking a minimum of $200,000 to sleep with fishes swimming above your head. Please don’t forget to take me and my family members with you, when heading down to the Muraka! T for thanks.
The Maldives is a true dream, and it can be accessed easily and affordably if done with a little mathematics and proper planning.