Maldives Islands and More – What You Should Know as a Woman
LADIES ON THE MOVE: Maldives
It looks like the Maldives Islands are one of the trending beach destinations for the next year!
What do you imagine when you think of the Maldives Islands? Do you think of exquisite luxury travel style that you believe is unattainable to you? As it came out, it is not such an impossible dream. Read the tips of our contributor Jana who recently came back from the Maldives and shares her experience in order you can travel to this dreamy destination it as well.
If you have a travel experience that can be of help to other women to travel more safely and better informed, you are welcomed to take part to our LADIES ON THE MOVE series. Just write me an e-mail at contact [at] whenwomantravels [dot] com and I will send you the guidelines.
WHY ARE THE MALDIVES INTERESTING AS A DESTINATION?
All photos from the Maldives look like a picture from the Paradise – the colour of the ocean is turquoise blue, the beach sand is white and the underwater world is incredibly beautiful. The Maldives are not a destination for activities and sightseeing, they are a destination for relaxation – relaxation of the body and mind. The Maldives islands have two different faces – if you go to an island with a local population you will see how the locals live. Their religion is Islam and tourists need to comply with this – women and girls are not allowed to wear shorts, short dresses and skirts. Most beaches are not for tourists with swimming suits. An exception to this is Maafushi Island where the locals are more tolerant to the clothes but still, within the reasonable limits.
The other face of the Maldives is the one we’ve seen on postcards – the so-called resorts with beach villas and overwater bungalows. Coming here on a vacation is much more expensive. However, if you choose this option you won’t need to comply your clothes with the above rules, the staff will treat you like a special guest and will do their best for you to have an unforgettable stay.
The Maldives are not only a place for couples and families but also for people who like beauty and who follow their dreams.
WHAT WOMEN SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING TO THE MALDIVES?
You don’t need a visa to enter the Maldives. A thirty-day free visa is issued on arrival – you simply need to fill in a form with your passport data saying what is the purpose of your visit, where are you staying, for how long, etc.
Like any other destination outside Europe, the phone calls to your home country are expensive. The best way is to buy a local SIM card with phone calls and internet included. You can do that at the airport when you arrive. The cheapest option costs 16 USD and the mobile operator is called “Ooredo”. For activation, you need to present your passport.
Here the day is short – the sun rises around 5-6 a.m. and it gets dark around 6 p.m. Do have in mind that the sun on the Maldives is very intense. Do not underestimate this and take adequate sun protection with you.
The local currency is called Rufiyaa (MVR) but you can pay in US dollars almost everywhere. The resorts accept only USD. When exchanging dollars for the Maldives be sure to take only new banknotes and in good condition – otherwise they won’t be accepted.
Maafushi Island is not a big one – there are nice hostels and hotels here. The best choice at an affordable price is Arena Beach Hotel. It is a new one, has its own beach and the staff is very kind and helpful. If you book a room with sea view you will wake up every day with the sound of the ocean. The hotel offers buffet dinner for 15 USD.
The food in the resorts, depending on their category, is usually very varied and rich but also very expensive. A dinner can cost 100 USD and above per person unless you were lucky to find an offer for stay with free dinner included (depending on the resort and its policy).
You should know that on Maafushi Island the local men are very interested in the foreign women visiting the island. If you don’t want their attention – be firm and make it clear.
In general, the Maldives are a safe destination for women. The resorts are totally safe in terms of theft and night walks. As for the places outside the resorts – you have to be alert at all times (as everywhere in the world) and ask for advice the locals.
WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE CULTURE?
Fishing is widespread among the locals. If you want to eat fish, this is the place. Here you can also have bananas, mango and of course, coconuts. On Maafushi and on the rest of the other Maldives islands with a local population it is forbidden, even for tourists, to drink alcohol. However, you won’t have this problem if you are staying in a resort – you can drink alcohol there.
The local language is called Dhivehi but English is widely spoken.
Most of the citizens of the Maldives are Muslims. There are several mosques on Maafushi Island and you will hear them every day.
In the resorts, the staff is mainly from Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia, Nepal, etc. The resorts are usually owned by foreigners and not by locals.
The resorts are like a whole different world – some of them even have their own 1-hour time difference.
NAME THE MOST INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT ON THE MALDIVES:
Go and see the coral reefs! The Maldives are not only a beach destination – their beauty is the underwater world. Do some snorkeling or scuba diving (if you have a certificate) – you`ll see amazing colorful fishes, corals, animals like the sea cucumber, sea tortoises, reef sharks… Remember the movie “Finding Nemo”? You’ll find dozens of Nemo fishes here.
What is a sandbank? A raised area of sand below the surface of the sea. There are many sandbanks on the Maldives and they have the most amazing white sand I’ve ever seen. Most of the tours offered on Maafushi Island include a visit on a sandbank so you’ll probably have the chance to go there.
All those pictures you’ve seen from the Maldives are taken at the resorts. I used to think that these places are only for wealthy people. It turned out that if you plan your trip early enough and try to find the best solution for you, you can go and see how Paradise looks like. There are 2 ways to get there – all tour agencies on Maafushi (such as iCom Tours, Maafushi Tours, Arena Beach Hotel, etc.) offer day tours to resorts close to Maafushi. You will spend 1 day with access to most of the facilities of the resorts. These tours are usually half-board and all-inclusive (alcohol is included). The second way I personally preferred was to book a water bungalow and live the dream.
Unlike the other Maldives islands with a local population, Maafushi has a bikini beach where tourists can wear swimming suits. The water of the Indian Ocean here is hot, crystal clear and transparent.
Have you been to the Maldives or another destination that most of us believe is accessible only to the rich and famous?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
My name is Jana and I am 35. I am a translator and in my spare time I love to travel. Each trip is not just touring places but an adventure to which I descend headfirst. I love to fight my internal fears and prove to myself that there is nothing impossible. I believe that the meaning of dreams is coming true.