Happy New Year everyone! Just as everyone is making his own set of new year’s resolutions and plans for the rest of 2015, I also made a list of things I want to accomplish this year. I once maintained a travel blog but failed to update it for the longest time, so this year I want to start anew and document my travels again through this blog. Expect a lot of throwback posts in the coming days and months as I have a huge pile of trips I haven’t blogged about yet. Now, on to my first post on this site and this year!
A lot of my friends have been asking about my trip in the Maldives last summer—my itinerary, expenses, accommodation, etc.—but unfortunately, I haven’t responded to most of them in full detail. Now, this article sums up my quick Maldivian escape.
I’ve always dreamed about spending a summer holiday in the Maldives. I could just imagine being surrounded by crystal blue waters as I laze around in an island blanketed with fine white sand. Yes, we have that kind of scenery all over the Philippines, but I believed that the Maldives would definitely provide a different experience. My sister and I planned the trip, along with a short Sri Lankan adventure, about four months in advance. We knew it wouldn’t be cheap, but it wasn’t as expensive as we thought it would be, either. Besides, in every trip, the amount that you would shell out would definitely depend on the comfort and luxury you would want to experience. The Maldives is an expensive destination in general, but I would say that the amount that we spent was well worth the experience that we had in the tiny paradise. We spent the first night in a luxurious double room on a private island and tried to keep our expenses down by getting a cheap accommodation in Hulhumale Island during our second night. Bear in mind, though, that the government charges a GST (goods and services tax) of 8% anywhere in the country, while hotels charge an additional 10% service charge and USD 8 bed tax.
Let’s now get to the activities and expenses, along with a few accompanying details. Please take note that I did not include the airfare in the breakdown below because we did not buy round trip tickets. But for reference purposes, a RT ticket would cost roughly PHP 27,000 via Tiger Air, the cheapest fare to the Maldives (from Manila) as far as I know.
The expenses quoted below (PER PERSON) are just estimates using the following exchange rates:
1 USD = 15 MVR (Maldivian Rufiyaa) = 44 PHP
|Nature of Expense||Amount||Notes|
|RT Island Transfers||3374.80||The resort staff picked us up/dropped us off at the airport via private motor boat|
|RT Hotel Shuttle at Hulhumale Island||440.00||Van transfer to/from the airport|
|Bus/Boat/Taxi||151.80||DIY Male City tour|
|Kurumba Maldives, 1 night||7101.60||Double room with semi-outdoor bathroom, bottle of wine, welcome refreshments, plush doll, and buffet breakfast of wide selections|
|Holidaymakers Inn, 1 night||1452.00||Relatively new, needs more improvement|
|Early Dinner at the Resort||1012.00||Assortment of sandwiches and fruit shakes|
|Cocktails at the Resort||550.00||1 glass of cocktail|
|Lunch at the Resort||1364.00||1 main course and 1 drink|
|Dinner in Male||880.00|
|Snacks||88.00||Biscuits, mineral water|
|Souvenirs||3,828.00||Souvenirs are way too expensive!|
|Resort Check-out Charges||1474.00||Camera rental, resort room food|
The expenses can further be brought down by limiting the souvenirs that you buy, buying food from the supermarket, and more importantly, choosing a cheaper accommodation. You can opt to stay in Male City where hotels are way cheaper than private resorts then head to one of the public islands (e.g. Maafushi) in the morning for a minimal entrance fee. But if you don’t mind splurging, staying in one of the water villas would be the perfect experience for you, besides, these luxurious accommodations are what the Maldives is known for.
- US dollar is accepted anywhere in the Maldives. You may exchange a few dollars for Maldivian Rufiyaa at the airport for souvenir purposes. Haha
- It can get very expensive in the Maldives from December to March as tourists from snow-laden countries flock the country to enjoy warmer temperatures and beach holidays. The rainy season is from May to October, so expect lower rates in resorts and hotels. In our case, we travelled in May. The sun was perfect when we got to our resort, but it rained heavily during our last night.
- Take note that the Maldives is an archipelago made up of more than a thousand islands (of which a little less than 200 are inhabited), and each island is generally far from the others. In booking accommodations in private island resorts, strike the balance between the cost of a room and the cost of transportation. Some resorts offer rooms at a bargain only to find out that the round trip transfer costs double. On the other hand, other resorts may be a little more costly but are more accessible and very near the airport and Male City, the capital.
- The transport system between the airport island of Hulhule and the island city of Male is safe and efficient. Dhonis (ferry boats) leave each island on scheduled intervals from early morning until late at night. Transportation within the islands is also efficient. Buses and taxis are almost always available. Taxis charge a flat rate of MVR 20 anywhere in Male.
- No pre-arrival visa is required to enter the Maldives. A thirty-day free visa is given to all nationalities provided that they meet the necessary conditions as stated in www.immigration.gov.mv.