Before visiting the Maldives, the sound and thought of the country’s name only gave vibes of ‘opulence’ and ‘not for all’. I have saved a million photos in the hope that one day good fortune will come and allow me to visit the Maldives.
Good luck is always there but guess what, I visited the Maldives and loved it! It was everything I dreamed of and more. So that means you too can visit. Let me tell you everything.
I won’t bite your head off if you say the Maldives is paradise, because it really does look like it. It is an archipelagic nation located in the Indian Ocean, and also the smallest country in Asia. It is nestled in the southwest of Sri Lanka and India and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as well as turquoise waters, vibrant marine life and lush vegetation.
How to get there
There are currently no direct flights from Nigeria to the Maldives, but up to three airlines – Turkish, Qatar and Emirates – can get you there. The average layover lasts between 5 and 9 hours in any hub country (assuming you are not buying the cheapest fare, as the layover can last up to 10-15 hours).
Most international flights will land at Male’s main airport where your resort representatives will meet you and drive you to your resorts, either by speedboat, ferry, domestic flight or seaplane.
Luckily there are no visa restrictions as the Maldives is visa free for Nigerians with a passport validity of 6 months (some websites say 3 months but I will advise you to stay safe with the general 6 months ).
However, it is important to confirm hotel reservations and contact your airport representatives to facilitate immigration clearance. At their own discretion, they could randomly select any traveler to present proof of travel allowance. Please don’t be clueless as most island nations do. If you’re with $500 in cash and staying at an all-inclusive resort, there’s really no reason for anyone to stress you out because you won’t have to spend more during your stay because you’ve prepaid for everything.
The other thing to consider (and this is a general problem in Asian countries) is Nigerian profiling. It is unfortunate that over the years most Asian countries have dealt mainly with the “wrong bunch of Nigerians” and it is very easy for them to generalise. So rather than getting angry when profiled, be kind and patient to educate them, this is the only way for us to overcome the stereotype that all Nigerians are crooks or drug dealers.
Fortunately, our days of COVID-19 restrictions are over. For fully vaccinated individuals, the COVID-19 test is not required, however you will need to complete the link.
When to visit
The best times to visit depend on two things: affordability and weather. If you are looking for the best times to go in terms of affordability, it would be between the months of May to September as this is their off-peak season as well as the rainy season. So if you like bargains and you like singing in the rain, don’t miss this showcase.
The best period in terms of weather is between November and March, however this is their peak period and you will spend much more than during the low season.
Where to stay
It again depends on your budget, as each resort has its own unique features. There are over 100 resorts and you will never run out of choice, you will only run out of money, haha.
So for budget-luxury I will recommend accommodation on the local island (these are not resorts but beachfront hotels) which I think does the trick. It offers you the Indian Ocean, water sports, good food all inclusive. The only thing missing are the overwater bungalows and all the other ‘pepper dem’ stuff.
My opinion for those who choose this option is to do at least 1 night in a real resort, so that they can have a balanced feeling of the Maldives. So you can spend 5 nights on a local island and 1 night in a real resort. A good combination could be Kaani, Maafushi + Adaaran, Huduranfushi resorts.
One of the downsides of staying on a local island is the unavailability of alcohol. The island is where residents of the Maldives stay and as it is a fully Islamic country, having alcohol there would be considered haram.
For those looking for affordable/average luxury, I’d recommend 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 other resorts – like Embudu or Equator Village resorts – that would require you to fly domestically, but when you add the flight money to the resort money, it balances out.
For those who like luxury, there is no spending limit, so you can stay anywhere because the sky is your limit. The distance would also not be a problem for you.
How to get around
The most popular ways to get around an island are either by scooter or bicycle. To get around from one island to another you will need either the local ferry, speedboat (usually arranged by resorts), seaplane (usually arranged by resorts) or domestic flight (there are at least 12 airports in the Maldives).
What budget should you plan?
I would give a guide in USD, mainly because the value in naira is mercurial and I wouldn’t want you to end up with a “hoooge” gap in cost. I also did this depending on the off-peak period (May – September)
- Average for economy flights – 1250-1700 $
- Average for accommodation – I would recommend going for all inclusive accommodation so you don’t end up with expensive food at your resort.
- For budget luxury – between $200 and $400 per night
- For affordable/mid-luxury – $500 to $1,000 per night
- Luxury – no cap
Bonus tip for your budget: don’t do it alone, if not for the sake of camaraderie, but for the sake of money. For example, instead of paying $500 per night, you’ll pay $250 if you team up with a friend.
what to eat
Seafood, seafood and lots of seafood! i’m kidding, i’m kidding, but there is some truth in that. The Maldives definitely provide amazing seafood, they are also a melting point for tourists from all over and so their resorts cater for everyone.
I definitely ate Italian, American, Indian and Balinese food during my stay so this is something to look forward to.
What to expect
If I’m allowed to slap heaven, I’ll slap 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 what you need to make your stay memorable.
Most stations I’ve visited never for once gave a ‘service attitude’ – you know those guys we get on our side when you ask someone to show you something and they show you something, rather than take you there?
Expect a really cool trip. You will do a lot of relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, whale watching, shark watching, manta ray watching (it all depends on the island you are visiting). Some resorts go a bit further and give you nightlife, so that’s something else to look out for when selecting.
I was able to clear my head during my time in the Maldives, get inspiration from my 2022 business, as well as write my book (which I’ve been dragging around for months). So those with creativity block, if you can afford it, take a trip to the Maldives.
How could I miss the one thing I kept doing? *covers face* taking lots of shots so you can all lick your screen like I’ve been doing for years.
You should visit as the Maldives tourism board wants to bring Nigeria closer than ever, through increased visibility in the Nigerian market. They create so many initiatives and discounts to encourage Nigerian travelers to visit.
Also, Nigerians are spontaneous travelers without a spontaneous passport, and Destination Maldives is one of the few countries that you can just vex and drive to the airport the same day to travel haha!!!!!
The Maldives have also won 2 years in a row, the world’s number one destination (2020 & 2021). Worth a visit, to see why they won it.
Finally, the geographical position of the Maldives also makes it attractive for multi-destination travel. Which means you can get your time and money’s worth by taking 2 or more countries in one trip. Typical combinations for the Maldives would be with – Dubai, Turkey, Qatar, India or Sri Lanka.
Don’t just sit at home recording 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 tourist destination for 50 years and has been dubbed the birthplace of luxury tourism, which makes it natural for them to have the most expensive hotel stay in the world.
A minimum stay of four nights and $50,000 per night gets you the Muraka on Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. This is the world’s first underwater suite in one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world. So we’re talking about a minimum of $200,000 to sleep with fish swimming above your head.
Don’t forget to take me and my family members with you when you head to Muraka! T for thank you.
The Maldives are a real dream, and it is possible to get there easily and cheaply if done with a little math and good planning.