Year-end travel: How you can discover Maldives with ₹1 lakh | Travel

Year-end travel: How you can discover Maldives with ₹1 lakh | Travel

With the mighty, monied, famous and the glamorous flying in and out of Maldives pretty frequently, Maldives has acquired the epithet of a glam-destination. That it certainly is but the archipelagic floating in the Indian Ocean is also doable within the 1 lakh budget. All you have to do is pick wisely to discover the joys of the tropical paradise comprising 1,192 coral islands.

Maldives is doable within the 1 lakh budget. Know more inside. (Pexels )

Here’s a quick must/see/do/eat/buy guide to Maldives. (Also Read | Year-end travel: Have 1 lakh? Check out Indonesia)

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Must-see/do:

Malé is one of the world’s smallest capital cities at just 2.2 square miles. Must see Republic Square, The National Museum, Sultan Park, Male Fish Market, Hukuru Miskiiy, also known as the ‘Old Friday Mosque’ that dates back to 1656 and is the oldest mosque in the country.

Go Scuba diving and snorkelling. Do not venture out alone, go with an instructor. Check his/her license before signing up. Dive to the Maldives Victory that sank in 1981 after hitting a reef.

Go dolphin spotting or do a submarine tour

Sandbank snorkelling and sunset cruise, Dhoni boat cruise,

Opt for a spa day. Try the underwater spa in the Huvafen Fushi resort.

Most resorts offer several activity options including water sports, parasailing, even lessons in how to protect coral reefs.

Must-eat:

• Garudhiya: Fish soup

• Kukulhu riha: Braised chicken in a coconut-based sauce

• Masi huni: Classic Maldivian breakfast of finely shredded smoked tuna, grated coconut, lemon and chilli.

• Handulu bondibai: Rice pudding

• Kulhi boakibaa: Maldivian version of tapas (small eats)

• Fihuna Mas: Whole grilled fish

• Bajiya: Maldivian version of the samosa

What to buy: Traditional Maldivian souvenirs, decor items made out of coconut shells, sarongs, Thundu Kunaa(Maldivian mats), jewellery, lacquer products, wicker mats, dried fish.

Where to buy: Majeedhee Magu, Male International Airport, Male Local Market, STO Trade Centre, Centro Mall, Chaandhanee Magu, Oevaali Art Shop. Most resorts have the stores within their premises.

Packages:

• Arena Beach Maafushi Hotel Package (3 nights/4 days): Cost: 88,000+ (including return flight). Book on: makemytrip.com

• Memorable Maldives Holiday (3 nights/4 days): Cost: 91,000+ (including return flight). Book on: makemytrip.com

• Kaani Palm Beach Vacation (4 nights/5 days): Cost: 80,000+ (including return flight). Book on: makemytrip.com

• Maldives Alimatha Aquatic Resort (4 nights/5 days): Cost: 76,000+ (excluding return flight). Book on: thomascook.in

• The Hive Beach Hotel Package: (4 nights/5 days): Cost: 57,000+ (including return flight). Book on: expedia.co.in

• Summer Beach Maldives Package: (4 nights/5 days): Cost: 38,000+ (including return flight). Book on: Expedia.co.in

Return Flight (Economy): Mumbai-Male-Mumbai direct return flight starts at 17,000+. Delhi-Male-Delhi direct return flight starts at 20,000+.

Visa: Indian nationals will be issued a free on arrival visa for 90 days from the date of entry. However, if you want to extend the duration of the tourist visa by another 60 days, you’ll have to pay INR 3,045.

Good to know:

Currency: 1 Maldivian Rufiyaa = INR 5.43

Language: The official and common language of Maldives is Dhivehi or Maldivian. Everyone in the tourism/hospitality sector speaks English.

Local transport: MTCC’s Comprehensive Transport Network connects a large part of the dispersed islands in the country and offers a transport system between the islands. It provides bus service to Greater Male, Addu City, Fuvamulah City, L. Isdhoo/Kalaidhoo and L. Gan/Fonadhoo.

Once you arrive at Velana International Airport (MLE), you will have to take a ferry, a seaplane, a speedboat or some combination of the three to reach your final destination. Most hotels provide this service, check whether transfer is in included in the room tariff.

You can hire a yacht – it is expensive, though.

Use a seaplane to transfer from one island to another. For an island hop by air, compare the rates of Trans Maldivian Airways and Atoll Transfer.

Ferry and speedboats are also an option.

You can walk through Male which runs only for 2.2 miles. But if you have luggage, you can hail a taxi – they usually charge extra for luggage.

Wi-fi: Almost all resorts have free wi-fi.

Security/safety tips:

• Maldives is an Islamic republic, it is illegal to publicly observe a religion other than Islam.

• If you are in Maldives during the month of Ramadan, do not eat, drink or smoke in public in the daytime, outside of holiday resorts.

• Carrying/consuming drugs/narcotics is strictly prohibited.

• Do not bring pork into the country.

• Crime levels are low within the resorts but be careful of your belongings on beaches.

• In Male, avoid empty roads when on foot, particularly after dark.

• Alcoholic drinks are only available on resort islands. Do not take any alcohol out of your resort.

• It is illegal to take tortoise-shell jewellery or ornaments, or pieces of coral out of Maldives.

• Flash flooding can affect low-lying islands during periods of heavy rain. Follow the advice of the local authorities.

• Public displays of affection beyond simple hand-holding are frowned upon.

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