Getting to Maldives & Getting around in Maldives
Coming to Maldives is simple and hassle-free, there is no need to obtain prior visa for entering the Maldives and there are no restrictions on foreign nationals entering the country. A 3 months VISA is granted upon your arrival to Maldives. You are only required to possess a valid passport, return ticket and ample funds for your stay in Maldives.
The easiest and most ideal way to enter the Maldives is by air. Scheduled and Chartered Flights from major cities in the world operate to Male International Airport which is situated on its own island nearby the capital city Male’.
There are regular and well-maintained flights to and from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Vienna (Austria), Paris (France), Moscow (Russia), Narita (Japan), Singapore, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Dubai (UAE), London (UK), Dhoha (Qatar), Munich, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and many other major parts of the world. Speed Boats from the various island resorts will be there to meet each arriving plane to take visitors to their required destinations. There are no scheduled transfers from Hulule Island to the other islands apart from Male’. For resorts that are further away from the airport seaplane operators, the Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways will be the prefered mode of transfer whenver the destinations are too far away or inconvenient to be done by Speed Boats. However it is worth noting that these seaplanes operate only during the day time and if your arrival is during the night you may need to stay in another hotel and wait until mornig before you will be able to reach your destination hotel. Suitable Hotels are available in both Hulhule and nearby Male’ to meet this requirement.
You can also enter the country by sea if you are on a private yacht although prior permission will be required to anchor boats or vessels in atolls other than Male. If you prefer to go cruising in the tourism zone, you’ll have the chance to stop at many of the resorts to eat, drink, swim, dive and participate in other holiday related activities, but you will always be required to contact the resort first. Usually you will be rquired to be off the island by sunset.
Getting around in the Maldives takes three forms: boats, sea planes (air taxis) and private yachts.
Safari cruises in modified, live-aboard dhonis are increasingly popular, especially with dive groups who want to reach more remote sites. Most safari trips cruise around the tourist zone, but it is possible to arrange longer trips to the outer atolls.
Deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling excursions, as well as island hopping trips, are organised by the majority of resorts and live-aboards giving you a peek at the ‘Real Maldives’ and mingle with locals in remote fishing villages. Organised visits to Malé and other inhabited islands are also popular with holidaymakers.
Speed boats generally take tourists to and from the islands in the North and South Male atolls. These boats range from a small runabout with outboard motor to a massive, multideck launch with an aircraft-type cabin and come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the resort you wish to stay in.
The boats which may range from typical Dhonis -a traditional all-purpose vessel now usually powered by a diesel engine, to larger boats called vedis, used for longer trips to outer atolls is the major form of local transport.
Simply getting to these resorts is a fun adventure. You would love the seaplanes ride from Male airport to the resorts- one of the highlights of the trip. You get this fabulous, bird’s-eye view of all the islands as you fly over them and giving you a feeling just like Peter Pan flying off to do battle with Captain Hook and the pirates.
No point in the Maldives is more than 45 minutes away by plane from Male, and visitors to the more far-flung resorts use air taxi services which are either arranged by the resort or travel agent.
There are two main operators: Maldivian Air Taxi, with red and white planes, and Trans Maldivian Airways, with yellow and blue planes. The services are largely identical, with both flying DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes that take around 10 passengers.