It is said of Kashmir – “If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here”. The saying surely struck a chord when I recently visited to Maldives – a Tropical Paradise for my honeymoon. Like many newly married couples, my husband and I also chose a trip to Maldives to venture out the new beginning of our life.
Maldives – a beautiful archipelago – is a part of every Indian travel Bucket List! It is a small yet widely dispersed country comprising of numerous small coral islands. The mesmerizing beauty of turquoise lagoons and pristine beaches are nothing short of paradise.
The fact that tourism is the mainstay of the economy of this country speaks volume of the popularity of Maldives across the world. The ambience, novelty of tropical islands, and the highly professional tourism industry make Maldives a perfect honeymoon destination. The solitude offered by beaches amidst a vast ocean, the adventure offered by the waves crashing on the sea present a perfect setting for starting one’s married life. Here, I am sharing my experience of Maldives trip with you all with the hope that it will help you in planning your perfect honeymoon you have always dreamt of.
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Best Time to Visit Maldives for Honeymoon
The island nation is sunny and humid through the year! However, November to April is bit relaxing as temperature is moderate with a bit of intermittent precipitation, saving one from the full brunt of heat that you might expect at such a tropical island. May to October is the monsoon season with gusty winds and incessant precipitation.
From a weather standpoint, May to Oct might not be an ideal season to travel. However, on the flip side, you can certainly expect significant discounts from various resorts across Maldives during these months. November to April may give you that perfect vacation you have been yearning for, but be mindful that it may also be heavy on your pocket due to heavy tourist footfall.
We chose to travel in the first week of December and we were fortunate to be greeted by pleasant weather with no rain to play spoilsport to our honeymoon. Coming from Delhi, first day was certainly felt hot and humid but over the next three days we got used to it and, might I say, may be even felt as if we have been there for quite some time. Although nights were a bit cold as compared to the day, the mercury ranged from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Planning Maldives Trip for Honeymoon
Planning for a wedding can be quite a tedious affair. There are so many expectations to have that glitch-free perfect wedding that we often don’t have the time and energy to plan our honeymoon. Well, that’s exactly what happened with us. So coming from a personal experience, I would advise strongly to plan your honeymoon well in advance especially, if you plan to make Maldives your honeymoon destination during winters.
Types of Properties available in Maldives
To plan your Maldives trip, I would suggest first fix your budget because your budget would determine the resorts you could choose and, more importantly, the kind of rooms you could choose from. Typically, resorts in Maldives have following broad categories of room:
- Garden view villas
- Beach view villas
- Water villas
All three have subtypes that offer you with value added amenities such as an indoor pool/ Jacuzzi. The price tends to be lowest for Garden villas and highest for Water villas. Some guests choose to split their stay in more than one variety of rooms, typically spending one night in a Water villa.
Meal Packages to Consider
Next, you should opt for included meal plan with your room bookings as they are fairly affordable … There are following four types of meal plan you could choose from:
1. Only complimentary breakfast
2. Half-board meal plan – Only complimentary breakfast and lunch would be included in the package.
3. Full-board meal plan – All three meals would be included in the package but drinks would be out-of-pocket
4. All-Inclusive meal plan – All three meals and drinks would be included in the package.
The price of your package increases as you add more meals to it and is highest for the All-Inclusive plan. However, several resorts have a fixed list of drinks that you can choose from under the All-Inclusive package. Guests typically go for a Half-board or a full-board plan and go for the drinks at an additional cost. Complimentary water is, of course, provided with every meal and in the rooms up to, one or two liters a day.
Most of the Maldives resorts offer complimentary honeymoon freebies however, you must inform them in advance and must have been married in past six months (the duration may change from resort to resort).
Booking a Maldives Package for Honeymoon
Once you have fixed your budget and your meal plan (suggestion, meal plan should come after resort selection), you need to shortlist your resorts. We found it an extremely difficult exercise as most of the resorts tend to offer similar services and ambience. Further, resorts generally don’t provide cost of activities on their websites the, that could be large chunk of your budget; you plan to undertake during your perfect Maldives honeymoon. The best thing to do in such a case is approach a travel agency such as Thomas Cook, Akbar Travels etc. They may be able to give you an indicative cost of activities and offer you attractive prices for their standard Maldives Honeymoon packages. The earlier you book the better prices and options you might get.
The packages offered by travel agencies are typically limited to flights, room tariffs, meal plan, and airport-resort transfer. Cost of any leisure activity that you intend to carry out during your Maldives trip would still need to borne by you however, you can certainly benefit from the indicative list your travel agent might provide you.
About Maldives Currency
Once you have fixed your budget and zeroed-in on your package, you need to make provisions for any out-of-pocket expenditure you need to make in Maldives; and trust us there would be plenty of that.
The Maldivian Rufiyaa is the currency of Maldives and is accepted all over the country. The conversion rate of Maldives currency to INR is 1 Rufiyaa equal to 4.7 Rupees. However, I am sure you must be surprised to know, as I was, that it Rufiyaa is not the most popular currency in use at Maldives airport and resorts. Instead US Dollar is the more preferred currency of the Maldives tourism industry. Unfortunately, Indian Rupee is not accepted in Maldives.
So, it is advisable to carry US Dollar to Maldives. In any case, we found it difficult to get foreign exchange in Maldives currency in India and I must assume that it would be equally difficult to convert Rufiyaa to Rupees after your Maldives trip. Thus, it would be better not to collect too much of change in Rufiyaa during your stay in Maldives.
Must Consider These Out-of-Pocket Expenditures
Maldives trip would certainly entail significant expenditure over and above your package and flight cost. You would be spending out of your pocket for your leisure activities such as watersports, water, snacks, drinks, and tipping. Scroll down for an indicative cost estimate for leisure activities.
Tipping is much beyond a matter of courtesy and good etiquette. It is a convention, breaking which is certainly frowned upon. You have to tip your waiter, the housekeeping staff, and your activity guide. You can expect to spend anywhere from USD 5 to 10 per day of your stay on tips. This is excluding any leisure activity you may undertake, in which case it may three or four times higher.
It is recommended that you keep cash provisions of at least USD 500 to 1000 for a trip of three or four nights on a full-board meal package. It will be sufficient for any additional meals/drinks you may indulge in as well as one or two leisure activity per day.
How to Travel to Maldives from India?
One of the first questions that will hit your mind while planning a trip is how to reach Maldives? It’s completely up to you. If you are planning for a long vacation you can opt for a cruise from Mumbai or Cochin. But if you have only a couple of days at your leisure then you should travel by air. Like many, even I was also tempted to take a cruise but unfortunately, we were traveling during the COVID and cruise were not operational in the early December in 2020 so we were left with the single option. Luckily we found a direct flight to our honeymoon destination.
There are direct flights to Maldives from Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai and other major cities. It takes nearly 4-5 hours to reach the capital city –Malé from where you would have to take a short duration flight and/or a speedboat ride to your respective island. Also known as Velana International Airport, Malé Airport is the main international airport of this archipelagic state. The airport has an excellent inter-connectivity with all the islands. In fact, most of the resorts provide you with the airport transfer with their kiosks located right at the terminal. The airport transfer may be an add-on or inclusive to your package, which you must confirm before booking.
Talking about my personal experience we took a Go Air flight. The flight departed from Indira Gandhi International Airport at 8:50 am (Indian Standard Time) and it reached Male at 12:50 PM (Maldives Standard Time = IST – 30 mins). From there, we headed on to our resort – the beautiful, the magnificent Sun Island Resort.
Documents to Carry
Thankfully Maldives does not burden the tourists from India with too much of paperwork. You can simply book your resort, your flight, pack your bags and fly-off smiling all the way to Malé, where you would be getting a visa-on-arrival. All you would need at the immigration:
- Your passport with at least 6 months validity and 3 blank pages
- The passport should have your clear and colored photograph
- Return ticket
- Proof of booking with a resort
Technically, you don’t even need travel insurance for Maldives but, it is advisable to carry one.
Special Requirements during COVID
Since we were traveling during COVID, thus, it was and still it remains mandatory to provide COVID-19 negative test results. According to the guidelines of the Ministry of tourism, the PCR test should be done within 96 hours of arrival in Malé. Going for the COVID test was itself a daunting task. Fortunately, both of us tested negative.
In addition, one is required to submit a self-declaration – a Traveller Health Declaration – with the Maldivian immigration authorities within 24 hours prior to departure from India. You may submit the self-declaration at: Imuga – Maldives Immigration.
On return, according to the guidelines of the Government of India, the travelers need to have a COVID negative certificate to avail quarantine waiver. You can have the test at the Delhi airport as well but may have to bear with long wait time. Alternatively, you may get tested in Maldives as most of the resorts provide the service however, at an exorbitant price of more than USD 100-150 per head. For the sake of convenience, we chose to get COVID test in Maldives itself at our resort and the service was seamless.
What to Pack for Maldives?
The weather you will face in Maldives would not be much different than coastal regions of South India. Thus, you may pack clothes that would make you feel comfortable in a typical tropical climate – light colored cotton shirts/tops, shorts – in addition to swimming costumes. Do pack a good sunscreen lotion and some basic over-the-counter medicines.
Island Resorts to Consider in Maldives for Honeymoon
To our surprise, there are approximately 1190 tiny coral islands in Maldives that are scattered in the Indian Ocean. Currently, there are more than 132 Island resorts that are located on different atolls in the Island country – typically one resort per island. Some of the best Maldives resorts for honeymoon are following:
- Sun Siyam Olhuveli
- Paradise Island Resort
- Sun Island Resort
- Hurawalhi Island Resort
- Sheraton Full Moon Resort and Spa
- Four Seasons Resort
- Taj Coral Reef Resort and Spa
- Constance Moofushi Resort
Resort that I Chose- Sun Island Resort and Spa
When we started our search for the resort, we came across through many well-known island resorts that were near to International Airport, each one of them mesmerized us. Since we were booking quite late thus, many of the resorts that we shortlisted were unavailable. We finally found our ideal resort which was Sun Island Resort. Though, it was quite far from the airport but every minute that we spent reaching the resort was worth. On our journey to the resort, we got a fabulous bird’s eye-view of the infinite expanse that is the Indian Ocean, clear blue waters with a tinge of turquoise interrupted with beautiful tiny coral islands. Reaching Sun Island is an adventure in itself where you get to experience Maldives tourism both from the air and through the sea.
How to Reach Sun Island Resort?
We reached Malé airport at noon and we had couple of hours before our next flight to Maamigili. In order to kill some time, we decided to explore the area around. As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we were mesmerized by the beauty of the country. The airport is located on Hulhulé Island on the north Malé atoll. It is at a stone’s throw distance from the capital city Malé, separated by a narrow strait, and can be reached either through a short ferry ride or by road through a bridge. I would definitely recommend exploring the Malé city on your Maldives trip. Unfortunately, we could not do so due to the Maldives COVID guidelines requiring any tourist entering Malé to undergo quarantine.
Nonetheless, Hulhulé Island is a perfect place to be at and spend quality time with your spouse. Surrounded by clear blue water with a contrasting backdrop of the Malé city and its high rises, the view was captivating. Like every other tourist, we captured every single moment that we spent around the airport and walked around to explore the local scenery.
After a few hours of layover at the Malé airport, we took a domestic flight to the Villa International Airport on the Maamigili Island, capturing the beauty of the Maldives as we flew over innumerable islands. Next we hopped on a speed boat and took a short 10-15 minutes ride to our resort, against the backdrop of the setting sun and flickering lights of various distant resorts.
Services Offered by the Resort
We received a warm welcome at the resort with a satiating cool drink, while the staff checked us in. Before I forget, I must advise you to bring along your wedding card/marriage certificate to enjoy your complimentary honeymoon freebies – a bottle of sparkling wine, a basket of fruits and other eatables, and a romantic room decoration.
We booked a Water bungalow for our entire stay. The view was simply breathtaking with a shallow lagoon all around and a private deck to enjoy the view. The experience was amazing. We would go for a morning swim in the lagoon before heading out for our breakfast and getting on with our planned activities for the day. The room was quite spacious with a comfy double bed, a sofa, a fully stocked mini-refrigerator, sun-bathing chairs on the deck.
The property has two restaurants- Maaniya and Sun Star restaurant. We took a full-board meal plan. So our Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner were at the Maaniya Buffet Restaurant. Generally, the regular full-board meal for water villa guests is usually organized at the Sun Star restaurant. However, on account of COVID the Sun Star was closed.
In retrospect, I would recommend a Half-board meal plan, with just breakfast and dinner paid for, so that you could explore other restaurants at the resort. We sure did but, at an additional cost. Meals were comprehensive and we were surprised to see a whole section of the buffet dedicated to Indian food, with cuisines from North and South India served on alternate days. In addition, we enjoyed quite a bit of Italian food.
Water activities are the essence of Maldives tourism industry. You have as many activities to choose depending on your wallet and time you have. Some of the major activities to choose from at the Sun Island Resort are following:
- Diving – You can experience the novelty of swimming with the whale sharks, mantas and other tropical marine life.
- Watersports – Snorkeling, paddle boarding, sailing, canoeing, surfing, and many more adventures that will last you a lifetime.
- Excursions – Exploring local wildlife, coral reef, relaxing on the beach and bicycling across the island with your spouse would surely up your honeymoon.
- Araamu Spa – A rejuvenating massage and spa treatment that your body would be demanding after a day of above activities under the tropical sun.
I would recommend that you plan your day-to-day activities well in advance with one or two activities a day and book them before you get to the resort. We missed out on some of the activities as we didn’t book them in advance. Typical cost estimates of different activities are as following:
- Bicycling – USD 5 per day per bicycle you rent
- Snorkeling, paddle boarding, dinghy boating, canoeing – USD 30 to 70 per person for a couple of hours
- Diving – It can range somewhere around USD 100 -150 per person
- Spa treatment – It can range anywhere between USD 50 to 200 per person, depending upon what treatment you go for.
- Romantic dinner on the beach can range from USD 100 to 150 for a couple. It is certainly worth every penny you spend.
Some of the activities such as private island stay can cost up to USD 1000 per person.
Your honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that deserves perfection! Maldives offers you that perfect honeymoon you may have always dreamt of. It sure did for me. The humbling vastness of the ocean, the sound of waves crashing all around you, the relaxing tropical sun on unspoiled beaches, the poetic beauty of the sun setting in the Indian Ocean, and the sheer thrill of the water based activities are what Maldives has to offer you. In all the hustle and bustle of planning your wedding, it is quite conceivable you may not be able to devote enough attention to planning your honeymoon. Here, based on my own experience, provided some pointers for you to plan your Maldives honeymoon. Do share your experience of how you planned your honeymoon.
If you get discounted package from travel agency and book your flights early, the total cost would be around 2-2.5 lac.
Yes, 4-5 days are sufficient for a Maldives trip as you would have enough time to explore the island you are staying and take up all the activities.
Though Maldives is infamous for luxurious resorts but if you plan your trip wisely, you would be able to make your trip in the designated budget.
No, you can either use Maldives currency which is Maldivian rufiyaa or Dollars in Maldives.
Yes, a passport with return ticket would be required.