Cheap flights to the Maldives depart from Heathrow and Gatwick airports near London. Visitors from the UK will receive a free visa on arrival, valid for thirty days. Flights to the Maldives will arrive at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, often referred to as Male International Airport. The airport is located on an island about 10 minutes away from Male. Local ferries known as dhonis provide transport between the island and Male itself. Some resorts may provide sea-planes to help transport their guests to other islands.
Transport in the Maldives is rather unusual. Taxis are available in Male but are not required on most of the other atolls and islands. Dhonis can be chartered for journeys to other islands. Prices will usually depend on the distance travelled. Speedboats can be hired from resorts – prices will depend on the size of the board as well as the length of time it is required for. Seaplanes are available for trips to islands further away. Check with Trans Maldivian or Maldivian Air Taxis for more information.
The beautiful Maldives are a classic holiday destination for those who prefer luxurious breaks. Its main attractions are its crystal clear lagoons, sandy beaches and colourful reefs. Explore Banana Reef, a vibrant site famous for its multitude of vividly-hued tropical fish, brilliant coral growths and spectacular marine scenery. The Maldive Victory is a cargo ship that sunk in 1981. The wreck has become a popular diving spot, home to tunas and turtles as well as large schools of fish. Enjoy a glimpse of Maldivian culture in the compact capital, Male. Hukuru Miskiiy, erected in 1656, is the country’s oldest mosque. The interior boasts splendid coral carvings and intricate woodwork. The magnificent Islamic Centre is a well-known landmark. The Grand Friday Mosque, the country’s largest mosque, sits within its grounds. Its striking gold dome and minaret can be seen from many points around Male.
Shopping options are rather limited in Maldives – most resorts will have a few shops stocking holiday essentials such as beachwear, diving gear and souvenirs. Male has a selection of shops selling locally-made handicrafts, souvenirs and imported items. There is also a fish market, which gets busy during the afternoons after local fishermen have landed their catch. The fruit and vegetable market nearby is a great place to sample the colourful tropical fruits available on the islands. Male is also the best place to try local cuisine, as most of the hotels tend to serve up a similar assortment of buffets and European cuisine. Raanbaa has a large menu, with plenty of local and regional dishes as well as some international favourites available. Another popular spot for local cuisine is Irudhashu Hotaa, where a selection of tasty curries entice customers.