Maldives Tourism Guide

Maldives Tourism Guide

Quick Guide


Type G – 230V/50hz





Maldivian Rufiyaa


Visa on Arrival | 30 Days Free

Cost of a Beer

Domestic beer: SG$3.80; Imported beer: SG$7.38 (avg)

Cost of a Meal

Average Room Rate
SG$157 (3* hotel)

SG$1 = 11.10 Maldivian Rufiyaa

The Maldives are famed for balancing beautiful natural scenery with a vibrant culture, making it an ideal holiday destination for travellers of all ages and interests. With bright green islands and golden sands scattered across the sparkling azure waters of the Indian Ocean, the 26 atolls that make up the Maldives each offer something unique. From the incredible architecture on land to the spectacular aquatic life below the waves, nothing quite compares.

To make sure you get the most out of your holiday here, we have put together this helpful travel guide. We’ll be covering the Maldives’ most popular attractions, along with the top hotels, best restaurants and more. We’ll also be offering practical travel advice to make sure you enjoy the best tropical escape possible.

Top Attractions


The Beaches

 From the sandy stretches of Maradhoo Island to the vibrant underwater sights of Ambara Island, nothing quite compares to the stunning natural scenes of Maldives’ beaches. Whether you are relaxing on the golden sands with a cocktail in your hand, adventuring with scuba diving and snorkelling activities or just watching the amber-splashed skies as the sun goes down, the beaches will provide the highlight of anyone’s visit.


The National Museum

 There’s no better way to get to grips with the unique spiritual, cultural and historic background of the Maldives than with a visit to the National Museum. Starting off in the pre-Islamic period and covering everything up to the modern day, the exhibits here give a wonderful insight into your holiday destination. It’s an educational visit that will keep you hooked and will enrich your time on the islands.


Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque)

 As well as its bountiful natural beauty, the Maldives also has a lot to offer in terms of religious experiences. One of its oldest and most famed religious sites is Hukuru Miskiiy, also known as Old Friday Mosque. Dating back to 1656, its well maintained coral stone architecture and incredible atmosphere makes it an exceptional destination for those intrigued by history or religion. Please bear in mind though, you will need to get permission from a Ministry of Islamic Affairs official before entering.

Things to do in Maldives

You might think you know what you’re getting from the Maldives. Stunning beaches, great seafood, amazing natural environments. Oh don’t worry, all that stuff is there, and it’s more magical than you probably dared imagine. But there’s also a whole host of surprises for visitors to these islands. So let’s jump right in and take a look at some of the most fun things to do in the Maldives.

Hulhumale Mosque


Image source: Ibrahim Asad’s Photography

When the sun goes down on the incredible golden dome of the Hulhumale Mosque then it’s obvious you are in a truly special place indeed. More than a simple tourist destination, this is a place of incredible spiritual importance. as well as an outstanding architectural achievement. It can be a beacon of light in the darkness or sparkle in the sunshine. One thing is for sure and that’s the Hulhumale Mosque can only make people’s lives and your trip that much brighter.

Price: Free to visit

Opening Hours: 24-hour

Address: Hulhumale

Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque)

Image source: jamieluy

For lovers of history and culture then the Hukuru Miskiiy mosque, the oldest one in the entire country, is a must see. It’s also known as the Old Friday mosque, having been built as far back as 1656. Despite this, the old building is not showing as many wrinkles as you might expect, with its unique style resonating to this day. As is always the case, you need to respect religious traditions when entering this holy building. This includes dressing modestly and getting permission from a Ministry of Islamic Affairs official.

Price: Free to visit

Opening Hours: 24-hour

Address: Medhuziyaarai Magu, Malé, Maldives

Ambara Island

From spiritual magnificence to an equally impressive offer from mother nature herself. More than anything else on this list, Ambara Island itself sums up the unique appeal of the Maldives. Words might not quite do the incredible beauty on offer here justice, but trust us when we say that the crisp sands and the endless blue sea is more than worth the price of your trip alone. Here you’ll discover an underwater techni-colour extravaganza: an almost otherworldly experience. On the beach or beneath the waves, Ambara Island needs to be seen to be believed.

Price: Free to visit

Opening Hours: 24-hour

Address: Ambara Island

“June to October are some of the best times to scuba dive in the Maldives – while plankton lowers the water’s visibility a little, it also brings the big creatures like whale sharks and manta rays who feed on the plankton, which make for some incredible underwater experiences if you are lucky enough to spot them on a dive.”

Jaclynn Seah,

“It is hard to resist the allure of snorkelling or diving amongst colourful fishes and corals in the crystal clear waters of Maldives’ lagoon. When you are out of the waters, soak yourself in the island’s culture and heritage by exploring villages, sourcing local handicrafts, visiting heritage sites, sampling local cuisine & watching cultural performances.”

Sian Hoi,

Maradhoo Island

Image source: Maciej Kraus

Here’s one more entry for our shortlist of the amazing natural spots on the Maldives. Considering some of the competition that is out there, that’s no small achievement. Special praise has to go to the incredible Maradhoo Island: one of several beautiful islands much like it. The reasons we’re singling this out is twofold. It’s both one of the most incredible places to stay and to get a bite to eat, which in turn makes it a more tempting accommodation offer. If you don’t decide to stay here, you’d be mad not to at least visit.

 Price:  Free to visit

Opening Hours: 24-hour

Address: Maradhoo Island

Whales and Dolphin Spotting

Image source: nadia & massimo

We already mentioned the truly remarkable experience that is going beneath the waves in the Maldives as part of our section on Ambara Island, whether it be by snorkelling or scuba diving. That is entirely true and is something you certainly don’t want to miss out on. However, if you want something really incredible, then whale and dolphin spotting tours offer an experience like no other. Featuring several different special of each in their natural habitat, this incredible environment is something quite extraordinarily.

 Price: Varies depending on tour

Opening Hours: Varies depending on tour

Address: Malé, (Maldives) – cruising the Atolls – Male

National Museum

Image source: Neville Wootton

If you’re a traveller that really likes to get to grips with your holiday destination, then the National Museum of the Maldives, as its name would suggest, offers the most complete experience anywhere on the island. During your visit, you can explore the deep, rich culture and history of this fascinating nation. What’s magic about the National Museum is the context it gives you, which really helps you appreciate other parts of your trip as well as educating you. From the pre-Islamic period right up to the present day, immerse yourself in the history of the Maldives.

Price: Adult – Rf100, Child – Rf20

Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 10.00 – 17.00, Friday – Saturday: Closed

Address: Chaandhanee Magu, Malé, Maldives

Irudhashu Hotaa

Image source: Brennan Degan

It’s no secret that one of the things the Maldives is most famous for is its rather amazing cuisine. While we’ll take you through some of the finest restaurants in our food section, we’d like to include Irudhashu Hotaa and give it some special recognition. That’s because it’s more than just an adventure for your tongue: it’s also a place of great cultural significance, located in one of the most recognisable spots in the city and being a nerve centre for the local community. Having said that, it does also taste pretty darn great.

Price: Short eats from Rf5

Opening Hours: Daily: 07.00 – 22.00

Address: Filigas Magu, Malé, Maldives

Shopping in Maldives

Whatever your budget, there’s plenty of places to shop in the Maldives to suit you. From the highest of high end to bottom priced bargains, everything is enthused with that world famous Maldives uniqueness and creativity.

Male Fish Market


Image source: Bernard Spragg. NZ

When you’re one of the best locations in the world for seafood, that can only mean one thing: you’ve also got one of the best fish markets in the world. That’s certainly the case here. Male Fish Market is as good as it gets for local produce, offering five-star quality and produce as fresh as it comes. If you are planning on doing any cooking on your trip, there’s no finer selection of ingredients.

Opening Hours: No set opening and closing times. Tours take place between 09.00 – 20.00

Address: Male, Maldives

M Souvenirs

When you go somewhere as stunning as the Maldives, you’ll probably want something to remember your trip by and a souvenir is the second best thing you can get next to your memories. While we don’t think anything you’ll find at M Souvenirs can match say, a trip beneath the wave of Ambara Island, it does offer some terrific locally made items which are as unique as the Maldives itself.

Opening Hours: Daily: 08.00 – 22.00

Address: H. Reethigas, Ameer Ahmed Magu, Male, 20029


Nala Boutique

Image source: Nattu

If you’re looking for a touch of luxury while on your holiday in the Maldives, and you have the wallet to back it up, then Nala Boutique offers the best quality goods. This is retail therapy at its absolute most high-end. However, it’s not just expensive for the sake of it. There’s real creativity here, which means when you buy from Nala Boutique, you are buying more than just a label. Items here include exceptional clothing and even local art pieces. It’s a uniquely Maldivian high-end shopping experience.

Opening Hours: Daily: 08.30 – 22.00

Address: Kurumba, Maldives, 08340

Island Bazaar


Most places to shop are just that: very few can be considered an experience. However, most shopping destinations are not Island Bazaar. A hotspot of local creativity and energy, this is also one of the most uniquely beautiful bazaars anywhere in the Maldives. An incredible mixture of local culture and international influence, the Island Bazaar is so much more than just a place to buy. It’s a place to experience the Maldives.

Opening Hours: Saturday – Thursday: 10.00 – 18.00, Friday: 16.00 – 18.00

Address: Fareedhee, Magu, Male

Fun Facts

  • An interesting history: Well, it might go without saying that the Maldives have a rich past. Anyone with any interest in these stunning islands knows that their history is a fascinating one. But its origins in particular is an interesting one. The Maldives is said to have been founded by an exiled Indian prince sometime before 269 BC.
  • Underwater cabinet meeting: Yes, you read that might. The first, and we believe only, underwater cabinet meeting was held by the government of the Maldives in 2009 to raise awareness for climate change.
  • It’s the flattest country in the world: One of many reasons the the Maldives is so stunning is because its flat lands make it possible to see far off into the distance. In fact, it’s the flattest in the world, with an average ground level of 1.5 inches. This actually ties in with our previous entry, as it is believed by many that this makes the Maldives particularly vulnerable to climate change.
  • You cannot drink alcohol in public: Although there are a number of excellent places to drink alcohol in the Maldives, all of these are in resort hotels. This is because the Maldives is a Muslim state and alcohol is banned everywhere else. And did you know, It’s also the smallest Muslim state in the world.
  • A holiday destination in its infancy: While you can probably easily imagine that the Maldives wasn’t always a tourist hotspot, it might surprise you to know that it only became a holiday destination a mere 40 years or so ago.

Where to Eat in Maldives

Well, it’s no surprise to find that the culinary scene in the Maldives is nothing short of spectacular. It’s one area for which the islands are well known and they more than live up to the hype. Our small sampling of some of the best restaurants on the islands are a mere tip of the iceberg of what’s available.


Image source: llee_wu


Found in one of the most stunning parts anywhere in the Maldives, it’s no small compliment to say that Thila more than lives up to the expectations set when you first lay eyes upon it. Arguably the best restaurant on the island, here you’ll enjoy a culinary world tour with several continents represented on its menu. Best of all is the seafood, which even for the Maldives’ lofty reputations, blows much of its competition out of the water, if you’ll mind the pun.

Opening Hours: Daily: 08.00 – 11.00 (breakfast), 19.00 – 21.30 (dinner)

Address: North Male’ Atoll, Kurumba Maldives, 08340

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

More than just a great place to eat, this is a holiday and dining experience. It doesn’t take a genius to work out exactly what it on offer at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. Yes, here you’ll enjoy your meal beneath the waves surrounded by the underwater inhabitants. Luckily, this is no mere gimmick, as this restaurant has the culinary chops to excite your taste buds as well as your eyes.

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.00 – 14.30, 18.30 – 22.30

Address: Conrad Rangali Island 20077, Maldives


Image source: stu_spivack


There’s plenty of things that people associate with the Maldives: stunning beaches, a vibrant artistic local culture, a deep and rich history. However, one of the things that doesn’t spring to mind when you think of the Maldives is pizza. Luckily, the brilliant Pizzamia seems to be on a one restaurant mission to change all that. It’s so good that some people say you could drop it in the middle of Europe and no one would notice.

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.00 – 00.00
Kalhuhuraa Magu, Malé, Maldives

Just Veg

Another potential surprise for those who not aware of the diversity in the Maldives culinary scene is the great selection of world class Indian restaurants. We’ll start off with a vegetarian pick, Just Veg. What they lack in their name’s creativity, they more than make up for on the plate, with an astonishing array of dishes and flavours that prove a lack of meat is not going to slow them down.

Opening Hours: Daily: 12.30 – 14.30, 19.00 – 22.30
Kanifushi Island

Image source: stu_spivack

Bombar Darbaar

What’s the best Indian restaurant in the Maldives? We’ve mentioned that the amount of great options is one of the hidden gems of the island, so even being considered for the top spot means that a restaurant must be something special. One that comes up more often than many is the spectacular Bombar Darbaar which will delight your taste buds whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or a meat eater.

Opening Hours: Daily: 10.00 – 00.00
Nirolhu Magu, Malé, Maldives

Nightlife in Maldives

Image source: Badruddeen


In the resort areas of The Maldives, you’ll find plenty of options to enjoy a cold drink or two, so cocktail lovers needn’t ever feel left out. There’s also some truly surprising options and even a few night time excursions that might just end up being among the most memorable moments of your travels. Here’s a quick look at just some nightlife offerings.

Underwater Glow Party at Subsix, Per Aquum, Niyama

Its underwater flow parties are legendary. And yes, they are exactly what they sound like. If you’re looking for a night out that’s truly out of the ordinary, then Underwater Party at Subsix, per Aqeem, Niyama is something you’re likely to never forget. Unless of course, you drink too much, then it might be possible. However, if you’re not too tempted by the champagne then this is as memorable a night out as they come.


Entry Fee: $30USD (subject to 10% service charge and 12% GST) – includes one drink
Opening Hours:
Wednesdays & Saturdays: 21.00 onwards

Address: Niyama Private Islands Maldives, Huluwalu, Maldives 00000, Maldives

Uthuru Bar

The unusually titled Uthuru Bar is one of the coolest night spots in the Maldives. While amazing views are nothing too unusual on the island, there’s few better ways to enjoy them than with a drink in your hand and Uthuru Bar offers the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. Great drinks, terrific service service and a world beating ambience make this bar a real winner.

Entry Fee: No entry fee

Opening Hours: Daily: 09.00 – 00.30

Address: Meeru Island Resort & Spa, Maldives

Image source: Richard Thomas


The Bar-EE is known for a few things. In fact, it’s hard to tell which part of the bar is its best asset. On one hand, it could be its terrific selection of signature cocktails, conjured up by the drink magicians behind the bar. Another possibility is its incredible views of the surrounding seas, which envelop the bar. It might even be its fantastic selection of pub food, meaning it’s a great place to stay from afternoon until evening. We just can’t make up our minds. Check them out yourself and decide.

Entry Fee: No entry fee
Opening Hours: Daily: 10.00 – 00.00
 South Male Atoll, Bolifushi 08160, Maldives


Athiri, also known as Kurumba Beach Bar is exactly that. Yes, it’s a bar that is quite literally situated on the sandy stretched of Kurumba Beach. We don’t mean a short walk from it. We don’t mean down the road. You can literally sip your drink with the sand beneath your feet. It’s an amazing ambience with live music to top off this offer like an umbrella in a cocktail.

Entry Fee: No entry fee

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.00 – 19.00
Kurumba Maldives Resort, Vihamanafushi, North Male Atoll, Maldives

Top Tips

  • Choose your resort very wisely:
    The Maldives is unique in many ways. However, one downside to this is that your resort will be the main hub of your holiday. This is due to the unique environmental makeup of the islands. With that in mind, view your accommodation as more than just a place to sleep.
  • Budget your expenses:
    Another downside to the Maldives is that it requires pretty much everything, with the exception of fish and a few other sources of food, to be imported. This means that the cost of meals in particular can be very expensive. Usually you settle your bill at the end so it’s up to you to keep tabs on how much you spend to avoid an unpleasant shock at the end of your trip.
  • Get to grips with all the islands:
    We know that if you’re planning a trip to the Maldives and this didn’t happen by throwing a dart at the map, you’ll know that it’s a series of islands. However, you might be surprised by the scale of things. There’s over 1,200 islands here, with 100 being inhabited by the local populace and a further 100 being tourist resorts. The remaining 900 are completely uninhabited.

Hotels in Maldives

The official currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. But if you’re staying at a private resort, you wouldn’t need it because USD is widely accepted. If you’re staying at one of the public beaches, you will need the local currency. If you choose to convert into rufiyaa at a money changer or withdraw from the ATM, make sure you keep the receipt and never lose it. You can convert whatever is left back to USD, GBP or EUR at the airport but ONLY IF you have the receipt of your original transaction. Otherwise, you will be forced to spend the remaining rufiyaa or bring it home with you.

Yoshke Dimen,

Luxury Hotels in Maldives

When you book into the Four Seasons, there’s a certain level of quality that is to be expected. In fact, their reputation across the world is so incredible that you’d think it would act as somewhat of a rod up their back. However, as The Four Season Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru and their branches across the continents have proved, they are more than up to the challenge. As is always the case, the way the Four Seasons really sets itself apart from the crowd is not in its incredible facilities, which include a full service spa. It’s not even in its four world class restaurants or impeccable service. The reason the Four Seasons is special is because every hotel they produce shows a real love for the local culture, and it’s that appreciation which is felt in every corner of this luxury accommodation.


People want different things from a luxury hotel. Some will want the amount they have paid to be obvious in every corner of the accommodation, from marble floors to chandeliers. Others though will prefer their high end hotel to show off their assets in a way that is a touch more tasteful. If you fall into the latter category, then The One and Only Reethi Rah should be right up your alley. Despite its rather arrogant title, it’s actually an incredibly charming place to stay. Don’t let its rather mellow demeanour fool you however. This remains one of the pinnacles of luxury hotels in Maldives, featuring everything from seven onsite restaurants to a private golf course.


Another big hitter on our luxury hotel shortlist is the Velassaru Maldives. Unlike others on this list, this accommodation prides itself on feeling like your own personal paradise. It’s ironic that on one hand, you can feel a million miles away from your surroundings, while every part of the décor is deeply inspired by the local culture. However, this tropical escape is by no means basic. It offers its guests some truly incredible facilities, including a pizzeria, a private beach, spa and more.


Much like our previous entry, the Taj Exotic Resort and Spa is more than just your average holiday accommodation. It’s your own private getaway. Located on Emboodhu Finulhi Island, you’ll find this heaven beneath the trees nestled on its own private beach. There’s few better places to get away from the troubles of everyday life than by relaxing at their private spa, enjoying their bars and sipping cocktails in the sunshine. If you’re feeling more active, you can tale advantage of the 24-hour fitness centre, knowing that after a hard workout, you can relax in ome of the best rooms money can buy.

To live in the lap of luxury during your stay in London, you will need to be spending approximately 15,000 rupees per night’s stay (on average). These prices are influenced significantly by the length of time you stay, the size of your group and when you choose to visit London.

“When visiting for your first time, make sure the hotel stay factors in boat transfers or flight transfers as the cost, especially flight transfers can be much more expensive than your flight to the Maldives. Preferably opt for all-inclusive resorts as food tends to be expensive and there may be a lack of choice.”

Tommy Ooi,

Mid-Range Hotels in Maldives


If location is one of your main consideration when booking a hotel, then The Vinorva Maldives, found a mere five minutes from the Drivers lodge Maldrives and the local public beach, should leave this location on top of your shortlist. Happily, a terrific spot at a very reasonable price isn’t the only thing it has to offer. The rooms look exceptional for this price range, with even the odd touch of elegance and luxury. This is a hotel that’s punching way above its room rate, which starts at around SG$142 a night.


Many hotels in the Maldives present themselves with a distinctly rustic ambience, to best suit the down to earth surroundings. Others go completely the other way with an ultra modern look that might feel sleek and convenient but lacks the warmth of the more laid back offering in the hotel scene. What makes Vista Beach Retreat so special is the way it toes the line between these two styles and comes out with the best of both worlds. You’ll feel right at home, but can also enjoy a great location and top quality facilities, such as a restaurant, free Wi-Fi, LCD TVs and a rooftop terrace, to name but a few.


Quirky and unique, the Pine Lodge is a hotel that likes to do things its own way, with an art deco style that might not be for everyone. Those who do like it though will probably fall in love with the place. It’s a matter of preference, but we think that the Pine Lodge manages to nail that minimalistic feel with a sense of homeliness that very few similar accommodations can pull off. Featuring excellent facilities for its price range, including free Wi-Fi and a coffee shop, as well as being nearby a bunch of great tourist destinations, this is well worth your consideration if you like your accommodation to have an extra dash of personality.

Budget Hotels in Maldives


Often people don’t expect a great deal of personality from a budget hotel. They’re more than content to pay a little and get a modest room with acceptable facilities and call that a fair deal. However, hotels like The Beehive are here to prove that you can expect more. They are evidence that you can inject a touch of fun and style into a room without needing to knock the price up too much. To be fair, this is close to what could be considered a mid range hotel, with rates starting at around SG$186. However, it more than justifies its slightly elevated price with excellent rooms and great facilities.

While there’s little doubt that you’re likely to mix up the Skai Lodge with The Four Seasons, there’s a certain level of charm to this accommodation that few hotels at any price range can match. It certainly offers more than enough to justify the asking price of just SG$76, with clean, comfortable rooms. Plus, it’s location is just a short drive away from the nearby airport ferry, meaning it’s also wonderfully convenient. The Maldives isn’t actually big on cheap accommodation, with most spots opening themselves up to the higher end of the market. That means the budget traveller might not have as much choice as they might like. Luckily, out of this select group, Skai Lodge is one of the best.


Sometimes it’s pretty incredible what you can get for such a small price. Even cheaper than the also excellent Skai Lodge, Mathiveri Inn is a hotel that, dollar for dollar, might be the best value accommodation anywhere in the Maldives. It certainly isn’t pretending to be a luxury hotel: far from it. However, it does have a certain colourful style that puts it a cut above even some higher priced accommodation. And with room rates starting from just SG$66, you won’t find much to complain about here.

For more hotels in the Maldives, explore the Expedia Singapore website and find the best accommodation for your stay.

Getting Around Maldives

The Maldives’ location is a truly special place in many ways. However, its uniqueness does lend it a couple of challenges in terms of getting around. There’s no bus services, car hire or taxis here. Luckily, there’s a couple of transport methods better suited to its aquatic surroundings.

Image source: ╚ DD


Air Taxi

Did we say there were no taxis? Sorry, we meant there’s no taxis on land. Air taxis are the Maldives equivalent: better suited to not getting your best pair of shoes wet.

There’s two options here: Trans Maldivian Airways and Maldivian Air Taxi. They are identifiable by colour. The latter is blue and yellow and the former is red and white. They can take around 15 people at a time and can travel between islands in a few hours.


Image source: warrenski

Well, this transportation method is to expected. Yes, the most obvious way to travel around islands is via boat. You can choose from public ferries, taxi boats or service tours and day trips, although the last two aren’t actually very common. Taxi boats are expensive but do offer convenience, whereas public ferries are the opposite. They run rarely and are quite slow. However, they will save you quite a bit of money if you can catch them.

Best Time to Visit Maldives

Image source: Mohmed Althani


It can be argued that there’s no bad time to visit the Maldives, such is the beauty of the islands and the picturesque weather most of the year. There are however, times that are better than others. The only real period where you’re in any way likely to experience bad weather is through monsoon season, which runs between May and October, with the first few months being the worst for downpour.

Another time you may want to avoid is between December and March, which might offer lovely weather but can be incredibly crowded. Therefore, we recommend that the best time to visit would be between November and April. During these months, you can indulge in some great weather and enjoy fewer crowds.

Flights to Maldives

Image source: Sarah_Ackerman


The Maldives has various airports across its islands, offering domestic journeys around the area. However, for international holidaymakers, they will arrive in the Male International Airport, which is also known as the Velana International Airport. From here, passengers can use boats or air taxis to reach their destinations on other islands.

There are around 19 flights per week from Singapore Changi Airport into the Velana International Airport. The average flight time between the two destinations is 4 hours and 25 minutes. The cost of your journey will vary depending on your flight provider and the time of the year you travel, but the cheapest ticket price is around SG$282.

Visit the Expedia website to find the best prices for flights to the Maldives.