Solo travel to the Maldives

When people think about travelling to The Maldives, solo travel isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Mainly known as a honeymoon destination, the Maldives is now attracting different types of travellers and should not be overlooked as an option for a solo trip!

When planning your trip, one tip is to make a list of your wants vs needs. For instance, I knew that diving and snorkelling were going to be a big part of my solo trip, so it was important that my resort had an excellent house reef. Staying at a resort with a good house reef would allow me to snorkel right off the beach and avoid having to take boat rides (usually extra money) to reefs.

Things to consider when planning your trip:

Type of Island

The traditional way to visit the Maldives is to stay at one of the resort islands. As of 2009, the Maldivian Government allows local inhabitants of islands to open their own guesthouses. This law has provided a new travel option- visiting and staying on a local island in the Maldives.

Both are excellent options and provide very different experiences, so it’s a good idea to do your homework about both before making a choice.

Resort Island:

ProsCons
Can drink alcohol Resorts charge a high
amount per night
Great amenities are available
such as spa, water bungalows, etc.
Stuck on one island- you
may be able to go
on a trip to another
island but this is dependent
on the resort.
If you don’t enjoy the
beach or water sports,
you may get bored.
Secluded- the island is
for travellers only
Food can be hit and
miss and may not
provide local dishes

Staying on a local island:

ProsCons
Much cheaper cost per nightLocal rules need to be followed
which means modest dress,
no alcohol consumed etc
Exposure to Maldivian
culture and food
Ferry schedules can be hit
and miss so you may
experience delays getting
to and from the island
Small, intimate guesthousesHotels tend to be no-frills,
limited amenities and
food options

Logistics

The Maldives are in the middle of the Indian Ocean and getting to the main airport in Male (the capital) and then to your resort can be an adventure in itself. If you are travelling solo, you will want to think about when you will arrive in the Maldives as landing at night may make it impossible to get to your resort until morning. The seaplane transfers to resorts stop flying after the sun goes down.

There can also be long waits at the Male airport. My flight back to Singapore was at 11:45 pm and I had to leave my resort at 4 pm. The early departure time was not up to the resort. Travelers are at the mercy of when the seaplane transfers are scheduled for the day. The early resort departure gave me just over 6 hours to wait at the airport with really nothing to do. The Male airport leaves a lot to be desired and there are not many food options (besides a fast food area) or shops.

Amenities/Extras

The easiest way to budget for your trip is to consider everything besides the room as an extra cost. Make sure to factor in the extra money when looking at meal plans, included activities, etc. The cost of three meals a day can add up, and when you add on drinks (even water costs $$$), the all-inclusive plans can be a better bet.

My resort choice:

I determined the most important things for my four day solo trip to the Maldives were:

-a great house reef

-safe for a solo woman

-not too many extra costs

-within my budget

The resort I chose was the Ellaidhoo Maldives resort by Cinnamon. The resort is known for its house reef and is close to the main airport. Since I was going for such a short time, it was vital for me only to have a quick “commute” to my island. I also opted for an all-inclusive plan, which still kept me within my budget.

Costs

The cost of staying at a resort can vary based on what type of room you get and extras you add to your trip. Although a water bungalow may be your dream, it can add hundreds of dollars per night to your stay. If your heart is set on a water bungalow, consider a shorter trip or splitting your stay between a bungalow and a cheaper room option.

You may also have the option of taking a speedboat or a seaplane. The seaplane is the fastest and, of course, more expensive option of the two. However, if you have only a few days for your trip or get seasick, you may want to consider the plane. I flew to and from my resort because it was 1.5 hours (speedboat) vs 20 min on a flight. The sea was also quite rough when I was there, so this was a wise decision.

The food and alcohol costs add up quickly. Keep in mind that the Maldives imports the majority of their food, so your meal costs will be high. Meal plans at resorts are usually the better deal, and if you drink even a moderate amount of alcohol, I would recommend an all-inclusive plan.

What to do in the Maldives

Snorkelling/Diving

If you are a fan of snorkelling or diving, make sure you pick an excellent house reef in the Maldives. Having a great house reef onsite allows you to dive/snorkel right off the shore at any time for no extra cost. A quick google search of the best house reefs brings up the following:

  • Dhevanafushi Maldives Luxury Resort
  • Angsana Ighuru
  • Banyan TreeVabbinfaru
  • Six Senses Laamu
  • W Maldives
  • Anantara Kihavah Villas
  • Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
  • Constance Moofushi
  • Soneva Fushi
  • Ellaidhoo Resort by Cinnamon- I added this on as it’s where I stayed!

*Solo Travel consideration*- Never dive alone. I doubt you would even be able to do this at a resort but nevertheless. Snorkelling alone is much less dangerous, but keep in mind that there can be strong currents in the Maldives. If you are snorkelling alone, I recommend a lifejacket (even if you are a strong swimmer) and letting someone know your plan.

Boat trips

For an extra fee, most resorts will take you to a secluded island for some snorkelling and lunch. I didn’t do this on my trip but regretted it after seeing some of the pictures my resort friends took. It indeed looked like an untouched paradise.

Your resort should also be able to arrange snorkelling tours etc. but if you have a great house reef you probably won’t see too much more than you would from shore.

Joining a resort boat trip is also a great way to meet other guests who have the same interests as you. I met a lot of people who shared my love of snorkelling and we were able to share our sea life sightings each day.

Spa

I didn’t try the spa at my resort but did take a look at the packages. The spa experience tends to be a bit expensive at resorts in the Maldives.

Relax

The Maldives has beautiful beaches and pools to lounge by all day. One of the best things to do in the Maldives is nothing at all. As a solo traveller, I met lots of people just sitting at the pool.

My top tips for solo travel to the Maldives

Here are my top tips for traveling to a resort island solo in the Maldives:

Decide your wants vs needs- it’s almost impossible to get everything you want at one resort

Join resort activities as a way to meet other guests and staff

Read lot’s of reviews on the resort and check if anyone has stayed there solo before

Make sure you understand how you’ll get to the resort and the arrival/departure times

A trip to the Maldives is a once in a lifetime experience and being solo should not deter you from visiting. Don’t miss out on experiencing one of the most beautiful places in the world! Are the Maldives on your wish list?

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