Despite having traveled to over 50 countries on 6 continents, there are a few places that I’ve vowed not to go for one reason or another; The Maldives was one of them. Maldives is known as lovers paradise and as a single, solo traveler it just wasn’t on my radar.
An ill-timed flight cancellation to another destination, and a luck-of-the-draw rerouting, set the stage for me to reconsider the Maldives as a destination. As an introverted traveler and a self proclaimed “culture junkie”, I’m usually able to venture to most places and enjoy the landscape on my own. Why would Maldives be any different? Besides, we were embarking on a new year, and I resolved to continue stepping out of my comfort zone.
After extensive research, I chose the Maafushi atoll, and it was a good move. It’s affordable, easy to access, had the most restaurants and a variety of lodging options compared to the other atolls. I saved hundreds of dollars by going the day trip route. A night at the resorts can run you a few hundred dollars to well over $1,000 per night depending on the atoll and amenities. I spent around $500 total on lodging for 5 days and 5 nights in Maafushi. There are a number of 4 star hotels and Airbnbs to choose from.
To get to the “Instagrammable” places from Maafushi, you can easily book a day trip through your hotel to one of the private resorts for a quick stunt. A day pass to the resorts cost around $125 on average, and is inclusive of roundtrip transportation, food and unlimited beverages, alcohol included. You have access to their sun beds, towels, on-site water activities, the main beaches and pools for about 8 hours. I noticed a lot of people taking advantage of the day trip option. Some on my boat had been resort hopping, and had made some wonderful memories. And despite the cost of a day pass, they were still under budget compared to paying for a night there. It’s truly a good deal.
I spent the rest of my time in Maldives eating, relaxing, reading, biking, or beach bumming it. It is usually a rainy place but thankfully, most days were sunny or partly cloudy while I was there.
Most food in Maldives is basically seafood; they’re surrounded by water, so that’s what you get. Tuna seemed to be a staple. It was included in my breakfast, and a group at my hotel raved over the flank as a main course. There are strong Indian and Malaysian influences in Maldives, and that is manifested through the cuisine. You can find various curries, fried breads, fried rice and the like, similar to what you’d find in those respective countries. Of course they cater to westerners by serving other delicacies like basic Italian, chicken tenders and fries, and such.
Important things to note about the Maldives
The Maldives is a Muslim country. Therefore, modesty and appropriate dress are important and respectful. So unless you will spend all of your time on a private resort you need to dress smartly, that means shoulders and knees covered. Some atolls will have a separate bikini beach for people to wear, bikinis. This type of attire isn’t allowed on the public beaches. Alcohol is not served outside of the private resorts; public drunkenness is illegal.
The Maldives is billed as a honeymoon destination and it is. If you’re not comfy around families and couples galore, don’t bother. This is a very conservative island. Outside of romance and water sports, there is nothing to do there. There is no nightlife and no semblance of turn-up. You need to be okay with finding your own fun without breaking Sharia law. Consider this when deciding how long to stay.
I was initially dreading 5 days in such a place, but it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I would love to return solo for some prime relaxation. My personality does allow me to be content with boredom and doing nothing, though. It’s also the perfect place to lay up with bae, but if either of you are adventurers, you’re going to have a hard time in the Maldives. The Maldives was perfect for my introverted personality: I relaxed, observed and soaked up all the beauty around me, in peace.
For more of Keisha Roger’s journeys, visit her website at www.keisharogers.com or follow her on Instagram: @kulturejunkie.