Once you have collected your luggage from the collection point and made your way to your Rep, you will probably be asked to wait a while while your transfer boat arrives.
There is a Cafe area with seats outside, and there are a number of people who look like nice helpful airport staff. They will say things like, "oh you must be weary sit down here, let me get you some water". I told him I would sit down but I had a bottle of water in my bag. "No, no, sit here and I will bring you a drink". He genuinely seemed concerned about our welfare.
He came back with two bottles of water, so we sat and drank them whilst waiting for our boat to arrive.
Then he came over with a bill for $20, yes you did read that right $20. I nearly fell of the Chair. Had I not just arrived in the Country and was not feeling so vunerable, beleive me I would have had something to say - I was just in a state of shock! I have kept the receipt for the comedy factor! We paid it - what else could we do - we had drank the water!
After speaking to other people in the resort, the same thing had happened to them, and it would seem we got off lightly compared to some others!
Unique Suggestions: Tell the man in no uncertain terms that you are not thirsty and you dont want to sit in his Cafe!
Fun Alternatives: Go and look at the beautiful sea instead!
Only 4 counties in the world do not allow you to bring alcohol into the country with you: Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iran and the Maldives. Unlike the first 3, the Maldives will happily “detain” your Duty Free alcohol and then promptly serve you alcohol before you even leave the airport area - at a huge price. Yes - total hypocrisy. A small can of coke costs $2.50 and a small beer will always set you back a staggering $5-8. I read somewhere that prices are high because everything has to be imported and shipped by boat. Give me a break. This is huge national racket and more economics than cultural sensitivities. Every hotel has at least 1 if not 5 well-stocked bars. In your room you will find a mini-bar with the exact same prices as the bar. Easy to control, easy to extort.
Unique Suggestions: Either take a lot of money, stop drinking or sneak it in.
I am sure you must have read about this trap by now. We got this information from VT itself and thus were saved ;)
Once you come out of airport, you approach the counter for the resort. The guys at the counter will ask you to wait for the transport boat to arrive and lead you to a small cafe adjoining the counter.
This place hardly looks like a cafeteria. It has a few plastic chairs and tables. DO NOT buy anything here. They will overcharge you.
The wait for the transport boat is not very long.
Fun Alternatives: We took a bottle of water before getting of the plane. Though we did not use it, as the boat arrived in about 20 minutes.
Every tourist hotel in the Maldives, outside of Malé, is an isolated island where there is no need for money. For every drink, meal and souvenir, you just sign you name and write your room number down. So far, so good. Then you notice that there is a place to put a tip (gratuity) when you are signing. Well it was a good drink, so you put down a tip for Mr. Bartender. Besides you are drunk in Paradise, so it seems like a good move at the time.
Then when you check out – you get the whole bill.
POW! What’s that? A service charge of 10% on everything!!!!
Yes, you just tipped someone 20-40%!
Unique Suggestions: Do not tip on written bills! Save a few coins here and there if you really want to for the real hard workers in the resort. These are the guys who move your incredibly heavy bags (pictured) and the guys who clean the beach every morning – 7 days a week.
Your room person? Pennies only. They are going to be charging you 10% for every can of overpriced soda.
When going to the Maldives, ALWAYS choose All Inclusive.
It is very expensive out there and the All Inclusive is of a very good standard.
We were glad we chose All Inclusive because otherwise we would have had to pay £5.00 for a Bacardi ! Also at the Airport on our return journey we bought some lunch and it was almost £20 for a couple of chicken sandwiches !
Don't be fooled, the drinks cost the earth and the food is not any better.
The cheapest rough price for a bottle of wine is around £20/£25. It was very nice wine but it would mount up if you were buying wine every night for two weeks.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you have checked your transfers when booking.
quite often Islands are very far from the Airport and you could be stuck on a boat for four hours and that would be the last thing you would want after being on a plane for twelve hours !
Fun Alternatives: Take the Sea-plane !
Very quick and enjoyable - apart from when you are travelling in bad weather as we found out and had to land at the nearest Island and sit bobbing up and down in the sea which was ok if you had a cast iron stomach !
After proceeding through the exit of the airport you will be met by a resort representitive or will have to find your resort rep at his desk. They will tell you that they are waiting for other guests (if you get out ahead of others) and lead you to a seat in 'rip-off' cafe! If you sit down the water (small) will cost you 5 USD!
Fun Alternatives: Sit on a bench and wait for your group! Although there are actually few benches around!!!
You can buy all the shells and corals you want, most probably you will not even be stopped as you leave the Maldives - although it is highly forbidden. But woe on you if you get caught when you enter your home country. They are most probably stricter with the rules for the protection of the environment. You won't only loose your souvenirs, but also get a hefty fine.
Personally I think it is a pity that they don't look at this more closely in the Maldives, but fact is, that you can buy big shiny coral shells on the streets and in the shops.
I was told that the shiny ones are looking that good because they fish out the living snails and mussels for it. If they would take the ones where the animals already died, they would not be that shiny anymore.
So think well, before you buy one of these.
Some of the sellers will assure you it was perfectly all right to take the shells or corals with you. Some may even offer "certificates". Don't believe them.
Fun Alternatives: There are enough souvenirs and products you can buy without harming the environment. Go for these instead.
Since everything is expensive in the island, bring your own bottled water. Here they sell USD 3/bottle and u need more than a bottle a day.
But u can't bring ur own alcohol. Just when u pass the custom at the airport, they will ask u to open ur luggage and take ur alcohol away.
Unique Suggestions: U can fill a form to 'let' them keep ur bottle at the airport - u can pick it up when u fly back. Means, no own alcohol in the island.
Fun Alternatives: Price of a glass of alcohol in the resort = 6 - 15 USD.
My last day of the trip stay in Male (capital of Maldives) and my diving agent is nice to arrange a tourist guide to bring us for sight seeing. (Actually, Male is small and you can walk by your own). But the souviner shop he bring us is not honest and price double and more compare to the other.
The sales in the shop will cut the price half if you don't want to buy the item that you pick. However, it still expensive compare to other shop. Also some of itme is not locally make and import from Thailland, e.g. 4 pair wood chopstick. They sell at USD40 but it only cost USD 9 in Thaildnd. Even I buy it in HK, it only cost USD15.
Maldives comprises of islands and huge bodies of water right? It's a different story when it comes to drinking water.
Be prepared to pay US$ 10 for a 1.5 litre of mineral water !!!
Unique Suggestions: We all can't do without water, eh? So either be prepared to spend a huge sum of $$$ on drinking water or .....
Fun Alternatives: Bring your own water, juice whatever your thirst fancies. Buy drinks in tetra packs (non-alcoholic of course), so they won't spill and check them in when you're on flight.
Have loads of fruits at mealtimes. If you must, drink water that's served from the island, though they may taste a little odd and you have to get used to it. It helps to mix a little juice or syrup with it.
One of the worst things about the holiday was that alot of the staff seem to expect a tip. When we arrived, and they put our baggage in the room, I got 2 dollars ready, for 2 bags that one guy had carried there. After he put the bags in, he just stood there, and this other guy came up and stood beside him expecting a tip too. Well, i didnt get out another 2 dollars, instead i just gave them a dollar each.
Just be sure to have alot of 1 dollar bills handy, and take about $3 out with you a day.
If going to the Maldives, be sure to try and get All Inclusive. We went full board, but upon arrival, was offered All Inclusive for $35 a day per person, which we accepted straight away.
Though we were All inclusive, you still need to sign a bill after drinks, just so the hotel know where the drinks are going. But when checking prices, we noticed how expensive it would have cost us. a Vodka and Orange, and Becardi and coke cost $14....and 330mm of coke cost $4.90
It would have cost a fortune if just going Full Board...
If you are staying in Maale then never use the telephone in your hotel for international calls. It would be very expensive. Even for Pakistan the hotel's rate was $2.6 per minute which is very expensive.
Unique Suggestions: I would recommend you contacting a local shop and get a telephone booth card. There is vast network of telephone booths in Maale. Just buy a telephone card and start talking locally or internationally. But if you are in resort islands then you can not do any thing as you would not find telephone booth there. So you would have to pay in dollars and make expensive international calls.
Fun Alternatives: Dhiraagu is Maldive's telecommunication company providing these services. It also provides GSM service so you would find latest mobile phones in hands of many people especially youngsters. In 20 of resort islands the same company provides GSM service. You can just get a temporary connection on arrival at airport and use your mobile phone in normal way.
Meeru has its own museum in the reception area. Entry is free and well worth a viewing.
Unique Suggestions: Outside by the pool area is the skeleton on a Hump Back Whale. Check out the size of it and the width of its jaw.
I book a package with Sea & Sun Agency on for last Nov 2011 trip.
The worst thing happened when i reach there is the resort saying that i did not make a booking.
I make a call to the person in charge in but it keep as we wait, in the end i make a report at tourist police. Until then only he appear.
I wasted my first day for my honeymoon here.
Suppose he promised to refund for the first day but until now 6 months down the road but i did not receive a cent or any reply!
The worst thing is i sent mail to the authority but no assistance given to the tourist.
Indeed is a nice place to go, but the authority did not take care of their main tourism income by providing a good service~!!!
More Regions in Maldives