When arriving into the Maldives via the international airport at Male, you can transfer to your resort by seaplane or speedboat (or Dhoni boats for the closest resorts). The seaplanes are a little more expensive (About $75 supplement) but well worth it for the views from above.
Timewise, you may not save much, as you have to go to a seperate seaplane airport and wait for your boarding - in our case, this was 2 hours as they'd had some bad weather earlier in the day. Then the seaplane touches down way off the resort on a floating landing strip and you are met by a Dhoni boat; all the cases have to be transferred by hand, so it's quite a while before you set foot on your resort.
However, the sight in the seaplane is incredible and if you get a good window seat (which I didn't!) get your camera at the ready!
Even if it was just for 30 minutes haha! There's just something magical of climbing into a seaplane, feel it take off from water and land on water next to a fantasy island. It was a truly memorable experience.
At airport, go to the Arrivals (boat from Male stops at Departure jetty). Get luggage tags and board minibus to get to seaplane jetty. Check in and your bags will be weighed as plane is small. So don't overpacked.
There are 2 companies that provide seaplanes : Maldivian Air Taxi (red planes) and Trans Maldivian Air (blue and yellow planes). Combining both their schedules and destinations, they cover the most if not all the islands in Maldives.
Be prepared for delays but you can buy drinks at lounge and there are proper washrooms. It's free seating on the plane so make sure you get a window seat and get ready for breathtaking views!
The Dhoni is the traditional means of transport of the Maldives and is thought to have derived from the Arab Dhow. From Male aiport to Male city cost around 15 Rufiyaa (1USD). As the price for other island,its depend on the journey and destination
As your transfer to your island will be seaplane or speed boat your luggage may not travel with you especially if there are a few of you on the seaplane. Your luggage can follow in a few hours, there for put any thing you need in your hand luggage such as medication, camera, suntan lotion. Also put shorts, bikini, swimwear as the first thing you will want to do when you arrive is go for a swim.
From the airport to the island, a speed boat will be sent from the island to fetch you. For the other excursions, you will be using dhonis, look like the bumboat in Singapore. The dhoni is great when the weather is good, but when the sea is rough, you will be praying for your life...
On arrival at Male airport, you either transfer to your chosen resort island by Speedboat, Dhoni boat or if you're going further afield, by Seaplane.
They use DH-6 Twin Otter 18 seat aircraft with 2 pilots and 1 crew member in the cabin who ties/unties the ropes upon arrival.
The landing strip is usually next to a floating pontoon and a dhoni boat collects you and takes you for the 5 minute trip to the island pier.
If you don't hire a bike at Sun Island, and a certain day its too hot, or too rainy to walk in, or you're just feeling lazy, then you can hire a golf buggy to come pick you up. The telephone number of the service is in the room, and 2 minutes later, it will come pick you yup and take you wherever you want to go. The service is something like $3, plus whatever you want to tip the driver.
A very clever idea from the Island Staff. The best way of getting around the Island is by bicycle. And everyone seems to agree, from Old to Young. Around the main beach, pool and restaurant are little hidden parking zones for bikes, so you have no worry of just leaving it anywhere, Each bike is also numbered, so no one can steal yours!
Personally, you dont need to hire these when staying at Sun Island. I didn't, just for the fact that i enjoy walking. My room was on the other end of the island to where the main areas are, but this was only a 10 minute walk at max anyway.
For those interested, the bikes cost $3 per bike, per day. Very cheap, I think. Though, add it up for a romantic couple for a week, thats almost $50. Not so cheap for a few minutes of saved time a day!
As mention in my intro. I don't find it a pleasant journey. If I were to go Maldives again, I will look for resort that is near to Male which need only transfer by boat.
Is an very expensive transfer. It cost me USD265 per pax round trip from Male to Hakura Club and vice visa.
As most of the Maldives consists of many Islands, the only way to get to them are by boat or sea plane, the cheapest mode being the boat which takes a bit longer, if you can afford the plane the views are spectacular.
Once you arrive at Male airport to be transported to your island, beware of the heat. Try to change just prior to landing into something a bit lighter than jeans.
The speedboat to Makunudu was very pleasant and only took about 50mins.
You've got the choice between the boat and the seaplane to reach your resort island from Male airport. We were lucky again, only paid for the boat transfer, but got the flight. The transfer from the International Airport to Velidhu island takes about 20 minutes and you can enjoy the beautiful atolls from above.
The best and perhaps the only way to get around the Maldives is by boat.
Yes, there are seaplanes but this is an expensive way to travel and only resorts which are far from the airport use seaplanes to transport their guests.
Everyone else use the boat. You need to take the boat from the airport to the capital Male and the fare is US$1 one way. This service is available round-the-clock even late in the night.
When I reached Maldives, sometime at around 11pm, there were still boat services around every 10-15 minutes.
You can also hire a boat for a brief tour around the capital. Cost about $5-$8 for a short 20 min trip. Just negotiate with a local at the pier. They are many just sitting around although it does not seem that they doing it for their livelihood.
For such a tiny atoll, they sure have a lot of cars and taxis. I have no idea what for......it is everywhere and they all call out to you if you need a ride.
However this is entirely unnecessary. You can walk at a moderate pace, the entire length of the island in 30 minutes.
It also occured to me.....where all the petrol kiosks? I didn't see any signs like BP, Shell etc.
Well, we found out that the petrol kiosks are actually everywhere and the petrol pumps are actually inside the buildings along the street which we had thought were just houses.
There are small signs. A long hose is extended out from the building and fills up the tank. And no, there's no service. It's do-it-yourself.
Seaplanes are fun! Seaplanes land near a platform a few minutes by boat from your island - and this is the least interesting part of the trip. The best part is the flight... barefooted pilots fly them very low so that you can enjoy other islands, resorts and sand banks in the middle of the ocean. Spectacular sights. We flew Maldivian Air taxi: 20 noisy and fun minutes from Hulule Airport to Bathala: they gave us ear-plugs!
Dhonis are the (modified) traditional Maldivian vessels. They are quite slow so they are only used for short distances: to go from the airport to Male, or in the resorts to go on day trips to nearby islands. Speedboats are used for transportation from the airport and your resort. Some are as big as yatchs!
More Regions in Maldives