I was going to say the main airport, when in fact I meant the only. The only airport is in Male, the Capital. The runway is a tarmac strip in the sea. Here you'll skid to halt and breathe a sigh of relief just before the end of the runway hits the water. Then you'll nip onto a small seaplane/boat or speed boat which will take you to your designated piece of paradise. I went on the seaplane and after spending 12 hours on a flight from the UK, the novelty soon wore off after 10 minutes. The fumes made me feel a bit nauseus and I was half expecting to see a goat and some chickens running down the aisle. Arriving at your island makes it all worth while.
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.
As far as Im aware the only island with cars is the Capital, Male. The owner of our island once told us he used to get excited about driving in England because once he hit 60mph he didnt have to hit his brakes to stop himself from driving off the end of the island.
If you're staying at one of the resort island further away from Hulhule, seaplane transfer may well already be included in the cost of your package. If not, its worth considering paying for an upgrade from your boat transfer to seaplane for at least one direction of your resort transfer. The views from the seaplane are wonderful and you may find yourself stopping at another resort on your way - giving you the opportunity to have a look over the island as you come in to land. You'll also get great views of the uninhabited islands throughout the Maldives. Of course, taking a seaplane transfer to the distant resorts will also shorten your transfer time, in most cases. For those resorts closer to Hulhule, you may well find yourself waiting in the departure lounge at the seaplane airport which may give you a transfer time equal to or longer than a boat transfer.
Its worth noting a couple of the potential downsides to your seaplane transfer :
- your luggage may not be able to be accommodated on your transfer flight (be sure to pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage for this eventuality - which happened on my flight to the resort)
- seaplanes only operate during daylight hours (which means if your international flight arrives or departs at night you will be booked into the airport hotel until your transfer can happen or until your international flight departs)
- hand luggage is stored at the rear of the seaplane (be sure to get your camera out before you board and keep it with you for those great aerial shots)
We flew Emirates via Dubai.
The flight from LHR to DXB was around 6 1/2 hours, and then the flight from Dubai to Male was about 4 hours.
I was glad for the break, and there is so much to do at Dubai airport, so you won't be bored, waiting around for your flight.
Upon check in at Heathrow, you are given your boarding pass for both legs of the journey. When you arrive in Dubai, you take the 'in transit' route, and go straight into the shopping area/departure lounge. So easy, and you don't have to worry about your luggage, as it's all taken care of.
If flying economy, I'd recommend taking a flight via somewhere, as you get to stretch your legs for a couple of hours, AND do some great shopping.
Dhoni is a good way to get around the islands. It's really cheap too. It costs 10 Rufiyaa from the airport to Male'(one way), 3 Rufiyaa from Male' to Vilingili. I rented one because I couldn't find a place to rent a speedboat. I was there on Friday and Saturday, unfortunately all shops(including travel agencies) open at 3pm so I couldn't wait. It costed 500 Rufiyaa to get to Full Moon Resort and Club Med.
Actually it's easy to walk around the island(Male), you won't get lost and it doesn't take long to walk from one side to another. But if you get tired, you can take a cab, it costs 10 Rufiyaa to anywhere in Male'. Negotiate the price before you get in otherwise they will charge you 15.
To get to different islands. The rate depends on your luck I guess. I met one guy and he said I could rent it for $30 per hour but I didn't want it that day. The next day I met another guy and he said it was $200 per hour, unfortunately I really wanted it this day but I thought it was too much so I rented a dhoni instead.
As we left Duba for the Maldives at 0345, a couple of hours later, we were lucky enough to witness this amazing sunrise in the distance.
So, it's a good idea to have your camera handy to capture moments such as these (as well as the islands as you arrive as shown above).
Because Malé island is so dense, they had to build this airport on a small island nearby called Hulhulé. It was opened on 19th October 1960. The runway is 2,840 meters (9,315 feet) long and 45 meters (148 feet) wide. It can handle any sized jet passenger plane. It can handle 350 passengers an hour and lists the following services:
Duty Free (including alcohol)
Children's Recreation Park
Free Shower Room
Passenger Service Charge
Shopping (souvenirs and flowers)
A basic restaurant
Post & Telegraph
Telephone & Internet
** PLEASE NOTE: Any alcohol you bring into the country will be held here until you are ready to leave the Maldives. Keep the receipt they issue you!! **
When you are in the maldives you are bound to have at least once dhoni ride. The dhoni is the main form of transport in the maldives, it is a small/ medium size boat with open sides, and a roof(in inclement weather there are tarpaulin side blinds that can be rolled down.If your resort is near to male you will be transfered from tha airport by dhoni, if you take a seaplane transfer you may find yourself transfering by dhoni for the last short distance, and if you go on any trips at all your mode of transport will be dhoni.
The dhoni is quite basic, wooden bench seats (no padding), open sides (on the smaller ones no toilet facilities), but they are great fun , and give you the best view possible of the flying fish (and if you are lucky) dolphins jumping in the air alongside the dhoni.
The crew as with all the staff in maldives are friendly, competent and will do anything they can to make your journey more enjoyable-dot forget to tip them when you get off $1 to you is nothing, but its a lot to them, and surely they deserve it for getting you from a to b safely.
Although when you book your holiday to kuredu the included transfer is by boat and the seaplane transfer is optional at an extra charge i consider the seaplane transfer to be a must. Kuredu is one of the furthest resorts from male and can take up to six hours by boat to reach, the seaplane takes 45 minutes and as an added bonus you get those fantastic views.
When i went to kuredu i took the seaplane transfer- i was in my room by 2.30 pm, people on the same flight as me that transfered by boat did not reach kuredu till after midnight !-YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Transfer to Meeru was by speedboat. We had the Meeru Express (all the boats had different names). The journey across the on the smaller type of boat was along with 13 others and was an excellent basic introduction to the Maldives. Luggage was piled up in the centre of boat and we were sat either side of the boat, and luggage, in the open with the spray giving us all a cooling effect. The journey took 55 minutes passing a number of other islands along the way.
Almost every resort island is a small speck of sand in the ocean. Unfortunately tourists show up with huge heavy suitcases and drink loads of alcohol. They also consume mass quantities of food. So they have THE CART! Small carts are how the staff get all this stuff out of airplanes and boats and into your room and restaurants! THE CART. Maldives can’ operate without them!
Getting to the Maldives is not cheap by any means and virtually all fights here are tied up with a hotel deal. If you can find any good deals or sales on holidays here, please post them here:
It’s you deals page for the Maldives here on Virtual Tourist. Yet another great feature on VT!
More Regions in Maldives