Maldives Travel Guide

Explore Maldives

If there’s a paradise on Earth, it has to be the Maldives. Picture perfect beaches with clear-as-glass water are everywhere in this archipelago of 1,192 coral islands. Only 185 islands are inhabited and 80 of them are private resorts.

Most of these resorts cover entire islands and spoil their guests with world class accommodation, Halal dining options and Muslim-friendly facilities. Home to massive reefs and nutrient-rich water, the Maldives is haven for divers and snorkelers keen to swim with marine animals like manta rays and whale sharks.



With the only international airport in the country, the capital city is the starting point for every journey to the Maldives though most people skip it altogether. Malé can surprise with its bustling fish market, kaleidoscopic spice alley, and the impressive Grand Friday Mosque.


This is the heart of the Maldives’ independent travel scene and a favourite among budget travellers who want to explore beyond the confines of their resort and experience local living. You’ll find a good selection of guesthouses here, along with affordable diving and excursions.


Near Maafushi is the atoll’s largest town, home to a busy port where traditional fishing dhonis and safari boats dock daily. Here’s where travellers go to see the real Maldives and experience their local culture.

Swim with Whale Sharks

The world’s largest fish can be spotted on the outer reef of the South Ari Atoll year-round. The nutrient-rich water here makes it one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks.

Dive with Hammerheads

For scuba divers, the Maldives is heaven on Earth. At Hammerhead Point, you’ll have the rare chance of seeing hammerhead sharks and mantas at daybreak in waters of incredible visibility.

Where to Eat and Drink

Maldivian food is a delightful concoction of Indian spices and Sri Lankan flavours, toned down a notch which makes it perfect for the foreign tastebud. You can easily get Halal Maldivian fare in most resorts, though Malé also has the most options for Muslim diners.

recommended places to eat

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

Treat yourself to contemporary European cuisine at 16 feet below sea level in the world’s first and only all-glass undersea restaurant. Located in the depths of the Rangali Island, the restaurant is part of the luxurious Conrad Maldives — expect to indulge in only the finest offerings such as caviar and champagne.

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One of the four restaurants at Mirihi Island Resort, this atmospheric outdoor restaurant is perched over spearmint blue waters and tucked under island-style thatched roof. Watch the sunset, sip some Chardonnay and tuck into the cooked-to-perfection Angus beef steak or lobster dinner.

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Reethi Restaurant

Savor contemporary Asian and Mediterranean fusion cuisine at the feature restaurant of the One & Only Reethi Rah Resort. Here you can watch the chefs at work in their show kitchen through floor-to-ceiling glass walls or marine animals swimming beneath your feet on the outdoor deck.

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SeaHouse Brasserie

This casual diner serves a full Halal menu that includes Western dishes from cheesy bagels to mouth-watering sirloin steaks. The brand has another restaurant at the Airport Ferry Terminal with a beautiful open-air sea deck.

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Shell Beans

Hip and trendy, this casual diner boasts of a truly international menu, with dishes ranging from Japanese ramen to pasta carbonara and chicken biryani pot. They currently have two locations in the heart of Male: one in Hulhumale, and another off Nirolhu Magu, just a five-minute drive from Ferry Terminal.

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Seagull Cafe House

Amidst the buzzing Malé city centre, this open-air spot is an oasis to escape for some tranquility as well as milkshakes, panini, burgers, and curries.

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Recommended Places to Stay

Anantara Veli Maldives

Perfect for couples, this award-winning resort is poised on the rim of a serene turquoise lagoon in the South Male Atoll, just a 35-minute speedboat ride away from Malé Airport.


Baros Maldives

This swanky private island resort epitomises Maldives’ island life with its luxurious water villas that each feature your own plunge pool, timbered decks and direct access to the sea. The upscale resort lies in the North Male Atoll, just 25 minutes by speedboat from Malé Airport.


Embudu Village

For a more affordable option, Embudu Village is a small-scale resort that offers midrange prices in newly renovated water bungalows. It’s also located in the South Male Atoll, just 45 minutes from the airport by speedboat.


Masaaree Boutique Hotel

One of the best budget choices on Maafushi island, Massaree has eight clean, modern rooms equipped with air-conditioning. It’s located in the centre of the island and offers great value for money.


Best Time to Go

With tropical weather all year round, the Maldives guarantees sunshine and warm temperatures of around 25-29°C regardless of when you visit. In general, the best time to visit is from May to November, during the off-peak tourist season.

Even though the southwestern monsoon hits at this time of the year and might bring some rain, you’ll find the best prices at resorts and less tourist crowds. Visibility is at its best during this time, so divers will have the best underwater experiences.

Getting There

Many airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to the Maldives, including Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, and Qatar Airways. There are currently no direct flights from Riyadh, but you’ll find some one-stop flights with travel time of just 8 hours.

Getting from Airport to City
  • By Ferry

    The Airport Ferry offers regular transfers between Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport and Male city. It leaves from the public ferry dock at the airport; the journey takes 15-20 minutes and costs 10 MVR each way.

  • By Speedboat

    Most visitors to the Maldives are met by representatives from their resorts or travel agencies right outside the airport’s customs, who then whisk them away to their resorts by speedboat. This is usually arranged by your resort.

  • By Sea Plane

    Malé Airport hosts the biggest sea plane operations in the world and you can catch a sea plane from Malé to any inhabited island in Maldives. Flights are available on Trans Maldivian Airways or Maldivian Air Taxi.

Extra tips
  • The currency in the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). The current exchange rate is 1 SAR to 4.1 MVR.

  • The language of the Maldives is Dhivehi, closely related to Sinhalese (spoken in Sri Lanka). English is widely spoken by most locals as well.

  • The voltage in the Maldives is 200 volt, 50 hertz.

  • Many different plugs are used throughout the Maldives, though the most standard is the three pin plug. It’s best to bring an international adaptor.