Frequently Asked Questions – Travister

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

There is no direct flight from Australia to the Maldives. Most common and convenient airlines fly transit through Singapore or Malaysia includes:


Other airlines fly to the Maldives through other transit countries include:

Immigration

Pre-arrival Visa to the Maldives isn’t required. However, you need to show that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses in Maldives (US$100 + $50 dollars per day) or show the hotel booking confirmation when requested by the officer.

Visitors are required to fill up the immigration card and hand it over to the immigration officer at the airport. Eventually, the officer will stamp on your passport, write the allowable length of stay (max. 30 days) on the stamp, and return you the departure card that you need to keep until the day you leave the country.

Free WiFi (optional)

You can use free Wi-Fi at the airport. It’s free and reasonably good.

Exchange Money to Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)

You can exchange money at Bank of Maldives counter at the airport’s arrival hall. As you come out from the gate, turn left and you’ll find it. You can exchange major world currencies such as USD, Euro, and even SGD to Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). You can check their exchange rates and what foreign currencies they accept here. And they charge 1% commission.

IMPORTANT: Keep the receipt, you’ll need it on your last day when you decide to exchange the local currency back to the currency that you used to exchange on your first day.

YES, if you are doing independent travel a.k.a DIY your trip (i.e. stay at local islands, not joining tour groups). You’ll need it when you shop for food/water/snack/souvenirs at local islands (like Male, Hulhulame, Maafushi) or local markets, as well as for taxis and public ferries.

Yes, you can, but it’s not advisable. Firstly, you’ll probably be stuck in a long queue at the Bank of Maldives in Male; the queue at the airport is shorter. Secondly, not all islands have money changers; if they do, you can get your Rufiyaa but you can’t exchange it back at the airport because you don’t have Bank of Maldives official receipt.

There are 2 phone operator shops in the airport: Ooredoo and Dhiraagu. As you exit the arrival gate, turn right and you’ll find both of them side by side.

Both offer traveller sim card for short-term travellers (7 days and 14 days of validity). The days are counted based on the calendar; the next day starts right after midnight. You need to provide your passport when purchasing the sim card. Activation is simple, just insert the sim card to your phone and start browsing.

If you are pre-booked to a resort or a hotel, normally their reps will be outside gate of the airport with you names displayed and most hotels provide airport pick-up and drop off. It will be wise to inquire about airport transfers before you travel.

If your hotel is located in Male or Hulhumale, it’s cheap, fast and easy to go to your hotel with public transport.

Bus from Airport to Hulhumale: The Velana/Hulhumale shuttle bus generally departs every 30 minutes, except between 1.30-5.30am and Fridays. The schedule is here. The bus stop at the airport is located just behind Burger King. It costs MVR 20 per person. Luggage has to be kept in the storage area.

Ferry from Airport to Male: The ferry costs MVR 10. The jetty is located just across the terminal. Except for Fridays, the Airport-Male ferry operates every 10 min between 06:00 AM to 02:30 AM, every 30 minutes between 02:30 AM to 04:00 AM and every 15 minutes between 04:00 AM to 06:00 AM. On Fridays ferries will be operating within 10 minutes from morning 06:00 AM to 00:00 AM.

Feeling hungry after a long flight? You can find a number of restaurants at the airport, such as Burger King, Thai Express, The Coffee Club, Dairy Queen and much more. I had a burger from Burger King when I arrived; the cheapest burger cost USD 7 (without drink and side dish).

If you need to store your luggage at the airport, you can do so for USD 5 per day (for standard size) and USD 10 per day (for large or odd size).

Free shower facility is available at departure area, near the Mariyaadu snack counter. There is also a prayer room on the first floor of the Departure Terminal. Two fully air-conditioned Mosques are located about 5 to 10 minutes walking distance from the Terminal Building to either side.

It is always better to inquire about airport transfer from your accommodation facility prior of your travel. There multiple modes of transports available

  1. By seaplane
  2. domestic flight
  3. Ferry transfer
  4. Speedboat transfer
  5. local dhoni (mechanized dhoni)

Yes, if that is your choice you can take your own surfboards and pay for the freight. However, you can hire surfboards from all the hotels and request your preference prior to your journey start to the Maldives.

Yes, you can request to hire wetsuits and coordinate with the hotel or cruise boat agents. Send accurate size of the suits and other equipment prior to the start of your journey to the Maldives.

Yes, you can request to hire jet ski and the horsepower of the jet ski you require and the duration you want the jet ski (more often this requested if you go straight to the cruise boat).

Scuba Diving in the Maldives

Reef life is prolific, with over 700 common Indian Ocean fish species and many more still to be discovered and classified. Marine diversity is considered to be one of the strong points of diving in the Maldives with invertebrate species believed to be in their tens of thousands. Sharks are protected species in the country and all shark fishing is illegal. Coral coverage, following bleaching events like El Nino and to a lesser extent the Asian Tsunami, have taken their toll and there are better places in the world for vibrant, colourful coral reefs. However, they are recovering well and in some areas can now be described as excellent. Because much of the diving is in current-swept channels and pinnacles, you should not expect to see vast hard coral fields anyway, rather rich soft coral walls, overhangs, caves, swim-throughs, and an abundance of fish life.

Liveaboards, or diving cruises, are without doubt the best way to see the best of the Maldives. A resort stay means staying on a small island and diving around it. On some islands this can mean good quality, but somewhat limited, diving. A Maldives liveaboard tour gives you the freedom to move from one area of great diving location to the next. This allows you to experience the Maldives’ full range of dive sites and topographies as well as exposing you to an overview of its diverse marine life. In addition, you get to see much more of the country and feel like you have really explored more than the route from your bungalow to the bar and back.

Everyone’s preference is different, so it is impossible to say. Most Maldives diving safaris will do a route that takes in all or some of North Male Atoll, South Male Atoll and Ari Atoll. These liveaboard routes take in some of the Maldives best loved sites to showcase pinnacles, channels, wrecks and marine life such as sharks, mantas and whale sharks.

Some Maldives liveaboards go to the Northern Atolls, the Far North Atolls and the Southern Atolls, where you may be on the only boat you see on the water during your entire trip. If you like to get away from the crowds and go to some of the more remote and no-less-rewarding dive sites the country has to offer, then the Northern Atolls could be for you.

General Maldives FAQs

Air temperatures remain reasonably constant throughout the year averaging around 29°C. Water temperatures range from 28 to 30°C. It is warm all year round, however, the driest months are usually between late December and April. When rain does fall, it tends to be a sudden 10-15 minute shower.

November to April is generally considered the peak tourist season. The low season sees many fewer tourists but often the scuba diving conditions are still very good. Many Maldives liveaboards divide the year into 3 or more seasons and prices vary accordingly.

This vast chain of tiny islands have long been referred to as a tropical paradise. Due to the remoteness from other nations and the fact that no island, except for the capital Male, is built up means that a typical Maldives diving safari is a cruise from one tiny low-lying tropical island to the next. This means it is like no other destination on earth and deserves its paradise title.

You do not require a visa prior to arrival in the Maldives since all tourists are granted free 30-day visa upon arrival. However, you will need a valid passport and if the expiry date falls within 30 days of arrival, you cannot extend your stay beyond the passport expiry date.

Dhiveli is the national language, but English is used widely in commerce and education. Also, many people working in the tourism industry are competent in Italian, French, Spanish, German and Japanese. The same range of languages can be found among the Maldives liveaboard diving cruises that we offer.

The national currency is Rufiyaa (MRF). Many tourism related business accept payments via credit card and in most hard cash currencies, particularly US dollars, and many tourists never even witness a Rufiyaa note during their stay.

America Express, Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, JCB and Euro Card are generally accepted.

Most liveaboards depart from Male close to where your flight comes in. Trips departing from the Northern and Southern Atolls require an internal flight but it many ways this is a bonus. The Maldives has the world’s largest fleet of seaplanes and the smooth running of the organisation is impressive. Any flight over the atolls is a glorious way to see the country and the sky is the best place for that. You fly, at reasonably low altitude, over one gorgeous island after another and it may well prove to be a significant memory of your holiday. There are also many benefits to being on a dive cruise far from where all the other Maldives boats are, so consider the flight not only an important element in seeking pristine, quiet reefs but also a fun way to get there.

On all the Maldives liveaboards it is normal for single travellers to share a cabin and the published price is normally based on 2 people occupying each cabin. If you want a private cabin to yourself, you will need to pay a single supplement. Not all the liveaboards have defined policies so we may be able to negotiate a good deal with the operator on your behalf. Of those that do have a stated policy, the boats’ policies vary from requiring a supplement of 40% to 100% of the published price. 65% is around the average in the Maldives. If you are a single traveller we can help find the best deal for you.

Our affiliated hotel reservation agents hotelscombined.com have a variety of accommodations throughout the Maldives Islands. Browse the choices on their website, use their live chat to ask your questions, and then simply use your credit card to make your reservation.

If you have further questions, please feel free to email us to support@travister.com.au

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