Find out how to Plan a Journey to the Maldives

Point out a visit to the Maldives, and also you’re instantly met with wistful sighs. There’s a cause this lengthy string of low-lying islands within the Indian Ocean is on the prime of many vacationers’ lists. Maybe it is the sugary-white sands, the thatched-roof overwater bungalows, the swaying palm bushes, or the waters so electrical blue that its shade deserves a brand new classification.

“The colours simply pop within the Maldives. Completely no filter is required!” says Sarah Harvey, Maldives skilled and journey journalist. “The ocean is so intensely turquoise that it nearly glows, and the water is clearer than anyplace I’ve but seen within the Caribbean. I as soon as misplaced half an hour standing waist-deep in a lagoon simply marveling on the a whole bunch of tiny rainbows refracted by the solar throughout the sandy sea flooring.”

It is no marvel it was additionally topped the favourite island vacation spot in Asia in Journey + Leisure‘s 2024 World’s Greatest Awards. No matter these islands’ magic contact is, it has loved-up honeymooners and rich households flocking to its 174 non-public island resorts. Made up of 1,192 tiny islands unfold all through 26 atolls, solely round 200 of its islands are “native islands,” and 174 are resort islands, with extra opening up yearly.

“It is a really distinctive escape from the day-after-day, filled with variety and exploration that’s extra stunning than many give credit score for,” says Venetia Cox, journey advisor at Cazenove+Loyd. “It isn’t only a passive vacation spot for rest. It has unimaginable marine biodiversity, which could be skilled by way of snorkeling or diving, and has among the finest seashores on the planet.”

Learn on to start out planning your dream journey to the Maldives.

High 5 Can’t Miss

  • Arrive early within the morning to reduce time in your resort switch and get to the island as rapidly as potential.
  • Spend time snorkeling your resort’s home reef or e book a diving tour.
  • Guide a keep at Soneva Fushi for an ultra-relaxing, over-the-top resort expertise in contrast to another.
  • Biking round your island resort is one of the best — and most enjoyable — method to cross the island.
  • Go to through the off-season from Might to November to see the manta rays feeding within the well-known Hanifaru Bay.

Greatest Accommodations and Resorts

Courtesy of 4 Seasons Resorts

Soneva Fushi

A castaway island dream, this sustainable luxurious resort is named one of the family-friendly resorts within the Maldives. It has been wowing visitors for nearly 30 years with the nation’s largest youngsters membership and rooms devoted to ice cream, candies, and meat and cheese — all complimentary. “Each time I’m going to Soneva Fushi, I get giddy; the island makes me really feel like an enormous child! The water villas have water slides. You may skip between eating places by way of a wood walkway within the jungle cover,” says Harvey. “There’s a lot enjoyable baked into this resort’s DNA.”

Joali Maldives

It’s all in regards to the glitz and glam at this Raa Atoll resort. Every of Joali’s 73 villas is a design dream dotted with touches like rose gold finishings, emerald marble showers, and pops of coral pink. “The meals right here can also be superb, and the Japanese restaurant is excellent,” says Cox.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

This resort was voted the finest resort in Asia in 2022 by T+L readers and one among our readers’ 100 favourite inns on the planet for 2024. One of many largest human-made islands within the nation, Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi has 119 palatial villas and a can’t-miss spa. Its 11 eating choices, together with an Australian-style grill helmed by a Michelin-starred chef, are additionally a significant draw.

4 Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

The 4 Seasons at Landaa Giravaaru’s sprawling 103 villas supply a extra refined and modern tackle an island paradise. It’s “Manta on Name” telephones for when manta rays seem close by and stellar service are just a few highlights. “Top-of-the-line issues about it’s the ‘psychic butlers’ who appear to know precisely what you need earlier than you do,” says Harvey.

Gili Lankanfushi

A brief boat journey from the airport takes you to this thatched-roof paradise which Cox calls, “the unique Robinson Crusoe escape” — however five-star. Gili Lankanfushi’s 45 open-air overwater villas are rustic and eco-friendly, implementing a no-plastic coverage and a “no information, no footwear ethos.” Reserve one among its standalone Crusoe Residences for an extremely non-public keep — they’re solely reachable by boat.

The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

Structure lovers will swoon over the St. Regis’ 77 artfully designed villas made to appear like manta rays and Maldivian fishing huts. A points-friendly lodge, it’s a favourite for American vacationers seeking a far-flung tropical escape. Whereas the villas are exhausting to depart, don’t miss out on its crustacean-shaped spa, residence to one of many Maldives’ largest hydrotherapy swimming pools.

Velaa Non-public Island Maldives

With a popularity as one of many nation’s most unique and costly resorts, something is feasible at Velaa. From Wagyu teppanyaki dinners in its rooftop restaurant to 9 holes at one of many nation’s solely golf programs to a wellness retreat at its new Wellbeing Village; there are infinite choices at this ultra-luxury, expertly crafted 47-villa island getaway.

Greatest Issues to Do

Maldives Advertising and marketing & Public Relations Company/Go to Maldives

Snorkel with marine life.

Ocean fans say one of the best a part of the Maldives exists underwater. So snorkel or dive amongst a kaleidoscope of colours and marine life, together with turtles, sharks, fish, manta rays, and whale shakes. “Diving and snorkeling with whale sharks is without doubt one of the most unimaginable issues you are able to do within the Maldives,” says Harvey.

Deal with your self on the spa.

Many island resorts within the Maldives have a devoted spa. Some are overwater with glass bottoms, and a few are within the jungle cover, however they’re all price reserving a therapy. Relying on the spa, visitors can discover nearly any remedy, from cryotherapy to 24k gold facials.

Bike across the island.

Nearly all of the resorts listed above give visitors bikes for private use throughout their keep. Spend mornings biking to the breakfast buffet and evenings driving alongside the jetty, recognizing eagle rays and sharks under. The combination of freedom and enjoyable is without doubt one of the most unusual elements of a Maldivian resort keep.

Get out on the ocean.

Life and enjoyable within the Maldives revolve across the water. Resorts supply a seemingly unending laundry checklist of water actions, together with browsing, fishing, dolphin cruises, paddleboarding, jet snowboarding, parasailing, sea bobs, flyboarding, catamarans, and even submersibles. The ocean is your oyster.

Go to an area island.

Whereas 99 % of holiday makers come for complete relaxation and rest on the non-public islands, spend a day on an area one as a substitute. Most resorts supply excursions and experiences to go to the “actual Maldives.” “You would possibly get befriended, you is perhaps fortunate sufficient to see ladies enjoying a recreation of bashi on the sports activities area, you would possibly even get invited into somebody’s residence for a cup of tea,” says Harvey.

Greatest Time to Go to

Evgeniya Vlasova/Journey + Leisure

Whereas there’s no incorrect time to go to the Maldives, the nation’s peak season is from November to April, a time synonymous with blue skies and scorching solar. Nevertheless, because of the results of local weather change, the seasons have gotten an increasing number of unsure. “Each Maldivian I’ve spoken to in regards to the climate says the timing of monsoon season has been tougher to foretell prior to now couple of a long time,” says Harvey. A go to through the low season from Might to October places you squarely within the monsoon season, however that doesn’t imply it will likely be a particular downpour. Planning your journey throughout this time may even prevent a couple of bucks resulting from extra reasonably priced “off-season” villa charges. For those who base your self at a resort in or across the Baa Atoll throughout this time, you may snorkel with a whole bunch of large manta rays feeding on the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Hanifaru Bay.

Find out how to Get There

Evgeniya Vlasova/Journey + Leisure

Vacationers arrive within the Maldives by way of Velana Worldwide Airport, which is ready to unveil an growth on the finish of the yr. Upon getting into the arrivals terminal, visitors will see dozens and dozens of resort representatives holding a plaque with the resort title. When you’ve discovered yours, they’ll escort you to one among three locations: the home terminal for a airplane switch, a speedboat for a switch on to your resort, or the brand new seaplane terminal for a seaplane switch. Don’t fear; it might sound overwhelming, however a resort rep will maintain every thing for you; all it’s a must to do is comply with them.

Find out how to Get Round

Transport to the resorts is usually organized via your resort. When you’ve arrived at your non-public island resort, there’s not far to go. Friends sometimes use the bicycles offered to get from one place to the opposite, name their butler for a buggy journey, or stroll the island barefoot.

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