You might think that the Maldives is just for millionaires or couples on honeymoons – but if that’s the case, we’re about to change your mind.
There’s a lot more to this destination than the brochures would have you think, for groups, kids and bargain hunters alike. Don’t believe us?
We thought we’d prove it by busting some of the most common myths about these exotic islands, with a bit of back up from people who have been there, done it and got the once in a lifetime stories.
Myth 1: You have to stay in expensive resorts
Image credit: paradise via flickr by sarah_ackerman
Thanks to a recent ruling by the government, guesthouses are now allowed to operate in the Maldives – giving you a cheaper option for accommodation on local islands and an insight into the Maldivian culture at the same time.
Believe it: Blogger Kristin Addis at Be My Travel Muse has useful tips on visiting the Maldives on the cheap, along with the pros and cons of staying in guesthouses. She says “Being able to experience it from an authentic, local experience made it the trip of a lifetime for me.”
Myth 2: It’s not a child-friendly destination
Image credit: Smiley Diary Dad
Although this certainly used to be the case, today, more and more resorts have kids clubs that offer a packed schedule of exciting island activities to keep little ones entertained. Forget puzzles and painting, think crab racing and fishing, and playing in the biggest sandpit they’ve ever seen.
Believe it: Dreaming of the Maldives has information about child-friendly resorts , or read Smiley Diary Dad’s write up of his family holiday with 14 month old baby Miley.
Myth 3: There’s nothing to do there but lie on the beach
Image credit: fish via flickr by bjoern
Definitely not true. For the more active, there’s snorkelling, surfing, diving, fishing, manta ray spotting and even cycling on some of the larger islands – take your pick!
Believe it: Maldives Complete has brilliantly put together a list of ways to recreate the Winter Olympics.
Myth 4: It’s completely cut off from civilisation
Image credit: wifi via flickr by Sarah Ackerman
Contrary to popular belief, WiFi is usually available in resorts – but it won’t be as quick or reliable as you’re used to. If you need to get online, a better alternative is to pick up a local pre-paid SIM card, and activate it when you’re there.
Believe it: Maldives Now has written a guide to getting on the internet.
Myth 5: You won’t get to meet the locals
Image credit: local via flickr by warrenski
As well as the option to stay on local islands, some resorts also offer day trips to give you a glimpse of the real Maldives. Once there, you can try the local food, get a taste of the Maldivian way of life and even get the odd cookery lesson and some authentic souvenirs – all without breaking the bank.
Believe it: Read Mark Hodson’s (from 101 Holidays) experience of local islands on his trip to the Maldives.
Myth 6: The only stars are in the sky
Image credit: Reddit user vish4l
Vaadhoo Island is home to the so-called ‘blue sand’ beach. The spectacle is caused by bioluminescent marine microbes, which, when agitated by the tide, light up the sea with “stars”. Definitely something to tick off the bucket list.
Believe it: Places to See in Your Lifetime cite it as “the most romantic natural lighting in the world”
Myth 7: There’s no nightlife
Image credit: sunset via flickr by Sarah Ackerman
While alcohol is banned on the local islands (it’s a Muslim country after all), if you stay in the resorts, you can certainly let your hair down. Niyama is home to rooftop bar Fahrenheit and Subsix (an underwater nightclub). On Fesdu Island, you can dance the night away at The W’s 15Below Lounge – The Maldive’s only underground nightclub.
Believe it: Even if you’re not near the clubs, there are plenty of other activities to keep you out of trouble, like night fishing or night dives.
Myth 8: You won’t find afternoon tea anywhere
Image credit: Maldives afternoon tea and cakes via flickr by DigitalNomadMag
Afternoon tea is actually a tradition in the Maldives too – who knew? It’s called “Sai boani” or “saibo”, and although you won’t find a bag of Tetley lying around, you’ll certainly be able to sample this slice of Maldivian culture in any Male café or on local islands at 4pm.
Believe it: NanAdriana gives the lowdown on this age old Maldivian tradition, “an enjoyable time where you take a few minutes break from your routine.”
Myth 9: It’s only for couples and honeymooners
Image credit: group photo via flickr by notsogoodphotography
Although the Maldives are best known as a honeymoon destination, the islands are actually a brilliant place to go for a group holiday with your mates. Simply pick a resort that offers lots of activities (group game of beach volleyball, anyone?), and spend your days jet skiing, catamaran-ing, snorkelling or day tripping around the islands. Not a snuggle in sight!
Believe it: This article tells you all about what you can do if you’re with a group of friends.
Myth 10: The Maldives will be around forever
Image credit: maldives via flickr by nattu
If you thought you had all the time in the world to visit the Maldives, unfortunately you’re wrong – as due to rising coastlines, the islands are sinking at a steady rate. It’s thought that many of the islands will be completely underwater within the next 50 years, so go now before it’s too late!
Title image: Maldives via flickr by Ibrahim Asad’s Photography