One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is not about “visiting” the Maldives, but “passing through”. There are two major groups of these stopovers
- Flight layovers
- Cruise stops
What you can do is very dependent on how much time you have. The more time, the further down the list of alternatives below you can go…
- MALE AIRPORT (more than 1 hour) – Velana airport has a number of things to do itself including eateries, lounges and spa treatments:
- Moonima Spa (domestic terminal): Really fine little facility and all things considered a reasonable value for a range of packages it offered.
- Hulhule Island Hotel (5 minute walk): Pool use fee and restaurant with elevated ocean view.
- MALE VISITS (more than 2 hours) – With the opening of the new bridge, getting over to the capital city of Male is easier than ever (no more ferries needed), but you still require a shuttle or taxi ride over and the extra logistics will require having a bit of time on hand. Here’s my report when I made a day visit there.
- HULHUMALE VISITS (more than 3 hours) – Adjacent to the Male airport island of Humale is the newly created and developed island of Hulhumale. It also takes either a taxi or bus ride of about 15 minutes so requires a bit more time available to get over there, but it includes lots of new restaurants, public beaches, shopping and provides a taste of modern Maldivian city life not quite so bustling as Male itself.
- MALE EXCURSIONS (more than 4 hours) – A number of companies offer trips and excursions around the Male area based out of Male, but again, the duration and logistics required would mean having even more time on hand). The best place to start looking into excursions from the Male area is the TripAdvisor “Things To Do” list which includes comprehensive details and often useful reviews.
- DAY VISIT RESORT (more than 5 hours) – A number of properties in the Male area do allow day visitors which enable you to see one of the legendary “drops of sand in the middle of the ocean” resorts in person and sample some of their trademark activities like snorkelling their house reef or enjoying their manicured beaches. However, these day passes typically entail a not cheap fee. Hulhumale Tours and Excursions features specific packages for visiting local resort islands (they also offer their other excursions for visits to local islands, diving and waters sports) which is a pretty comprehensive list of near-to-Male resorts that offer this service:
- Adaaran Club Rannalhi
- Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
- Adaaran Prestige Vadoo
- Centara Ras Fushi
- Cinnamon Dhonveli
- Club Med Kani
- Malahini Kuda Bandos
- Summer Island
Other islands which have featured day passes in the past or are reported to offer such visits (always best to contact the resort to confirm their current policy and protocol) include:
- Paradise Island
Secret Paradise also offers a range of excursions including snorkel trips which I have featured previously.