Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Travel Guide to Maldives - Part 1

The Maldives, though isolated in location, is easily accessible from anywhere in South – East Asia, the Middle – East and Europe

Weather and Climate
Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (Northeast monsoon) and we season (Southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid- may to November. With the average temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, the sun is constant on most days, shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth.

The Hulhule’ International airport is one of the airports which enable any tourist to experience one of the most exciting flying experiences. For instance, the runway of Hulhule’ Airport, that runs parallel to the shore creates a (rather safe, of course) adrenalin rush making the tourist feel for a second as if the plane was landing on water. The Hulhule international airport is small, but well- equipped with souvenir and duty-free shops, restaurants, medical facilities and provides banking and postal services. 

The airport is accessible via Male’ on a Dhoni ferry, that run every few minutes between the two islands. For the convenience of the tourist on long haul travel and on transit, the airport island also hosts the five-star Hulhule’ Island Hotel which offers outstanding service delivery with modern facilities.

What to pack
Since, the temperature of Maldives is warm and humid throughout the day, travelers are recommended to wear their summer cloths, and Likewise, T-shirts, cotton clothing, skirts and shorts would be the best option to stay cool. The ideal footwear would be sandals and flip-flops. However, the type of cloths packed depends on the visitors, Itinerary. 

Hence, smart casual clothing is usually enough for Male’ or resorts, but the more up-market resorts may require that you dress up for dinner. Finally, Sun cream, insect repellent and hats are widely necessary for a comfortable holiday, but they are available widely for purchase in resorts and around Male’.

Immigration and Visa
Tourists are issued a 30-day visa on arrival. Yet, a visitor can obtain circumstantial visa grants through the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Male’.

It is prohibited to bring in firearms, drugs, pornography or idols of worship in to the Maldives. Tourists also cannot bring in dogs, pigs and pork items. Alcohol and pork products under a special license are available in resort islands. Prohibited items (like alcohol) brought in by passengers are bonded and released at departure. 

Health requirements
Visitors to the Maldives, if arriving from infected countries, require an international certificate of inoculation against yellow fever and cholera to come into the country. 

Info and Assistance at the Airport
The Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) has a counter inside the Arrival Terminal to provide information and assistance to tourists. The counter also has a variety of free brochures in difference languages.

If you have a booking at a resort, the transfer would usually be arranged for you prior to your arrival into the country.  The option of speedboat or seaplane (where available) will be left to you to choose from. Apart from that, travelling between inhabited islands is done through various ferry services. Fro instance, ferries to nearby islands such as Villingilli and Hulhumale’ can be arranged through the counters in Male’.

Departure Tax
The airport departure tax of US$ 12.00 is usually included when you purchase your airline ticket.

Duty- Free shopping
Duty free shopping is available at the departure terminal at the Male’ International Airport. There are specialized shops with a wide variety of international brands selling well-known products and competitive prices. Products include souvenirs, perfume, electronics, toys, watches, fashion accessories and jewelery, liquor, tobacco and confectionery.

To be continued.....

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