The current travel trend for Indians is The Maldives – a dreamy tropical getaway, not too far from the mainland. The Maldives is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, making it quite convenient for a quick vacation. There is much to look forward to on a holiday from India to Maldives!
Stretched across 900 kilometres from north to south, Maldives is a cluster of thousands of small low lying coral islands on the Indian Ocean which are further divided in 26 atolls. The island has exceptional natural settings consisting of shimmering white beaches, turquoise lagoons, blue Ocean water and colourful coral gardens beneath the Indian Ocean.
From honeymoon to family holidays, Maldives offer a refreshing environment and serene atmosphere to spend some memorable days of your lives. Apart from beautiful natural settings and relaxed environment, Maldivian Island offers interesting opportunities for water sports and excursions providing some excitement and thrill.
Indians’ Love for Maldives
India has a special affinity to The Maldives. While the clear skies, clean air and sandy islands of the country are reason enough to love The Maldives, with Indians, the love runs much deeper. Both the nations share a common Buddhist history which dates back to many centuries ago. Even the Indian Ocean is shared by both the countries.
In the present times, bilateral ties have gotten stronger, along with economical aid changing hands and reciprocal travel relaxations. There’s no doubt that a big reason The Maldives is popular with Indians is the cheap flights and comparatively less travel time. Newly married couples will agree that the pristine islands of The Maldives make it their number-one choice for honeymoon.
India to Maldives Map
If you lay out the world map in front of you, you will most likely struggle to locate The Maldives since it is so tiny. Spread over less than 300 square kilometres, the archipelago dwarfs in comparison to India which occupies more than 3 million square kilometres of the earth. But zooming in towards the south west of India, you will find a set of scattered isles dotting the surface of the Indian Ocean.
There are about 1,200 little islands in The Maldives, most of which are private. Just about 200 of these islands are public, inhabited by the local Maldivians. Most of these islands measure barely 2 kilometres in length, with an even smaller width of about 200 metres. The only exception is the island of Gan in the Addu Atoll, which stretches to almost 250 km.
The Maldives is roughly two thousand kilometres away from India. Depending on the Indian city you travel from, the distance can vary by a few hundred kilometres. Even though this figure seems huge, it is hardly significant in terms of international air travel time. When you consider that most of the world takes upwards of 12 hours to travel, you will better appreciate India’s proximity to The Maldives.
Which is Closer to India? Maldives or Mauritius?
As Indians, we are always in a dilemma over whether to choose The Maldives or some other country for vacation. This South Asian country is often pitted against Mauritius when it comes to planning an island holiday. While Mauritius is another stunning destination in The Indian Ocean, it is much farther from India than The Maldives.
Technically a part of the continent of Africa, Mauritius is approximately 5,110 km away from mainland India. This number is more than twice the distance between India and The Maldives, which stands at 2,030 km. If you are looking for a shorter flight time and, as a result, cheaper tickets, The Maldives is a clear winner.
How to Reach Maldives from India?
There are a number of ways one can travel from India to Maldives. Each of these modes of transportation has its own plusses and minuses. If you are one of those travellers who have become addicted to this island nation, you could experiment with a different route or mode on each trip!
India to Maldives by Flight
The air route from India to Maldives is perhaps the most famous one. After the boom of tourism in the island in the 1970’s, India has seen a rise in the number of flights that connect it to The Maldives. A significant number of tier-1 and tier-2 Indian cities can now fly to the palm fringed island country without having to worry about different PNRs.
Hulhulé is the official airport island of The Maldives, with Velana International Airport being the major airport that handles most of the international air traffic. There are a couple of other minor international airports too in the archipelago. Gan International Airport services the southernmost part of The Maldives, resting on the largest public island of the country.
Hanimaadhoo International Airport in Haa Dhaalu Atoll deserves a mention for its exclusive direct flight to the South Indian city of Trivandrum. Apart from international arrivals, one also needs domestic connectivity to get around the scattered islands of The Maldives.
All of the major and minor international airports handle a slew of domestic flights to several atolls in different parts of the country. For those on luxury Maldives tour packages, seaplane transfers are an out-of-the-world experience! Seaplanes can land directly at the Maldives resorts on water, letting you arrive in style.
Flight Duration India to Maldives
The journey time to The Maldives varies from two and a half hours, for direct flights, to almost 10 hours for flights that have long layovers. The duration is often dependent on the flight route taken by the airline and the number of halts between the Indian city and the Maldives International Airport.
Flight Operators to Maldives from India
Select from a wide choice of Indian carriers and international airlines for your trip to The Maldives. Air India, Indigo, Go Air and SpiceJet are some of the local airlines in India with excellent connectivity to Malé International Airport. It is easy to find some non-stop flights as well.
Foreign operators also offer aircraft with great configuration to fly Indians to The Maldives. However, they usually have a layover in another country. Some of the options are Bangkok Airways, Mega Maldives, Etihad Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, SilkAir, Mihin Lanka, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Cathay Pacific, flydubai, Emirates Air Asia and Singapore Airlines.
Departing Cities and Average Ticket Price
India has easy and frequent access to the Maldives, with most of the tier-1 and a few of the tier-2 cities boasting of departures to The Maldives. You can begin your journey from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Goa, Pune, Cochin or Trivandrum. In fact other cities can also enjoy flights to Malé with stopovers in intermediary Indian cities.
Flight ticket prices can vary according to tourist seasons, number of layovers and the airline. The cheapest economy-class ticket is perhaps for the Indigo direct flight from Kochi to Malé which only takes one and a half hours and costs around INR 5,000 one way.
For premium full-service international airlines with layovers from cities such as New Delhi, the economy seats can cost upwards of INR 20,000 each way. The average one-way ticket price for flights from India to Maldives hovers around the INR 10,000 ballpark figure.
India to Maldives by Cruise
For a taste of the high seas, you can choose to cruise all the way from India to The Maldives. While taking the sea route might mean a significantly longer travel time as compared to the aerial route, the charm of riding the waves is unbeatable. There is only one luxury cruise liner which sails from India to Maldives – Costa Victoria operated by Costa Cruises. A handful of other cruise companies had tested the waters before, but they no longer sail from India.
Sea Route Distance and Time Taken
When it comes to travelling within The Maldives, from one island to another, a speed boat is enough, as the distance is only a few kilometres. However, to traverse between India and this archipelago, a larger vessel, such as a cruise ship, is required.
From India, cruises to The Maldives set sail from either Mumbai or Kochi, which are the most prominent ports in the west coast of the country.
- Maldives Cruise from Mumbai, India
- Maldives Cruise from Kochi, India
The total distance to Malé – capital city of The Maldives is 1,657 km from Mumbai, but from Kochi, it is only 708 km, which is less than half of the Mumbai-Malé distance.
The time taken to sail depends on the number of port calls made on the way and also whether there will be internal sightseeing included in the India to Maldives vacation package. The shortest route from Kochi to Malé takes 3 days whereas on routes from Mumbai that have port calls at Mormugao, Mangalore, Kochi or Colombo, the longest cruise lasts up to 8 days.
Cruise Fare to Maldives from India
The money you pay to visit a paradise spread across the Laccadive Sea and the Arabian Sea is not much when you consider the amazement that the cruise experience offers. The cruise fare ranges from INR 25,000 for the shortest route to about INR 50,000 for the 7-night extravaganza. The rates are per person on a double-sharing basis, inclusive of port taxes at each port of call.
India to Maldives by Road (Possibility)
Those who love long drives might be asking if there is a way to take the road to The Maldives. While many may say it is an outlandish thing to wish for, there is a way to make your India to Maldives journey at least partially by road.
If the Indian city or town that you live in has no connectivity to these tropical islands, you can always drive down to the nearest city which flies you out to The Maldives. If you wish to skip the aerial route altogether, why not zip over to Mumbai or Cochin to embark on the wondrous Costa Victoria? This cruise liner owned by Costa Cruises will let you sail over the Indian Ocean to Malé – the world’s smallest capital.
As you ride the high seas, you will be mesmerized by the different shades of blue and green on display before you. The Maldives is at the intersection of two seas which intermix, but their distinct colours are easily noticeable. The turquoise shade of one appears contrasting to the blue of the other, making the sea border come alive.
Travel to Maldives from various Indian Cities
We don’t believe in dishing out generic information since India is a vast nation with many cities, most of which do not have coastal access, limiting their modes of transportation. Let us help you with reaching The Maldives from a selection of tier-1 and tier-2 cities from different parts of the country.
The capital of India, New Delhi, is 2,863 km away from The Maldives. The quickest way to start your Maldivian vacation is to take the GoAir direct flight which will take you to Malé in just 4 hours and 10 minutes. Rates vary around the INR 10,000 ballpark figure.
There are several other flights from Delhi to Maldives operated by a number of airlines which halt at one or more cities. The duration of the entire journey, in the case of a layover, ranges from 8 hours at the least, when you take the Indigo flight which stops at Mumbai.
The complete time can go up to 30 hours for circuitous routes like the one offered by British Airways which has a layover at London. Economy class ticket fares range from INR 9,000 to INR 1 lakh+ each way for very long duration flights booked in the peak season.
Mumbai is very well connected to The Maldives, with not only flights but also cruises raring to go! The cheapest return flights are as low as INR 7,000 per person. Indigo offers the fastest flight from Mumbai to Malé, at under 3 hours.
To scale the 1,764 km distance from Mumbai to Maldives, you can also choose a luxury liner and cruise over the Indian Ocean. Costa Cruise offers Maldives cruise packages which have optional halts at the ports of Mormugao (Goa), Mangalore (Karnataka), Cochin (Kerala) and even Colombo (Sri Lanka) before you disembark at Malé.
Formerly known as Bangalore, Bengaluru is located at a distance of 1,187 km from The Maldives. The cheapest flight operated by Go Air, is also the fastest, and lets you reach the capital of the island nation in just 2 hours. The one-way fare is around 7,500 per head.
You can also try an international airline, just for the thrill, but for a longer journey and steeper cost. Enjoy visa-free layovers at Colombo, Dubai or Abu Dhabi when you book with SriLankan Airlines, Emirates or Etihad Airways, respectively.
Chennai is 1,344 km away from The Maldives. Although there are no direct flights from the capital of Tamil Nadu to the gorgeous coral islands, you can pick from a handful of flights with a single stopover within India or abroad.
The fastest flight is operated by SriLankan Airlines, and flies you down to Malé in 4 hours 10 minutes flat! All flights cost upwards of INR 11,000 per person for the onward journey when booked for Economy Class.
The Maldives is located at a distance of 2,701 km from Kolkata. A flight is the only plausible mode of transportation but you will have to put up with layovers. While the shortest flight is run by SriLankan Airlines and will get you to Malé in under 6 hours, it will set you back by INR 33,000.
The cheapest flight combination, operated by Go Air and Air Asia, is over INR 11,000 one-way with a stopover in Bengaluru. However, most of the cheaper flight options take more than 14 hours to reach Maldives International Airport.
To cover the 1,677 kilometres from Hyderabad to The Maldives, a flight is the best option. The cheapest airfare deals begin at INR 8,000 per passenger, offered by Indigo. There are no direct flights to Velana International Airport, with halts usually at Kochi or Colombo. The shortest possible route takes 4 and a half hours, operated by SriLankan Airlines.
The coastal Indian state of Goa is 1,348 km from The Maldives. While the luxurious Costa Victoria cruise liner halts at Goa’s Mormugao on one of its cruises operated from Malé to Mumbai, there is no direct cruise connectivity to the Maldivian atolls.
Flights are the most convenient when starting your journey from Goa. Although the shortest flight is 7 hours, thanks to a Mumbai-stopover route operated by Indigo and Go Air, the cheapest flight, at INR 12,500, will take almost 12 hours.
1,708 km away, Pune has no direct flights to Malé International Airport. Indigo offers the cheapest flight at less than INR 10,000 one-way with a layover in Kochi – amounting to a total journey time of 13 hours. The shortest flight is also operated by the same airline. For INR 12,000, arrive in The Maldives in under 10 hours, with two stops – at Chennai and Kochi.
At 820 km, Cochin is one of the closest Indian cities to The Maldives with excellent connectivity to the country. You will find some of the cheapest flights out of India from Kochi, starting at just INR 5,414. This flight is also the shortest, and a direct flight operated by Indigo, that gets you to Malé in only one and a half hours.
Apart from flying out, you can also select from a number of cruise options that start at Cochin. The shortest cruise from India to The Maldives, which lasts 3 days and costs less than INR 30,000, is offered by Costa Cruises. Their iconic vessel – Costa Victoria sets sail from Kochi on day-1, sails over the high seas through day-2 and arrives at the port in Malé on day-3.
Trivandrum is only 720 km from The Maldives and is well connected by flights to two of its airports – Velana International Airport and Hanimaadhoo International Airport (only serviced by Maldivian). Air India and SpiceJet offer direct flights, with the shortest route taking only 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cheapest one-way flights can be found for under INR 8,000 per head.
India & Maldives’ Currency
The official currency in India is the Indian Rupee, abbreviated as INR, while for The Maldives, it is the Maldivian Rufiyaa, denoted as MVR. It should be noted that both the Indian currency as well as the Maldivian one are not readily exchangeable outside of the domestic market. Hence, one must carry changeable or reserve currencies while visiting The Maldives.
Accepted Currencies in Maldives
Maldives’ official currency, the Maldivian Rufiyaa, is always accepted, whether at beachside shacks or luxury resorts in The Maldives. Apart from the MVR, many tourist places and private islands also accept the USD United States dollars. You will easily be able to change most other reserve currencies (which are held in significant quantities by most of the world’s central banks) such as British pounds or Euros.
Average Conversion Rate
When you locally book activities in Maldives or make any other type of expenditure such as for shopping or eating from a street cart on a public island, you might need to pay in USD or the local currency at times. It is not possible to buy Maldivian Rufiyaa from India or even to change your Indian rupees into MVR in The Maldives.
Hence, you must carry a reserve currency like USD with you before leaving India. While the exchange rate for Maldivian Rufiyaa v/s Indian Rupee is 1 MVR = 4.77 INR, the effective rate may vary depending on the value of the reserve currencies that you use to change your rupees before leaving the country, and also on the relative value of the Rufiyaa which you again change into after reaching The Maldives.
Is USD accepted in Maldives?
The US Dollar is perhaps the most easily accepted foreign currency in The Maldives. In case you cannot find time to visit any bank or money changer in Malé before you head to one of the private island Maldives luxury villas, there is no need to be anxious.
The USD is widely accepted in all the best all-inclusive islands in The Maldives and even some touristy local islands. At the end of your vacation, you can also change your MVR in USD at the exchange counters at the Maldives International Airport.
Maldives Visa details for Indian Nationals
The best thing about holidaying in The Maldives, apart from its magnificent lagoons, is that Indians do not need any pre-arrival authorization to enter the island nation. If you are travelling for leisure, there is no need to get a visa beforehand either. You can simply opt for Maldives Visa on Arrival.
Is a Passport required for Indians?
Your Indian passport is your official identity document in The Maldives, as with any other foreign country. A passport is mandatory to leave India to travel to this group of islands. Whether you take a flight or arrive on a ship, your passport will be checked at the immigration counters in Malé. Ensure you have at least 6 months’ validity on your passport.
Tourist visas to The Maldives are absolutely free for arriving Indians. You can stay for up to 30 days once your passport is stamped and you are granted the visa at no charge. However, in case you wish to extend your stay in these coral islands, you can get maximum 90-day access by paying a fee of 750 MVR (3580 INR approximately).
Maldives Visa on Arrival for Indian Nationals
Indians can conveniently get a visa on arrival in The Maldives. You will have to fill up the IM01 application form at the Maldives International Airport. Ensure you have your return tickets and adequate travel health insurance. A confirmation of your stay in any of the hotels in The Maldives is also required. Carry at least USD 50 per person for each day of your vacation, along with an additional USD 100 to show that you can afford to stay in The Maldives.
Connectivity at Maldives
When you are lazing on the white sand beaches of The Maldives, you would probably want to disconnect from the rest of the world. But it’s important to be able to make and receive phone calls in case you need to coordinate with a local for Maldives day tours or Skype with your parents. Make arrangements for efficient and affordable international calling and internet browsing, preferably before you leave the Indian shores.
International SIM Cards from Indian Airports
If you remember about the inflated international roaming rates on your domestic SIM only at the Indian airport, there is no need to panic. International SIM cards are available at most Indian airports. Matrix calling cards can be bought from most major international airports in the country. Look for a plan that is suitable for The Maldives.
You can also better plan for your international calls by opting for an international roaming pack on your domestic number. This will, in most cases, allow free incoming calls, and local rates for calling within The Maldives. A certain limit of free internet may also be available.
Airtel Call Rates from Maldives to India
Consider buying the Airtel World SIM before you step out of India. Valid across 190 countries, the number will save you up to 85% on international calls. You can also set up auto-forward to receive calls from your Airtel India number to the new global card. Calls from Maldives to India can be accessed at the prevailing local rates which work out to be around INR 15 per minute.
India to Maldives Phone Code
Maldives’ phone code is +960. This three-digit prefix must be added to any local MV number that you are trying to make a call to. To get a local SIM with an MDV number from the Malé International Airport, you can approach the kiosks of Dhiraagu or Ooredoo, which are the only two telecom providers in The Maldives.
Availability of Indian Cuisine in Maldives
Most Indians, especially vegetarians or Jains with a restricted diet are wary of travelling abroad, even to countries as close as Maldives, because they stress over not finding Indian food. However, their fears are unfounded. There are countless Maldives resorts on water which have a dedicated Indian restaurant at their property.
It is not only Indian cuisine but also a wide array of vegetarian delicacies that are kept on the buffet tables of most Maldives hotels on water. Those following a Jain diet of avoiding underground produce in addition to being vegetarian can take heart at the special Jain counters at the daily breakfast, lunch and dinner arrangements.
Look forward to Indian specialities like stuffed paratha, masala dosa, poha, butter naan, biryani, paneer makhani, dal tadka and raita alongside Maldivian food and other cuisines from around the world. Maldives water villas leave no stone unturned to ensure you have a world-class experience of premium hospitality, sightseeing and dining.
Respect to Maldives’ Culture & Sentiments
Maldives’ history & culture are deeply influenced by Islam. While tourists do not have to follow their faith, all visitors are required to respect the sentiments of the Maldivians. Certain cultural norms also restrict how you can dress or what you can eat or carry, especially on the public islands.
What to Do and What Not To
Here are a few things that you should be aware of when you visit this South Asian nation or head out on Maldives day tours:
- Do not carry any religious material with you that is contrary to the Muslim faith. It is possible for your sacred books to be confiscated by the airport authorities or the guest houses in The Maldives.
- Do not bring alcohol, drugs or pork into The Maldives as these products are banned and go against the strict Islamic laws.
- Public display of affection (PDA) is not recommended outside of the Maldives water bungalows, especially on the public islands or common areas in the resorts. Reserve your romance for the indoors.
- If your Maldives vacation packages are booked during the Islamic religious period of Ramadan, you won’t be able to dine or even drink water in public spaces until sunset. Plan your trip accordingly or stick to in-villa dining during the fasting hours.
If you are on a private island, you can dress however you wish, even flaunt your bikinis and short beach dresses. However, on the inhabited islands, modesty is to be maintained so as to not disrespect the sentiments of the locals.
As a general rule, ensure that your clothes reach below the knee and keep your shoulders covered. A head scarf is not required unless visiting a mosque. Men must not be shirtless on public island beaches in The Maldives.
What to Carry
Packing for this holiday is sure going to be fun, especially if you’ll be staying in one of the Maldives water villas with a pool & Jacuzzi. Bring your best beachwear, some shades and a hat for the eternal summer that Maldives’ weather promises. Also, don’t forget a sunscreen lotion with a minimum of SPF 40!
You need not worry about the occasional rains as most Maldives huts on water provide a complimentary umbrella for in-resort usage. The country is blessed with splendid barrier reefs and vibrant corals. If you’ve booked any Maldives snorkelling tours, remember to bring an underwater video camera like GoPro and optionally, your snorkelling mask and fins.
You might decide to join some of the Maldives walking tours. In that case, bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Most importantly, keep a copy of your passport, travel insurance and flight and hotel booking documents, along with necessary cash in MVR and USD currencies with you.
Things to Note if Travelling with Kids
If you choose Maldives tour packages that cater to families with kids, you will have a great time bonding together. Keep a few things in mind for the children though.
- Maldives water villas with pools are built on stilts over the private lagoon. Parents or guardians must always take care of the safety of their toddlers and young children who might run around the deck, risking a fall.
- Some private island resorts are adults-only. Book your Maldives beach villas keeping their kids policy in mind.
- Ask for discounted rates for your children, especially if they will be sharing your Maldives beach villas with a pool. Very young kids may even qualify for free stay. The discounts are applicable to many of Maldives’ full day tours also.
- Most resorts in The Maldives have a special kids menu with items like hot chocolate, noodles, coloured breakfast cereal, pasta and various milkshakes and juices which children enjoy.
Activities & Things to Do
There are a plethora of activities to do in Maldives for every type of traveller. Whether you are outdoorsy, shy, adventurous, a non-swimmer, on a honeymoon or travelling with children and the elderly, the archipelago ensures you have a great time.
One of the most popular activities in The Maldives, snorkelling is for both swimmers and non-swimmers. Wear your snorkel and glasses and dip your head into the crystal clear ocean to marvel at soft and hard corals and attractive fish. The house reefs of most islands have decent coral collection, but the high seas offer the best sightings.
Most hotels with a private beach and sea access will let you go kayaking on your own or with your partner. Be amazed at the transparent waters beneath as you row, and watch the shades change with the presence of undersea flora. Some ultra-luxe resorts also offer see-through kayaks to make it more appealing.
What to do in Maldives for Honeymoon
Make the most of Maldives honeymoon packages from India for your very first trip as a married couple after your wedding. Lovebirds should book the best Maldives water villas with Jacuzzi and enjoy soaking in the tub together. From in-villa couple massages to romantic candlelight sandbank dinners in the moonlight, there are plenty of ways to pamper your partner.
Honeymooners can also have their photo shoot done by professionals or go on sunset cruises on luxury private yachts or dhonis – traditional Maldivian wooden boats. Discover more intimate ideas to surprise your soul mate in The Maldives.
What to do in Maldives with Family
The bountiful beaches laden with palm trees and the tropical island feel of The Maldives invite small and large families to get together and spend some quality time with one another. Maldives half day tours are well paced for every member of the family.
Discover protected undersea ecosystems, freshwater lakes and mangroves in some of the local islands. Maldives island hopping tours are a great way to explore various public islands spread over a single atoll in a day’s time. Water sports such as fun tubes, banana riding and glass-bottom boat tours can also be enjoyed together as a family.
What to do in Maldives on a Budget
Solo travellers and those on a budget need not get intimidated by the heft nightly rates of Maldives beach villas with pool & Jacuzzi. Visit a public island and enjoy reasonably priced facilities. Check into one of the affordable guest houses in The Maldives and enjoy complimentary local and continental breakfast.
Go on Maldives diving tours and be fascinated by nudibranchs, shoals, coral columns, pelagic fishes, sharks, rays, schooling fishes, whales and turtles without burning a hole in your pocket. Maldives walking tours offer great cultural insights into the lives of Maldivian villagers and fishermen, and sometimes, let you sample the local cuisine without having to shell out much.
What to do in Maldives for Non Swimmers
The Maldives is surrounded by water on all sides. Each of its islands sits in the midst of a turquoise coral lagoon. This might lead you to think that swimming is a necessary qualification of vacationing in this paradise. Rest assured, there are numerous activities suitable for non-swimmers.
Maldives full day tours include trips to secluded sandbanks for sunbathing and picnicking with the option to snorkel even if you can’t swim. Take the help of personal floatation aids and let your tour guide point out the beautiful coral specimen and other underwater creatures. Dolphin cruises, culinary tours and submarine rides are also safe for non-swimmers.
You’ll never run out of reasons to visit The Maldives but remember that the top resorts are booked out in the peak season. The best time of the year to visit The Maldives is November to March, but the other months offer great rates. Plan an exciting trip from India to Maldives and create memories to last a lifetime.