What's it really like?
Located south of Sri Lanka in the Arabian Ocean, the island nation of the Maldives is one of the most remote destinations you can imagine. It is made up of over a thousand tiny islands, only about 200 of which are inhabited. A few decades ago, luxury resorts started popping up on the islands, offering unparalleled service, beauty, and isolation to whoever could afford it. What used to be an isolated, forgotten corner of the world became one of it’s most sought-after holiday destinations, particularly by newlyweds looking for an unforgettable honeymoon.
Nowadays, the number of resorts has grown and the offerings in each one have developed. As the resorts compete with each other for the title of ultimate romantic getaway, magical experiences like underwater dining, nighttime diving, and private island rentals have become increasingly common. These, combined with the dizzying array of restaurants, activities, and entertainment on offer, make a trip to the Maldives a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Of course, one of the best things about the Maldives is how easy it is to do nothing at all. Enjoy a private villa perched on the glistening water, lazily lounging in the sun with nowhere to be and no one to disturb your peace. This combination of relaxation and excitement, privacy and entertainment, is what makes the islands an ideal honeymoon destination.
There is one downside for gay visitors, and that is that the Maldives is a conservative Muslim country under Sharia law, where homosexuality is illegal. However, this is entirely ignored in the resorts, where gay couples are just as warmly welcomed as anyone else. This means that, while some may be uncomfortable visiting the country on principle, the notion of a gay Maldives is becoming an increasingly popular destination for gay visitors, especially those looking for a romantic getaway.
For many people, the Maldives is all about luxury resorts and to a certain degree it’s true. If you’re going to splash out on a gay Maldives holiday, you can go big and opt for a stunning overwater private villa with a plunge pool. Or if you’re trying to keep it affordable, some of the all-inclusive family-friendly resorts offer cheaper rates with comfortable rooms rather than a luxury villa and cut out the seaplane transfers.
Technically, the Maldives is not a gay-friendly destination. As a country under strict Sharia law, homosexuality is illegal under threat of severe corporal punishment and prison. This may seem scary, but many gay visitors are not put off – the reality within the Maldives’ many luxury resorts is very different.
Designed to welcome visitors from around the world – and providing a large chunk of the country’s income -, the privately-owned resorts are allowed to bend the rules. This is why, despite Sharia law forbidding alcohol and having strict dress codes, you’ll still find couples in swimsuits tanning cocktails in almost every resort in the Maldives. In the same way, gay couples are welcome and able to be openly themselves in essentially every resort on the island.
Practically, what this means is that you should absolutely be careful when outside a resort – this includes the airport and the capital of Male. However, the second you arrive at your final destination, you can relax and enjoy your gay Maldives holiday. The local staff are well-trained and are far too fond of their jobs to have any issue with gay relationships, and no one will bat an eye at a same-sex couple. This is especially the case in any hotel managed by a large international brand.
With its pristine beaches, impeccably azure waters, and decadent luxury resorts filled with every sort of experience you can imagine, it’s no wonder the Maldives have become one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations in the world. Isolated on your island resort, with little to do but enjoy the sea, sun, and entertainment, you can truly relax and leave everything else behind.
As mentioned above, gay couples do not have to worry about booking a honeymoon in the Maldives, despite the strict Sharia law. The resorts are usually owned by international brands and are more or less above the law. No resort is likely to be anything but welcoming, and the staff will be trained to go above and beyond for newlyweds. Indeed, most resorts offer some kind of honeymoon package, which may include a special suite, restaurant meals, or spa treatments.
If you want to be extra sure of a resort being gay-friendly, look out for reviews by gay visitors. Alternatively, check out the list of our best gay-friendly Maldives hotels, all of which are fabulous choices for your dream honeymoon.
The Maldives is made up of about 1,200 islands, about 200 of which are inhabited. Luxury resorts are peppered throughout, often taking up a whole island to themselves. It’s this isolation that makes a holiday in the Maldives absolutely magical, as you feel the whole world outside of your resort melt away.
However, it does also mean that you can’t just take a shuttle from the airport to your resort. In most cases, you have the choice between two transport options: a seaplane or a speed boat. The speedboat takes longer, with journeys taking up to 2 hours, but are less likely to be delayed due to the weather. Usually, you get to board your speedboat immediately after arriving at the airport.
The seaplane rides are usually shorter, half an hour at most, but the transfers tend to take longer overall. This is because the seaplanes have notoriously unreliable schedules, and you will be traveling with a small group of other passengers, which means you’ll usually have to wait anyways. That said, a ride on a seaplane is one of the quintessential Maldives experiences, giving you a breathtaking birds-eye view of the islands – besides, it’s not like you are in much of a rush to get anywhere.
Either way, you will be taken care of from the moment you arrive at Male. A hotel representative to greet you at the airport and take you to the speedboat dock or seaplane terminal. At the latter, there will usually be a lounge (most resorts have their own) with snacks and refreshments, so your wait will always be pleasant.
Every resort offers transport, but it is not always included in the price – make sure to check and take this into account before booking. Transfers can be expensive in the Maldives often reaching over $500 USD per person each way. Also, not every resort gives you a choice. Some only offer one type of transport, while for others it will depend on your time of arrival. Where there is a choice, you may be allowed to mix-and-match – one way speedboat and the other seaplane – so you can get both experiences.
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