The Maldives tops most people’s bucket lists for their vacation destinations. With its effortlessly luxurious beauty, stretches of powder-fine white sand and endless blue water, why wouldn’t it? To top that off, add picture-perfect resorts and colorful marine life to explore. It’s simply put paradise.
Every day, thousands of visitors flock here for their honeymoons or the vacation of a lifetime. But can you live and work here for good? Let’s explore, shall we?
The Maldives is a tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean. It’s made up of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are composed of 1,200 islands. Of these, only 200 are inhabited and over 100 are used as the famed resort islands.
Life on local islands and resort islands are very different. The local islands don’t look like the Maldives that you see on Instagram. They’re densely populated and have many shops, restaurants and guest houses. The prices here are more reasonable but you need to take a speedboat or ferry to visit one of the many resorts or sandbanks.
Resort islands are the picture of the Maldives that people dream of. There are white sand beaches, silky blue waters and charming accommodations on stilts, usually with amenities like jacuzzies and plunge pools. This is the stuff luxury vacations are made of. This comes with a price tag to match, of course. Maldives resorts can be extremely pricey per night.
The resorts in the Maldives are like their own golden bubble, here you’re allowed to wear bikinis and consume alcohol – which is illegal on the local islands. The Maldives is a Muslim country with strict rules and traditions. This can be a point of adjustment if you’re used to regular nightlife.
For the locals, hanging out with friends after work usually looks like having tea or coffee, not grabbing a drink. To enjoy parties, you would have to travel to a nearby resort or safari boat that serves alcohol.
Even without a vibrant nightlife, there are so many other things to do in the Maldives that you won’t miss the party scene. The greatest attraction in the Maldives is marine life. The beautiful water is even more spectacular beneath the surface. The Maldives is surrounded by reefs which you can explore through snorkeling or diving. You’ll be treated to another underwater world.
There are also a lot of water sports and activities for thrill-seekers to enjoy. You can get an adrenaline rush from water flying which will take you blasting above the water. You could also go fun tubing or banana boating and get a rush from being pulled along by a speedboat.
The island also has countless spots for stand-up paddleboarding set against a gorgeous background. There are also many surf breaks where you can paddle out and catch killer waves.
One of the most beautiful views of the Maldives is from the sky. A fun and spectacular way to view the Maldives is through a helicopter ride or by parasailing. This will give you a bird’s eye view of the incredible and uniquely shaped atolls that make up this island paradise.
After all these activities, relax and unwind with a spa treatment and massage from one of the many resorts around.
The Maldives boasts incredible sunsets and sunrises. You can enjoy these from almost anywhere on the island, but they’re extra beautiful from a sandbar, beach or restaurant right on the water. It’s an effortlessly stunning, romantic and moving sight to behold.
Hopping on a speedboat can take you to a new world with every island you set foot on. You’ll never run out of places to explore, sights to soak in and delectable food to eat. Maldivian cuisine is made up of a lot of spices, curries, and stir-fries. These are a must-try.
For those less adventurous when it comes to food, there are also countless Western options available and fully stocked groceries where you can buy ingredients to cook food on your own.
Keeping all these in mind, the best place to live in the Maldives as an ex-pat is in Greater Malé which is made up of three islands: Vilimale, Hulhumale, and Malé. These are just a bridge or boat away from both the main and resort islands.
Even if you work at a resort, it’s better to live on a neighboring local island as the resort islands are usually too small to accommodate all the staff. Some ex-pats even rent their own place outside the resort by themselves.
Choosing a local island to live on is more ideal than living on a resort island or uninhabited one, as you have better access to stores, supplies, and basic amenities. Coming from a city, you will still need to adjust as not everything you need will always be available. Locals advise that when you see something from your favorite brand in stock, to buy it right away. It won’t always be available.
There’s something liberating about giving up your glamour and material-filled life and just being one with nature. This is how people live in the Maldives.
Life on the island is laid back and slow. This can cause some frustration for people who are used to fast-paced city life. However, once you get used to it it’s very hard not to enjoy this pace of living.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the simple pleasures of life, the Maldives could be the right place for you. Despite the hefty price tag that comes with the luxury resorts here, living on one of the local islands can be affordable. It’s approximately 18% cheaper than the cost of living in the United States.
Living in the Maldives can cost you as little as $2,000 – $2,500 per month. This can greatly vary depending on your lifestyle as you always have the choice of living it up. Access to luxury resorts, sandbars, yachts and other world-class experiences are easily available here.
If you’re convinced that the Maldives is the place for you, it’s time to pack your bags and plan a trip to check it out. Make sure to bring a great pair of flip flops with you on all your beach adventures.