Solo travel isn’t something that unfamiliar to me. Shoot, the better part of this website encourages it. But when the opportunity presented itself to go to the Maldives solo, I hesitated. Sure, the turquoise blue water is just as beautiful whether you’re traveling to the Maldives alone or with a companion, but I had always envisioned the Maldives as somewhere I’d go with a significant other, or even a good group of friends.
The last year has emphasized to me that I never want to look back with regret on the opportunities I didn’t take. When it comes to travel, I never want to regret not taking every opportunity to see the world because of someone else (or lack thereof). So passport in hand and credit card number in mind, I booked my flight to Malé.
TRAVELING TO THE MALDIVES ALONE
I’m not going to lie, the travel time between New York and the Maldives is roughly 24 hours, and it’s pretty brutal. There were several moments that I definitely wished that I did have a travel companion to freak out about the terrifying plane landing together in Athens, or to watch my things when I needed to use the restroom at the airport. I highly recommend flying Emirates or Etihad so you can add a stopover in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, respectively, on one direction of your trip. I stopped in Dubai for a few days on my way back to New York. Although the return trip was still 18 hours, it made the journey back much more bearable.
When I finally made it to my resort in the Maldives, all the travel stress of the previous 24 hours started to melt away. The crystal clear water really is just as beautiful and turquoise as it looks on social media. I was worried that being surrounded by couples and families I’d just feel lonelier than ever, but the private island the resort was located on was so tranquil and beautiful that I really just started to feel at peace with being alone.
A LUXURY ESCAPE FOR ONE
I booked an overwater villa, complete with one of those oh-so-trendy overwater hammocks. When I finally reached my villa, my breath stopped for a moment as soon as the door opened to the carefully designed chic, modern space. It would have been easy to wish I had someone to swoon over it with, but instead I found myself excited to have the oversized king bed with floor to ceiling views of the ocean all to myself.
Over the course of the next week, I wandered the resort on my own time, and soaked up the sun. I ordered endless room service (which was somehow less expensive than the resort’s main restaurant) and snorkeled with the sharks. I spent nights laying face down on my overwater hammock to watch the sealife come out beneath me, then staring up at the countless stars, and trying my hand at astrophotography for the first time. I watched every sunrise and sunset from the endless ocean view of my villa, and befriended the resort staff.
I’d be lying if I said that the trip wasn’t without some issues. When those issues did arise, I found myself wishing I was traveling with someone. In those moments, you do feel a bit extra alone, and it kicks in that you’re totally alone on an island in the middle of the ocean where the only way on or off is through the resort itself, who is the issue. At the end of the day, the beauty of the Maldives and peacefulness of my villa far outweighed the issues that arose. Had I stayed at a different resort, I may not have encountered any of those issues at all.
LUXURY RESORTS IN THE MALDIVES FOR SOLO TRAVELERS
Solo travelers will be delighted to know that some resorts in the Maldives do adjust your nightly rate by person. Adjusting the number of people on my villa reservation from two to one brought my total cost down by a few hundred dollars.
Theres dozens of articles out there on the best resorts in the Maldives for solo travelers. The resort I stayed at was named in some of those articles, however I wouldn’t recommend it whatsoever to a solo traveler. Take those lists with a grain of salt, and just know that at any resort in the Maldives, you’re likely to encounter couples, honeymooners, and families.
Looking for a luxury resort in the Maldives? I recommend the following:
- Soneva Jani
- Conrad Rangali Island
- Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
- The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
- Velassaru Maldives
TALKING TO MYSELF
Of all the destinations I’ve traveled to solo, the Maldives is maybe the least social. That doesn’t refer to the Maldives as a whole — the resort staff was perhaps the most friendly of anywhere I’ve traveled and I really enjoyed getting to know more about local Maldivian culture and their respective home countries from them. The Maldives isn’t very social in terms of fellow travelers. In more cosmopolitan destinations such as Paris, New York, Italy, etc. it’s much more common to run into other people open to conversation at a bar, tour, or elsewhere. In the Maldives, almost everyone exclusively travels with a tight-knit group of friends or significant other. As a result, I noticed that just about everyone kept to themselves entirely. Perhaps if I had gone on an excursion, there would have been more interaction between guests. Unfortunately, the excursion I registered for got cancelled due to not meeting the minimum group size.
Honestly, for me it was okay. I knew coming into the Maldives that this probably wouldn’t be the destination where I’d be interacting with other travelers. Having so much time on my own left a lot of room for self reflection and examination. It wasn’t easy to be forced to reflect on some of my biggest fears and insecurities, but I think that having that time to myself was also incredibly revealing and will help me move forward with life in a continually more positive way.
IS IT WORTH GOING TO THE MALDIVES ALONE?
In my opinion, it is absolutely worth traveling to the Maldives alone. In practice, it really depends on who you are as a person.
If you’re someone who is okay being on your own, dining and doing activities solo, and having to fight your own battles, the Maldives is probably great for you. The person you get to be with there IS yourself, and it can be really fulfilling. If you’re someone who finds yourself often struggling to be alone and isolated from others, you might find being in the Maldives a little more difficult. That being said, traveling to the Maldives solo could be a terrifying but amazing thing for you. You could discover more about yourself and to give yourself a chance to love being on your own.
Being in the Maldives alone also comes at a more elevated cost than traveling with someone who can help split the cost, however, I was pleasantly surprised that most Maldives resorts do calculate part of their nightly rate as a price per person. If you’re traveling alone, your total room rate for the week may be a few hundred dollars lower than if two people were staying in the room.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO THE MALDIVES ALONE
YOU’LL LIKELY BE THE ONLY SOLO TRAVELER AT THE MALDIVES RESORT
The very first thing I learned through the check-in process with my resort is that solo travelers to the Maldives are incredibly rare. I was definitely the only solo traveler at my resort. My solo status was a bit obvious as the resort had one main restaurant with assigned tables. The main common area for guests was the pool, which wasn’t large, making it again incredibly obvious I was alone. I definitely got some questioning looks from other guests, which I brushed off.
GET READY FOR QUESTIONS
As the Maldives doesn’t get many solo travelers, the first couple days I was there I received inquisitive questions from basically every staff member I interacted with. Although most were concentrated into the first couple days, I continued to get them through the whole trip as I kept meeting new staff. The first question was always, “You’re traveling alone?” and the follow up questions typically included a variety of the following:
- “How old are you?”
- “How can you afford to be here?”
- “Why travel here alone?”
- “You don’t have a boyfriend?”
- “You didn’t have any friends who wanted to come with you?”
- “Why are you here?”
I mention these questions not to dissuade anyone from going by them whatsoever. Rather, I mention it so you know exactly what you may be stepping into, and aren’t caught off guard like myself. Yes, it was a bit frustrating to continually have to keep justifying why I could be in the Maldives just like everyone else, however they were a small piece of a much bigger picture.
BRING A PORTABLE DOOR LOCK
Overall, I felt as though the Maldives were incredibly safe for a solo female traveler. However, I did notice in my villa that the door only had one lock. There was no secondary lock such as a chain lock that wouldn’t be able to be opened from the outside. At first, I was only concerned that housekeeping would come in while I was changing or sleeping. As I started settling into the resort and talking to staff, some staff members managed to find me on Facebook. Generally this wouldn’t bother me, however one started trying to message me with kissy emojis. I didn’t respond whatsoever, however the messages continued. At the resort I was staying at, everyone’s room number was printed really large on a keychain, making it obvious to everyone exactly which villa you were in. The situation made me wish that I had brought a portable door lock for extra protection just in case.
Nothing did happen. I avoided the area that staff member worked for the last couple days of my trip, and I was fine. Again, overall I did feel very safe at the resort. However, as a young solo female traveler, I truly believe you can never be too careful when it comes to personal safety. For that reason, I do recommend bringing along portable lock just in case your resort doesn’t have a secondary lock on doors. Click here to shop (under $10!), or click one of the images below.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
When traveling alone, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed and anxious when things start going wrong. I felt this heightened in the Maldives because of the increased isolation to other destinations. Just take a deep breath, and release the tension. Everything always has its way of working itself out in the end.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ACTIVITIES
Traveling solo, I wasn’t sure going into the trip if I would be able to do some of the snorkeling and scuba diving the Maldives is known for, due to potential group minimum. The only issue I ran into with group minimums was for resort excursions. The minimums for excursions were high enough (8-16 people), that even if I had been traveling as part of a couple or a family, I would have still been reliant on other resort guests signing up.
Luckily, the resort dive center priced per person, so there were no minimums on scuba diving or snorkeling. I was able to take advantage of being alone and go on both a snorkeling lesson and a guided shark snorkel by myself. The prices were surprisingly affordable, and really one of the highlights of my trip.
GET THE INTERNATIONAL PHONE PLAN
Resorts in the Maldives have notoriously iffy WiFi. The WiFi at my resort was okay, but definitely a bit slow, and spotty in some areas. Friends who have stayed at different resorts in the Maldives have mentioned that some resorts have little to no WiFi at their overwater villas at all. The Maldives is a great place to unplug and enjoy the simpler things, but when you’re alone, sometimes it is nice to be able to connect with friends and family back home, or to use the internet for entertainment purposes. There was a cell tower on an island nearby to the resort, and cell service was much faster than the resort WiFi.
I really love flora, fauna, and the stars. Having cell service allowed me to identify some of the plants on the island and constellations that could be seen. If you’re interested in the same and looking for something interesting to do, open Snapchat! Snapchat allows you to point your camera at a plant to scan and identify it. I also recommend the app Skyview Lite. Skyview Lite allows you to point your camera at the night sky to show where constellations and planets are at your location.
Is The Maldives Safe for Solo Travelers?
Yes, the Maldives is safe for solo travelers. Most resorts in the Maldives are on their own island, making it difficult for anyone to access them if they’re not a guest or staff. My resort had security staff at each dock to make sure no one was coming onto the island who shouldn’t be. If you’re staying at a reputable resort, you should be totally fine on safety.
Solo female travelers may want to bring a portable door lock or other preventative safety devices, just in case. Although most solo female travelers to the Maldives experience no safety issues at all, given my discomfort with advances made by a staff member at my resort, I think it’s worth considering.
A SLICE OF BLISS
On my final morning, I stepped onto the boat to leave the island sad to be leaving such a beautiful, quiet place, but excited at the potential to return. It hadn’t been the trip I dreamed of, but it was a gorgeous experience. I was grateful that I wouldn’t be looking back on the “what-ifs” if I hadn’t gone at all.
The Maldives is definitely a different experience for the solo traveler than it is the honeymooner, but it can be a quiet bliss for the solo traveler looking for an escape from the real world. Despite my initial hesitation, I’m glad that I took the plunge and did something entirely by myself, for myself. If you’re a solo traveler out there, on the fence about booking that flight to Malé, press pay. Even if it doesn’t end up being trip you always dreamed of, you won’t be able to look back and regret the opportunity you never took.
What to Wear in the Maldives
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Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.