Ihuru Island, Maldives Trans Maldivian Airways floatplane at Bathala Island – Image courtesy of Gzzz/Wiki Commons

How to get to the Maldives

The Maldives – an archipelago of 26 coral atolls consisting of around 1190 low-lying coral islands – lie scattered in the Indian Ocean around 600km (372mi) southwest of the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka.

The most convenient route to the Maldives is by air to Velana International Airport (MLE), also known as Malé International Airport (and previously as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport).

The airport is located 4.6km (2.9mi) from the capital, Malé, on Huhule Island in the North Male Atoll, and includes the International Terminal, Domestic Terminal and the waterdrome Seaplane Terminal.

Although stretching 820km (509mi) from north to south and 130km (80mi) east to west, no island in the Maldives is more than 45 minutes away by air taxi (sea plane) from Malé’s international airport.

Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) operates a seaplane transfer service from Velana International Airport (MLE) to a large number of resorts and islands in the Maldives.


Flight times to the Maldives

The following are the most convenient and quickest flight routes to the Maldives.

From China: Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Cathay Pacific operate regular flights to the Maldives.

Beijing to Maldives is 8 hrs 30 min, direct flight
Shanghai to Maldives is 7 hrs 45 min, direct flight
Hong Kong to Maldives is 6 hrs 20 min, direct flight


From Singapore: Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and Scoot Tigerair operate regular flights to the Maldives.

Singapore to Maldives is 4 hrs 25 min, direct flight


From Malaysia: Air Asia operate the most convenient flights to the Maldives.

Kuala Lumpur to Maldives is 4 hrs 15 min, direct flight


From United Arab Emirates: Etihad and Emirates operate daily flights to the Maldives.

Abu Dhabi to Maldives is 4 hrs 20 min, direct flight
Dubai to Maldives is 4 hrs 10 min, direct flight


From United Kingdom: Emirates, Ethihad, British Airways, Lufthansa, Oman Air and Air France offer the most convenient scheduled flights to the Maldives.

London to the Maldives is 10 hrs 20 min, direct flight
Manchester to the Maldives is 20 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ


From Germany: Lufthansa, Condor Flugdeinst and Swiss Air offer the most convenient flights.

Frankfurt to the Maldives is 9 hrs 50 min, direct flight

Berlin to the Maldives is 12 hrs, connecting flightˆ
Dusseldorf to the Maldives is 11 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ
Hamburg to the Maldives is 11 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ
Munich to the Maldives is 11 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ


From Ireland: Emirates and Air France offer the most convenient scheduled flights to the Maldives.

Dublin to the Maldives is 12 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ


From France: Air France offers the most convenient flights.

Paris to the Maldives is 9 hrs 50 min, connecting flightˆ


From Australia : Emirates, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Cathay Pacific, Air Asia and Scoot TigerAir offer the most convenient daily scheduled flights to the Maldives.

Adelaide to Maldives is 14 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Brisbane to the Maldives is 14 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ
Melbourne to the Maldives is 13 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Sydney to the Maldives is 14 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ
Perth to the Maldives is 11 hrs 5 min, connecting flightˆ


From New Zealand: Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia operate the most convenient flights to the Maldives.

Auckland to the Maldives is 18 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ


From United States: Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France and Singapore Airlines (from San Francisco and Los Angeles) offer the most convenient daily scheduled flights to the Maldives.

Atlanta to Maldives is 23 hrs, connecting flightˆ
Boston to Maldives is 20 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ
Chicago to the Maldives is 22 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Dallas-Fort Worth to Maldives is 24 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ
Houston to the Maldives is 25 hrs, connecting flightˆ
New York to the Maldives is 18 hrs 50 min, connecting flightˆ
San Francisco to the Maldives is 22 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
Los Angeles to the Maldives is 22 hrs 5 min, connecting flightˆ


From Canada: Air Canada, Etihad, British Airways, Air France and Cathay Pacific (from Vancouver) offer the most convenient daily scheduled flights to the Maldives.

Toronto to the Maldives is 23 hrs 37 min, connecting flightˆ
Montreal to the Maldives is 26 hrs 30 min, connecting flightˆ
Vancouver to the Maldives is 23 hrs 20 min, connecting flightˆ

(ˆincludes transfer time.)


Flying in

Velana International Airport, also known Malé International Airport (MLE) is located 4.6km (2.9mi) from the capital, Malé, on Huhule Island in the North Male Atoll.


Public transport – water

Taxi: Taxis are available from the ferry terminal in Malé.

Ferry: A 24-hour ferry service provides transfers from Velana International Airport to Malé city. Journey time is approximately 10 minutes, with a fare of MRf10. Ferry's also service the various resort islands.

Speedboat: Known locally as a dhoni, this common means of transport is the most popular for getting around. (Most islands are only 1km apart).

Incoming guests are usually met by courtesy speedboats from the respective island resorts.


Public transport – air

Velana International Airport has connecting flights to all domestic airports in the Maldives, as well as the outer islands.

Seaplane: Both Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways (tel: +960 330 5201; www.transmaldivian.com) provide seaplane transfers between Velana International Airport and the various resort destinations in the Maldives.


Car rental

Car hire is not available at the airport.


Terminal facilities

Money: A branch of the Bank of Maldives is located by the exit in the domestic terminal. A foreign exchange counter is located at both arrival and departure terminals. An ATM is located near the exit of the arrival area.

Food: A selection of restaurants and self-service cafeterias are located on the ground and first floors of the passenger terminal. Cafes, fast-food chains, and ice cream kiosks are also located throughout the terminals.

Shopping: Several duty-free shops on the first floor (departures area) offer a wide range of goods including cigarettes, alcohol, perfumes, cosmetics, books, stationery, clothing, toys, electronics, confectionery, and souvenirs.

Souvenir shops are located in the departure and transit lounges. A flower shop is situated opposite the post office.

Wi-Fi: Wireless internet access is available at free kiosks located in the duty-free area and departure area. Internet stations are available via the Dhiraage outlet in the arrival plaza.

The Wellness Club, located in the departure area, also contains two Internet stations.

A post office is located near the entrance to the departures hall and operates from 0600 to 0100, or until the last flight of the day.

International and local phone calls can be made from the cash and credit card phones in the terminal building.

Other: A healthcare centre for first aid and minor emergencies is available within the terminal building. The airport's pharmacy is located next to the Bank of Maldives airport branch.

A special care service is available for expectant mothers and newly born babies. An outdoor children's play park and a play area in the transit area are also available.

The Wellness Club offers internet access, shower rooms, and massages for passengers.

There are two Plaza Premium (tel: +960 333 7335/ 7348) business lounges in the departures area. These are equipped with satellite TV, internet access, telephones and a fax machines and offer refreshments.

There is a prayer room on the first floor of the departure terminal, while two fully air-conditioned mosques are located a short walk from the terminal building.


Disabled facilities

Lifts and toilets are adapted to meet the needs of people with physical disabilities. Wheelchairs and stretchers are available upon request at the Customer Service counters.


Entry requirements

A passport valid for at least six months beyond intended period of stay as well as a ticket for return or onward travel. Visas are issued free on arrival for stay of 30 days


Getting around

On land: It’s easy enough to walk around most islands as they’re usually quite small.

Most islands take no longer than 30 minutes to cross on foot. For longer distances, transport is usually by golf buggy.

The only roads are in Malé. Small tarmaced strips suffice for roads on a couple of other islands. In Malé, taxis are available. Driving is on the left.


TMA Seaplane base, Male

Between islands: Internal flights from Malé to provincial centres, including Hanimaadhoo, Kaadedhdhoo, Kadhdhoo and Gan are operated by Maldivian (www.maldivian.aero).

Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) operates from Velana International Airport (MLE), providing seaplane transfers to individual resorts in the Maldives.

These services are also available for charter trips around islands.

TMA (www.transmaldivian.com) provides seaplane transfer services to and from the following islands…

Haa Alif Atoll

• Manafaru (JA Manafaru)
• Dhonakulhi (Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa)

Shaviyani Atoll

• Gaakoshinbi (Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi)
• Vagaru (JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa)

Noonu Atoll

• Fushivelaavaru (Velaa Private Island)
• Iru Fushi (The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi)
• Kudafunafaru (Noku Maldives)
• Medhufaru (Soneva Jani)
• Kuredhivaru (Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru)
• Randheli (Cheval Blanc Randheli)

Raa Atoll

• Aarah (Heritance Aarah) • Dhigali (Dhigali Maldives)
• Faarafushi (Faarufushi Maldives)
• Filaidhoo (Reethi Faru Maldives)
• Furaveri (Furaveri Island Resort)
• Huruvalhi (Carpe Diem Beach Resort & Spa)
• Meedhupparu (Adaaran Select Medhupparu)
• Uthurumaafaru (You & Me by Cocoon Maldives)

Baa Atoll

• Dhunikolhu (Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu)
• Dhigufaruvinagandu (Dhigufaru Island Resort)
• Finolhas (Amilla Fushi)
• Fonimagoodhoo (Reethi Beach Resort)
• Kanifushi (Finolhu)
• Kunfunadhoo (Soneva Fushi)
• Landaa Giraavaru (Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru)
• Milaidhoo (Milaidhoo)
• Miriandhoo (The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo)
• Mudhdhoo (Dusit Thani Maldives)
• Thiladhoo (The Nautilus Maldives)

Lhaviyani Atoll

• Fushifaru (Fushifaru Maldives)
• Huruvalhi (Hurawalhi Maldives Resort)
• Innahura (Innahura Maldives Resort)
• Kanifushi (Atmosphere Kanifushi)
• Kanuhura (Kanuhura)
• Komandoo (Komandoo Maldives Island Resort)
• Kudadhoo (Kudadhoo Maldives Private Island)
• Kuredhdhoo (Kuredu Resort)
• Madhiriguraidhoo (Palm Beach Resort and Spa Maldives)
• Ookolhufinolhu (Cocoon Maldives)

Kaafu Atoll

• Biyadhoo (Biyadhoo Island Resort)
• Bolifushi (Jumeirah Vittaveli)
• Helengeli (Helengeli Island Resort)
• Kuda Huraa (Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa)
• Medhufinolhu (One & Only Reethi Rah)
• Meerufenfushi (Meeru Island Resort and Spa)
• Olhahali (LUX* North Male' Atoll)
• Ziyaaraifushi (Summer Island Village)

Alif Alif Atoll

• Ellaidhoo (Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo)
• Fesdu (W Retreat and Spa - Maldives)
• Gangehi (Gangehi Island Resort)
• Halaveli (Constance Halaveli)
• Kandholhudhoo (Kandholhu Island)
• Kudafolhudhoo (Nika Island Resort)
• Kuramathi (Kuramathi Island Resort)
• Maayafushi (VOI Maayafushi Resort)
• Velidhoo (Velidhu Island Resort)
• Veligandu (Veligandu Island Resort and Spa)

Alif Dhaalu Atoll

• Athuruga (Diamonds Athuruga)
• Dhidhdhoofinolhu (LUX* South Ari Atoll)
• Huvahendhoo (Lily Beach Resort and Spa)
• Kudarah (Amaya Resort Kudarah)
• Maafushivaru (Maafushivaru)
• Machchafushi (Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives)
• Mirihi (Mirihi Island Resort)
• Moofushi (Constance Moofushi)
• Rangalifinolhu (Conrad Maldives Rangali Island)
• Theluveligaa (Drift Thelu Veliga by Castaway)
• Thudufushi (Diamonds Thudufushi)
• Vakarufalhi (Vakarufalhi Island Resort)
• Vilamendhoo (Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa)

Vaavu Atoll

• Alimatha (Alimatha Aquatic Resort)
• Dhiggiri (VOI Dhiggiri Resort)

Meemu Atoll

• Medhufushi (Medhufushi Island Resort)

Faafu Atoll

• Filitheyo (Filitheyo Island Resort)

Dhaalu Atoll

• Aluvifushi (Sun Aqua Iru Veli)
• Dhoores (aaaVeee Nature's Paradise Maldives)
• Meedhuffushi (Sun Aqua Vilu Reef)
• Velavaru (Angsana Velavaru Resort)
• Vommuli (St. Regis Vommuli)

Photo: TMA Base at Velana International Airport (MLE)


By water Resort specific high-speed boats meet arrivals at the airport. Boats are also available for hire at the ferry counter near the jetty. Speedboats connect the airport with North and South Malé Atolls.

While most visitors typically remain at their resort island for the duration of their stay, dhoni charters are available for island-hopping day trips.


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Latest update: How to get to the Maldives: 4 March, 2020


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