The Maldives is one of the most popular luxury holiday destinations in the world with honeymooners flocking to the Insta-perfect over-water bungalows in their masses. However, there is another way to see the Maldives that for many, does not always spring to mind: Maldives liveaboards.
When I posted my Maldive Dhoni cruise review, I received so many comments from people excited to hear that there was another way to see the Maldives. A way that singletons, solo and adventure travellers could experience this slice of paradise without feeling like a billy-no-mates in a sea of honeymooners.
And yet really, it should be a no brainer! Everyone knows that The Maldives is one of the best places in the world to snorkel and dive so a liveaboard boat or sailing trip seems like the obvious holiday to take.
But if this is a new concept to you and you’re intrigued by a sailing trip in the Maldives, let me convince you with these 9 reasons why you need to take a Maldives liveaboard trip…
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What you can expect from this article…
- 1 Maldives Liveaboard vs Maldives Resort Holiday
- 1.1 Reason 1. Maldives Liveaboards are affordable.
- 1.2 Reason 2 – The Maldive Islands are one of the best dive and snorkel destinations in the world.
- 1.3 Reason 3. Maldive Liveaboard trips are great for solo travellers.
- 1.4 Reason 4 – You will see so many places by sailing in the Maldives
- 1.5 Reason 5 – Maldives Liveaboards are sociable.
- 1.6 Reason 6 – You won’t get bored
- 1.7 Reason 7 – You’ll get to see The Maldives without the crowds.
- 1.8 Reason 8 – Sailing in the Maldives is Relaxing.
- 1.9 Reason 9 – You can mingle with the locals
- 2 How to book a liveaboard or sailing trips in the Maldives
- 2.1 Booking with G Adventures
- 2.2 Booking with Liveaboard
- 2.3 How much will a Maldives liveaboard trip cost?
- 2.4 What is the accommodation like on a liveaboard?
- 2.5 What is usually included on a liveaboard in the Maldives?
- 2.6 I can’t dive, can I still do a liveaboard holiday?
Maldives Liveaboard vs Maldives Resort Holiday
If you would prefer a resort then I highly recommend Nova resort in the South Ari Atoll where we enjoyed a more relaxed holiday. However there are several reasons why I think a liveaboard or sailing trip is sometimes preferable to an expensive resort stay…
Reason 1. Maldives Liveaboards are affordable.
With the Maldives being one of the most popular honeymooning destinations, prices are continuously being driven up. Accommodation becomes more exotic, exclusive and downright unaffordable! For the average budget solo traveller, the Maldives may seem like an unobtainable dream.
But this isn’t actually the case. Visiting the Maldives on a Maldives LiveAboard or sailing trip starts from around £950 for a week. Staying at an exclusive resort could easily cost the same PER NIGHT after you factor in the cost of a fancy over-water bungalow, seaplane to get there, food and drink at posh restaurants (or indulgent all-inclusive upgrades) and extortionate day trips. Resorts have a captive audience and they know it!
I saw some day trips for £150 per day – the same as what a whole days activities, food, drink and accommodation can cost on a sailing boat!
Reason 2 – The
Maldive Islands are one of the best dive and snorkel destinations in the world.
With over 1000 islands (and only 300 inhabited,) soft white sandy palm-lined beaches, the warm crystal clear Indian ocean and an abundance of colourful coral and sea life; the Maldives is one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkelling. Divers flock to this area to see colourful coral, manta rays and even the gentle giant Whale Sharks.
Let’s face it, if you want to spend some time under the water here, you’re going to want to be as close to the reefs as possible right?! Can’t get much closer than a boat 100metres out from the reef!
Reason 3. Maldive Liveaboard trips are great for solo travellers.
I contemplated having a few days at a resort following my sailing holiday. I quickly changed my mind when I imagined being the only solo traveller sitting at a table for one surrounded by loved up couples starting into each eyes over the candlelight.
No matter how secure you are with your single/solo status, being surrounded by honeymooners is bound to make you feel a little lonely. I didn’t want this to put me off from seeing this beautiful part of the world and a Maldives sailing trip was the perfect solution where I could meet other solo travellers.
Reason 4 – You will see so many places by sailing in the Maldives
Okay sure, there are beautiful reefs with abundant marine life everywhere you look in the Maldives. However, there are some reefs with a better chance of spotting sharks, bays which are often frequented by dolphins and places where you are more likely to spot Whale Sharks. By sailing, you can cover more ground and see more places with better wildlife spotting opportunities along the way!
Reason 5 – Maldives Liveaboards are sociable.
Even if you are travelling as a couple, you may want to hang out with other people from time to time. Recently my Brother and sister-in-law took their honeymoon to St Lucia. They commented that it was hard to make friends there as everyone was in couples and reluctant to intrude on each others romantic time. The truth is, often after a fortnights holiday together, many people are itching for a bit of conversation with someone else! Sailing trips are really sociable, even if you decide to travel as a couple or with a friend.
Reason 6 – You won’t get bored
As fabulous as those fancy resorts look, do you ever wonder if you might feel a little bored after a while? Yes, they offer day trips but you might need to sell a kidney to afford them!
The good news is that on a Maldives liveaboard or sailing trip, you won’t have time to get bored. The itinerary will be packed with different snorkel sites, dive opportunities, island visits and cultural experiences on the local islands.
Reason 7 – You’ll get to see The Maldives without the crowds.
The daytrippers visiting from resorts usually head back around 4 pm. This was the perfect time to have the reefs and islands to ourselves. After all, this is what you want to see right?! Paradise without hoards of people?!
Reason 8 – Sailing in the Maldives is Relaxing.
Whilst yes, you’ll have plenty of activities on offer to stop you from getting restless, there will also be plenty of opportunities to relax too. You can do as much or as little as you like.
There’s nothing quite as relaxing as sailing along with the wind in your hair reading a good book in the sunshine, glancing up every now and then when someone spots a dolphin following the boat or brings you a glass of fresh fruit juice…
Reason 9 – You can mingle with the locals
Many liveaboard and sailing trips will incorporate trips in the dinghy out to inhabited islands to see how Maldivians’ live. On my G Adventures boat, we stopped at a couple of islands and on the 2nd, Fulidhoo, we enjoyed joining in with a traditional drum and dance evening.
How to book a liveaboard or sailing trips in the Maldives
Booking with G Adventures
I booked my trip with G Adventures, an adventure travel company with whom I have now travelled 8 times. They are trustworthy and affordable and I’ve always found their trips to be fantastic with tour guides that go well above and beyond to make your experience incredible.
Like for example, the time one guy lost his sunglasses in the ocean. The Captain and tour leader jumped in and went freediving for half an hour trying to find them. When they still couldn’t locate the glasses, they hopped on the dinghy to go and find another boat to borrow dive equipment to find the lost sunnies! Now THAT is service!
You can read more about my personal experience in my G Adventures Maldives Dhoni cruise review. Or if you want to see the exact trip I took, it was this one.
Booking with Liveaboard
Whilst G Adventures offers some fantastic sailing trips in the Maldives with the option of booking a dive on one day, the emphasis will be more on snorkelling than diving.
If you want to dive every day, you will need to look for a company which specialises in diving for example LiveAboard. Whilst I haven’t travelled the Maldives with them, I have heard that they have a great reputation and their trips seem affordable for example this one and this one. They certainly have a lot of choices!
How much will a Maldives liveaboard trip cost?
Trips vary in price but you will be looking at approximately around £120-140 per night. It would be more if you choose a super fancy luxury dive boat like this one which is still a fraction of the price of a fancy resort!
Whichever boat you choose will be a steal compared to resort prices which can set you back several hundred pounds a night with the cost of expensive seaplane transfers and day trips to factor in as well. I calculated that I could afford a whole week on a boat for a similar price to 1 or 2 nights on a resort!
What is the accommodation like on a liveaboard?
Let’s get realistic, it’s a boat. There’s not much space. You will be cosy!
That said, some of the more luxurious boats are pretty roomy these days. But I’d still encourage you to travel as light as you can. You will need to check the rules on the specific boat you choose as some boats will match you up with someone of the same gender and similar age to share a room. Others may charge a single supplement. So check first!
The traditional Dhoni boat I took with G Adventures had plenty of storage, a decent fan and our own bathroom. It was very comfortable. There were also plenty of comfy communal areas to hang out both shady and in the sun. There was also no single supplement!
What is usually included on a liveaboard in the Maldives?
Usually all meals onboard the ship are included but you will often need to purchase your own drinks and alcohol from the ship bar. The food on my boat was absolutely delicious and always plentiful – we never went hungry!
Snorkel equipment and dive equipment will usually be included but make sure you check this in advance as boats do vary.
I can’t dive, can I still do a liveaboard holiday?
Not all sailing trips in the Maldives are for divers. The one I took was predominantly for snorkelling and we had the option to do one dive. We were all beginners so took a beginners dive together. More advanced dives were also possible.
G Adventures focusses more on snorkelling so I’d encourage you to check out their trips. If you are a diver, you may want to check out Liveaboard.
Check out G Adventures Sailing Trips here
Check out Liveaboard Dive Trips here
Hopefully I’ve helped to persuade you to book a Maldives liveaboard or sailing holiday! I think you will have an absolute ball!
But if I still can’t persuade you to save your pennies on one of these trips and you are determined to book a resort, at least secure yourself a discount on booking.com with this link!
Whatever you choose, I hope you have a wonderful trip and I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
In the meantime, here are some pretty pins for your Pinterest board so you can come back to this article at any time!
Many thanks to G Adventures who gave me a discount on their tour in return for reviewing their trip. You can see that review here. All opinions remain my own and the only reason I promote G Adventures is that I think they are so bloody brilliant!
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