Before I get started, let me clarify that these are my own personal views, and despite all the things about to be said, the Maldives is truly a stunning destination. It’s a place that every traveller should experience at least once, if they want to! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into it.
The Maldives, a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, has long been touted as a must-visit for travellers seeking sun, sand, and sea. It’s also a popular honeymoon choice with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and luxurious resorts. But despite all the hype, and after having been there myself, it may not be worth all the fuss — well, not for the average traveller like me, anyway.
Mo’ money, mo’ problems
First things first, let’s talk about the cost. The Maldives is an expensive destination, and that’s putting it mildly. During our family trip, silly me forgot to bring my daughter’s favourite snack, but all hell wasn’t about to break loose as the resort’s convenience store stocked up on some! My relief was quickly replaced with bewilderment — what costs approximately RM10 at home was RM40 at the resort. Crazy, right?
From flights to accommodation, food, and activities, everything comes with a hefty price tag, so be prepared to spend! While there are budget options available, they’re few and far between, and even these can be more expensive in comparison to other tropical destinations. We stayed at Holiday Inn Kandooma, and the resort itself was beautiful — our beachfront chalet, which overlooked the (blindingly) pristine waters, was truly a treat!
For many travellers, the high cost of the Maldives simply isn’t justifiable, especially when there are so many other places to visit that offer a similar experience at a fraction of the price. However, I have to point out that our stay at Holiday Inn Kandooma was somewhat worth it because it included half-board, which meant we didn’t have to fork out as much on food.
But let’s assume that money isn’t an issue for you. Even then, there are some other factors that make the Maldives (somewhat) overrated.
One of the biggest issues is over-tourism. With so many tourists flocking to the Maldives each year, the environment is paying the (unseen) price. The delicate coral reefs surrounding the islands are under threat, and the waste that comes with over-tourism is putting a strain on the local ecosystem.
Let’s not forget the impact that tourism has on the local culture and way of life. Many of the resorts in the Maldives are owned by foreign companies, and the local people often find themselves pushed to the sidelines.
All by myself, don’t wanna be, all by myself
Another issue with the Maldives is that it can feel somewhat sterile. While the resorts are undeniably luxurious, they can also come off as isolating, which, even in all its beauty, I felt quite strongly during our family vacation. Many of them are located on their own private islands, which means that guests don’t get much of a chance to experience the local culture or interact with local people.
For some travellers, this might be exactly what they’re looking for, but for others, it can make the experience feel a little hollow. Personally, for me, being an ambivert, I didn’t mind it as much, but it didn’t give me the freedom to explore like I could on an island like Bali, for example.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the Maldives is not the only tropical paradise out there. There are plenty of other destinations that offer the same white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, without the high price tag or the over-tourism. Places like Bali, Thailand, and the Philippines all have their own unique charm and are well worth considering as alternatives to the Maldives.
So, what I am trying to say is, while the Maldives is undeniably beautiful, it’s also a tad bit overrated. The (unnecessarily) high cost, over-tourism, and isolating resort experience make it a destination that’s not entirely worth all the fuss for me.
If what you’re looking for is a tropical getaway, there are plenty of other paradisical options that offer similar experiences; minus the downside of the Maldives. So, before you book your next trip, take a beat and consider all your options!
*All images courtesy of author.