Transportation - Get In
Practically all visitors arrive at Malé International Airport (IATA: MLE), located on Hulhulé Island right next to the capital Male. The airport is served by a wide array of flights to China, India, Sri Lanka, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe. Many flights stop in Colombo (Sri Lanka) on the way.
Gan Airport (IATA: GAN), on the southern atoll of Addu, also serves an international flight to Milan several times a week.
Departure taxes are included in your ticket.
British Airways now flies directly from London Gatwick to Male during the winter (October to March). No direct flights operate from London Heathrow, however it is possible to get an indirect flight via India or the UAE for example.
Singapore Airlines flies daily direct from Singapore to Male, with late night timings.
There are no regular passenger boats to the Maldives. Even yachts usually steer clear, as navigating around the reefs is hazardous and permits are expensive.
Transportation - Get Around
Getting around in the Maldives takes three forms: boats, sea planes (air taxis) and private yachts. The boats are the Maldivian equivalent of a car, while planes and private yachts are mainly reserved for tourists.
Air taxis and boats prefer not to operate at night, so if you arrive at the airport after dark and are going to a distant resort, you may have to spend the night in Male or at the airport hotel in Hulhule. Private transfers, though expensive can be opted for resort transfers, instead of spending the whole night at Male. Private transfers could cost anywhere between USD500-800. On the way back, there may also be a significant gap between the time your transfer arrives and your flight departure. Check with your resort or travel agent.
No point in the Maldives is more than 90 minutes away by plane from Male, and visitors to the more far-flung resorts use air taxi services. As of 2013, the only operator is Trans Maldivian Airways, which flies DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes that take around 15 passengers.
Scheduled inter-island services are provided by Island Aviation, which flies from Male to Gan, Hanimaadhoo, Kaadeddhoo and Kaddhoo. Travel permits are no longer required.
The taxi boats generally take tourists to and from the islands in the North and South Male atolls. They come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the quality of the resort you stay in — the Four Seasons has a large enclosed motor cruiser with drinks and food, while the lesser resorts have open sided dhoni fishing boats.
Public dhoni ferries and cargo boats are available for more independent-minded and budget-conscious travellers. The main operator is MTCC, who list schedules and fares on their website.
The previous system of requiring written invitations and Inter Atoll Travelling Permits (IATP) for travellers wishing to visit other islands has been abolished, you're now free to travel wherever you wish. IATPs are still required if you wish to dock your own yacht, see Customs for details.