Disabled Travel Information
Maldives Access And Mobility
For those of you looking for disabled travel information for the Maldives, here’s our page on the access arrangements found at resorts and at Malé International Airport.
If you’re a wheelchair user or have limited mobility then at departure, you can arrange for assistance with steps on and off the plane. Click here for information on
flights, planes, access and medical forms.
Once you reach Malé, transfer to your resort will be by seaplane or speedboat. These both involve steps but airport and resort staff are experienced in assisting those with limited mobility. This is an International Airport and conformity to regulations regarding access is a prerequisite of remaining an airport with international status.
OK, I just said that last bit because, if you check out Male International Airport details online before you go; they don't have specific information for passenger assistance or wheelchair assistance. You will need to ask!.
The airport is not huge and apart from the aircraft to tarmac access it's all level through to the jetty where you catch your speedboat (or seaplane of course.)
We checked out the VIP facilities promoted by Male airport and found that within the terms and conditions for providing this service was the availability of a wheelchair if required. But since we can't all be VIP's then I guess you'll have to make arrangements in advance if necessary!
As a wheelchair user frequenting the Maldives islands you'll find most of the resorts have steps at some point, the good news is you’ll find almost all rooms are ground level and any steps can easily have ramps placed on them.
The Maldives is mainly flat thanks to its geography and also the regulations surrounding how a resort is built and what can be built. Rarely above the treeline, Maldives villas are easily accessible and mainly bungalow in style.
There are plenty of level walkways so getting around shouldn’t pose insurmountable obstacles. Of course one or two of the islands have a Maldives Hotel style accommodation block with rooms and apartments up to the first floor. There are no lifts so if your resort has this accommodation thenplease make sure your requirements are made clear before confirmation of any booking.
For example, from the speedboat to the jetty on most resorts you'll require assistance. From the jetty to the reception you'll find decking and level access to shore, perhaps with one step.
Often ramps are permanent fixtures and as everything is virtually on the same level most ramp access is a shallow incline. Again with your villa or bungalow you generally have two routes as options, the sandy beach one or the firmer inland pathway; both will ultimately take you to your front door.
Restaurants generally have the same layout and access ramps as reception areas. The typical Maldives building will be open sided so bars and other public areas too should pose little problem. This is based on what we've witnessed, some of course may find it easier than others.
The villas, bungalows and rooms are generally level access internally. The open plan nature of the accommodation throughout the Maldives, in particular the bathrooms, means there is space for turning a chair without difficulty.
The threshold between the shower space and the wash hand basin area within the bathroom is often a slight step, an edge. This is common in any country though. The bathrooms are almost without exception spacious, this is down to the wet room design used universally in Maldives villas, rooms and bungalows.
The good thing about the Maldives is that you are not stuck with one style or type of accommodation. Our resorts pages and your research will show that you often have the choice of at least three types of room or villa. One of these will generally be level access.
As always our proverbial disclaimer is to make sure you do your research on the resort! The great thing about the web is that you can now see images of a resort and even internal shots of accommodation. A real boost for being able to travel where you want to.
On the subject of getting around, if you or anyone you’re travelling with is relies on a guide dog then it’s important to know that dogs are not permitted in the Maldives.
The great thing about a Maldives holiday is that every traveller can enjoy lazing on the beach or a drink at the bar. If you have a physical impairment, you’re still able to enjoy virtually all the activities available such as, sailing, fishing cruises, sunset cruises, island hopping or taking a dip in the water. In fact most of the dive schools will be able to arrange a course for those with physical disabilities.
Our top tip for disabled travel information for the Maldives is to check with your travel agent to ensure your chosen resort can meet your requirements. You can also contact your resort by e-mail after you’ve booked.
And Charley and I have a PS for you. We are keen to expand this section with your experience and knowledge on which resorts are accessible. We can chatter away on what we think is fine but need you to tell us the reality of being able to access your room, your fishing trip, restaurant experience etc...
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