The very mention of The Maldives brings to the fore vivid images of sparkling beaches, pristine white sands, and endless lagoons that shimmer in various shades of blue. The country which is made of more than a thousand little islands, is home to many more sandbanks. Even a 5-hour sandbank trip in Maldives is enough to give you a glimpse of what paradise must be like.
The Maldives has about 200 local islands which are inhabited by the Maldivians. However, a vast majority of isles in this archipelago are private islands which cater exclusively to tourism and some industrial activities. While plush water villas in The Maldives get most of the limelight, there is so much to see in this Asian nation beyond the luxury resorts.
Male, the world’s smallest capital is home to The Maldives International Airport which is the main airport which services international flights and also provides for domestic connections. The Maldives has a plethora of tourist activities to keep you interested for many days. Pick from sandbank tours, snorkelling trips, scuba diving excursions, dolphin watching cruises, sunset dhoni rides, swimming with the sharks, whale spotting, jungle picnics, walking tours, island hopping trips, and more.
A particularly unmissable activity is the sandbank trip in The Maldives which takes you to a deserted sandbank, away from other islands, and lets you enjoy the tranquillity of nature. You just cannot get a piece of earth more exclusively set apart for you! The sandbar is yours to enjoy for many hours before you return to your resort island.
What is a Sandbank?
Sandbanks are quite elusive and also magical in a sense because they keep shifting their position and also disappear completely at times. Technically speaking, a sandbank is a stretch of land that is partly submerged and partly visible off the surface of the sea. While most common in oceans and seas, sandbanks also appear in rivers.
It is a known fact that global warming is bringing the sea level up in various parts of the world. This phenomenon has also affected Maldives in different ways. On the one hand, public islands, which are on the verge of sinking, are being evacuated by the government and their residents relocated to newly reclaimed islands. On the other hand, many ridges and isles are disappearing fully underwater, only to reappear as sandbanks, sandbars and sand strips, shaped by the ebbs and flows of the waters.
Recreationally, sandbanks are great getaways from the tourist-heavy private islands or the dense public island villages. Most of these sandbanks are nameless, being known usually by their proximity to the nearest island. Nevertheless, they have a charm that needs no moniker for its validation!
5 Hour Sandbank Trip Timings & Fee
The full day sandbank tour in The Maldives begins either by 10 AM or 11 AM, lasting until 4 PM. The sandbank trip operates on all days of the week, and you can book a day that is convenient for you.
The 5 hour sandbank trip in Maldives costs USD 135 per person for adults. Infants under the age of 6 years can enjoy the tour free of charge. The rate for children between the ages of 6 and 11 is half the rate for adults, which is USD 68 per child. This fee includes all the local Maldivian taxes which are GST, levied at 12%, and a service charge of 10%.
Full Day Sandbank Trip Experience
When you dedicate an entire day to relaxing on a sandbank in The Maldives, you stand to experience a lot more than just a day at the beach. Right from the pickup to the return trip, there is something on offer at every step of this tour.
The meeting place for the 5 hour sandbank trip is the Hulhumale main jetty, at a point which is adjacent to the ferry terminal. If you happen to stay in Hulhumale itself, or even the nearby city of Male, the capital of The Maldives, you can be collected from your hotel on the respective island. On special request, cruise tender jetty pickup is also available for the participants.
A speedboat will ferry you to the secluded sandbank, exclusively reserved for you. Over the course of the morning cruise, you will be given a safety briefing by the tour guide. You will also be given a safety jacket to wear while you are onboard. Within 40 to 45 minutes, you will arrive at your much awaited destination!
Once on the sandbank, you can do what you have booked this vacation for – chilling and doing just nothing at all. While some may love to laze on the soft sands, some might want an activity to keep them from getting bored. Your local guide will brief you about the good practises of responsible snorkelling so as to leave the lagoon as pristine as you first found it.
You will be provided with snorkelling equipment such as masks. You may not need flippers since the house reef will be shallow. The underwater world is unbelievably spectacular in The Maldives. There are countless colourful fishes, manta rays, sting rays, and other sea creatures that survive among the coral reefs and underwater plants which together form the barrier reef ecosystem.
Look forward to your Fish ID card which will come in handy while identifying various fishes you come across during your swims. If you struggle with swimming or cannot swim at all, you can take the buoyancy aids which are always accessible to the participants. Your tour guide will also help you navigate through the waters and act as a spotter to help you find interesting marine life.
Snacking on the Sandbank
You will be provided with ample water throughout the 5 hour sandbank trip in The Maldives. You can also dig into some deliciously juicy and fresh tropical fruits which will be carried along in an ice-box.
Sunbathing on the Sandbank
If you happen to come from a part of the world where sunlight is rare, you will definitely want to win some tan on this Maldivian holiday. However, you are unlikely to get much tan unless you fully embrace the afternoon sun. Come prepared with your tanning lotion and a spare blanket for a perfectly bronzed glow.
Your tour price includes a complimentary towel and also a sun parasol under which to lie. If you are not too keen on getting tanned, you should douse a lot of sunscreen gel all over your exposed body parts as the sun rays tend to be quite strong here. Your sunblock should ideally be SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 40 and above, and you must remember to reapply after every hour or so. Many lotions additionally state the TPI (Tan Protection Index), which should be considerably higher than the SPF value.
Optional Picnic Lunch
For the ultimate Maldivian getaway experience, upgrade your 5-hour sandbank trip to include a traditional lunch picnic. The powdery sands and turquoise waters make for an excellent backdrop for a picnic. Indulge your taste buds and explore Maldivian gastronomy as a delectable spread is laid out before you on a picnic mat thrown over the sand.
Relish the soulful flavours of Maldivian cooking which involves the usage of a lot of spices, coconut shavings and also coconut milk. Sample the fresh seafood which melts in your mouth, thanks to the traditional condiments that go into their preparation. Finish your picnic lunch with some dessert to balance the strong flavours of the starters and mains.
After you relax some more on the serene sandbank as the cool breeze blows through your hair, it will be time to return to Hulhumale. The evening cruise will be a rather extraordinary one as you will have the chance to spot some dolphins along the way.
There are a number of different types of dolphins which are found in this part of the Indian Ocean. They’re also quite easy to identify as they travel in groups and move rhythmically, peeping out of the water to breathe before they dive back in.
Things to Keep in Mind during the 5-Hour Sandbank Trip
Day tours in The Maldives are ideal for those who wish to make the most of their limited time in this tropical paradise For a hassle-free experience without any hiccups, be aware of the following pointers:
- While public islands require that you dress modestly, you have the liberty to wear what you like on private areas such as this deserted sandbank.
- The picnic lunch is not included in the price of the regular tour. You must inform in advance about your choice and pay the extra fee for the experience.
- All the guides are Emergency First Response certified and possess International Life Guide Certification.
Once you experience the thrill of being on a sandbank, you will never think of them as idle patches of lands lost in the sea. To explore similar activities, take a look at various full-day tours in The Maldives and liveaboard trips that span multiple days.