The Maldives is stunning picturesque place, overwater bungalows take advantage of the calm crystal blue waters and heavenly scenery.
However, for many it can just be too expensive or that is the perception anyway! In fact, the Maldives offers a range of islands & resorts for those on a Budget! So the Savvy traveler can still experience this tropical paradise!
Transport around the Maldives Islands?
The most cost effective way of traveling around the islands is the local ferry (dhoni). This costs less than $4 but can be time consuming (2-4 hours) depending upon destination island/Atoll.
If time isn’t on your side, you can opt for a speed boat! Costing around $40 per trip.
The speed boat is also a much more fun, & fast way of getting around, especially if your here for only 7 days! You can also take a sea plane to some islands if your feeling really adventurous, these are great on special occasions.
In the 7 days here, we managed to visit Male city & 3 local islands Ukulhas, Maafushi and Fulidhoo, these are the best islands for a cost effective trip to the Maldives!
You have the option to spend your first or last night in Male city (where the airport is).
Dhoni (local ferry all around The Maldives)
Do I need a visa to visit the Maldives?
You don’t need to apply for a visa before you travel to the Maldives on holiday!
All tourists, of all nationalities, can receive a 30 day visa free of charge on arrival in the Maldives. For more info see.
Best time of Year to visit the Maldives?
The Maldives have a tropical climate and thus are hot and sunny all year round, averaging temperatures of 22ºC-32ºC.
Peak Season is between December-March, so expect higher prices. Monsoon season is between May and October.
Day 1 – Arrive in Male
Arrive in Male, the vibrant capital city of the Maldives. Depending on when you arrive you can choose to stay and see the city sights such as the old Friday mosque & gold dome, and popular fish market via a tour.
The city is densely populated, so if you would prefer to just jump right into the laid back Maldives lifestyle, head to the islands asap!
Day 2 – Ukulhas
How to get from Male to Ukulhas?
Take the first speedboat in the morning to Ukulhas. A popular speed boat operator runs twice per day at 10:30 am and 16:00 pm. The journey takes 90 mins and costs $ 40 per person 1 way. For more details see: here
The ferry is another option and costs just $4, but takes 4 hours so i wouldn’t recommend it if your here for a short amount of time.
Ferry Schedule: Sunday, Tuesday, at 9:00.
Ukulhas: Monday, Wednesday at 10:00.
Ukulhas is located in North Ari Atoll. It’s a small island at just 1025m in length, just over half a mile, with a population of just 900 people.
Definitely the main attraction in Ukulhas is Bikini Beach. A gorgeous paradise equip with sun loungers and trees for shade when you need to cool off.
Bikini Beach is a specially cordoned off “tourist only” area designed for those who wish to wear bikinis or more skimpy clothing.
There is actually a sign to warn “Locals”. It is believed this is because the Maldives is a traditional muslim island and the traditional locals may be shocked by the scantly dressed tourists. Thus it is a tourist area mainly. Despite this some modern locals choose to use it as a short cut…no one seems to mind.
Day 3 – Snorkel at Ukulhas
Ukulhas is definitely one of the most Eco friendly islands in the Maldives and it’s reef speaks for itself.
So put on your snorkeling gear & check out the reefs, the “house reef” has an abundance of tropical fishes, turtles, coral and even sharks! There is also a manta point to spot the mysterious manta rays.
Are Manta Rays dangerous?
Don’t worry, Manta Rays are harmless and curious creatures which can’t hurt you. So feel free to get close & observe their beauty.
If you catch a speedboat to the northern edge of Ukulhas, there is a stunning reef lagoon with octopus, sharks and even more gorgeous rays!
Day 4 – Maafushi
Take the 7AM speedboat back to Male & change over to the 9:15 speed boat to Maafushi. Maafushi is one of the inhabited islands of Kaafu Atoll.
The beaches aren’t the best here but there is an abundance of water sports facilities, which is unique compared to other islands in the Maldives.
Here you can try everything from parasailing, kitesurfing to windsurfing, jet ski and water skiing.
Insider Tip 1:
Maafushi is the cheapest place to purchase great Souvenirs so you can pick them up now or swing by after visiting a couple more islands!
Day 5 – Daytrip from Maafushi
Maafushi is a great place to try take a day trip from with various providers operating trips to nearby gorgeous beaches and of course diving trips.
Day 6 – Fulidho Fun!
Fulidho is an island paradise you can have all to yourself! It is the most northern of the inhabited islands of Vaavu Atoll in the Maldives. Great for daytrips, & snorkeling with baby sharks!
Popular events include, the cultural Langiri, a traditional dance with drums & Thaara.
Day 7 – Relax on Fulidhoo
Relax on Fulidhoo or head back to Maafushi. Explore the quiet beaches in utter tranquility & try some of the tasty local foods.
- There are no ATMs on the island so bring plenty of cash.
- Most guesthouses here seem to prefer dollars, but you need local for the shops to get the best prices.
- Women should dress conservatively when walking around the island. As swim wear is only allowed at the beach.
Where to Stay in the Maldives?
Most villas & resorts in the Maldives start at $400+/night! Although wonderful places, they can be a little expensive for most peoples budgets!
So here at town & Tourist to save you time & Money, we have put together our top 10 budget hotels/resorts…so you can experience the wonders of Maldives in the most cost effective way!
Note: One of our T&T travelers have stayed in each of the resorts below & ensured that not only is it great value, but the service is not compromised!
Top 10 Budget Resorts/Hotels in the Maldives:
10. Biyadhoo Island Resort
Located in South Male Atoll, approximately 30 mins from the airport by speedboat is Biyahoo Island Resort on Biyadhoo Island.
A heavenly paradise surrounded by crystal clean lagoons & fine white sands! The island is also famous for it’s superb tropical house reef which is very popular for snorkelers & divers alike!
Try the restaurant for some delicious, cuisine. Also the Staff here are really friendly!
Prices start at just $120/night!
9. Fun Island Resort
Located on the beautiful Bodufinolhu Island, in the south Male Atoll is the appropriately named Fun Island resort, which really is a fun place to be!
Here you can sample various water sport acitivites from Canoeing, to jet skiing. The rooms are not amazing but the island is, so it’s well worth it for the price.
Try the Dolphin safari or Sunset Safari.
Prices start at just $110/night!
8. Tropical Biosphere Hotel
Prices start at just $60/night!!!!
7. Thundi Guest House
This 3 star guest house is another budget friendly option! Basic Rooms here offer AC, WIFI and beach front balconies with gorgeous sea views. The best thing about this guest house is it’s location on the gourgeous island of Fulidhoo.
The guest house is also just 250 yards from Fulidhoo Cave and the Reef Tip Faru Kolu. In a
Located on a sandy beach with crystal clear sea water, Thundi Guest House offers simple accommodation in the island of Fulidhoo. The property is 250 yards from the Fulidhoo Cave and the Reef Tip Faru Kolu.
Be sure to try out some diving at Kunaavashi Kandu Diving Point, just half a mile away.
Prices start at just $120/night!!!!
6. Acqua Blu Rasdhoo
Probably the best value guesthouse in the entire Maldives, welcome to Acqua Blu Rasdhoo. The rooms are simple yet effective, comfy bed, Aircon and clean…what more do you need!
This is the perfect place to rest your head, after a busy day snorkelling, diving or enjoying water sports and even fishing excursions!
The manager Hassan is very helpful & engaging. The nearby waters offer a great opportunity to see tropical fishes & even sharks while diving!
Prices start at just $30/night!
5. Araam Stay
Araam Stay is a brand new 7-story boutique hotel, manufactured from eco friendly materials! The word “Araam” means comfort in the Maldivian Language.
Due to it’s location, the hotel accommodates mostly for short term or in transit travellers. A simple place to crash for a night in Hulhumale.
Prices start at just $30/night!!!
Most affordable short stay hotel in the Maldives!
Location:Unigas Magu Lot 10788, Hulhumale 20021
4. Kuredu Island Resort & Spa
Kuredu Island Resort is one which offers a hell of alot more for not much more in price! It is the only resort on the island of Kuredu, in Lhaviyani Atoll
The Resort is a typical Magical Maldives Resort! Expect, gorgeous crystal lagoons, white sandy beaches. Overall, there are 387 rooms, 9 private pool villas, a family suite villa. 50 Water Bungalows and 100 Jacuzzi beach villas!
Take a seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport, the 40 minute flight is a bucket list experience in itself.
Prices start at just $190/night!
3. Reethi Beach Resort
Located on Fonimagoodhoo Island, is the 4 star Reethi Beach resort in the Baa Atoll of the Maldives. The staff of Reeth Beach Rsort & and their family all live in a few buildings, known as Fonimagoodhoo village.
At the resort you will find a selection of villas, bars, restaurants and even a spa.
Water Sports & Diving:
This is the perfect place to indulge in some diving & some exicting water sports!
The beach villas here are modern, yet still true to the Maldives culture and the did I mention the on water bungalows…wow! There isn’t as many here as some other resorts so be aware that they sell out fast!
Prices start at $300/night+ and it sells out fast!
2. Paradise Island Resort
Coconut palms, crystal waters and heavenly white sands! Paradise Island resort truly lives it to it’s name! Located in the North Male Atoll, this relaxed island resort is an unreal destination at surprisingly affordable price!
There is always a fun daily activity, like crab races or Karaoke! Also try the shark or sting ray feeding in the evening for free!
The resort also offers a complimentary photo shoot, with one photo for free.
Stay in the Water villa not the heaven villa you will get a similar experience for a lower cost. The only difference being no hot tub.
Prices start at just $200/night!
1. Bandos Maldives
Located just 15minutes (8km) from Male in the North Male Atoll is this exquisite yet affordable gem!
Having undergone recent refurbishment, the resort is now looking amazing! Rooms range from garden hotel rooms, to beach bungalows and even over water villas!
The resort is all inclusive with onsite spa, 5 restaurants and even a kids club!
The Jacuzzi Beach villa is unreal!
Prices start at $180/night+ and it sells out fast! (I’m not joking!)
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