Last year I found some relatively cheap flights to Maldives, didn’t think too much and bought the tickets. I didn’t check the prices for accommodation before, but I thought, like how expensive it can be? I’m sure can do Maldives on a budget!
The cheap way
I started checking some hotel prices… way out of my budget. The first options you get on a simple search are always the super expensive resorts. That was the moment to panic a bit, this was not good… What do I do? So I started reading travel blogs and what other alternatives are there. I found out later that a few years ago, the government allowed more types of hotels/accommodation to be opened, not only the exclusive resorts. And this makes Maldives as expensive as any other holiday in Europe, in summer. I believe in the coming years it will attract more types of travellers, which is great.
I arrived in Hulhumale, where the airport is, an artificial island very close to Male. The flight was tiring, so I spent the night in Hulhumale. There is a lot of construction going on, there are a few shops, the beach is not amazing. It’s more of a place to stop before/after your flight. It’s also meant as an extension of Male, but it’s good for observing locals’ life.
Next day I took a ferry to Maafushi, where I stayed for a week. There are public and private ferries between islands, it’s very easy to get them. One note, Maldives is a Muslim country, so no bikinis on the public beaches and no alcohol anywhere. It didn’t bother me too much because in Maafushi there is a “bikini beach”, not a large one, but since there were only a few tourists/ bikini lovers, it was just perfect.
The island is small. You can walk the whole island in less than 1h, so there is no place too far. The beach is very nice everywhere, and some spots are ideal for photos. There is not much entertainment, only a few restaurants, mostly the ones from the hostels/hotels. But some have tables on the beach, with candlelight, and same affordable prices. As I walked around all island, I also saw a prison (from outside), mosque, school, and the large garbage place, on the shore, which is really sad when you realize all that goes into the ocean.
All in all, it’s a perfect holiday for relaxing, enjoying the super beautiful beach and do snorkelling.
There are lots of trips from Maafushi, water sports and also day trips to the resorts, if you really want to see what those are like. I only took a trip visiting Guraidhoo and few snorkelling places.
At the end of the trip, I left one day for visiting Male. Unlike the other local islands, very relaxed and laid back, Male is crowded, with lots of traffic. I walked around the city, visited the main areas, got a few souvenirs and (sadly) got ready to take the flight back home.
Already been to Maldives on a budget? How about Seychelles?