Real Maldives for the budget of Thailand




What comes to mind when you hear the name ‘Maldives’? Pristine islands surrounded by turquoise waters! But accessible only through super luxe resorts or equally posh liveaboards well beyond the average Joe’s budget? You would have been correct in the year 2008, not anymore. In 2009, the government opened up the local islands to independent travelers, allowing locals to convert their homes to guesthouses. 

Maldives is a tiny island nation and yet many worlds in one. The most widely known version of Maldives is that of the private island resorts which outdo each other in providing obscene luxury to those able and willing to pay. Yet another version is life in Male, the extremely congested capital island and business center that is more chaotic than Bangkok. The least known version is the humble,peaceful life on local islands that is remarkably ordinary and yet fascinatingly extraordinary at the same time. 

I had the fortune of visiting two small local islands – Maafushi and Gulhi that are within 2 hours from Male by ferries that locals use. The ferry from Male will cost you less than $2! Caveat – there is only one ferry on most days and none on Friday. Ferry schedules are accessible at www.atolltransfer.com. Tiny Maafushi is the capital of the independent travel scene in Maldives and is already heavily commercialized. Almost every home has either already been converted into a guest house or is in the process of being so. Gulhi is relatively quieter, even smaller and has only a couple of guest houses as of now. It is ironic that the very move that has made these gems accessible to common travelers is already jeopardizing the sustainability of their natural splendour. 



The water on the beaches on these islands is the same turquoise colour as that in the resorts. Most of the dive sites and excursions you can access from here are also the same as those you can from the luxury resorts.There is a small difference though.You can spend a fortnight here for the nightly rate you’ll pay at the resorts. But that is not even the real reason you should go here. You should go here if you want to know what ordinary Maldivians are like and how they live. That’s something top of the luxury resorts cannot give you. That’s also the topic of a separate blog post 😊.



Maafushi has atleast 3 PADI certified dive schools and dozens of companies that organize snorkeling, dolphin watching and fishing excursions. All the providers have their offices in a row, close to the ferry jetty. Do ask around for the best prices. If you are keen on getting a glimpse of the resort life and are not very hard up, day excursions can be arranged for $100-$150 pp (rates vary by resort and operator) which will include buffet lunches at the resort including alcohol. Gulhi has fewer options and the guest houses there can arrange most of these activities for you, but typically at a higher cost. 

My advice to every serious traveler is to visit the local islands NOW. Before they loose all semblance of local culture and become tourist traps.Or a new regime reverses the decision to open the local islands to tourism.    

24 Replies to “Real Maldives for the budget of Thailand”

  1. There are some interesting points in time on this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity however I’ll take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as effectively

  2. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write with regards to here. Again, awesome site!

  3. My husband and i felt absolutely contented Emmanuel could finish up his researching through the precious recommendations he acquired through the web site. It’s not at all simplistic to simply always be freely giving tips that some others could have been making money from. We acknowledge we now have the blog owner to thank because of that. Most of the illustrations you’ve made, the simple blog navigation, the friendships you give support to promote – it is many terrific, and it is helping our son and our family understand the issue is fun, and that’s highly important. Thanks for all the pieces!

  4. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was once entirely right. This publish actually made my day. You can not imagine just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  5. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re working with? I’m having some minor security issues with my latest site and I would like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?

  6. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  7. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you’ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What a perfect web site.

  8. I enjoy you because of every one of your work on this blog. My daughter delights in setting aside time for investigations and it’s easy to see why. A number of us notice all about the dynamic tactic you provide invaluable thoughts on this web site and in addition strongly encourage participation from others about this point and our own girl is always discovering a whole lot. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You’re carrying out a really great job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *