QUICK GUIDES | Eight Days in Maldives, a Budget Traveler’s Guide | Lakad Pilipinas

Maldives Travel Guide Itinerary Budget Expenses

Maldives is a beach paradise most sun worshippers would die to visit. The country is located in South Asia, a cluster of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls scattered along the Indian Ocean. It is regarded as the smallest country in Asia and the lowest in the world. With its elevation, it is predicted that it would be totally swallowed by the rising sea by the year 2100.

A TYPICAL RESORT ISLAND IN MALDIVES

Its islands are classified into two types; local islands, where Maldivian people live, and the famous resort islands, where most tourists associate the country with. It’s on the latter where you get to experience the Maldives postcard life—living on overwater bungalows surrounded by the sparkling and unbelievably azure sea.

MAAMIGILI, A LOCAL ISLAND IN THE SOUTH ARI ATOLL

A lot of people assume that visiting Maldives for a holiday would cost an arm and a leg (throw in a liver too!). And it is true, if you book your stay on expensive resort islands. But visiting Maldives on a backpacker budget can also be possible. During our eight-day trip to Maldives, we proved that a tour around the country can be affordable and doable even for regular travelers who don’t have millions in the bank. We don’t look like millionaires, do we?

MALDIVES HAS AN UNBELIEVABLY AZURE WATERS

The usual route in backpacking Maldives is to fly to Male then head over to the Maafushi Island where the cheap  backpacker accommodations are located. Contrary to popular notions, there are lodgings in the country that you can rent without breaking the bank.

A WATER JETTY IN A RESORT ISLAND AT THE SOUTH ARI ATOLL

Our route, however, took us into a different destination. Since we’re spending a little more than a week at Maldives, we decided on visiting Maamigili Island at the South Ari Atoll. It’s seven hours away by ferry from Male, but at USD3.00, the fare is extremely cheap. Why there? Well, we found a good promo for both lodging and tours on one of the two inns on the island. Plus, Maamigili is super close to two resort islands that the usually expensive day tour transfer fees are already waived.

With that, I’m basing this Maldives travel guide with Maamigili Island as the base of operation.

 

 

 

MALDIVES VISA APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS


Maldives Visa on Arrival
MALDIVES VISA STAMP

Tourists to Maldives need only acquire visa on arrival to enter the country for thirty days, free of charge. There really aren’t strict requirements to obtain one, just make sure to have ample travel budget (USD100.00 plus USD50.00 per day of stay) or print-outs of your hotel bookings, a passport with six months left of validity, an exit ticket out of the country, a ready smile, and you’re good to go with your very cute visa sticker. Visa extension is also available at the Maldives immigration head office. In our case, we weren’t asked for show money since we’re already pre-booked on our inn.

 

 

GETTING IN TO MALDIVES


MOST RESORT ISLANDS HAVE WOODEN JETTIES FOR BOAT TRANSFERS

The only way to enter the Maldives is by plane, with Male International Airport (Velana International Airport, previously known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) as its entry point. There are affordable non-stop flights from Singapore, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka to the Maldives. There are also not-so-affordable direct trips from Thailand, UAE, Russia, China, Qatar, Turkey and Hong Kong. Although named after the capital, the airport is actually located on the reclaimed island of Hulhumale, which is about twenty minutes away by boat from Male. There are accommodations within Hulhumale itself (cheaper too, than at Male) should you get stuck on the island due to cancelled ferry rides.

During our trip, we flew the three-hour flight to Maldives from Colombo International Airport in Sri Lanka via Mihin Lanka Airlines for about USD120.00 roundtrip. We opted to stay overnight at the Clear Sky Inn in Hulhumale—since we arrived during the evening—before riding to Male and eventually to Maamigili Island where we spent the rest of our Maldivian holiday.

 

 

HOW TO GET AROUND MALDIVES


Maldives Transportation
DHONI, A WOODEN BOAT WITH NO OUTRIGGERS, IS THE TRADITIONAL TRANSPORT IN MALDIVES

From the Male Airport, we rented a shared taxi that dropped us off right on our inn’s doorstep. Early the next morning, we rode a public bus that goes around Hulhumale to the Hulhumale Ferry Terminal heading to Male Island. From there, we rode a cab to the Villigili Male Ferry Terminal, and boarded the MTCC ferry for the seven-hour trip that would take us to Maamigili Island. Male is quite small and we could’ve walked to the port to save a few rufiyaas, the local currency, but we were quite pressed for time.

If you’re heading to the more popular backpacker island of Maafushi, which is just an hour away from Male, ask to be dropped on Jetty 1.

 

 

STAYING CONNECTED ONLINE IN MALDIVES


Maldives Whalesharks
WHALESHARKS IN MALDIVES

We really didn’t bother to buy a sim card for our trip to the Maldives, wanting to spend more time swimming and snorkeling than staring on our phone screens (meaning, they’re quite expensive for us, lol). We did spend some time on the Internet using our inn and resort’s free Wi-Fi. Should you wish to stay connected to the Internet all throughout your trip, there are several sim cards being sold at the airport starting at about USD18.00 with verying deals for travelers.

 

 

WHERE TO STAY IN MALDIVES


Where to Stay in Maldives
LUXURIOUS OVERWATER BUNGALOWS IN MALDIVES

In 2009, the government of Maldives allowed people on local islands to put up inns and homestays and let foreigners rent them out. Before that, Maldives was all about expensive island resorts that only the rich could afford (lowest in Agoda is at USD150.00, exclusive of taxes and transfer fees).

There are quite a lot of places to stay in at Male and Hulhumale, but there’s absolutely no reason why you should coop up on the city and not experience the thousands of islands the country has to offer. Backpackers usually head over to Maafushii Island where most budget accommodations in the Maldives are located (lowest in Agoda is at USD26.00 per night, exclusive of taxes and fees), but for us, we decided to go for Maamigili Island at the South Ari Atoll. Note that staying on local islands would entail a few prohibitions; no swimming in bikinis on non-bikini beaches, no drinking of beer, and no eating of pork. The plus side is you don’t need to sell your liver and you get to see the real Maldives.

Note that the published rates for hotels and resorts have up to an additional 23% surcharge for service charges and other taxes. If you’re booking on an island resort, take note of their transfer fees which sometimes would be much more expensive than the overnight room rates themselves.

During our eight-day tour, we stayed overnight at Hulhumale at Clear Sky Inn, five nights at the Whale Shark Inn in Maamigili Island, and on our last couple of days, splurged at the Holiday Island Resort and Sun Island Resort near Maamigili.

 

 

WHERE & WHAT TO EAT IN MALDIVES


Maldives Food
TYPICAL MALDIVIAN BREAKFAST OF ROSHII AND MASHUNI

The food in Maldives has a very Indian influence. At Male, there are several restaurants offering various cuisines, but once you get to remote local islands, the probability of finding a familiar dish would be slim. Breakfast was complimentary during our stay at the Whale Shark Inn in Maamigili Island. For lunch, we usually head over to one of the few local restaurants, and for dinner, we just order from them and have it delivered to our inn.

For breakfast, locals usually eat roshii, a bread similar to roti, along with fried eggs and mashuni, a mix of shredded coconut and bits of tuna meat. Regular meals consist of noodles and rice meals paired mostly with fishes and a side dish of crispy papadam flakes, pork is prohibited since the Maldives is a Muslim country. Meals on Maamigili Island runs at about MVR80.00 an order.

Beer is also not allowed on local islands, should you feel the need to drink a few gulps of alcohol, they do allow it on resort islands, just be ready to pay for an astronomical amount per bottle. Against better judgment, we bought a couple of bottles of beer at the resort islands we visited for about MVR80.00 a bottle.

 

 

MALDIVES EIGHT DAYS ITINERARY & BUDGET


DAY ONE MVR 885.00 PER PERSON
04:25 PM – Depart from Colombo International Airport in Sri Lanka
05:25 PM – Arrive at Male International Airport and proceed to hotel
   MVR **.00 – SHARED TAXI FROM AIRPORT TO INN
07:00 PM – Arrive at Clear Sky Inn in Hulhumale
   MVR 600.00 – ONE NIGHT STAY AT CLEAR SKY INN ~ CHECK UPDATED RATES
07:30 PM – Dinner
   MVR 285.00 – PIZZA & RICE MEAL AT IN-HOUSE RESTAURANT

DAY TWO MVR 2,343 PER PERSON
06:00 AM – Breakfast at the inn
   MVR 00.00 – COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST
07:00 AM – Depart Hulhumale to Maamigili Island
   MVR 3.00 – BUS TO HULHUMALE FERRY TERMINAL
   MVR 5.00 – FERRY TO MALE
   MVR 25.00 – TAXI TO VILLIGILI MALE FERRY TERMNAIL
   MVR 0.00 – SEVEN-HOUR FERRY TO MAAMIGILI, SHOULDERED BY WHALE SHARKE INN

04:00 PM – Arrive at Maamigili Island
04:10 PM – Check in at Whale Shark Inn
   MVR 2,310.00 – PACKAGED RATE FOR FOUR NIGHTS STAY PER PERSON WITH FOUR ISLAND TOURS
06:00 PM – Dinner
   MVR 80.00 – AVERAGE MEAL COST AT LOCAL RESTAURANT

DAY THREE MVR 160 PER PERSON
08:00 AM – Breakfast at the inn
   MVR 00.00 – COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST
09:30 AM – Snorkeling at nearby reef
12:00 PM – Lunch at local restaurant
   MVR 80.00 – AVERAGE MEAL COST AT LOCAL RESTAURANT
01:30 PM – Maamigili walking tour, buy souvenirs
04:00 PM – Swim at the local bikini beach
07:00 PM – Dinner
   MVR 80.00 – AVERAGE MEAL COST AT LOCAL RESTAURANT

DAY FOUR MVR160.00 PER PERSON
08:00 AM – Breakfast at the inn
   MVR 00.00 – COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST
09:30 AM – Snorkeling, swimming and picnic lunch at Ariadhoo Island
   MVR 80.00 – PACKED LUNCH FROM LOCAL RESTAURANT
07:00 PM – Dinner
   MVR 80.00 – AVERAGE MEAL COST AT LOCAL RESTAURANT

 

DAY FIVE MVR 80.00 PER PERSON
08:00 AM – Breakfast at the inn
   MVR 00.00 – COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST
09:30 AM – Swimming with whale shark
10:30 AM – Snorkel at LUX Resort house reef
12:00 PM – Lunch at local restaurant
   MVR 80.00 – AVERAGE MEAL COST AT LOCAL RESTAURANT
04:00 PM – Sunset Fishing
08:00 PM – Farewell Barbecue Dinner


DAY SIX ● MVR 1,210.00 PER PERSON BASED ON TWO PERSONS
06:00 AM – Breakfast at the inn
   MVR 00.00 – COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST
07:00 AM – Transfer to Holiday Island Resort
   MVR 00.00 – FREE TRANSFER FEE
08:00 AM – Check in at the resort
   MVR 2,000.00 – ONE NIGHT STAY ~ CHECK UPDATED RATES
12:00 PM – Lunch
   MVR 80.00 – SNEAKED IN PACKED LUNCH FROM LOCAL RESTAURANT
01:00 PM – Swimming and snorkeling
06:00 PM – Shark and manta feeding
07:00 PM – Dinner
   MVR 40.00 – SNEAKED IN INSTANT NOODLES AND BREAD FROM LOCAL SHOPS IN MAAMIGILI
   MVR 90.00 – BEER

 

DAY SEVEN MVR 690.00 PER PERSON
08:00 AM – Breakfast at the resort
   MVR 00.00 – COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST
09:00 AM – Daytour to Sun Island Resort
   MVR 00.00 – FREE TRANSFER AND TOUR
12:00 PM – Lunch
   MVR 00.00 – PACKED SANDWICHES SNEAKED OUT FROM THE BREAKFAST BUFFET
01:00 PM – Swimming and snorkeling
06:00 PM – Shark and manta feeding
07:00 PM – Dinner
   MVR 00.00 – SNACKS WE BROUGHT FROM BREAKFAST BUFFET
   MVR 90.00 – BEER

10:00 PM – Transfer back to Maamigili Island
   MVR 00.00 – FREE TRANSFER
11:00 PM – Sleep at Whale Shark Inn ~ CHECK UPDATED RATES
   MVR 600.00 – ADDITIONAL ONE NIGHT STAY


DAY EIGHT ● MVR 35.00 PER PERSON
07:00 AM – Breakfast at inn
   MVR 00.00 – COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST
08:00 AM – Transfer from Maamigili to Hulhumale
   MVR 00.00 – SEVEN-HOUR FERRY TO MALE, PART OF WHALE SHARK IN PACKAGE
   MVR 25.00 – TAXI RIDE TO AIRPORT FERRY TERMNIAL
   MVR 10.00 – FERRY TO HULHUMALE AIRPORT

06:25 PM – Flight out of Maldives to Colombo, Sri Lanka

 

MVR 5,563.00 or PHP 17,879.00 
Total budget for an eight-day Maldives Tour per person based on a group of two

 

Maldives Travel Guide Itinerary Expenses

MALDIVES TRAVEL GUIDE AND ITINERARY
UPDATED APRIL 18, 2017

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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