Budget Trip to Maldives

Budget Trip to Maldives – Daily Itinerary, Tips and Expenses Breakdown

Kach Umandap - Howe Destination, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 53 Comments

The Maldives has always had the reputation of a luxury, island paradise reserved for the wealthy and couples on honeymoon, spending about $1000 per/night.  Not anymore! Here’s our Budget Trip to Maldives.

Budget Trip to Maldives

Check out some of the fresh and cheap tours you could do in Maldives.

With changes to the law allowing locals to open guesthouses on private islands, there are now plenty of options for the budget backpacker. It’s possible to spend $100 to $200 a day per couple including; deluxe room; full board meals; snorkeling and other excursions. Obviously, that’s a lot compared to SE Asia, but the term ‘budget’ is relative depending on where you’re traveling! (PS We went to Maldives before we became Travel bloggers!)

Monkey DividersHere’s our Budget Trip to Maldives!

Jon and I stayed in the Maldives for six days with a budget of $1500 including our flights, a luxurious day in a 5-star resort, private boat and water sports such as catamaran sailing, kayaking, snorkeling. You can have at least $500 budget per couple if you plan to do a three days/ two nights trip, but read the article to guide you!

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Here’s how we did it:

Check the map

The Maldives is made up of 1,192 islands, of which 192 are inhabited by a population of just 328,536.  Many of these islands have been developed by the 4 and 5-star resorts for which the country is most famous.

However, local residential islands like Hulhumale and Thulusdoo are seeing an increase in guesthouses offering deals for between $100 to $200 a night.  We chose Thulusdoo island – it’s only 1 hour and 30 mins from the Capital (Male) by ferry and is home to two of the most famous surfing spots in the whole Maldives – Cokes Surf Point and Chicken Surf Point. The island is a perfect base camp for snorkeling, fishing, diving and of course surfing

Book a cheap ticket

Jon and I were already in India, so we looked for the cheapest airport to fly to and from the Maldives.  We found a $220 roundtrip ticket from Trivandrum International Airport-which is the Southern-most city in India. It depends on where you’re flying from, but there are always deals to be found if you’re flexible with your travel dates.If you’re coming from South East Asia, then wait for the deals from Air Asia as they started flying directly to Maldives. However, from Europe, there are increasing direct flights from Germany and UK.

If you can’t find a cheap direct flight then maybe you can book a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka which is the nearest to Maldives and the cheapest to fly from.

Book your guesthouse, inn or lodge in advance

There are lots of new guesthouses popping up all over the Maldives which cater to budget travelers.  Since Jon was planning on surfing, we chose Thulusdoo Island, which has two famous surf spots – Cokes and Chickens. We found this guesthouse, Askani Thulusdoo, which was newly built a month (February 2014) before our arrival.

We got a great deal with $600 for two people for five nights, including a Deluxe Air-conditioned room; full-board meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner); free Wifi (yes, some guesthouse will ask you to pay!).

There was only one other couple staying there for our first two days, so we had the place to ourselves for much of the trip!  Good news! Askani Thulusdoo is now offering meals from their very own selective menu!

Monkey DividersTraveling to the Island

If you’re staying in one of the expensive resorts, then you need to travel from the airport by private speed boat or a seaplane, and you don’t want to know how much that costs!

When choosing a guesthouse, check that they have a public ferry used by the residents. We paid just $2 each way from Male to Thulusdoo.  Also, check the timings of the ferries as some only go once a day like 3 PM from Male and at 8 AM from Thulusdoo to Male.  If you’re not careful with your flight times, you could accidentally lose a day of your trip!


While the Maldives is famous for diving, snorkeling, sailing and other water sports, Thulusdoo Island is famous for its’ surfing. You can rent a surfboard there, or you can bring your own.  (Be aware though, these are reef breaks and may not be suitable for beginners!)

For snorkeling, as long as you have your mask and snorkel, then you can just walk 5 minutes to the beach where you can see plenty of fish and corals.  You can also rent a boat to take you to a snorkeling spot which is worth it for $30- $40 per trip with a maximum of for four pax (so if you’re a group of 4 then you only pay $10 per person).

You can also scuba dive, go on a day trip to a virgin island or go sunset fishing. Although it’s highly suggested that you arrange these trips beforehand with the guesthouse, so you don’t have to bargain the price of separate activities when you arrive.

Go on a day trip to any resort – Experience the luxury of a 4/5* resort, without paying $700-$2000 a night!

Jon and I decided to make a day trip to one of the resorts near to our island, ClubMed. Instead of paying at least $700/night to stay at the resort, we chose to pay the day trip fee of $120 per person to enjoy the all inclusive facilities and services, including a snorkeling tour, kayaking, catamaran sailing and as much food and drink as we could manage! You can check other luxury hotels in Maldives here. 


Monkey DividersWhere to Stay in Maldives

Best Budget Hotel  – UI Inn

Best Mid Range HotelHoliday Island Resort

Best Luxury Hotel –  Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort Gulhi

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Have you purchased your Travel Insurance? If not, check out this article on why travel insurance is so important and how to choose the right insurance for you. 

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Comments 53

  1. Hi Kach!

    Do you mind if I ask how did you get the day-pass for Club Med Kani? Did you contact the resort directly or was it arranged by your local hotel? Could you kindly pass along their contact details? Thanks!

    Ps. Love your site!

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      1. hey kach! I clicked on this site but it led to Club Farukolhu – All Inclusive. I understand that it was previously owned by Club Med Kani. Is this the one you went to? or to the new Club med?

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      This depends on which island you will be staying! You also have to consider the cost of the private boat transfer.

  2. I wish I’d known some of these tips before we went, I could have gone on three or four holidays for what we paid! But then again I’m disabled, so can’t wing it anymore, and although horrendously expensive, I can’t complain about how well they looked after me.

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      Thanks guys! Snorkling was great but the only tip we could give to people visiting the islands soon is to bring their own snorkling gears if they wont be staying in Exclusive resorts because renting one is the same cost if you’ll buy a new one.

  3. Jonathan, how did the surfing look like? Do you know the best times to travel when it’s not too crowded and the waves not too gnarly? Can also share how much the board rentals are, may be cheaper than booking sports equipment on flights and less drama not having to carry our boards around! Thank you for the tip!

  4. Hi! How did you manage to get that deal for $600? Was it some sort of voucher or did you get it directly from the place you stayed at?


    1. We found it on the booking website, we weren’t bloggers that time so no discount, just found that cheap deal last minute.

  5. Great tips, guys. I think me and Rui, from Wanderers but not lost, will follow these tips soon. Thanks 😉

  6. WOw…amazing..How did you manage to have that budget trip. I mean, i got excited with this. Hopefully i could go there with the same expenses as yours..

    1. Sheila, actually we were not bloggers when we did that trip!! We did a lot of crazy reviews online! haha! you can do it cheaply now, there are cheaper deals! We use this company to comapare hotel prices online then book it to the online website where is it is cheaper – http://bit.ly/1IwWX5u

      1. Kach when is the best time to go to Maldives … I really like to do whatever you did there ?… I’m coming from California … Planning to take d trip on 2017?

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