Facebook Pixel

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

By Kach Umandap April 11th, 2022 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, 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 Daily Itinerary, Tips and Expenses Breakdown

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; a 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 the Maldives before we became Travel bloggers!)

Here’s our Budget Trip to Maldives!

Budget Trip to Maldives Daily Itinerary, Tips and Expenses Breakdown
Photo by Fabio Di Lupo CC BY-ND 2.0

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, a private boat, and water sports such as catamaran sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling. You can have at least a $500 budget per couple if you plan to do a three days/ two nights trip, but read the article to guide you!

Here’s how we did it:

Check the map

Budget Trip to Maldives Daily Itinerary, Tips and Expenses Breakdown
Photo by Chris Oakley CC BY 2.0

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

Budget Trip to Maldives Daily Itinerary, Tips and Expenses Breakdown
Photo by ╚ DD╔ CC BY-SA 2.0

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 the 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 the 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.

Budget Trip to Maldives

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 guesthouses 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!

Traveling 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!

Budget Trip to Maldives

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!

Budget Trip to Maldives


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, that these are reef breaks and may not be suitable for beginners!)

Budget Trip to Maldives

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 four pax (so if you’re a group of 4 then you only pay $10 per person).

Budget Trip to Maldives

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!

Budget Trip to Maldives

Jon and I decided to make a day trip to one of the resorts near 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. 


Where to Stay in Maldives

Best Budget Hotel  – UI Inn

Best Mid Range HotelHoliday Island Resort

Best Luxury Hotel –  Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort Gulhi

Line seperator

Are you on Pinterest? Pin these!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

53 thoughts on “Budget Trip to Maldives – Daily Itinerary, Tips and Expenses Breakdown

  1. Firstly, Thanks for sharing the depth information. After my trip to the Maldives, I will share my experience in my blog. Now I got more information about the awesome island. You did a great job.

  2. Hi Kach! I’m Veronika from Ukraine and I’m totally obssessed with a thought to go to Maldives, but all the tours I check from time to time are insanely expensive. Expensive like hell! i’ve chosen the best time to visit this heaven island by activities (just can’t wait to spend a night on the beach catching that unbelievable bioluminescent plankton) and, of course, explored the weather, crowdiness and prices on an island throughout a year. But the most important thing to me is a price of flight. It’s killing me. Can you advice me how can I save on my way from Ukraine and is it essentially possible, cause i’m in despair! India is soooo a farfar away! Cheeers and thanks in advance

  3. Here have provided Very helpful and informative Post. And I hope this will be useful for many people…

  4. Hi. First time traveller and my budget isnt even close to $1500 breakdown. Im from the Philippines and dreaming to see Maldives. Will it be more costly to stay in the local areas and travel to the islands (considering the ferry rides and all the activities) or is it better to stay in the island like what you did? But $120 per night is really out of the budget. Thank you very much! Your blog is so inspiring. Travelling is really possible.

  5. Hello Kach and Jon…

    My friend and I, both Filipina single girls will be spending our Christmas week this December in Maldives. We have found a cheap accommodation in Male.

    What we are interested in is the resort visit. We are keen on Club Med but we do not know where to contact regarding resort visit.

    Can you help us? We also cannot find Club Med in Agoda and Booking.com.

    Thanks much…


    1. Hi Jacoleyn,

      I am planing to visit Maldives by end of May. Please advise on hotels and places to visit


  6. Hi Kach. Any suggestions on how to plan our trip from the Philippines? We’re planning to DIY the trip but I dunno where to start.

  7. Hi guys! Been following your blog for a long time and it inspire me to travel. Me and my partner will go vacation to maldives in may. Coz we both aren’t fond of waves and we prefer a calmer water to snorkle and do some water activities except for surfing. Can you give us advise on which island to stay where we can find a budget lodge/guesthouse? We are also open in trying day tour resort. Planning to stay for 7-10 days in maldives but im confused which island to choose to stay. Hope you can help us with our dilemma. Thanks in advance!

  8. 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!

      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?

  9. Hi Kach, would you recommend to book day tour via local accommodation in Male. Any other recommendation than Club Med?

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

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    1. Indeed Natasha but book the boat in advance, they change the rate if it’s last minute! =)

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

  14. 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?

        1. Hello Tita Pinky, I think the best time is from April to June. We were there in April and the weather is great! =)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER:Many of the articles on Two Monkeys Travel Group are guest posts by a number of Approved Contributors and are hosted by Two Monkeys Travel Group. Approved Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. This includes all text and images that they use within their own work. All contributors are instructed to follow internationally recognised copyright and intellectual property guidelines. Two Monkeys Travel Group takes its own responsibilities very seriously, so if you feel that any part of this work is abusive in any way, please send us an email so that we can investigate - [email protected]

DISCLOSURE: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. So when you make a purchase we sometimes make a small commission, at no extra cost to you. The cost to you remains the same, sometimes even cheaper if we have negotiated a special deal for our readers.We use all of the companies we have listed here and that’s why they are in this list, but of course we need to keep Two Monkeys Travel Group running as well as it can, which is exactly what you’re helping with if you do decide to buy or book something through an affiliate link! If you have any more questions about the companies we use or any other companies you’re looking at, just email us and we’ll be happy to help.Please see our full disclaimer page for more information.

Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.