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

By Kach Umandap - Howe May 5th, 2014 Posted in 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!

Excursions

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 DividersBUDGET BREAKDOWN:
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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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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. 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.

  4. 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…

    Jocelyn

    1. Hi Jacoleyn,

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

      Thanks,

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

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Written by Kach Umandap - Howe

Co-Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 136 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she got married then a year later 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. 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.

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