When you think of the Maldives, you think pure blue water, over the water bungalows and high class resorts. You definitely don’t think budget travel but when AirAsia has discounted flights to Male – the capital of Maldives – I knew I had to go.
I also knew that I had to do some research about how to make this into a more affordable trip. I quickly found out that there are alternatives to the high class resorts- guest houses on local islands. Up until 2010, you could only visit the Maldives by staying on privately owned islands, now the government has opened up the public islands to tourism. Both islands I stayed on were still undergoing massive development to accommodate more tourists. There was construction everywhere even though most guest houses were fairly empty.
While these guest houses are still out of the range of the typical backpacker’s budget, they’re still way cheaper and nicer then what you’d get in any American city.
Note: The Maldives is a Muslim country. If you are staying on the public islands, please be respectful of their beliefs by covering your knees unless on a designated bikini beach. Also these islands are alcohol free (except for Champs bar right next to the airport).
I stayed in the Maldives on a budget for 8 days, 7 nights in 2017 and here is the breakdown of every cent I spent. (All prices are in USD)
|Round trip Airfare from Kuala Lumpur:||$88|
|I lost the paper I was tracking my food costs on. I typically only ate one big meal in the afternoon and breakfast was included in my hotel costs. I also had food poisoning for two days so I would estimate more for seven days. But on average I paid $7 to $10 per meal|
|$10 five bus rides to and from the airport/ferry in Hulhumale, 50 cents for the ferry from Hulhumale to Male, $4 taxi in Male, $2 public ferry from Male to Maafushi, $25 speed boat from Maafushi to Hulhumale|
|Seaplane Photo Flight:||$150|
|45 minutes, round-trip from Male|
|Half Day Snorkeling:||$35|
|Included gear, 3 stops, turtle and dolphin watching|
|Resort Full Day Trip:||$100|
|Included transportation, food and alcohol|
|Hotels for 7 Nights:||$295|
|3 nights in Maafushi and 4 in Hulhumale|
|I buy travel insurance from Allianz in Malaysia because it’s easier and cheaper for me as a Malaysian resident.|
|Total Cost (including airfare)||$830|
Not bad for a week of Island bliss! You can visit the Maldives affordably and still be completely satisfied.
I saw pods of dolphins, flew over the most beautiful islands in the world and sipped wine in an infinity pool with a beach front view. All for less than $850. You can go anywhere in the world, even the most expensive places, on a small budget. Just start saving up money now. I recommend starting with Secretflying.com where I find all my cheap flights!
If you want to know about where I stayed and more about my trip check out my related posts: