Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, is one of the most luxurious destinations in the world. It is also known for post-card shots of expensive water villas, with rates reaching up to P 50,000 – P 100,000 per night. but Maldives is more than just that. Here’s a list of things you could do when visiting this paradise on a budget:
1. Discover the Capital of Male
Male is the capital of Maldives located just 10 minutes away from the airport by boat. Spanning at around 6 square kilometers, exploring the capital can be done in just a day. Walk around the busy streets of Male and get to know the city life of Maldivians. Don’t forget to check out the Friday Mosque.
2. Explore Maafushi Island
Almost two hours away from the capital is Maafushi Island. It is one of the most recommended islands for backpackers and hosts the most number of guest houses in the country. You may explore the whole island by bicycle in half an hour. Maafushi is more laid back than the capital city – fewer people, quaint streets and almost no vehicles at all!
3. Kayak and watch the sunset.
From Maafushi, you may try out different water sports like wake-boarding, parasailing, jet-skiing and a lot more. The cheapest? Kayaking! Rent one out during sunset and peacefully watch the sun disappear in the horizon.
4. Look for a turtle at Maldives’ amazing reefs.
Snorkeling is also an exciting activity to do in Maldives. With over 1,100 coral islands, you will never run out of great snorkeling spots. If you’re lucky, you may encounter manta rays, octopus and sharks. For us? A turtle!
5. Visit Dolphin Point and watch hundreds of dolphins chase your speedboat.
Apart from snorkeling, do not forget to visit Dolphin Point as well! The boat ride is 30 minutes away from Maafushi but the speedboat ride was definitely worth it! There were probably over a hundred dolphins circling our boat.
6. Have a picnic in an abandoned island.
If you’re feeling a little lazy and would just want to chill and sunbathe, have a picnic at Viliivaru. It’s an abandoned resort island now open to tourists. It got destroyed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and got transformed as a picnic island. You may also snorkel at the abandoned jetty port.
7. Visit the picturesque water villas of resort islands.
You may experience luxury without booking expensive rooms. Hotels and guest houses from Maafushi offer day-trip excursions to different resort islands in Maldives. Most resorts offer buffet lunches and unlimited drinks, including alcohol. Fihalhohi Island Resort is an option. They have an amazing house reef. Don’t forget to rent snorkeling gears in Maafushi, it’s cheaper.
8. Have lunch at a random sandbank.
One of the cheapest excursions you could find is visiting a sandbank. Near Maafushi, where we stayed, we saw around three, one just adjacent to the island. Most excursions offer packed meals and snacks.
9. Visit a random reef in the middle of the ocean and be amazed.
Hotels and guest houses also offer reef snorkeling excursions. From table reefs to different island house reefs, you will never run out of options. Snorkeling excursions can cost you $30-$50 depending on the package, usually with buffet lunch.
10. Swim and sunbathe at the tourist beach.
The tourist beach in Maafushi is stunning. It is the only place in the island where you could strip down to your bikinis and swim shorts. Since the country practices Sunni Islam, they have designated beaches for tourists covered with fences to give respect to local customs.