THE MALDIVES ON A BUDGET
The Maldives – paradise on earth – opened it’s borders for solo and budget travellers back in 2009. But it seems that this is still a well kept secret. Yes, it is still a bit tricky not to max out your creditcard. But I promise you: with this guide you’ll be sure to live life like a millionaire, while being on a budget.
TIP #1 – BOOK A TICKET WHEN YOU’RE CLOSE.
So this sounds so simple, I don’t know why it took me a while to figure this out. In my mind, the Maldives is only a place where the superrich and wealthy could go. And somehow it just didn’t connect in my mind, that I – a 28-year-old dude – could go there and have an amazing holiday, while sticking to a budget.
The tickets are especially cheap when you’re coming from India or Sri Lanka. Which is great, because after my India tour I really felt the need for the ultimate relaxation. So why don’t you book a short trip to the Maldives after your India adventure? I got tickets for about $80, awesome right?
TIP #2 – HEAD FOR MAAFUSHI STRAIGHT AWAY!
The first thing that I did, was to book accommodation on the capital island ‘Malé’. Malé is so overcrowded that there is no more room to build any new buildings, the streets are very hectic and the beauty of the Maldives is nowhere to be found. They even build a new island, called ‘Hulhumalé’ to house a big part of the overcrowded Malé population.
So guess what? I decided to pack my things and take a ferry to Hulhumalé. But this wasn’t anything like the amazing pictures that I saw. So once more, I took the ferry. Now I was off to the paradise island of Maafushi!
So glad I did, because: this is THE place for backpackers and solo travelers! So take your travel buddy, your girlfriend or boyfriend to share a room. Each of you will pay about $15 per night on the amazing island, if you book early. And all the activities here are way cheaper than any other island!
TIP #3 – JUST TAKE THE FERRY, DUDE.
You can go by water plane to every island you dream of for about $400 and live the dream. But I figured that I’ll do that when I’m a millionaire. For now, I would just take the public ferry for about $2.
Maafushi is about half an hour away from Malé, the other islands are a bit further away. A helpful website is http://www.atolltransfer.com
If you want to get everywhere a bit faster, it’s also possible to get on a speedboat for about $25 – $50 (depending on your destination). A smart thing to do is ask your accommodation to help you out! Otherwise you can always ask around in the local docks if there are any boats that are willing to take you to your destination.
TIP #4 – BRING YOUR SNORKELLING GEAR
Forget expensive dive trips! Go for a full day snorkeling trip around three reefs, for only €40. Check out amazing colorful reefs, turtles and run in to some very curious fish along the way.
If you go around the month of May / June, you’re even able to spot Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. They’ll even take you out for lunch on a deserted island. So don’t forget to bring your action camera!
If you already have your diving degree, you’re in for a treat! Maldives sports some of the best diving sites around the world. Amazing shipwrecks and the most colorful coral reefs you’ll ever seen in your life!
Rather not go all the way underwater and stay on your surfboard? No biggie! Just spot all the amazing creatures from the top of the wave, the water is so crystal clear you’ll be able to spot a few at least!
TIP #5 – BE A MILLIONAIRE FOR A DAY
Your Maldives experience isn’t complete without at least feeling like you’re a rich kid. Want to hang with the rich and famous? Feel like a millionaire for a day? Don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for just one night on a resort island? Your worries are over! Just book a day trip to a 5-star resort island for about $80.
Some of the best deals include one of the following: (alcoholic) beverages, lunch, dinner. Usage of all facilities on the island, like: the island reefs, snorkeling gear, aqua sports, massages.
Not such a bad idea right?
A word of advice:
It’s good to read up on The Maldives before you’re going out on your adventure. The Maldives is a 100% Muslim country by law, this means that if you’re not on a resort island there are some rules to follow. Only wear bikini and swim shorts on the special tourist beaches (Bikini Beach), otherwise just make sure you wear a t-shirt and shorts.
There is no alcohol allowed into the country, which is actually pretty fun. Cause now you have to figure out what the phone number is for the ‘secret boat’, where you can drink a cocktail legally out on the ocean.
Money is always an issue here, you can pay everything with $USD, but there are almost no ATMs on the islands other than Malé and Hulhumalé. So make sure to bring the right credit cards and some cash, just to be sure!
Other than that, it’s even more amazing than you’ve imagined.
– In collaboration with: www.cheaptickets.nl
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