Just came back from our family tripper to the Maldives on Tiger Air a few weeks back, but really one of the most memorable trips as a family we had in a long while. :)
The biggest takeaway about Maldives is that no, you don’t have to spend a bomb to visit Maldives! Its actually really affordable now with “Budget Maldives” opening its doors!
The Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, made up of 26 Atolls. Male is the capital of Maldives and its located on the south of the North Male Atoll. The local island my family headed to is located 35km away from Male, in the South Male Atoll and its called Maafushi Island.
So here’s some photo spam and some details I thought I’d share about local island living in the Maldives!
Flight time’s about 4.5h from Singapore. Customs check and baggage collection were really swift and fast!
The Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is on a separate island called Hulhule Island and its a 10min boat ride away from Male, Maldives. Boat rides are about USD1 to get to Male, and frequency of boats come every 15-20min
We had to catch another boat to the local island of Maafushi from Male’s Villingili Ferry Terminal, so prior to that we went sightseeing! (Which was a bad idea in the midday sun cause it was so hot and the roads were pretty hard to drag our luggage around)
Here’s us at the Friday Mosque, one of the oldest mosques on Male.
This is the cafe street near Villingili ferry terminal. Good to chill out there while waiting for the Ferry cause ferries only come once at 10am and once at 3pm.. and there are no ferries on Fridays. (thats to Maafushi that is)
Bumpy ferry ride which took 2 hours! (And i nearly got boat sick cause of the gasoline smell)
Arrival on Maafushi at 5pm in the evening, just in time for check in and sunset watching….. which was soooo worth it!
The bluish green waters and the orange yellow yolk like sun in the backdrop… woah, unforgettable really, especially after a long day of travel (2h pre flight check in, 4.5h flight, 3h layover for ferry, 2h ferry ride)
Maafushi Island’s a cozy little local island which has only recently opened up for budget travel back in 2009 when the government allowed the opening of guest houses on local islands to boost the tourism economy. White Shell Beach Inn, the inn we stayed for our 1st 2 nights on our trip was the very 1st guest house to be opened on Maafushi island. Currently there are more than 20 guesthouses on Maafushi Island. An average cost per night per room is about USD 60-70 per night per pax.
Most of the locals on the island are Muslim, so there’s no wandering around in swimwear on the island, except for one beach on the Northern/ North West part of the island. This beach is coined by the locals – sexy beach, and is barricaded with wooden screens as well.
The island has an interesting character, even the houses too! Every house has a uniquely painted door and the locals are super friendly. I remember walking around the island and then we saw an interesting fruit in one of the houses and were just staring at the tree with curiosity. Then without hesitation, the guy living in that house happened to see us looking, and he plucked some fruit to let us try.
One of the cute coloured doors!
A view at Maldivian language
Shell picking.. which bro and dad got super hooked on!
A more secluded beach on the North Eastern side of the island.. some tourists & locals go there to chill
Sexy beach at sunset
Beach side dining! Interestingly though, food prep on the island takes 1.5h. So for every meal apart from breakfast we always end up waiting 1.5h before actually eating.
The police station.
Most guesthouses also organizes day trips from USD 5 -40/pax. These activities can be fishing, diving, snorkelling, resort hopping, male tours, local island tours etc. There’s much to do at an affordable price!
Our lodging for the 1st 2 nights of our 5d4n trip.
White Shell sits right at the sea shore, so you can practically hear the sound of the sea from your bedroom, and also at breakfast. (P.S. their breakfast is amazing!!!!!!! Or should I say I really enjoyed the Maldivian cuisine)
Activity board – There’s trips to uninhabited islands, sandbank trips, dolphin trips, fishing trips, resort hopping, snorkelling and diving sessions etc
Happy dad and breakfast by the beach!
Our activities planned for the day was Snorkelling 101 + Resort hopping to Fihalhohi (A resort South West of Maafushi)
Snorkelling 101 was tough cause the house reef was about 3-4m deep and the current was quite strong, making it difficult for most of the participants to be at peace while at sea (especially if the person attending is not really a strong swimmer). The guys at White Shell Beach Inn who organized the session for us had a hard time, cause they had to guide us one by one in the strong currents to the reef and they were also pretty short handed. But really, the reef was nothing short of amazing! I wished I learnt how to dive though cause even on such a small house reef lies so many beautiful aquatic animals, I don’t know what more I’d see if I went deeper (with an oxygen tank). Plus, the quiet of the sea’s pretty calming.
We headed to Fihalhohi Resort later for lunch + more snorkelling because we were told that the resort boasts a shallow and house reef which is also great for beginners and we actually haven’t got enough of the sea yet. True enough, the house reef there was great! It was only chest deep and there was much to see! Bro and I had a great time shell and fish hunting all afternoon. Sadly though, lots of the corals on the edge had been trampled on.
A shot of the corals / fish at Fihalhohi with my waterproof disposable cam!
Water Villas on Fihalhohi resort!
Beach front on Fihalhohi.
We moved to Kaani Beach Hotel the next day (which is just a 50m walk from White Shell)
Hotel view at night, full moon in the background
Kaani Beach has pretty well organized activities, but you don’t get as great breakfast and breakfast view as White Shell. The rooms are better and more modern than White Shell though!
We went Dolphin watching with Kaani beach, which was such an upclose and personal experience.
Here’s the boat driver + helper on our Dolphin trip! These guys were awesome. They even gave us a guided tour of which islands are which as we rode up the atoll.
I think the highlight of the whole trip would be our Maadhoo Island day trip. Maadhoo is an uninhabited island in the South Male Atoll. Basically people go there to just chill by the beach, and the hotel usually organizes a BBQ lunch for everyone.
Pretty awesome 5d4n. Took back loads of fond memories of the beautiful place and lots of nice bonding with my fam too :)