Hotness Maldives - the luxury islands for all budgets |...

Hot Deal Maldives - the luxury islands for all budgets | A travelogue to help plan your own trip

601°
Tumblr nfaqajuvfr1tgz4rco1 500
Deal Captain
319
7920
89
Maldives – the luxury islands for all budgets

Back in November 2016 during our anniversary trip to Bali (only Ubud and Seminyak, no Gili Islands), my wife really wanted to do either scuba diving or at least an ocean floor walk but me being shit scared of water promised her that I shall one day take her to a place with clear water beaches and then we shall go do some water sports.

Fast forward almost 3 years, I planned a surprise trip for dear wifey and this time it’s Maldives. Right until 2 weeks before departure she was assuming we were going on a vacation to Goa and I really wanted it to be that way until we reach the airport in Hyderabad but eventually I had to let her know as she loves to shop and dress up for the occasion. toungueout

Let me split up the whole experience with some major aspects

1. Visa
Our trip was planned with a very short notice so I was looking only for nations that had Visa on Arrival for Indians and luckily Maldives was one of them.

Though the immigration officer did not request for any documents at all, the articles online suggest you to carry the following
i) Return flight tickets
ii) Confirmed hotel reservation receipts
iii) Passport size photos (I doubt if we even need them though!)
iv) Bank statements for 6 months or so

It hardly took us 5 minutes to get the Visa stamped on our passport.

2. Flight tickets
Maldives has the major airport, Velana International airport, in Hulhumalé island but often referred to as Malé, the capital island. As Malé proved to be overcrowded they had to build an artificial island to host the large airport and accommodate more locals. Hulhumale island is almost adjacent and around 5 kilometres away from Male. Both the islands are well connected by the beautiful Sinamalé bridge as well as by ferries every 5 to 10 minutes. Though Hulhumalé is an artificial island created around 16 years ago it hosts around 50000 locals as compared to a mere 10000 on Malé.

The flight tickets are generally the cheapest from Bangalore and Kochi. One will often find more affordable fares via Bangalore or Kochi. Plan your trip well in advance (at least 2 months if possible) and book your flight tickets. I suggest using a reverse search on Google Flights for flights from Male to India to show fares for all locations in India and then pick up the most ideal location and see the price graph. This is for people looking for budget deals and don’t mind travelling to Male from a different location than his/her’s home town.

I booked return tickets from Hyderabad to Male as a single booking for INR 27100 for a couple. The flights were via Kochi on the onward journey and Bangalore for return journey. Though fares from Kochi and Bangalore cheaper I opted to go for a single return booking from Hyderabad to Male as the overall price difference was less than 1.5k per couple.

3. Local transport
You would be amazed to see how transfers happen in Maldives right from the moment you land in Airport. Once you get out of the tiny airport you would be welcomed by a large array of docks right across the road. You can get out of the airport and get on a boat to be transferred to your island. Even in local islands and resort islands the only major transport you rely on is boats. Within the island you can just walk around as it hardly takes 10 to 15 minutes to travel from one corner to other.

Apart from these, for far away and luxury islands you have sea plane docks. We haven’t really availed such service so can’t shed more light on these.

Check the video to know how it looks from the airport biggrin

Public ferries go as cheap as USD 10 or even lower at times but speed boats cost around USD 25 to 40 for local islands. Transfers to private islands are lot more expensive and arranged by the resorts themselves, more on it below.

4. Hotels / resorts
Well, from what I could infer during my trip is that Maldives is ideal for two kinds of vacationers. Either spend big and go to a resort island or save a lot and go to a local island to enjoy the water activities at equally good beaches as in resort islands.

Local islands: these are the islands that host locals, few guest houses as well as hotels but you won’t find beach villas or water villas on such islands. The best part about local islands is that you find equally clean turquoise water beaches and the same water activities but at lot more affordable price and great food to accompany. On the flip side, alcohol is banned in local islands but you get to hang around in floating bars just 2 mins away from coast (the jugaad to obey the law of not serving alcohol on land as the boats are technically on water) and can’t wear bikinis or swim wear openly but can wear shorts and other comfy beach wear. Most local islands have a single dedicated beach that allows bikinis though. Transfers are generally quite cheap too and cost around USD 25 each way from airport to island.

Resort islands: most of the 400 odd tiny islands with habitat of the total of 1000+ islands are occupied by resorts. Most times they sport only a single resort on one island but there are a few of them having two resorts as well. These do not have any restrictions in terms of clothing or serving alcohol but at the same time they are quite expensive. In fact, one will end up spending at least twice or thrice the amount compared to local islands and can go to 5x or 10x as well depending on the kind of luxury one opts for. Other major expense is transfers to resort islands which generally cost around USD 150 to 250 for most islands by speed boat (a few as low as USD 50 or 100 too but may be one or two) or around USD 350 to 500 for sea plane transfers for far away islands. Most resorts add the transfer fee as a compulsion and you can’t even try to find a more affordable option.

We choose to stay in Maafushi which is a local island that’s quite famous for a budget vacation in Maldives. Maafushi is a tiny island that can be covered from one end to other in just 15 minutes or so, it has a few beach side hotels and lots of guest houses. We choose to stay in a guest house called “Alaka at Maafushi” that’s almost on the opposite end of Bikini beach (yes, that’s the name) which is one of the best beaches on the island. The other beach is public beach which is just adjacent to Bikini beach.

We got a sweet deal at USD 440 for 3 nights including airport transfers, stay, full board meals, parasailing, snorkelling in turtle reef, sand bank visit and turtle watch. The other good options were Kaani Beach Hotel and Arena hotel which were right on the banks of Bikini beach but were costing almost around USD 90 minimum per night including breakfast.

On one of the nights we could luckily get a great deal for water villa for USD 413 with half board at Fihalhohi island resort and they even agreed to not charge us for transfers if we can arrange on our own. The resort typically charges USD 150 per head for return transfers but our guest house, Alaka, could arrange for a return transfer at just USD 30 per head.

As we had our flight early at 08:30 AM and there were no ferries from Maafushi to Hulhumalé that would ensure we reach on time we had to reach and stay in Hulhumalé one day in advance. Even though we got a beach view room, the experience of staying in Hulhumalé was hardly comparable to the one we had in Maafushi or Fihalhohi. We recommend choosing some local island/resort apart from Malé or Hulhumalé for your vacation to have a great experience.

Our overall stay was split as 1 night in Maafushi, 1 night in Fihalhohi, 2 nights in Maafushi again and 1 night in Hulhumalé.

5. Food
One cannot complain about food while in Maldives unless you are a vegetarian, or even worse, a vegan. We being vegetarians, the only complain was lack of options but whatever options we had were quite good if not the best. Our guest house cooked amazing food for us and ensured we never really missed good food.

On local islands one can easily have a good meal spending around USD 10 to 15 but can go as high as USD 25 to 35 when you consider resort islands.

Very few amount of vegetables and fruits are grown in Maafushi and on any local island so please do not waste food! They have dedicated islands for cultivation and the harvest is transported to all islands from these islands.

Though the water for general usage is supplied locally, be responsible in using water as well.

6. Water sports and activities
Apart from the typical activities such as banana boat, jet ski, parasailing etc, that you find even in Goa. The other must do activities are as follows

i) Snorkelling – typically costs USD20 to USD 35 on local islands depending on location and duration. Most expensive being snorkelling with sharks that cost around USD 100 per head. Starts at around USD50 on resort islands.
ii) Scuba diving – for 4 to 10 dives it costs around USD 30 to 35 per dive including all required gear and gopro video recording. An introductory dive for non-swimmers and beginners costs USD 55 to 60 including all gear and gopro video recording.
iii) Sand bank visit with lunch – most times bundled with snorkelling package in same cost but lunch costs a bit extra.
iv) Resort island visit – around USD 100 to 250 including transfers depending on resort chosen.
v) A candle light dinner date by the beach smileUSD 70 to 110 for a couple depending on meal chosen at Kaani Beach Hotel. There were other economical options too for a simple candle lit table that would cost around USD 30 for a couple.

For us, our guest house, Alaka, arranged for all water sports as part of the package. The other major and one of the highly reputed options is iCom on Maafushi (you can easily spot them). The prices by iCom would generally be around 10% higher but you get larger boats and better guidance is what I heard. We were really happy by the way Alaka organised our activities so absolutely no complaints. On the flip side, if you are non swimmers like me and my wife who are also scared of water then it’s better you inform them and request for some personal attention.

On day 2 they took us to a far off place for snorkelling in deep waters (assuming around 30 to 40 feet deep) and asked us to get in without even teaching us how to use the snorkelling gear. We were shit scared and didn’t even get into the water. A while later, they casually start cutting pieces of fish and dropping them in water. Within no time we see at least 15 to 20 sharks ranging from 2 feet to 4 feet long feeding on the fish (WTF moment). These are supposedly baby sharks that have no teeth but what the hell! The guys who were in water literally peed their pants first but eventually got comfortable.

The next time we went snorkelling they gave us personal attention, trained us in shallow waters first and then to waters as deep as 25 to 30 feet. Me even being scared of water got comfortable and had a great time.

Oh, by the way, almost all agencies conducting water sports on the island of Maafushi give out photos and videos captured using a GoPro for snorkelling and scuba without any extra cost. Rarely happens this way!

Do note: Ensure to carry a set of contact lens if you are someone who uses spectacles like I do and want to try out scuba/snorkelling. If your have minor issues with sight then there isn’t a need to worry as the water naturally acts as a magnifying glass making it almost 25% better to view at (google knowledge). You can’t wear scuba/snorkel gear with your spectacles on as it would break the air seal and leak water inside.

My wife wanted to experience the luxury of a resort and insisted that we go on a day trip but I find the humidity by the beaches quite unbearable in general and said there is no way I would spend an entire day outside on an island without having a room to rest at times. So eventually we both together thought it makes sense to stay in a water villa for one night and opted for it. Compared to a day trip, the water villa cost us only around USD 250 more for one night and it was totally worth it!

7. Currency
It’s almost impossible to get their local currency, Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), but the island nation is kind enough to accept USD anywhere. Just carry USD as cash and at least USD 50 or USD 100 worth in smaller denominations. It’s very rare to find an ATM so suggest not to rely on forex cards or debit cards but rather carry USD as cash.

When you tender a larger denomination USD note to pay bills you might often find the stores to give back change as MVR. Don’t worry, you can spend that MVR during your trip but just ensure you are not left with any MVR by the time you exit Maldives as it’s pointless to carry MVR back home unless you want to add it to your collection.

The local banks have a very stringent set of rules when the locals try to exchange USD as the banks demand notes to be in almost pristine condition so be very careful on the kind of notes being delivered to you by the forex guy in India. Also, ensure you don’t get the notes wet in water or carry them without much care.

8. Cellphone connectivity / sim card
The best way to enjoy the vacation would obviously be to stay disconnected but then, if you have a family back home that needs to reach out to you and would freak out in case you are not reachable then try and get a local sim card.

You have counters from Dhiragu and Ooredoo right at the airport. Pricing is almost similar with both so I walked into the store that had relatively lesser crowd, Dhiragu. toungueout

I got a pre activated sim card for USD 15 that offered 4gb data, 50 local minutes of calls and 50 SMS. All they asked was for my passport and then handed over a pre activated sim card in 5 minutes.

Our suggestion for budget conscious travellers
Have a split of 2 nights in a guest house on a local island + 2 nights in a beach side hotel on the same island and 1 night in a water villa on a resort island. Trust me, the resort island experience is worth it!

If you are vegetarian or vegan then it’s better to opt only for room only or room with breakfast package. It makes no sense to opt for half board/full board only to end up relishing 10% of the menu. You can rather opt for à la carte for lunch and dinner and have a better meal at a lower cost.

This is for anyone having a layover beyond 2 to 3 hours. Get a PayTm RuPay card that has a joining fee of a mere Rs. 125 and annual charges of Rs. 100 only or ask your credit card company to issue a RuPay platinum card (every major bank has the option but you just have to be persistent to get one as they are more keen on pushing out Visa or Mastercard or Amex more). RuPay platinum cards allow 2 domestic lounge access for free per quarter. I made use of it 7 times over the past 1.5 years already.

Carry a sunscreen with the highest possible SPF and apply tons of it on every part of your body exposed to sun. If you keep sweating then keep applying the sun screen again. My already dark complexion turned me literally into a piece of coal on day 1 after spending just 1 hour by the beach. I was shocked to see my face in the mirror. Since then, I ensured to apply sunscreen whenever I go out but I still got tanned severely. Currently in a state of IAS (invisible after seven toungueout)

DO NOT CARRY A CORAL BACK JUST BECAUSE YOU FOUND A CUTE LITTLE PIECE BY THE BEACH. IT’S NOT LEGAL IN MOST NATIONS TO CARRY A CORAL BACK.

Good or bad, I have this knack of penning down each and every expense of mine, down to the rupee. Sharing an excel sheet for all the expenses incurred and by each category. Hope it helps.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CnvLNvd9Hcmu7...

Couldn’t format the post with relevant pics inserted at relevant positions so sharing a video I made of my trip.

31 Comments  |  
20 Dimers
Images
suspended
0
796
19

Apne ko to bikini beach jana hai bs 1.5 lakh ka jugaad ho jaye

Any idea about irctc packages how r they ?

Cropped7925070673394874474
Deal Newbie
56
84
0

Nice Write man.
I read very calmly ,
Student hun , but Padh ke mja Aaya.
Will do visit once .

Bumblefoot   20070602   monterrey mexico
Admin
1,980
22505
879

great back from one more trip. After Europe its Maldives now.
very well written buddy.

Tumblr nfaqajuvfr1tgz4rco1 500
Deal Captain
319
7920
89
bumblefoot wrote:

great back from one more trip. After Europe its Maldives now.
very well written buddy.

Thanks man smile

Missing
suspended
116
923
20

Very nicely explained all details bro , really helping post if anyone planning to visit. Vu and kg+

Tumblr nfaqajuvfr1tgz4rco1 500
Deal Captain
319
7920
89
harshit1204 wrote:

Very nicely explained all details bro , really helping post if anyone planning to visit. Vu and kg+

Thanks bro smile

Dp
Deal Cadet
50
180
2

Too many details and unfocused. Lost track at #3 itself. Couldn’t gather courage to read further.
VU for the effort though.

Missing
Deal Cadet
51
183
1

Good information plus1

Missing
Deal Cadet
7
883
10

vu + kg

Images
Deal Subedar
134
1860
27

Nice effort bro!
Karma added smile
What was the total expense of the trip @raghupro

Large peace symbol
Deal Subedar
63
2074
23
Awake wrote:

Nice effort bro!
Karma added smile
What was the total expense of the trip @raghupro

You missed drive link at the end smile
He’d mentioned everything from uber to uber expenses.
And everything that we’ll surely miss to carry while traveling in other pages.

Images
Deal Subedar
134
1860
27

Did see it, but couldn’t find total expense!
Now found it! smile @BARCODE

5c557a286e276869038097
Deal Cadet
127
543
6

Awesome travelogue and nice video smile

Tumblr nfaqajuvfr1tgz4rco1 500
Deal Captain
319
7920
89
Expand
BARCODE wrote:

You missed drive link at the end smile
He’d mentioned everything from uber to uber expenses.
And everything that we’ll surely miss to carry while traveling in other pages.

Made the changes about Paytm rupay card fees bro. Thanks for spotting it smile

Tumblr nfaqajuvfr1tgz4rco1 500
Deal Captain
319
7920
89
alphagirl wrote:

Too many details and unfocused. Lost track at #3 itself. Couldn’t gather courage to read further.
VU for the effort though.

Not a professional blogger or writer and hardly have any experience.

Would be glad if you can suggest what could be done better.

18157365 1092022577569460 9015892503473472591 n
Deal Subedar
122
1038
17

There is a sweet couple in your video. Repeatedly coming in between ruining the vibe(making better
😛). imp wink
Will go to Maldives after making 2 lakhs extra for the bitches in bikinis on the beaches by the bridges
I really liked the water and that “aeroplane” fish. Will be fun to throw my future wife in it and enjoy the view

Large peace symbol
Deal Subedar
63
2074
23
Expand
raghupro wrote:

Made the changes about Paytm rupay card fees bro. Thanks for spotting it smile

Thank you sir , my pleasure..

Hitman logo carbon by kelevra2oo9
Deal Cadet
76
352
22

Great stuff dude…it will be of great help who are planning a trip to Maldives…Cheers!

Rupay logo2
Deal Lieutenant
1,086
5572
76

RuPay card soon accept in Maldives without needs of Discover or Diners club network.

Visa and MasterCard payments are settled in US dollars, while RuPay Card can be settled in Rupees.

Missing
Deal Cadet
50
449
2

Wow Brother, your advice was helpful in Europe trip & fortunately I have also booked Maldives on 25th Oct 2019. Grt job. Keep it up. plus1

Tumblr nfaqajuvfr1tgz4rco1 500
Deal Captain
319
7920
89
pbcmehul wrote:

Wow Brother, your advice was helpful in Europe trip & fortunately I have also booked Maldives on 25th Oct 2019. Grt job. Keep it up. plus1

Glad I could help. Booked accommodations too? Opting for a resort or a local island?

In case you are keen on spending entire vacation on a resort island do check luxuryescapes and fabgetaways. Though expensive, the deals are great compared to the prices you get from any other portals.

Missing
Deal Cadet
50
449
2
Expand
raghupro wrote:

Glad I could help. Booked accommodations too? Opting for a resort or a local island?

In case you are keen on spending entire vacation on a resort island do check luxuryescapes and fabgetaways. Though expensive, the deals are great compared to the prices you get from any other portals.

Booked local guest house in Rashdoo @ 40USD Per room per night for 3 people. Total 5 nights booked.
Now searching for a water bunglow near Rashdoo for 2 nights. & yes 1 night compulsory stay at Hulhumale for flight of 8.35 am.

Temp 1245391160
Deal Subedar
55
1070
25
abhishek012 wrote:

RuPay card soon accept in Maldives without needs of Discover or Diners club network.

Visa and MasterCard payments are settled in US dollars, while RuPay Card can be settled in Rupees.

Source pls ?

Rupay logo2
Deal Lieutenant
1,086
5572
76
Expand
raksrocks wrote:

Source pls ?

Not launch yet Bro, Currently under devlopment.

Currently RuPay card fully launch only in Bhutan but offically announced on 17th or 18th Aug, 2019.

Ninja tune
Deal Cadet
105
685
9

Great wire up.
Thanks a lot for sharing.

Missing
Deal Newbie
50
20
0

@raghupro one drive link is not working. Can you please again attach the excel sheet.

Tumblr lj56s3nv3t1qapxdio1 500
Deal Cadet
142
498
30
araggarw wrote:

@raghupro one drive link is not working. Can you please again attach the excel sheet.

+1 … Please re up …..

Tumblr lj56s3nv3t1qapxdio1 500
Deal Cadet
142
498
30

Have u done a similar post on your previous tours?

Tumblr nfaqajuvfr1tgz4rco1 500
Deal Captain
319
7920
89
araggarw wrote:

@raghupro one drive link is not working. Can you please again attach the excel sheet.

CC: @avijeet

Not sure why the link is broken now. Try this.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CnvLNvd9Hcmu7...

Seems to be some redirection issue with DesiDime. Copy the link and do the following changes.

Remove “https://links.desidime.com/?ref=foru...rl=”
Then change “open%3Fid” to “open?id” in the URL. It will work well.

Unable to share the link in any other way. It’s not accepting URL shortener as well.

Note: @bumblefoot @admin

Can you please look into this redirection issue and update about it to your tech team?

Missing