The Backpacking Housewife Maldives Budget Holiday

MALDIVES: HOLIDAY ON A BUDGET!

PART ONE – MALE

Maldives: tiny tropical islands in the Indian Ocean with powder soft dazzlingly white sand beaches and swaying palm trees, surrounded by coral atolls and warm azure waters – a dreamy paradise and ultimate beach destination.

And, looking at the cost of a Maldives resort island holiday, it seems impossible to get there on a budget.

But, as we were already in Asia – and it was coming up to our 40th wedding anniversary – we were looking at taking a two-week holiday vacation using a budget airline to fly to Maldives capital city Male!

We saw that return tickets on Air Asia flying from Kuala Lumpur to Maldives were less than £100 UK at $100 USD each.

MALDIVES: PART ONE - MALE - LET'S SKIP TO THE GOOD PART #travel #male #maldives #maldivesholiday

MALDIVES HOLIDAY ON A BUDGET

We’ve been fortunate to have visited Maldives on two previous occasions.

But, that was many years ago, when the only option for a Maldives holiday was a costly package deal.

Our first time in Maldives, we flew from the UK, via Dubai, and stayed for one week on a ‘rustic’ island resort called Biyadhoo.

Biyadhoo was a 40 minute speedboat ride from the airport island at Male.

It was wonderful. One hotel on a tiny island that you could walk around in about 15 minutes.

There was a small white sand beach, one restaurant serving three wonderful meals a day, a palm thatched bar, and a small ‘regimented block’ of apartment style rooms. But one week went by so fast there and I was sad to leave!

I can’t remember the exact cost – as it was a long time ago – but we used a travel agent and it was expensive.

Maldives holiday on a budget. The backpacking housewife
On Biyadhoo Island Resort

MALDIVES RESORT ON A BUDGET

Biyadhoo was a three-star ‘resort island’ and it had a wonderful charm and a laid-back vibe.

Everyone agreed one day it would be ‘done up’ and ‘priced up’ and in the process it would lose its rustic allure.

And, I see that is happening right now, because in 2024 Biyadhoo is closed for an upgrade!

Maldives All Inclusive Resorts

Our second visit to Maldives was a two-week holiday on an island resort that was a little more luxurious.

We stayed at an all-inclusive resort called Adaaran Select Meedhupparu.

And we flew to the island on the east of the Northern Maalhosmadulu Atoll in the Maldives from Male in a sea plane.

It was amazing but I see its well out of our price range this time around.

Generally, island resorts in Maldives are priced are upwards of 100’s if not 1000’s of £/$ per night.

Maldives holiday on a budget. The backpacking housewife
Maldives Island Resort – Adaaran Select Meedhupparu

THE CHEAPEST WAY TO HOLIDAY IN MALDIVES

BUT, since we were last in Maldives, the Maldivian government has passed a ruling that local people living on local islands can open and run guesthouses.

A much more affordable option for a Maldives holiday on a budget and we do love a homestay!

We’ve stayed in homestays in various parts of Asia and we’ve always enjoyed a small family run accommodation.

The ‘downside’ of taking a Maldives holiday on a budget, however, is that there is no alcohol available on local islands.

This is because Maldives is a Muslim country and alcohol possession and consumption is illegal.

All the private resort islands have a special licence that enables them to serve alcohol to their guests.

We were looking to return to Maldives to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The backpacking housewife
We were looking to return to Maldives to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary

Up until that point – and looking to return to Maldives to celebrate our special wedding anniversary – we had already been travelling extensively through Asia, having just returned to Kuala Lumpur from South Korea, and Japan, and Taiwan.

So, we were looking for a relaxing and laid-back and idyllic beach holiday.

We didn’t really need or want to do anything except to relax on a while sand beach and swim in the warm clear ocean.

And, we decided that could manage for two weeks without a beer or a cocktail, and it would likely do us some good!

Looking on the accommodation booking site (affiliate link) Booking Dotcom, I came across a small hotel on a local island in Maldives, with lots of wonderful reviews.

The hotel is called (link to their FB Page) Koimala and it’s on Maamigili Island in South Ari Atoll.

Koimala means ‘Whaleshark’ and the name Maamigili means ‘Whale Shark Island’.

It sounded perfect!

Especially as the total price of staying in a double room with private bathroom including breakfast each morning on the dates we wanted was priced on (affiliate link) Booking Dotcom at only £335 GBP (approx. USD$ 425) for two weeks!

That price for accomodation was not per person but for both of us for two weeks!

Maldives Island the name Maamigili means ‘Whale Shark Island’. The backpacking housewife
Maamigili means ‘Whale Shark Island’.

HOW TO GET TO MAAMIGILI ISLAND – SOUTH ARI ATOLL

Independent travel is still quiet new to Maldives so we researched how we would get to Maamigili Island.

We decided we’d take the local ferry from Male airport island (the airport is on a small island) over to Male itself at a cost US$1 each.

Be warned: if you take a private taxi boat you’ll pay an awful lot more!

Watch my short video below with my impressions of our arrival in Male…

MALDIVES HOLIDAY ON A BUDGET - MALE #travel #maldives #male

From Male, we knew we’d have to wait for a couple of hours to take the local boat to Maamigili.

We were quoted US$ 35 each. Journey time 2.30 hrs.

In my video I explain (wrongly!) that the journey took 40 minutes.

Now, Maamigili is the only island in South Ari Atoll with an airstrip.

So, you should know that a (20-minute flight) with domestic carrier FLYME is certainly an option.

But, as we were on a tight budget, we’d decided to take the local boat.

With a couple of hours to spare to the scheduled departure time, we walked around the centre of Male, to check out the city centre and see the busy fish market.

Take a look at my short videos for snippets of Maldivian City Life!

Back at the ferry dock, we saw our boat was now available and we could finally board.

LET'S EXPLORE MALE MALDIVES #maldives #travel #travelwithme

MALDIVES HOLIDAY ON A BUDGET

It was a long hot and quite arduous boat ride to South Ari Atoll be honest.

As you can see from my video, we sat at the back of the boat thinking we’d catch a nice breeze.

But instead, we got overheated and sunburned and after a couple of hours we both developed a terrible headache from the noise and vibration of the speedboat engines at full throttle directly behind us.

When we eventually arrived at Maamigili, the smiling owner of (link to their Facebook Page) Koimala Hotel was waiting to greet us at the dock.

After checking in, we wasted no time in heading straight to the beach, to see a perfect Maldivian sunset!

And, for the next two weeks, every night, we got to watch the sun setting there and it was beautiful.

MALDIVES HOLIDAY ON A BUDGET - MALE TO MAAMIGILI ISLAND #travel #maldives #male #travelwithme

OVERNIGHT IN MALE MALDIVES

We returned to Male for an overnight stay on our final night in Maldives as we couldn’t do the return 2.30 hour boat journey and the flight on the same day.

Once back in Male we took the local public bus over the bridge to Hulhumale Island.

If you choose a private taxi then it will cost a lot more than a couple of dollars!

Hulhumale island is a small reclaimed strip of an island town adjacent to Male with lots of hotels for all budgets.

It is located conveniently close to the airport and a great place to have a relaxing overnight either before or after transiting to your destination island if your flight times don’t match up with your onward travel schedule.

Again, I booked our hotel using Booking Dotcom and we stayed at Hotel Paralian Hulhumale.

A double room for one night with breakfast included (served at the roof top restaurant overlooking the beach) cost us £52 GBP or $66 USD.

Sunset on Maamigili Island Maldives

See my next post for more Maldives Holiday On A Budget!

PART TWO: MAAMIGILI ISLAND

See my next post – click the image above – in which I’ll show you what our two-week holiday was like on Maamigili Island.

I have lots more photos and video clips to share with you and lots on information about Maamigili Island.

Plus I’ll have a total travel cost for our flights, boats, accommodation, and food, for the whole two weeks.

Travel with me to Maamigili Island on a fabulous Maldives holiday on a budget!

Has this post been helpful to you?

Are you dreaming of a holiday in Maldives?

Join me in my next post on Maamigili Island!

I RECOMMEND BOOKING YOUR MALDIVES ACCOMODATION USING BOOKING DOTCOM

THE BACKPACKING HOUSEWIFE AFFILIATE LINK STATEMENT

I RECOMMEND YOU TRAVEL WITH TRAVEL INSURANCE

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