For Decades, the country was only accessible to the richest of the rich travelers. Visited frequently by the likes of David Beckham to Sean Paul, the country is a magnet for all sorts of celebrities, businessmen and women, and big shot politicians. You certainly cannot blame them for consistently coming back to this beautiful country. The Maldives is one of the smallest countries on the list of seven wonders of the world, and namely a “sunny paradise”.
It also seems like the last place for a traveler with a $50 per day. However, you may be in for a surprise. The Maldives is just as much of a paradise for the budgeted independent traveler as it is for the celebrity. Ever since the year 2009, the country opened up its local islands to tourists from all over the world. Today there are now thousands of guesthouses, airbnbs, and uninhabited island camping experiences. And there are over 1000 islands and 400,000 people ready to welcome you with a warm embrace.
Tourists can choose up to any of the accommodations and enjoy the same pristine beaches the resorts have. The rippled water, exotic sunrises, and sunsets, warm hospitality, lush greenery, running around in bicycles, picnics by the beach, what more could one ask for?
The Maldives easily becomes an expensive fare because of its remoteness and its limited informational guides. The airfare itself can cost up to $10,000 for some countries. People are also seemingly unaware of the local everyday life, where people enjoy the same privileges and beauty the resorts do (Minus the 24/7 butler service). The Maldives also may not enjoy the luxury of fast internet such as TM unifi, but they certainly enjoy a luxurious view from every corner of the country. Let’s explore some ways we can enjoy the Maldives without breaking our bank.
Research Your Flight Connections
It can be tricky to get some affordable flights to the Maldives. The bulk of the travel expense is the airfare. However, If you look at separate connecting flights you may be looking at a cheaper price point. While it is a hassle to have separate flights, not to mention the duration it takes to reach there, the idyllic island life waiting for you is going to be worth it. You can also use websites and apps such as Skyscanner or even google flight to excavate some very good flights. Make sure to leave no stone unturned on this hunt!
The Maldives is a tricky place to travel to because of the limited information it has. There is barely any information on independent travel and you will rarely find blogs about them. Airbnb is still a new scene, much less independent travel. But if you know some of the tricks and trades of local transportation, you are looking at very budgeted travel.
A lot of guests tend to take Maldivian air taxis to travel to local islands from airports. However, you can simply choose to travel using their speedboats or even Ferries to make this a merrier journey. Speedboats are going to be your best friend during your time in the Maldives. They can cost around $20-70 depending on which island you are going to from the capital city called Male’. You can choose the speedboat to travel in between the islands as well. however, it can get tricky to find out the speedboat schedule on your own. This is where Maldivian travel agents can come in and a bit of research on the internet also goes a long way. If you are a stickler for being a planner, the best possible option is to get in touch with a local travel agent. Plus, it can get extremely difficult to research with a limited data package as well. Data packages can get expensive in the Maldives unlike the affordability of tm unifi packages in Malaysia.
Accommodation On A Local Island
Contrary to the common belief, Maldives is not all bungalows with a price tag of $400 per night. The Maldives now enjoys budget travel scenes where each island in the Maldives has at least 5-30 guest houses.
Depending on the island, it can cost around $10-300 per night for a clean, spacious room in a guest house. Couch surfing is huge in the Maldives and is a lot more affordable but a guesthouse is always recommended. Airbnb’s are slowly rising to the occasion as well.
And what’s wonderful is you have around 1200 islands to choose from for your accommodation. Each and every island has something unique to offer. No beach on the island looks the same. But it is all just as beautiful and amazing. It will be useful to know there are around 26 atolls in the Maldives and each atoll has 100’s of islands. Few islands with people residing but you can visit and have an amazing camping experience with the help of a local on one of these uninhabited islands. It is better to narrow down your accommodation search to one atoll and choose your handpicked number of islands.
However, be ready to break out of your plans. The locals will be happy to take you to the best places the various islands have to offer. From fishing trips to picnics on uninhabited islands, you are in for a wonderful adventure.
Find Cheap Food
When you reach your choice of the local island, you will be surprised to find a few handful numbers of food places. Maldivians are heavy on eating at home. They love cooking and you are in for a great time with food because Maldivians love to share their home-cooked meals. Even guest houses have meals included in their prices and they are the tastiest meals available on the islands. Homecooked, fresh, and hot from the stove, you are in for a treat!
If guest house food is not what you’re looking for, hop on to some local cafes where they have amazing food for $2-10.
Have I mentioned how tiny is Maldives? Home to only 400,000 people on 1200 islands, each island has a handful number of people. But this also means everyone knows one another. Your host or the owner of the guest house is probably well connected with local tour guides and excursion sites and tons of local cruises.
Also, most of the time the owners/hosts are divers, fishermen, or sailors themselves who are willing to take you out to the ocean for a day in the ocean. Some guesthouses have boats of their own or a family speedboat to take you around. Excursions from dive shops and guesthouses can cost around $50-100. You can have your minutes of heaven with manta rays, whale sharks, dolphins through snorkeling and diving excursions. It is highly recommended that you get in the ocean, go out to explore some shipwrecks, and explore the wonderful marine life. You are sure to be mindblown by the colorful reefs, unbelievable lagoon shades, sunkissed moments, and loads of fun.
If your idea of a wonderful time in the Maldives is wine, bikinis, and parties, you may be probably better off in the resorts. The local everyday life does not allow space for a party scene or an alcohol scene. There is absolutely no alcohol available on the island, given the fact it is illegal except for, on resorts. However, respect their values and culture and you are in for one of the greatest tropical adventures of your life in this remote country.
The remoteness of the country also allows your inspirations to flow right in if you are a creative soul. A number of navigators and writers have come to this country and left feeling inspired and rejuvenated. Again, the internet may be a bit of a stickler. It is certainly is no unifi broadband. But you are sure to be connected to the internet wherever you are. It is wise to invest a little in the internet package because you will definitely need it to show the world the beauty of the Maldives.
Also, it is quite impossible to leave the Maldives without a taste of what the resorts are like. today there are over hundreds of resorts all with various price points. We recommend combining the joys of budget travel within the local islands with a day of pampering at a beautiful resort. Enjoy the fine dining, turquoise blue sea, the beautiful coral, the sea turtles, and a beautiful ocean view bungalow. if you are lucky, you can even dine in at an underwater resort!