Maldives 101: Everything You Need to Know

Thinking about visiting this paradise destination? Here is everything you need to know before you go on your Maldives holiday. I have included a Maldives island guide with all the islands I have visited with island reviews and suggestions. I have shared all the information and facts I know about travel in the Maldives after a year and a half of working there.

Here is everything you need to know about your Maldives holiday whether it’s a luxury resort or a budget Maldives trip to experience local islands in the Maldives.

Please note: this Maldives travel blog is being updated in 2022. Some of the local islands and the resort islands I visited before covid and then my next budget Maldives trip was in mid 2022, post covid pandemic.

How many islands are there in the Maldives?

There are 1192 islands of which approximately 200 are inhabited. It is the smallest country in Asia! The islands are grouped into 26 atolls.

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives
Local Island or Resort?
Where is the Maldives?

The Maldives is in the Indian Ocean and a short flight from both Southern India and Sri Lanka.

How to get to the Maldives?

The main airport that you can fly into is Velana International Airport near the capital city and island of Male (pronounced Maa-ley). Visiting the Maldives from India or Sri Lanka is cheap way to find budget flights to the Maldives. Flying from other countries in Asia like Thailand or Malaysia is also a budget option to visit the Maldives.

Do you need a visa for the Maldives?

The Maldives offer a one month free visa on arrival to almost every nationality. Check with your government website to make sure.

What’s the weather like in the Maldives?

The Maldives is a tropical country in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It therefore has hot, humid weather and experiences monsoon seasons.

What temperature is it in the Maldives?

It is usually around 30 degrees Celsius in the Maldives and it rarely changes much over the year.

When is the best time of year to visit the Maldives?

It depends which islands and atolls you are planning to visit on your Maldives holiday. For most atolls the rainy season is between May to October. However, this definitely doesn’t mean that it will rain every day and the weather is extremely unpredictable. Rainy season also brings ocean adventures and is the best time to see manta rays in Hanifaru bay.

Maldives 101: What is a resort island?

A resort island refers to an island which is owned by a hotel. Resort Islands in the Maldives range from luxury travel destinations to cheaper, affordable resorts like Kihaa and Bandos Maldives. Resort islands can serve alcohol, guests can wear any clothing and the whole island is the resort and staff usually live on the same island in staff accommodation.

Photo of the picturesque arrival jetty at Kihaa
Kihaa Resort
What is a local island in the Maldives?

A local island is where Maldivians live and work and local islands are different to resort islands.

What is the difference between local islands and resort islands?

You cannot legally drink alcohol on a local island and you will not be able to buy alcohol on local islands in the Maldives. There are no bars or places to drink on local islands. Another main difference is that you are expected to respect the local customs and culture when visiting local islands in the Maldives, whereas resort islands are merely a holiday destination and guests are rarely expected to adhere to local customs and laws.

Maldives 101 : Can I stay on a local island?

Yes! I strongly recommend experiencing and staying on a local island in the Maldives. I love visiting local islands and I think it is a great way to experience the real Maldives. Read all about local islands on this post.

Photo of local island Thulusdhoo
Visit Thulusdhoo: One of my favourite local islands only 30 minutes from Male airport
If I stay at a resort can I visit a local island?

Yes. Many Maldives resorts will offer local island tours where you are given a tour around a nearby local island.

 What religion is the Maldives?

Many people are surprised that the Maldives’ only religion is Islam. Maldivians must be muslim by law.

Is the Maldives only a honeymoon destination?

Absolutely not. During the 1.5 years I spent living and working in the Maldives, I travelled with friends, family and lovers. If you are a diver or love being in the water then the Maldives is a perfect holiday destination for you because of all the things you can do in the Maldives.

Staying in Gulhi with my family and beach walks with my Mum
Can I travel solo in the Maldives?

I am a huge fan of solo travel around Asia, particularly travelling as a solo female. However, the Maldives has certain challenges when travelling solo, mainly the cost of rooms and there are limited ways to meet other travellers. That said, I have been and enjoyed my solo travel

Backpacker Maldives: Can I backpack in the Maldives?

There are no hostels and therefore you cannot find budget accommodation like in India and Sri Lanka and South East Asia. Even on local islands in the Maldives the cost of accommodation is from $30-$50 per night. There are still affordable Maldives hotels on local islands but note it will not be backpacker rates like some other countries in Asia.

Can I travel solo and stay in luxury resorts?

Yes, you definitely can if you can afford the expensive resorts in the Maldives. Generally speaking, the cheapest resort is around $300 US dollars per night so travelling with someone and sharing the cost of a luxury resort makes it more affordable.

Can I travel solo in the Maldives and stay in a guesthouse on a local island?

Yes. Guesthouses start from around $40 per night so staying on local islands is a much more affordable option for solo travel than staying in a luxury Maldives resort. If you are a diver or join other trips such as dolphin watching or snorkelling trips, then you are likely to find other like-minded travellers as well.

What is the cheapest time to go to the Maldives?

For staying in luxury resorts the cheapest time will be rainy season so between the months of May- October. The most expensive season is over Christmas and New Year and many resorts experience full occupancy.

How many days do you need in the Maldives?

I think this depends on what activities you are planning to do on your Maldives vacation. For honeymooners staying at expensive resorts, many stay for around 4-5 days to experience a luxury resort. For me personally, I could easily spend a month island hopping around different islands.

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Big fans of our dive boat
How to travel around the Maldives?

Boats and airplanes. If you are staying at a resort then the resort will usually arrange a speedboat transfer or a seaplane or a domestic flight for you at an additional cost. If you are staying on local islands then you can take a speedboat transfer from the airport or from Male. Ferries are the cheapest way to travel around the Maldives as domestic flights can still be expensive (around $200 return).

What are the cheapest resorts in the Maldives?

The cheapest resorts will be resorts that are near to Male  and near to the airport because you will not have to pay for expensive seaplane transfers or domestic flights. Kihaa Resort is one of the best budget resorts although it is not near Male, it is in Baa atoll.

What are the cheapest local islands in the Maldives?

Many local islands offer budget accommodation and cheap diving and affordable excursions. Here I have written about the local islands of Gulhi, Maafushi, Dhiffushi, Thoddoo , Fuvahmulah and Thulusdhoo.

How to plan a Maldives trip on a low budget?

The best budget Maldives trip will be to local islands. I’ve written blog posts about all the different local Maldivian islands I have visited here for you to choose which island to visit and what activities you can do on each island. On this blog post I have suggested a perfect Maldives itinerary.

What to bring to the Maldives?

I have written a separate blog post about what items to bring to the Maldives and an important packing guide for your Maldives trip.

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives

Maldives 101: What to wear in the Maldives?

This depends if you are intending to visit local islands. In resort islands anything goes and you are welcome to wear whatever you like, including bikinis. Most local islands that welcome tourists now have bikini beaches so you can wear a bikini and swimsuit on these beaches on local islands but should cover up when walking around the rest of the island. Click to this Maldives blog post for information about what to pack for the Maldives. 

Can unmarried couples visit the Maldives?

Yes definitely. Both resorts and local island guesthouses welcome unmarried couples and this is no problem at all. Guesthouses can refuse to accept an unmarried couple where one of the members is Maldivian and I have heard of this happening to friends. However, I have never personally experienced this and all guesthouses and hotels that I recommend I was able to stay at in a mixed nationality couple.

Is it safe to visit the Maldives?

I have always felt safe travelling in the Maldives and staying on different islands.

How much does it cost to go to the Maldives?

This definitely depends on how much you are willing to spend! Resorts start from $300 per night and can rise to $40,000 per night for private islands. Guesthouses on local islands usually range from $40-100 per night.



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Maldives Local Island Guide: Thoddoo

With over a 1000 islands, it can be difficult to decide which Maldives island to visit so when planning where to stay in the Maldives, consider a visit to the beautiful Maldives island of Thoddoo. Thoddoo is the best local island to visit if you like a Maldives island with long beautiful white sand beaches, snorkelling with turtles and if you want to visit the authentic Maldives and not just stay in a luxury resort. You can read here about the differences between local islands (or Maldives public islands as some people call them) and resort islands in the Maldives.


Thoddoo beach views with palms
Thoddoo Island: greenery!
Thoddoo: Local Island Guide- Island Overview

Thoddoo is in North Ari Atoll and is a speedboat ride away from the main international airport in the Maldives near Male. It is an island with lots of agriculture meaning it is very green and full of plantations. It is well-known for its watermelons as there are huge fields growing watermelons specifically for Ramadan in the Maldives. They also grow papaya and coconuts. It is the best island to snorkel with turtles in the Maldives (I saw turtles every time I went in the water!) and Thoddoo has some of the most affordable hotels in the Maldives.

Thoddoo in the plantation fields
Under the palms in Thoddoo
Top things to do in the Maldives: What to do in Thoddoo

What are the best things to do in Thoddoo? I spent 4 days there and it’s very hard to say which was my favourite activity to do in Thoddoo. Snorkelling with the turtles, walking along the beautiful Maldivian beaches, cycling around the island, taking photos with the palm trees and eating delicious local Maldivian food and sipping fresh coconuts were all high on my list of what to do in Thoddoo.

Thoddoo sunset
Thoddoo sunsets – definitely some of the most beautiful sunsets in the Maldives
Snorkelling in Thoddoo

My favourite Maldives activity is snorkelling. Thoddoo is a great place to snorkel in the Maldives mainly because you can snorkel with turtles right off bikini beach. The marine life in the Maldives is absolutely amazing and one of the reasons why I love living there. In Thoddoo, you can see hawksbill turtles feeding on algae growing on some boulders near the beach. They were so relaxed, not bothered by humans and continued swimming and feeding as if we weren’t even there! Out of all of the local islands I have visited so far, Thoddoo is the best island to see turtles in my humble opinion. Every time I went into the water, I saw turtles and you can even see them coming up to breathe when walking along the beaches.

Is there a bikini beach in Thoddoo?

Yes! Thoddoo has a beautiful, large bikini beach which when I went in February was not particularly busy. The rest of the beaches around the island were completely deserted and a great place to stroll around and swim. On other beaches around Thoddoo, it is not permitted to wear a bikini or swimsuit, so take a rash vest and shorts or water leggings to experience these beautiful quiet Maldives beaches away from the other tourists. For advice on what to pack in the Maldives, read my ideal Maldives packing list here.

Bikini Beach in Thoddoo
Hell yes to the bikini beach in Thoddoo. It has no other islands visible and no boats zipping around either, which probably explains why it was such a great island for turtles!
Scuba Diving in Thoddoo Local Island

During my time in Thoddoo, I unfortunately did not scuba dive but enjoyed the snorkelling the island has to offer. I have heard that the diving here is great as is nearby Rasdhoo (also on my list to visit) and staff in my guesthouse saw dolphins and a whale shark while on a fishing trip at the time I was staying in their guesthouse.

 Where to stay in the Maldives: Thoddoo

As one of the best budget local islands in the Maldives, Thoddoo island is perfect if you are looking for a cheap stay in the Maldives and affordable accommodation for the best Maldives holiday.  We stayed at this awesome guesthouse which included a yummy vegetarian friendly breakfast every morning of orange juice, pancakes and watermelon. There were many affordable guesthouses in Thoddoo and I am very glad that I selected the one we stayed in. The rooms were big, clean and the staff were very friendly, letting us use bicycles and a motorbike for free to explore the island. They had tea and coffee available at any time of the day and a cute courtyard where we ate breakfast. The room rate was very cheap and we received a discount as a local/work permit holder rate.

Restaurants in Thoddoo: Where to eat

Thoddoo has various restaurants where you can eat yummy local Maldivian food and one Russian owned restaurant called the Black Anchor which serves more international food. I recommend enjoying kottu roshi, my favourite Maldivian dish that can be made vegetarian.

Transport: Getting to Thoddoo local island

Getting to Thoddoo from Male or the airport. The best way to travel to Thoddoo is by speedboat. It takes approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from the airport to Thoddoo island. The speedboats are safe, will provide life jackets but as it is quite far don’t expect an entirely unbumpy ride! There is a toilet on board.

The speedboat goes from the airport & Male to Thoddo every day at 11:00 AM and 16:00 PM every day. Return time is 7am and 1pm from Thoddoo back to Male/airport.
Cost is $35.00 per person per one way for tourist price. For locals and work permit holders we paid 250 rufiya one way.

Thoddoo Island Location

Thoddoo island is in North Ari atoll and about an hour and 20 minutes from Male and from the airport. To get to Thoddoo island you can take a speedboat from the airport. You can ask your guesthouse in Thoddoo to arrange this for you as they may even offer you a discount!

For more about the best islands to visit in the Maldives, check out my local island guide with all you need to know about staying on and visiting Maldives islands.

Check out Fuvahmulah island for the best diving in the Maldives and my entire life!

For more budget islands closer to the airport and near to Male, try Maafushi for cheap watersports, Thulusdhoo for surfing and diving, Gulhi for the best beach in the Maldives or Dhiffushi for the tiniest island!

For help with what to pack when visiting the Maldives and staying on local islands, read my Maldives packing guide what to wear and what to take to a hot Islamic country!

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Thoddoo Best Island Maldives Thoddoo Best Island Maldives

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Visit Dhiffushi: Local Island Maldives

Local Island Guide Maldives: Dhiffushi

Dhiffushi is probably one of the smallest local islands that I have visited in the Maldives so far. A walk, all around it, only took approximately 20 minutes. For such a tiny island it has some budget accommodation, boutique hotels and a white sand stretch of beach around most of the island. It is also the first local island that I have been to so far that had seagrass growing in the shallows which means good snorkelling and chance of green turtles who feed on seagrass.

Gorgeous stretches of sand all around the island
Cheap Maldives vacation: What to do in Maldives, Dhiffushi

Although Dhiffushi is a tiny island, it offered all the usual water activities that you would expect in the Maldives like kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, kite surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling, banana boats, wakeboarding are just a few of the activities I saw both tourists and locals doing while I was there.

Snorkelling in Dhiffushi

While the visibility was not great during my snorkelling afternoon in Dhiffushi, the seagrass growing there, along with some patches of coral off of the bikini beach mean that there is a decent area for snorkelling.

The main bikini beach with seagrass for snorkelling
Marine Life Maldives: Dhiffushi

I saw a variety of reef fish while snorkelling and a couple of stingrays came close to the beach in the evening , right into the shallows. I also suspect that this is a good area to spot turtles because of the seagrass growing in the shallows of the beach. Because of the nearby resort (which is almost close enough to swim to) there is quite a lot of boat traffic.

Cheap Scuba Diving in the Maldives: Dhiffushi

I didn’t dive in Dhiffushi but I saw divers going for a shore dive which means that costs would be kept cheap by not paying for a  speedboat.

Dhiffushi Island Accommodation: Where to stay in Dhiffushi

I loved the guesthouse that we stayed in, Infinity Dhiffushi . The ownder was really friendly, the rooms were clean and well equipped and we enjoyed the upstairs restaurant with sea views. Breakfast was included and was pancakes with maple syrup and apple slices with tea or coffee and an orange juice. I paid a work permit rate of approximately $50 per room per night which is great budget accommodation in the Maldives. They also arranged our boat transfer and let us extend by an extra day when we decided to stay longer. There was no problem for a Maldivian national to stay with a foreigner.

Bikini Beach in Dhiffushi

You can wear a bikini on the two bikini beaches in Dhiffushi. You can wear a bikini while on the beach, however it is not considered respectful to walk around in a bikini or bikini top so take a cover up. Our guesthouse said there was no need to cover shoulders and knees and shorts were fine to wear around the island. Men should also not walk around topless.

Drinking alcohol in the Maldives: Dhiffushi

Dhiffushi is a local island and therefore under Maldivian law you cannot drink or buy alcohol on this island. However, as it is not too far from Thulusdhoo island there is a floating bar next to this island which I am sure a speedboat would take you to for a small fee. Floating bars in the Maldives are actually liveaboard boats with licenses to sell alcohol so you can take a short speedboat to these safari boats to have a drink or enjoy a party boat evening. Drinks are not expensive, a rum and coke was approximately $5. I was recently told that one of Thulusdhoo’s floating bar boats is only open on Thursday so check with your guesthouse or places advertising trips.

Stroll around the island for sunset views and these cute swings
Dhiffushi Restaurants: Where to Eat

Cozy cafe near the harbour was great for local Maldivian food although it took some explaining to get a vegetarian meal there! Eventually I got a vegetable kottu roshi which I enjoyed. The Kettle also has a cute beach front to enjoy the sea view while eating and I enjoyed the food and fruit smoothies at the upstairs restaurant near the water sports.

Transport to Dhiffushi from Male

You can take the speedboat from Male or from the airport to Dhiffushi. The journey takes around 30 minutes and costs 175 rufiya for work permit holders/Maldivian Nationals.

Speedboat Schedule for Dhiffushi to Male Ferry
Contact the number above by calling or on whatsapp to organise your ferry booking
Dhiffushi Location

Dhiffushi is one of the local islands close to the airport and to Male. It is very easy to travel to islands in Kaafu Atoll (Male atoll) because Male has such good speedboat and ferry transport options. This means it is a cheap option because the speedboat isn’t too expensive.

More wings on local islands
More Travel Advice for Visiting the Maldives on my Travel Blog:

For further information about staying on Maldives local islands, read my post of Maldives FAQs here

For the cheapest island to visit in the Maldives, check out Maafushi for cheap diving and water sports.

This is the quietest island in the Maldives where you can avoid the crowds, check out Gulhi island. It also has the best beach in the Maldives (that I’ve seen so far!) Thoddoo also has one of the best bikini beaches in the Maldives that is also full of turtles!

For the best budget scuba diving in the Maldives (and some of the top diving of my life) find out about Fuvahmulah island.

Planning a Maldives trip? Read my Maldives packing list here

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Best Activities to do in the Maldives

Many people’s idea of things to do in the Maldives involves lying on a beautiful white sand beach sipping cocktails. However, there are so manymore activities to do in the Maldives, especially if you loive an active holiday like I do. In the Maldives there are so many water activities and marine adventures to be had! Here is my list of the best activities to do in the Maldives followed by some favourite experiences of tourists visiting these paradise islands. 

  1. Snorkel with turtles (Thoddoo is the best island for this!)
  2. Scuba dive with sharks (in Fuvahmulah island)
  3. Swim in crystal clear water (check out Gulhi island‘s top beach)
  4. Explore local islands
  5. Wreck diving
  6. Freedive with manta rays
  7. See wild dolphins on a dolphin cruise
  8. Go on a liveaboard boat
  9. Stay at a luxury resort (even if you’re on a budget!)
  10. Visit a sandbank
  11. Eat local Maldivian food – kottu roshi is my favourite!
  12. Go on an excursion, usually includes several snorkelling trips and a sandbank visit
  13. Experience a resort spa
  14. Jet ski
  15. Kite surf
  16. See bioluminescence plankton lighting up
  17. Kayak around islands
  18. Watch boduberu – a Maldivian drum and dance show
  19. Fly on a seaplane
  20. Have a drink on a party boat
  21. Snorkel with whale sharks
  22. Take photos with graffiti art
  23. Buy lacquerware souvenirs made in the traditional Maldivian way
  24. Go surfing (Thulusdhoo island has one of the best surfing spots in the Maldives)
  25. Go fishing (all fishing is done in a sustainable way in the Maldives)
  26. Stroll or cycle around the whole island
  27. Smoke sheisha on the beach
  28. Do Stand Up Paddle Boarding
  29.  Fly a drone and take amazing photos
  30. Try parasailing

Cal from Mar Pages loved his manta ray experience

Soneva Fushi is known to be one of the top barefoot luxe hotels in the Maldives. Situated on the mostly untouched and jungle-esque Kunfunadhoo island, it’s a locally owned hotel chain with a focus on exploring the uniqueness of the area – over any glitz and glam. After flying in the Maldivian seaplane, you’re welcomed to a world of luxury among the foliage. Water-based experiences are second-to-none at Soneva Fushi, as it’s based in the UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve Baa Atoll, which is in close proximity to some of the country’s most epic dive sites. It also has one of the most popular manta areas, where you can jump in the water and swim with the soaring creatures in season. As Soneva has its own dive centre with freediving lessons, you’re almost guaranteed a perfect experience. Personally, it was sensational to be surrounded by these gentle giants who seemed to want to get closer and closer. I had to make sure not to stretch out my legs and arms to avoid touching them and really enjoyed seeing them dance around in the ocean. Even if you’re not a swimmer, there are tons of dry water-based activities at Soneva Fushi. The most extravagant is hopping aboard the Soneva in Aqua Luxury Chartered Yacht which includes a glass-bottomed spa bath. There are day experiences or even surfaris available to Goidhoo, one of the country’s most premium breaks.

best activities to do in the Maldives

Suzanna from Meandering Wild loved Wreck Diving in Addu Atoll

When you think about diving in the Maldives, wreck diving is not the first thing to come to mind.  However, in Addu Atoll it is possible to dive on a fairly intact shipwreck.  In the Second World War, Addu Atoll was a secret British naval base. It is the most southerly of the Maldivian Atolls and is over 500 miles from Malé. The British Loyalty was an oil tanker that was hit by a torpedo in 1944 and spent the rest of the war in the atoll.  In 1946 when the British Navy withdrew they scuttled her (intentionally made holes to make her sink).  She sank on her starboard side into 33 metres of water just offshore inside Addu Atoll. 

The dive is gentle and if you are not qualified to dive to 33metres the port side is a beautiful coral garden at 16metres.  Dropping over the edge of the port side you can find the hole where the torpedo struck which allows you into the hold and engine rooms to explore.  It is also possible to find the stern section with the propeller still in place, covered in black coral and surrounded by elegant batfish.

To dive the British Loyalty you will need to book onto a dive boat.  The easiest to use is Aquaventure based out of Maradhoo.  They are not linked to a resort and can provide all the kit and training you need. 

For more about wreck diving in Addu read Suzanne’s post here

Wreck Diving in the Maldives


Claudia from My Adventures Across the World  loved her sandbank visit

One of the most unique things to do in the Maldives is visiting a sand bank. These can be found scattered in the archipelago, there are various of different dimensions, and they are nothing more than just a line of incredibly white sand surrounded by the clearest waters you can imagine. Close to the sand bank you will also find a coral reef, which is perfect for snorkeling.

In order to reach a sand bank you need to hire a boat – most islands (local or privately owned by luxury resorts) will be able to provide this service and a captain that knows where to find the closest sand bank.

As the sand is bright white and there is absolutely no shade, you will need to apply a lot of sun block and preferably wear a t-shirt for the duration of your stay. Most boats will provide umbrellas or other forms of shelter from the sun. Some boats are too big to be able to get directly on the sand bank, so you may have to walk in the water to make your way there.

Best activities to do in the Maldives
Visiting sandbanks

Best activities to do in the Maldives


Jacs from Flashpacking Family loved seeing turtles

Our family holiday to the Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives is, hands down, one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. Not ones for sitting around on a beach all day, particularly our adventurous boys, we were slightly concerned about whether we would get bored, but as it turned out, those fears were completely unfounded.

On arrival, we were given a run-through of all the activities on offer and suddenly realised that we may not have enough time to do all of them. We decided that we absolutely had to go on a snorkelling trip and try some diving as the Maldives is one of the best destinations in the world to do this. If you have never been diving before, the Centara Grand offers dive courses ranging from introductory to full PADI courses. 

Thankfully, the resort had the best kids’ club which the kids loved going to, so we were able to take a few trips. Although the corals are mostly bleached, we saw so much marine life, but a turtle gliding by within a metre of us was a big tick on our bucket list.  They are the most graceful and ancient creatures and to have one swim by us of its own choice and in its own home, was mesmerising.

Best activities to do in the Maldives
Snorkelling with turtles in the Maldives

For more about the Maldives read my other blog posts to discover more about this amazing country!

To explore local islands

For a suggested Maldives itinerary

For a Maldives packing list on what to wear and bring to the Maldives

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Best Budget Resorts Maldives: Kihaa Resort Review

Cheap Maldives Resorts in Baa atoll

There are many Maldives islands and resorts in Baa atoll. Baa atoll is one of the best tourist destinations in the Maldives because it is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and has the best place to swim with manta rays in the world. Luckily there are also some more affordable resorts that include cheap overwater villas and budget beach bungalows.

Which resort to stay in in the Maldives?

My recommendation for a budget resort in the Maldives is Kihaa Resort in Baa Atoll.

Photo of the picturesque arrival jetty at Kihaa
Arriving at Kihaa Resort by speedboat to these gorgeous views

Cheap Resorts in the Maldives: Kihaa Resort Review

I have now stayed at Kihaa resort in both 2018 and 2019. It is one of the most affordable resorts in the Maldives and one of the top resorts in the Maldives, in my opinion, because it has Hanifaru Bay on its doorstep, the best place to snorkel with manta rays in the world. I really enjoyed both my stays at Kihaa and I would definitely go back again.

Cheapest Resort in the Maldives: Kihaa Resort Accommodation

There are overwater villas and beach bungalow options here both which are some of the cheapest resort deals in the Maldives. Both times we stayed in a beach bungalow and I absolutely love them! They have amazing outdoor bathrooms, huge bath tubs and two outdoor showers. The villas themselves are an unusual octagonal shape which I love and all of them have a view of the beach. Even the Kihaa beach villas set a little way back are a short stroll to the beach. The housekeeping staff were fantastic, even doing special set ups during turn down service while we were out at dinner.

Kihaa Beach behind me
Follow me to Kihaa’s beautiful white sand beaches, just a stroll from our beach villa

Kihaa Island Resort Reviews: Best activities in Kihaa

The best activity to do in the Maldives is snorkelling and scuba diving. The house reef around Kihaa means it has some of the best snorkelling in the Maldives. In a couple of hours snorkelling we saw two turtles, multiple black tip reef sharks, a nurse shark, moray eels and beautiful schools of banner fish. Scuba diving around Kihaa is great because of the fairly decent coral reefs and you have a high chance of seeing manta rays while diving because of the proximity of Hanifaru Bay. Please note that you can only snorkel with mantas inside Hanifaru bay as scuba diving is prohibited due to strict regulations by the Maldivian government to protect this area for manta conservation. For more about snorkelling with manta rays in Hanifaru Bay, read my post here. 

underwater photo of snorkelling with a manta
Snorkel trips to see manta rays in the Maldives

Kihaa Resort: Best Swimming Pools in the Maldives

Kihaa resort has a gorgeous infinity pool with a bar behind it. You can drink cocktails in the swimming pool and spend the day lounging on sunbeds all around the pool. At the end of the infinity pool, there is a beautiful, white sand beach which stretches all the way around the island. The beach opposite the arrival jetty is the most picturesque. There is a second swimming pool surrounded by palm trees on the right of the lobby which also has a kids pool.

The infinity pool at Kihaa Beach
Dancing in the gorgeous infinity pool at Kihaa Beach

Best Budget Resort with the best beach in the Maldives

While I haven’t been to all the resorts in the Maldives, I can definitely say that Kihaa Resort has one of the best beaches I have seen. The beach opposite the arrival jetty is a huge area of white sand and crystal clear waters. They also have the best beach furniture of all shapes and sizes to lounge on and take photos with. They even have a manta swing!

Squad Goals for my 30th birthday celebrations in Kihaa Resort

Maldives Best Budget Resort: Kihaa Resort Restaurants

The main restaurant is by the beach and offers a buffet menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner with live stations. The first visit to Kihaa I was not that impressed with the food but on my second trip, a year later, I thought the food was great! We stayed on a Monday evening and experienced Arabic night which was delicious, with hummous, pita bread and a yummy pumpkin curry. It was very vegetarian friendly. During our stay we had the full board package in Kihaa which I think is definitely worth the money. The pizza from room service is also excellent. In my opinion, it is therefore one of the best budget friendly resorts in the Maldives because of the full board package. They also offer an all-inclusive package which could be worth it as the alcohol is not cheap.

Kihaa Resort and Spa

The spa at Kihaa doesn’t look that attractive from the outside but when in the spa it is over the water and looks out on the beautiful Indian ocean views. I didn’t try out any spa treatments as I am more a fan of the water activities.

Booking Kihaa Resort Maldives

Read more reviews and book via Agoda here.

Kihaa Resort Contact

If you want to email them directly than contact Kihaa Resort via email:
They usually reply within a couple of days. If you want to call them you can call Front Office on +960 6606686.

How to get to Kihaa Maldives one of the best affordable resorts, Maldives

For a transfer to Kihaa Maldives, you will need to take a domestic flight from Male to Dharavandhoo airport. You can book this through with domestic airlines such as Maldivian, Fly Me or Manta Air. Maldivian usually has the cheapest domestic flights in the Maldives. Once there Kihaa can arrange a short transfer from Dharavandhoo island by speedboat. It is the next door island so won’t take more than a 10 minute journey.

Maldives Resorts offering work permit rates

Kihaa is one of the best resorts for work permit holder rates in the Maldives. If you hold a valid work permit for the Maldives then they offer a rate of $180 per double room including the full board package. So that works out to $90 per person per night with three meals included. For me, this resort is great value for money because of the beach villas, great snorkelling and swimming pools. Even without a work permit, this is one of the best budget resorts in the Maldives.

For more information about travelling the Maldives

Travelling to local islands for a budget trip to the Maldives? Read this blog post with all my local island info and advice

Not sure what to pack for your Maldives holiday? Follow my Maldives island packing guide here

Interested in scuba diving? Read my post about the Maldives best kept secret for the best diving in the world

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