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Maldives on the Cheap: Thulusdhoo Local Island

Local Island Guide: Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo is one of the most beautiful islands in the Maldives. It is one of the best islands to visit if you are on a budget as it is a local island with a lot of cheap hotels. It also has a mid-range hotel with one of the best infinity pools in the Maldives! I also have to say it’s one of my favourite islands so far, along with the best scuba diving island Fuvamulah.

Photo of local island Thulusdhoo
Hanging out on this picturesque jetty in Thulusdhoo
Maldives on a Budget – What to do in Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo island has lots of activities like surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving and all are cheap activities for the Maldives makings this the perfect island for an affordable Maldives holiday! I really enjoyed strolling around the island as many islands are too small to have an enjoyable walk. Other activities can include a tour of the Coca Cola factory that is here.

Surfing in Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo has some great surf spots and lots of visitors to this island come for the surfing. From what I saw the surfing looks like it is not so beginner friendly (so not for visitors like me!) as I saw huge waves and a lot of really good surfers out there. There are lessons for beginners available too.

Snorkelling in Thulusdhoo

I didn’t snorkel or see many snorkellers around Thulusdhoo so I definitely recommend trying a snorkelling trip to snorkel sites where the snorkelling should be better. That said, from just walking around the island I saw bumphead parrotfish and baby black tip reef sharks cruising around so while the coral may not be decent, there is still a lot of marine life to see.

 

Cheap Scuba Diving in Thulusdhoo

I really enjoyed the scuba diving in Thulusdhoo. We saw some fairly decent coral, white tip reef sharks, two huge schools of bumphead parrotfish and a huge eagle ray. There is also a chance of seeing manta rays on a deep cleaning station. Though for the best place for manta rays in the Maldives, head to Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, read more about that here. There are package deals for multiple dives and work permit/ Maldivian national discount is $45 per dive.

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives
Walking around Thulusdhoo and spotting baby sharks and surfers
Thulusdhoo Island Accommodation: Where to stay in Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo has some of the most amazing looking guesthouses in the Maldives. I absolutely loved staying in Seasons Paradise in Thulusdhoo. It has the best infinity pool on a local island, perhaps including resorts as the swimming pool is on the top floor with amazing ocean views. While I was swimming in the pool, I saw spinner dolphins cruising past. The double beds were huge, with TVs in the room and a small balcony outside. The hotel also has a rooftop spa and a gym although I didn’t use either as I was busy enjoying the best rooftop pool in the Maldives. The price is approximately $100 per night with breakfast included on a work permit/ Maldivian National discount so expect to pay a bit more for tourist price. There was also no issue with a foreigner and Maldivian sharing a room. The hotel will also offer Full Board and all inclusive package. I also loved the hotel design of this Thulusdhoo luxury beach guesthouse and it is also directly across from bikini beach.


Booking.com

 

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives
The best rooftop infinity pool in the Maldives
Bikini Beach in Thulusdhoo

You can wear a bikini on bikini beach in Thulusdhoo. As it is a popular surf spot in the Maldives. many locals seemed relaxed about tourists needing to be covered up and I felt that I could wear shorter dresses around the island that showed my shoulders as some Maldivian women were doing the same. 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.

Drinking alcohol in Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo is a local island and therefore under Maldivian law you cannot drink or buy alcohol on this island. However, nearby there are some floating bars, liveaboard boats with licenses to sell alcohol so for a small fee ($5) 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.

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives
Instagram perfect photoshoot around Thulusdhoo
Thulusdhoo Restaurants: Where to Eat

I really enjoyed eating at Santa Rosa restaurant which also looks like a cute guesthouse. Here, we had some of the best kottu roshi in the Maldives! (that I’ve had so far!) and all for very cheap prices. Food costs approximately $5-10 a meal. I also recommend the pizza at Thulusdhoo Surf Camp and the views at Canopus Retreat where we stopped for a coconut on their beds with views of the surfers.

Transport to Thulusdhoo from Male

You can take the speedboat from Male or from the airport to Thulusdhoo. The journey takes around 30 minutes and costs 150 rufiya for work permit holders. There is also an island ferry which takes approximately 45 minutes.

Thulusdhoo Speedboats from Male and the Airport
Thulusdhoo Speedboats from Male and the Airport
Thulusdhoo Location

Thulusdhoo is one of the best islands to visit as it is close to Male and therefore close to the main international airport in the Maldives. It is very easy to travel to islands in Kaafu Atoll because Male has such good speedboat and ferry transport options.

More Travel Blog Posts about visiting the Maldives

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

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

For 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!)

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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Budget Maldives: Maafushi Island

Maafushi Maldives Review
Maafushi island is well known for being a fun local island in the Maldives and is one of the best islands to visit for a cheap Maldives holiday. Maafushi offers lots of cheap water sports and water activities and you can find decent budget accommodation here. It is a local island close to Male and only takes about 20-25 minutes by speedboat from Male or the airport.
Maafushi welcome to the island sign
Maldives on a Budget – What to do in Maafushi
Maafushi Water Sports

Maafushi is one of the best Maldives islands for water sports. Water sports such as jet skiing, SUP, kayaking, banana boats and parasailing are very popular activities to do here. The cost of water sports is cheap in Maafushi, especially in comparison with water sport prices on other islands in the Maldives. For example jetskiing can be as cheap as $30 for half an hour.

Snorkelling in Maafushi
Snorkelling was disappointing off of bikini beach but snorkelling trips will take you to better snorkel sites. However the marine life in Maafushi was still great as we saw two turtles while jetskiing (and I was very wary of hitting them) and we saw spinner dolphins from the beach on several occasions.
Cheap Scuba Diving in Maafushi
Maafushi has some great dive spots nearby and very cheap rates for scuba diving. The cost of diving is approximately $40 per scuba dive including equipment. I really enjoyed the marine life diving near Maafushi and the coral was some of the best coral I have seen in the Maldives so far. On a nearby dive site we spotted white tip reef sharks, turtles, eels, a peacock mantis shrimp and also did a great wreck dive.
Maldives Budget Accommodation: Where to stay in Maafushi
You can find some very cheap hotels in Maafushi and it is a great island to stay on if you are on a budget Maldives trip. I usually compare prices on booking.com. The cost of hotels in Maafushi usually start from $30 per night up.



Booking.com

Bikini Beach in Maafushi
Maafushi has a small bikini beach found at the end of the island between two rocky areas. There are some nice swings for photos at the beach but the sea and beach was quite crowded when I visited. It also has large hotel buildings overlooking the beach so the view is definitely not as beautiful as other islands which have more natural backgrounds to the beach.
life is better at the beach sign
Maafushi Budget Hotel: Kaani Village and Spa Review
I stayed at this great accommodation when visiting Maafushi. The rooms were basic but clean and I liked the bathrooms. The swimming pool was the best feature of the hotel and we had some great photos taken here with the greenery in the background. The hotel were very helpful and even lent snorkelling equipment to us free of charge. If you work in the Maldives or are a Maldivian National, ask for a work permit discount. There was also no issue with mixed nationality couples (Maldivian + Foreigner) staying together.
Photo of me by a swimming pool in Maafushi
One of the few hotels with a swimming pool in Maafushi with reasonable rates
Drinking alcohol in Maafushi
While it is not possible to drink or purchase alcohol on local islands in the Maldives, Maafushi has access to liveaboard safari boats which means you can drink alcohol at these floating bars in Maafushi. These bars are party boats with a small dancefloor, disco lights and DJs. Alcohol is not expensive considering what they could charge ($5 a beer or $8 spirit and a mixer). Don’t expect any fancy cocktails even though they are listed on the menu! These floating bars cannot be found on many local islands so this makes Maafushi a top Maldives destination and  one of the best party islands in the Maldives.
Transport to Maafushi from Male
The best way of getting to Maafushi from Male is by speedboat. You can book onto a speedboat by calling this number and these are the timings. Additional boats go at different times so ask about other speedboat companies too. Bear in mind that if you have an early flight which is outside of these timings then you may need to pay for a private boat which is expensive. The speedboat to Maafushi costs approximately $20 per person for tourist rate and work permit/Maldivian National rate is 100 rufiya.
Budget Maldives cheap travel top Maafushi
Regular Speedboats to Maafushi
Maafushi Location
Maafushi is located in Kaafu Atoll, not far from the capital Male and the Maldives main international airport Velana. This means that Maafushi is very easy to travel to as you can access the island via speedboat and there is no need for expensive domestic flights to get there.
Maafushi Restaurants: Where to Eat
I enjoyed the local food in Maafushi as always but no one restaurant in particular stood out. Many restaurants connected with hotels offered buffet options but will also offer a la carte if you ask for a menu. Make sure you ask for ‘no straws’ when ordering drinks as Maafushi is still using plastic straws.
For a quieter alternative island to Maafushi, consider staying in Gulhi, a nearby island which has the best beach in the Maldives!
Visit an alternative local island where you can also drink at floating bars, and another really beautiful island is Thulusdhoo local island.
For more overviews and frequently asked questions about local islands read this post.
For the best scuba diving in the Maldives – read my blog post about cheap diving in Fuvahmulah island
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