Category Archives: Visit the Maldives

Best Local Island Maldives : Fuvahmulah Island

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Fuvahmulah Island

Fuvahmulah is an island and its own atoll, located in the South of the Maldives. The population is approximately 15,000 people and it is known as the only atoll to have one island.  Pronounced more like ‘formula’, it is a local island, not a resort island and therefore Maldivian laws and customs are more applicable here than in resort islands. As on all local islands, alcohol is prohibited and you cannot wear bikinis on the local beaches. However, Fuvahmulah locals are very relaxed and strict dress codes do not apply.  Fuvahmulah is not a well known tourist destination in the Maldives, although it is becoming increasingly popular for its dive sites and marine life.  

oceanic manta scsuba diving
Fuvahmulah – best local island in Maldives for scuba diving with oceanic manta rays

Fuvahmulah Dive Sites

Fuvahmulah is host to a huge range of marine life. In season, you can scuba dive with oceanic manta rays, thresher sharks, tiger sharks and whale sharks. It is also possible to see hammerhead sharks as well as other sharks like oceanic white tips and silver tips at different times of the year and depending how lucky you are. I feel we saw more megafauna in 3 days of diving than most people see in a lifetime.

Tiger Shark Diving Fuvahmulah

Tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is famous. It is the best dive site to go tiger shark diving in Maldives. The tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah have been around for a long time. They are used to feeding on the fish carcasses that the fishermen throw off the edge of the harbour at the end of their fishing day. Local dive centres and liveaboards now take advantage of this and feed fish heads to the tiger sharks just before entering the water.

Fuvahmulah Tiger Shark Dive

The ‘tiger zoo’ as the harbour dive site is nicknamed is not without its controversy. Some locals are angered at how this dive site now means that children cannot learn to swim in the safe area near the harbour as they had traditionally always done. Fuvahmulah has strong currents and big waves and other areas are not particularly safe to swim for beginners or young children.

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah


Fuvahmulah Accommodation

Because it is not a well-developed tourist destination, Fuvahmulah hotels are limited although it is a growing industry. I thoroughly recommend this Fuvahmulah guesthouse that we stayed in. Calyx Grand Fuvahmulah is clean, spacious and the staff are very helful (click here to view Calyx Grand Fuvahmulah on Agoda). Ask your Fuvahmulah dive centre for a pick up as it is a short truck ride to the harbour.

Fuvahmulah Diving – Fuvahmulah Dive Centre

There is a well known dive centre called Fuvahmulah Dive School (FDS) who we considering going with as we had many good recommendations. However, we chose Fuvahmulah Tiger Dive as we booked through a local friend and got very cheap dives because of this. One thing I recommend is asking if the dive school gets big group bookings. Some of the diving can be with big groups of Chinese or Indian divers and you may be expected to join dives with one of these large groups. We travelled as a group of 6 divers and therefore requested our own dive guide which was perfect for us. 


Cost of Diving in Fuvahmulah

Fuvahmulah is one of the cheapest places for budget diving in the Maldives – which makes no sense because the diving is so incredible! Expect to pay upwards from $40 per dive depending on how many dives you are planning to do and if you have your own equipment. As usual with diving packages, the more dives you book, the cheaper the cost of diving.  It is also possible to book Maldives diving package deals, with flights, accommodation and diving all organised for you. However, it is cheaper to book flights, accommodation and diving separately. It is also cheap to dive and travel to Fuvahmulah if you have a Maldives work permit as there are big discounts available.

How to travel to Fuvahmulah from Male, Maldives

Fuvahmulah island is located in the deep South of the Maldives, so you can fly to Fuvahmulah from Male, the capital. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes. At the time of writing, two airlines with a few flights a day fly from Male to Fuvahmulah. While the diving can be cheap, the flights aren’t always so compare different airlines to find a better rate, try Maldivian airline and Fly Me and Manta Air.


Best Dive Site in the Maldives

We spent most of our 8 dives on the same plateau, a dive site called Farikede, about 15 minutes from the harbour by dive boat. In terms of the marine life, it must be one of the best dive sites in the Maldives. We had approximately 30 oceanic manta ray sightings, 26 of which the amazing Manta Trust team managed to ID for us and we added 22 new mantas to their database. Read here for more about Manta Trust and the work they do. We also saw 3 whale sharks, one of whom was new to the Maldives Whaleshark Research Programme and we got to give her a name. On our last day we scuba dived with the biggest whale shark I have ever seen (approx 8-10m) and 2 thresher sharks.

The dive site depth ranges down to about 40m and we saw oceanic manta rays near the surface from the moment we jumped from the boat, all the way down to 40m.  The marine life here seemed extremely curious and mantas and whale sharks circled us multiple times, a true ocean encounter.


Diving in Fuvahmulah : Local Boat Dives

We scuba dived from a slow traditional boat, Maldivians call a ‘Dhoni’. The boat returned to the harbour after every dive so surface intervals are spent on land inbetween dives. A couple of times   Click here for my recommendations of what to take on a dive boat. 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Big fans of our dive boat


The best time to dive the Maldives – when to dive in Fuvahmulah

Diving is possible year round in Fuvahmulah. However, most people agree that diving between November and April is the best season for diving because of the chances of oceanic manta rays, whale sharks, thresher sharks and hammerheads. In rainy season, from June onwards the sea gets rough but the chance of hammerheads increases. The tiger shark dive is available year round.


Restaurants and Places to eat in Fuvahmulah

Real Breez restaurant is great because of the large balcony and good food. They serve great local food including vegetarian options and also the Indian cuisine. The cafe by the harbour is also good and it serves local food. I definitely recommend trying Kottu Roshi – a Maldivian twist on the traditional Sri Lankan dish. If you’re vegetarian make sure you say so and make it very clear that being vegetarian includes no meat and no fish as vegetarians are still a relatively new concept to the fish-heavy Maldivian diet. 

Maldives Local Island Travel Tip: Be prepared to wait a LONG time for food. This is not a resort island and we often had to wait over an hour (occasionally 2 hours!) for our food to appear. I recommend adapting to the slower pace of island life and also don’t wait until you are hungry to find a restaurant.


Things to Do in Fuvahmulah

  • Visit Fuvahmulah Thundi – a thundi is a Dhivehi word for the beach at the end of an island. The Fuvahmulah thundi is a large pebble beach on the island which includes a nearby restaurant
  • Visit the lakes – Fuvahmulah is an unusual island in the Maldives because it has freshwater lakes. You can visit and hire kayaks or pedalo boats to spend some time on one of the lakes as part of Fuvahmulah Nature Park.
  • Go to Addu – Addu also has some fantastic diving and it is accessible by boat from Fuvahmulah
  • Hot Spring with Mud Baths – Fuvahmulah has muddy hot springs where you can relax after a day of exciting scuba diving in the ocean

Maldives Liveaboard Diving

It is possible to dive on a liveaboard around Fuvahmulah. As I haven’t dived on a liveaboard I cannot comment on the experience. I will say that we loved being on the island and as the dive sites are all located near the shoreline, it was not necessary to pay for a luxury liveaboard when we could stay in a cheap guesthouse and do budget dives. 

Night Diving in the Maldives

Most Fuvahmulah dive centres do not offer night diving for safety reasons. The currents can be strong and I’d rather not meet a tiger shark at night time!

Liveaboard Maldives : Liveaboard Diving

If you would like to be able to drink alcohol, not worry about being covered up and wearing what you want then consider a liveaboard in Maldives. There are many liveaboard options throughout the Maldives, including Fuvahmulah and is a great option for those who would like everything organised for them and would prefer not to stay on a local island. Click on the link below to compare luxury Maldives liveaboards and budget liveaboards Maldives. 

 

Have you visited Fuvahmulah yet? How was your experience? Where is the best diving in the Maldives for you?

For what to pack for a Maldives trip read my Maldives Packing List guide here

For what to take on a scuba diving holiday or dive boat trip read my Scuba Diving Packing List here

For more cheap diving in Maldives, read this scuba diving Maldives article here

 

Best Local Islands Maldives

Best Local Islands Maldives

There are many island contenders for best local island in the Maldives. There are 1125 islands across the Maldives and around 200 of these are inhabited and are divided into local islands and resort islands. The islands are grouped into atolls. Some of these are reachable by speedboat from Male Velana international airport and some of them require a second flight, either by expensive but awesome seaplanes or a domestic flight.

Photo of local island Thulusdhoo
Visit Thulusdhoo: One of the best local islands in Maldives – only 30 minutes from Male airport

Which Maldives island is the best?

There are so many amazing local islands in the Maldives that it can be hard to decide which Maldivian islands to visit. So far, I’ve spent my Maldives holidays on more than eight different local islands so here are my reviews for the best local islands in the Maldives.

Best local islands Maldives – Scuba Diving

Best local islands Maldives – Scuba Diving with Pelagics

There are so many great scuba diving spots in the Maldives but Fuvahmulah has to be the best island in Maldives for scuba diving. Fuvahmulah island has amazing pelagic ocean giants and you can see tiger sharks, whale sharks, oceanic mantas and thresher sharks. All of these ocean visitors make Fuvahmulah one of the best local islands for scuba diving. 

Fuvahmulah is a big island by Maldives standards, contains two freshwater lakes and requires a domestic flight from Male airport to get to Fuvahmulah. For my in depth guide to Fuvahmulah island read this article here.

oceanic manta scsuba diving
Fuvahmulah – best local island in Maldives for scuba diving with oceanic manta rays

Best local island in Maldives – Scuba Diving with Marine Life & Coral Reefs

Rasdhoo island is one of the best local islands to visit in the Maldives for scuba diving with a lot of marine life and pretty coral reefs. You can see reef mantas here as well as many different types of reef sharks and colourful coral making Rasdhoo one of the best Maldives island for diving. Read my full Guide to Rasdhoo island here.

Rasdhoo Island Views – best local islands Maldives

Best Island for Snorkeling Maldives

Maldives best island for snorkeling with manta rays

The best local island for snorkelling with manta rays will be to stay on a local island in Baa atoll such as Dharavandhoo. For everything you need to know about seeing manta rays in the Maldives, read my manta ray snorkelling blog post here.

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

Maldives best island for snorkeling with turtles

Thoddoo island is the best island to snorkel with turtles in the Maldives, just off of the bikini beach in Thoddoo. Eagle rays and tropical fish can also be seen. For my guide to Thoddoo island, read more here. 

Best local islands in Maldives for beautiful beaches

There are so many beautiful beaches in the Maldives that it is challenging to pick the best. Many Maldives beaches have soft white sand and clear turquoise water. One of the best local islands that stands out to me with its beautiful beaches is Gulhi island. Read my Gulhi island Guide here.

local island Gulhi beautiful beach
The beautiful bikini beach in Gulhi – local island near Male

Thoddoo island has a bikini beach that is absolutely stunning with uninterrupted ocean views that will not disappoint its visitors. A bonus of Thoddoo island is having turtles that you can snorkel with just off the beach. Read my full Thoddoo Island Guide here.

Bikini Beach in Thoddoo
best local islands Maldives – Thoddoo Bikini Beach

Best Local Island in Maldives for surfing

Thulusdhoo is one of the most famous and best local islands in Maldives for surfing. The island is beautiful and has huge waves that are reef breaks. This island has many professional surfers come to stay and the size of the waves is usually recommended for more advanced surfers. As a beginner/intermediate surfer I found the size of the waves intimidating. Thulusdhoo also has one of the best rooftop infinity pools in the Maldives. Read my full Thulusdhoo island guide here. 

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives
Best Rooftop Swimming Pool – best local islands Maldives

Best Local Islands in Maldives near Male Airport

If you don’t want another flight or a long speedboat ride, then stay on local islands near to Male in Kaafu atoll. The following islands are all the best local islands near Male airport:

Gulhi

Thulusdhoo

Guraidhoo

Maafushi

For more information about visiting the Maldives read the following articles:

Maldives Packing List

Maldives 101: Everything you need to know

Rasdhoo Island Maldives

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 
Rasdhoo Island Views

Looking for the best local island in the Maldives? Rasdhoo island is an amazing local island to stay on during your Maldives. It has some superb scuba diving, a lovely white sand beach, a range of restaurants and Rasdhoo accommodation to stay in.

Where is Rasdhoo Maldives?

Rasdhoo is located in its own atoll. 

How to get to Rasdhoo?

To get to Rasdhoo from Male airport you can take a speedboat for approximately 1.5 hours from Male or from Male airport. You can book your speedboat through your hotel or island accommodation as this is the easiest way to get up to date information about boat transfers.

It is possible to take a seaplane if flying to Kuramathi resort. Please note seaplanes are very expensive so if you are going to a local island a speedboat transfer is best.

Where to stay in Rasdhoo?

Rasdhoo Stay is a fantastic, budget hotel in the Maldives. The rooms are spacious, clean and well equipped with kettles and tea/coffee. The bathrooms are basic with good, hot water showers. In the garden there are also sunbeds and lots of greenery around and the staff are very helpful and accommodating. For example, I needed to change my Rasdhoo trip date last minute due to a speedboat cancellation because of the bad weather. The staff were very accommodating and did not charge me for the extra night, which I really appreciated. Compare prices for Rasdhoo Stay on Agoda here and Booking.com here.

Balcony Views from Rasdhoo Stay

Things to Do in Rasdhoo

Things to do in Rasdhoo – Drinks at a Rooftop

As a local island in the Maldives, Rasdhoo is a dry island and so there is no alcohol served there or bars available. There is a wonderful rooftop bar and restaurant with lovely beach views where I recommend having a sunset mocktail and enjoying the Indian food they offer at Club Gabbiano. 

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Sunset drinks at Club Gabbiano

Things to do in Rasdhoo – Excursions from Rasdhoo Island Maldives

There are many day trip excursions available around Rasdhoo for snorkelling trips, dolphin spotting trips and island sandbanks. 

Things to do in Rasdhoo – Eat Local Maldivian Food in Rasdhoo

Bamboo Hut is a great restaurant for local Maldivian food. I thoroughly recommend their vegetarian friendly kottu roshi. 

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Scuba Diving Rasdhoo

Scuba diving is my number one recommendation for things to do in Rasdhoo island. I thoroughly recommend Drop Dive Maldives as a great dive centre. If you aren’t a qualified scuba diver then I recommend taking a dive course to become a certified scuba diver like a PADI or SSI Open Water Course. This dive shop also still took me out on the boat even though I was the only scuba diver on a couple of occasions, which I really appreciated as I went in low season.

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Water Sports

From banana boats to kite surfing, Rasdhoo has a water sports centre where you can try many different water activities depending on the time of year.

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Beach Time

Rasdhoo has a lovely stretch of white sand beach where you can enjoy sunset every evening. The water is clear and turquoise and extremely beautiful

Rasdhoo Bikini Beach

There is a bikini beach in Rasdhoo. This means there is an area where you can wear bikinis and swimsuits and you do not need to cover up. It is recommended to cover up while you are walking around other areas of the island to be respectful.

Bikini Beach in Rasdhoo

Resort Islands near Rasdhoo

There is the resort island of Kuramathi which is next to Rasdhoo island so you could consider combining a vacation to Rasdhoo with staying on Kuramathi for a mix of Maldivian local islands and a resort island. For more information about the differences between local islands in the Maldives and resort islands in the Maldives read my article here. Look at rooms and reviews for Kuramathi Resort here on Agoda or Kuramathi Resort here on Agoda

When is the best time to visit Rasdhoo, Maldives?

The Maldives has monsoon season from May-October. This can mean heavy rain and big storms. I visited Rasdhoo in July and despite being monsoon season, I had nearly zero rain and many days of blue skies. It also means manta ray season in Baa atoll and a lot of marine life can be spotted during rainy season in the Maldives. For more about how to snorkel with manta rays in the Maldives then read this Maldives article.

Rasdhoo to Thoddoo

Thoddoo is a nearby island to Rasdhoo which I also recommend visiting for wonderful snorkelling with turtles right off the bikini beach which may be the best bikini beach in the Maldives. Read my full Thoddoo island review here

Want more information about travelling to the Maldives?

For my Maldives Packing list head to this article here

For my Maldivian island reviews check out the following best local islands in the Maldives:

Dhiffushi Local Island Maldives Review

Gulhi Local Island Maldives Guide

Maafushi Local Island Maldives Guide

Fuvamulah Local Island Maldives Guide

Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives Guide

 

 

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 would like to learn to scuba dive with PADI or SSI,  or you just 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 party 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

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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

Scuba Diving in Thoddoo is supposed to be great. I have been scuba diving in Rasdhoo, a nearby local island and saw really healthy reefs and loads of marine life so Thoddoo is definitely going to be a great place for scuba diving as well. If you are a beginner scuba diver then consider doing an Open Water course through PADI or SSI and the local dive shops so that you can become a qualified scuba diver.

 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 called Thoddoo In (Agoda link) or (Booking.com link) 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.



Booking.com

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 un-bumpy ride! There is a toilet on board.

The speedboat goes from the airport & Male to Thoddoo 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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