Budget travel to Maldives in under ₹45k ($600) – Accommodation, Food, and Activities

Talk about traveling in the Maldives and all you can imagine are luxurious water villas, turquoise beaches, and candy floss clouds ornamented with kaleidoscopic sunsets. Sounds dreamy, right? It indeed sounds “dreamy” because we think that exploring the Maldives will come with a massive hole in our pocket. You know what? That’s actually partially true. But did you know, that visiting the Maldives is actually one of the easiest countries for us Indians? You don’t need a visa, you don’t need to pay for any e-visa. Just book your stay at a local public island instead of a resort island, and you can visit over a long weekend in under ₹40k ($600) from India! Here’s how:

Fulidhoo aerial viewFulidhoo island

Local islands are a great way of experiencing the life of the real inhabitants of Maldives without shelling out an exorbitant amount of money!


If you travel to the Maldives in shoulder or off-season, you’ll enjoy two significant benefits. One, it will be relatively less crowded. And two, flights at available at cheaper rates. You can book round trip flight tickets for under ₹20k ($250) only.


On budget/local islands you can easily find stay options for ~ ₹3500-6000/night. I visited an island lately which is called Fulidhoo in the Vaavu atoll, and the cheapest place to stay, Fulidhoo White Inn starts from just 2000/night during off season! I personally stayed in Thundi Sea View which is slightly more expensive, but the food and service here is 10/10!


Opt for free activities that are available via your guest house like snorkeling in the house reef or a self guided paddle-boarding tour to save on some cost. Otherwise you can also go out for some excursions that are organised by the guest house like shark snorkelling, snorkelling with dolphins or whale spotting! These are all really exciting activities, however they are priced at ~ $55/person (₹4500). I also dived with Fulidhoo dive center on my trip since I’m a fan of diving, but it may shoot up the budget of your trip a little bit! But honestly, what is a vacation (even budget one), without some fun activities!

Aerial view of a snorkelling site in Vavuu Atoll


If you’re planning on exploring the local islands of the Maldives, or are interested in island hopping, there are three ways of transferring – a seaplane, a speed boat or a public ferry. At the time when I visited the island nation, ferries from the airport to the various atolls were not operational, plus they are quite slow as compared to a speed boat. But they are the cheapest transfer at the end of the day. So, here’s a a pro tip for you! I would suggest that you cover the islands within the same Atoll to save on transportation cost. The transit among the islands of same Atoll by ferries is still operational currently and is quite cheap, priced at just $3/person one way. Whereas, a speed boat (only mode of transfer currently) from the airport to the island itself will cost you a whopping $40/person one way! A seaplane usually only flies to the more expensive resort islands which are farther away from the airport.

But currently, each time you wish to visit a new Atoll altogether, you will have to pay transit charges for a speed boat to the airport or to the island in the new atoll concerned if there is one. Which means paying $40 almost 4 times from airport —> island —> airport —> next island —> airport!

Whereas if you transit within the same atoll, you can opt for a local ferry for island hopping, to cut down on your cost, since inter-atoll public transport is still currently operational.

Otherwise, if you are a backpacker at the end of the day, and don’t want to pay for the speedboat, I recommend that you visit the Maldives when the Public transportation system fully opens up and check on the routes HERE in advance for planning your trip!

Final budget breakdown for a 3night/4 day trip to a local island like Fulidhoo:

Flight (round trip) – ₹20k

Accommodation – ₹3500k (breakfast included) (cost split into two)

Food – ₹7000 (Counting 7 meals at ~ ₹600 – 1500 per meal)

Activities – ₹4500 – 5000

Speed boat – ₹3200 *2 = 6400

This comes down to approximately ₹41500 for one person on one island!

(All currency is mentioned in the Indian Rupee)


More Islands!

Since I am pretty well versed with the Vavuu Atoll, which is located 64 km (40 miles) from the capital Malé, 60 minutes by speedboat, and 3 hours by dhoni (public ferry), here are some more islands that you can visit within the Atoll:

  1. Inhabited/local islands – Felidhoo, Fulidhoo, Keyodhoo, Rakeedhoo, Thinadhoo

  2. Resort islands – Alimatha, Dhiggiri

Amongst the local islands, Keyodhoo has the largest recorded population of 635 inhabitants.

I chose Fulidhoo for my stay because it has an impeccable diving school called Fulidhoo dive center and they take you for channel dives and deep dives at all prominent locations in the atoll including Alimatha, where you get to dive with some incredibly gentle nurse sharks.

Besides this, some of my friends have visited Keyodhoo, and heres what they had to say about it: It had more local people and less tourists, which was completely opposite to Fulidhoo. But I would say a lot more snorkeling activities are present nearby and the sites are not as deep. It is also so very good for thise who wish to start snorkeling. We went to a sandbank, an uninhabited island shipwreck and all these sites were too good. Although, the place where we were staying was very basic. We also did some fishing which was nice since this is prominently more of a fishing island. A of people especially from Germany visit this island for fishing . But the island had a smaller bikini beach than Fulidhoo.

This is mostly all I have on the budget aspect of Maldives from one of its Atolls! However, there are around 26 Atolls in total and the country is totally worth exploring even besides its beautiful resort islands!

But If you also wish to see a comparison of budget vs luxury in the Maldives, check out this YT video:

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