A Quick Guide to Local Island Maafushi, Maldives

Maafushi is a relatively small local island of Kaafu Atoll, about an hour and a half from Maldives capital city, Male. It is NOT A RESORT – which is precisely why I had to visit. Backpacking and low budget travel around the Maldives is getting increasingly popular, and why shouldn’t it? Staying on local islands grants a traveller a much deeper and more authentic travel experience of Maldives and the islanders who make up this beautiful, crazy and somewhat frustrating little country.

The most important thing about visiting local islands in Maldives is to remember the laws of the land. Maldivian citizens are required by law to adhere to Sunni Islam, the country’s state religion, although as a guest- you are only asked to respect their culture and (obviously) abide to the country’s laws. Maldivians are friendly and incredibly welcoming, especially on local islands, as opposed to in Male’, the country’s capital, where it’s overcrowded and everyone’s in a rush. On local islands you can expect a relaxed atmosphere with a slow pace. Just dress modestly when wandering around and remember that this isn’t the Caribbean! (Although if you befriend some young locals – think big hair and dark skin- it can certainly feel like it…)

  Maafushi

When to Go

When not to go to Maldives?! OK so the wet season runs from May through to November, but if you want to save a hell of a lot, come then, where it might rain for a day or two but the majority of the time it’s around 30 degrees. During high season everything’ll probably be booked up anyway and twice or even three times as expensive. I visited Maafushi during the first week of October, over the Eid festival holidays- and I was blessed with a truly unique and insightful experience into local culture. I had an amazing opportunity to witness the locals letting their hair down and partying hard, something that’s otherwise a very rare occurrence.

How to Get There

You can take both the local dhoni (boat) or the South Kaaf Atoll Ferry from Male, at the Villigili ferry terminal. The local boat leaves at 3PM from Male, and leaves Maafushi at 7.30AM (thats right, one boat a day folks) and operates on weekdays except Friday for 30 rufiya ($1.95). The ferry leaves Male at 10AM, and 12.55PM from Maafushi, operating on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for 20 rufiya ($1.30). The other option is to take a private speedboat, which can be arranged by Icom Tours. Although a little pricey (3500 rufiyaa/$230) it gets you there in about 40 minutes as opposed to an hour and a half on public transport.

Where to Stay

Maafushi is unlike other local islands here in Maldives. In 2004 it was heavily damaged by the Indian Ocean Earthquake, and since then, has benefited from the support of Irish and American Red Cross charities, which have built a sewage system and funded the buildings of homes for those that lost theirs. In addition, the islanders have worked tirelessly to achieve its current development- for example, there is desalinated and piped water into every household, internet service, solid mobile network and good roads- although not yet paved. So, in 2010 when the government allowed the opening of guest houses on local islands, Maafushi was quick to secure an investment. Maafushi now boasts more than 30 guest houses – a great source of employment and income for local families.

While hostels and homestays are completely non-existent, you can expect delightful rooms and professional service from the many guest houses on the island. I stayed with Holiday Lodge and I’d wholly recommend them! They are a small guest house with just five spacious rooms and a lovely dining/garden area, just a 5-10 minute stroll from the beach, and at just $26 a night, it doesn’t get much better. The staff were incredibly helpful- always there to sort something or give advice- they even lent me an underwater camera for my diving trip for NO charge!

Any Maldives work-permit holders reading this, I’d suggest you inform everyone and anyone that you’re working in Maldives. Here it’s all about who you know and how you can help each other. You may end up getting an incredible deal…

What to Do

1. Explore the island (both in and around):

Maafushi is a delightful little island, the unpaved roads are wide and clear, since there’s barely any motorbikes whizzing around. Don’t be shy to check out some of the other guest houses- they may offer an excursion at a much cheaper rate than your own guest house. There are two beaches on the island, a public beach and I guess, a Westerners beach. Bikini’s are forbidden on the public beach because of Islamic teachings that a Muslim man shouldn’t see anyone that naked except from his wife. The other beach is smaller, but you can strip into your swimsuit without offending anyone (there’s a kind of bikini barrier around the beach) and the view is incredible. There are a few restaurants on the beach and you can also rent out a canoe here for $10 an hour. The sea is absolutely fantastic – super clean, transparent and refreshing, and great for snorkelling. At this point, it’s not any different to a resort, except that you’re paying about $200 less every night, and what you are paying is benefiting the local community, as opposed to wealthy resort owners.

 

2. Snorkelling / sandbank trips:

All of the guest houses, plus the 3 diving companies, all offer exciting trips to stunning reefs packed full of beautiful corals and sea life. Such sites include Maavelaathu, Banana Reef, Vilivaru Corner and Maafushi Corner, amongst many others. For beginners, you can take PADI certified snorkelling courses with an instructor who can guide you through the reef and explain all the amazing things you’ll see there. I’d recommend bringing a mask, snorkel and fins from home, as they’re pretty overpriced here.

A trip to Maldives isn’t complete without a sandbank excursion. Sankbanks are made from beautiful snow-white sand forming together in a shallow area of the sea. Since the sea is so shallow, it’s colours are utterly mesmerising, with all different shades of blues and greens complementing each other and creating one glistening masterpiece.

 

3. Scuba Diving:

I am so chuffed with myself for learning how to dive in The Maldives. I’ve been a keen swimmer since I was a kid, and always wanted to dive- but I was always too nervous. If you’re keen to learn, or are already qualified, Maafushi is the ideal island to rock up on. There’s hundreds of incredible diving sites in easy reach, including wrecks, which were really cool to explore. Visibility is almost always excellent, the sea is warm and welcoming – just remember to apply sun protection!! I dived with Maafushi Dive Club – who offered me unbelievable rates, both for diving and excursions. They were easily approachable and very friendly, and extremely professional. I dived with them four times over three days, and each site was phenomenal- including Kandoumaa Thila, where I faced 5 or 6 sharks (one was the size of me!) and Kudu Giri Wreck, which was well preserved and covered in corals and fish.

For work-permit holders, Maafushi Dive Club gives a lovely discount at $50 for 2 dives. Another reason why Maafushi was great!

 

4. Day / Night Fishing trips

Again, easily arranged by you guest house or the various dive centres on the island, a fishing trip in Maldives is a great experience. Probably the only export here is it’s fish and seafood (which is absolutely divine) – how satisfying to go out and catch dinner yourself, learning all the tricks from very experienced fishermen. Then you get out the BBQ and watch the sun go down. Ah… bliss.

 

5. Island / Resort Hopping

If you fancy a change of scenery, there’s loads of islands very close to Maafushi which you can go and explore. If you decide to check out some more local islands, private transfers can be arranged very easily and you can even hire a guide if you want. Probably the most popular day trip is to the country’s capital, Male’, but with tourism ever-growing and guest houses cropping up all over the place, there’s a huge selection of local islands to visit, and I’d definitely recommend backpacking around them.

However, I also understand if you want to get your snapshot at a very classy resort in the Maldives. Maafushi is very close to several resorts, such as Fun Island, Kandooma Holiday Inn, Biyadhoo Island Resort and Fihaalhohi Island, and transfers and entry to these resorts can be arranged easily and at a reasonable price. A day trip to a resort usually includes breakfast and lunch, with an option to upgrade to all-inclusive. Resorts offer guests quite a different image of Maldives, especially if you stay overnight in a water bungalow… absolutely stunning. I’d recommend you visit both the local AND resort islands, even if only for the mind-blowing buffets that resorts serve every day…

 

6. Visit an Uninhabited ‘Picnic’ Island

This was my favourite day while staying in Maafushi. Maafushi Dive Club organised the transfer at a very good rate, and there was just a $5 entrance fee. We ate lunch at my guest house before going, but otherwise you can pay a little extra and get a tasty lunch buffet or BBQ organised while you’re there- ideal if there’s a big group of you. The island I went to was called Velivaru (I think?) and it used to be a resort, so there were some old run-down buildings and rooms. If you really want to experience a ‘deserted’ island, I’d suggest making it a private trip and go to an untouched island. Otherwise there’ll be other guests and local families around which changes the whole feel of the place. The best thing about these islands is the wonderful vegetation growing so freely, it almost felt like a small forest. I’ve heard that it’s possible to camp here overnight for a real “Naked and Afraid” desert island experience. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds amazing. Just you on an entire island, sleeping under the stars. Wow.

 

7. Dolphin / Whale Shark / Manta cruises

I’ve seen dolphins and manta’s, but I haven’t had the chance with whale sharks yet. The Dolphin cruises are very romantic, usually taking place at sunset, while whale sharks and manta ray’s can be seen by snorkelling or diving, in order to get up very close to them. These trips are extraordinarily cheaper on local islands than in resorts, and well worth the money. How can anyone put a value on such magnificent creatures?! When I dived at a Manta point and saw 5 or 6 of them very, very close up, I was totally captivated. They’re so gentle and majestic, if it wasn’t for my air tank, I could have stayed and watched them for hours.

 

8. Water sports

Maafushi and it’s water sports centres are well equipped for all the water sports of your dreams. You can surf, wind surf, water ski, rent out a jet ski, try wakeboarding, go on donut, banana or funbed rides, or go sailing on a catamaran. If you’re experienced already, renting out equipment is easy and affordable. If you’re new to it, you can start learning in Maldives– how awesome is that? The best thing about Maafushi is that the beaches aren’t crowded. Entirely different to the beaches I’ve seen in England or Italy. Here it’s not so commercialised – there’s no hot dog stands or guys coming up and down trying to get you to buy fake Ray Ban’s. It’s just a beautiful beach surrounded by dazzling sunbeam-lined waters. Riding a jet ski was one of the most fun things I’ve done here… it was so fast and I felt so free. Wakeboarding was also very exciting, especially after 5 or 6 failed attempts when I could eventually stand up!

 

9. Celebrate Eid

I was very lucky that my trip to Maafushi coincided with the Islamic festival of Eid. It was fantastic! The atmosphere on the island was super relaxed and happy, since everyone was on vacation. As it’s still low-season, there were hardly any tourists and I met a lot of locals the same age as me. In the evenings there were massive parties, discos and performances. My favourite thing to watch ever is Maldivian’s going wild to Boduberu – traditional music with an emphasis on drumming and dancing, and I mean dancing– they’re insane! It’s magical to watch. It’s like they enter a trance. It’s no wonder it’s often referred to as “vibrating the island”.

Here’s a beautiful video taken the exact time I was visiting!


What to Eat

  • Maldivian Hedhikaa (short eats) make great snacks between meals. They’re small snacks, usually made of smoked fish, grated cocnut, lime juice, onion and chilli, and deep fried. Delicious! They can be a little spicy, including bajiyaa (pastry stuffed fish), kulhi boakibaa (fishcake), keemia (fish rolls) and gulha (fishballs), and masroshi (small pancake stuffed with fish).

  • A traditional meal consists of rice and garudhiya(fish soup), with fish, chilli, lemon and onion. Curries are also used instead of garudhiya- it seems Maldivian cuisine is heavily influenced by Indian and Sri Lankan flavours and/or entire recipes. Beats Indian take out in England any day. 

  • Roshi (chapati) and mas huni (made of grated coconut, fish, lemon and onions) is a really tasty and light meal, especially for breakfast. 

  • Sweet dishes include custard, bodibaiy (rice mixed with sugar) and fruits such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, watermelon and passion fruit, are readily available whole or made into smoothies and mocktails. There’s something so refreshing about drinking coconut juice straight from the coconut..

  • Seafood… jumbo prawns, devilled calamari, and sweet and sour fish with vegetable rice was my favourite meal at White Shell’s restaurant (yes, I ate them all) and surprisingly good value- not more than 100 rufiya ($6.50) a plate, and easily shared between 2 or 3 people.

  • Private BBQ dinner on the beach. This was arranged by the guest house and I’d totally recommend splashing out on it. Only our table to wait on, we enjoyed freshly barbecued juicy white fish and tender beef steak, with a tasty salad and rice. No sound except the waves (and me devouring the entire fish).

  • Lunch on a desert island / sandbank. Again this can be arranged by your guest house or excursion company you’ve booked with. Adding lunch to an existing booking to a picnic island or other destination isn’t much extra, and totally worth it.

  • NB: Alcoholic beverages and pork are prohibited by law and found only in tourist resorts and liveaboards for tourist consumption. Alternatively, I enjoyed a couple cans of non-alcoholic beer while watching the sun go down. Great for my bank account (and my head the next morning!).

 

Maafushi
The “bikini barrier” – allowing foreigners to soak up the rays

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A colourful street

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The public beach

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Along the public beach. Luxury travel on a budget in Maldives IS possible!

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Going for a stroll around the island

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Water sports area

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Picturesque

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“Welcome guests!”

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Locals chilling in the shade on jollies (like small hammocks)

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The best thing about Maafushi are the children playing and cycling on the wide roads. It all feels incredibly safe, a bit like a small village.

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The view of the bikini beach from White Shell’s restaurant

A very exciting water fight between the girls and boys! On Maafushi everyone is having fun. A world away from Male...
A very exciting water/ paint fight between the girls and boys! On Maafushi everyone is having fun. A world away from Male…

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Luxury travel on a budget…

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Taking a stroll around the island

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Some expat labourers having a wash and taking a rest by the sea. I think it’s important to highlight the exploitation some of these guys are subjected too, maybe even more-so on local islands. We got talking to our waiter who said his monthly wage for a 6 day / 60 hour week was just $120.

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A very peaceful mosque surrounded by flowers and shrubs

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Getting to work in the afternoon heat

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When you arrive to Maafushi you might wonder where the beach is. Follow this road down and you’ll get there.

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Two young Maldivian guys take me to the guest house. I love their hair..

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The kind of place I could see myself retiring to.

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Diving in Maafushi … the best way to start a morning

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My room in the guest house. Spacious and clean and only $26 a night – insanely cheap! Don’t worry, the windows are blacked out for anyone trying to peek in.

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Arriving at the beautiful uninhabited island

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Can’t believe I found a slice of Autumn in Maldives

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No caption necessary..

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Maafushi at sunset is very soothing and nostalgic. Smell of dinner fills the air, children skip home to wash and change their clothes, fishermen return to the docks after a hard days work. It seems like everyone knows everyone, and they probably do.

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If you like blue, you’ll love Maldives. I can’t quite believe this is where I call “home”.
I hope you enjoyed reading my quick guide to Maafushi! On a side note,  all images are owned by me unless stated otherwise. If you would like to use them then please credit back to www.expatoftheworld.com. If you’d like to use them for commercial use, please contact me at im_sarah@live.co.uk

Hi! I'm Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I'm an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I'm using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

73 Comments

  1. Hi Sarah…incredible story…and lovely pics….even I am travelling to Maldives…andI have a few question, which I hope can be fairly answered by an avid traveller like you….Pls share your email id if possible, so that I can put across my questions….thanks…

    1. I’d love to answer your questions! If you like, you could post them here so that other people reading can benefit too! When are you visiting Maldives? I’m very jealous!

  2. Hi Sarah.. Thank you very much for the incredible information.
    I am planning to visit the maldives in july for 4days/3nights. I have plans to spend the 1st day in and around male city, 2nd day in villingili and the next two days somewhere close by

    Just a few questions:
    1. will one day be enough to experience Maafushi island and the sea around?
    2. are there shallow snorkeling spots around? I am not a very good swimmer so it would be wonderful if there are spots that are easily reached from the beach.
    3. apart from maafushi, is there any other island (2-3 hours from male) that you would recommend?

    would be a great help

    Thank You

    1. Hi Mihitha! You’re very welcome. Your plans sound great, although I would stay longer around Maafushi than go to Villingili. Villingili is lovely but a bit too close to Male.
      1. I would try to spend a bit longer if you can especially if you’d like to go diving or visit an uninhabited island
      2. You can contact the dive clubs on each island and they can help you organise snorkelling excursions. A local island called Thulusdhoo had a very lovely beach and snorkelling reef and it’s not too far away, very cheap to get to via public transport.
      3. There are several islands in close proximity connected via public boat (usually once a day) Including Huraa and Thulusdhoo which I have written posts on. Take a look if you like!

      Have a wonderful trip! Remember to pack snorkelling equipment, fins etc, as renting can be expensive.

      1. Thanks a lot for the reply… so after considering your recommendations I have decided to visit Rasdhoo island instead of Maafushi. I leave to Maldives tomorrow(27th) hoping to have a good time 🙂

  3. Dear Sarah, thanks for writing this lovely blog. I had many apprehensions in finalizing Maafushi as my Honeymoon destination in the month of November this year but after going through this article, I feel I know almost all about this lovely Island.

    However there are few queries in my mind, which is obvious, and was wondering if you could help:

    1. The main reason of staying on this Island is definitely because its cheap and you get chance to explore the best water activities. However, to experience the life in Resorts, would you recommend a day trip there or to book a water bungalow for a night? In later case, does resorts allow this for a night and of they do, what would be a good option around?

    2. Me & my partner doesn’t know swimming. We’re planning to stay there for 3 day, so can we experience SCUBA after their training? Or knowing swimming is a mandatory thing?

    Many thanks again for the details that you have already provided. Looking forward for your response. Cheers!

    1. Hi Piyush, thank you for your comment! November will be a lovely time to visit Maldives and Maafushi is makes for a great honeymoon.

      1. A full day trip to a resort (morning to sunset including breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, or go for the all inclusive option) really is an excellent deal. Your guest house organise it for you, including boat transfers to and from the island, which is significantly less than using resort transfers.
      However, a water bungalow would be very romantic. You would be able to book for 1 night so long as they aren’t full up. There are several resorts around, including Holiday Inn Kandooma, Cocoa Island by COMO, Biyadhoo and Olhuveli Beach Resort and Spa (See NeverEndingFootsteps.com for her blog post about this latter resort).

      2. As long as you are confident and calm in the water, there shouldn’t be a problem. Check out my post about Scuba Diving if you’d like to find out more. A friend of mine tried Scuba diving and she wasn’t a very confident swimmer. It isn’t essential but it’s important to feel at ease in the water.

      Have a fantastic time!

      1. Hi Sarah, one more thing. Before going to Maldives, should I arrange for a International SIM card or would I get it at Male Airport? If available there, then would they activate it immediately? How much it would cost like? Would it provide a good connectivity?

        1. Hey, I picked up my SIM card in Male, the capital, in the many phone shops they have on the island. Yes it was activated very quickly and didn’t cost that much at all. Connectivity was very good for an island in the Indian Ocean!!

  4. Hi Sarah: Glad to found your site. I am going to Maafushi in October. Reaching Male at 1130AM and im going straight to the Ferry terminal to get on the 3PM. question, if you dont mind, does the ferry get full and we need to reach earlier to get a ticket? Or we need to book in advance for a ticket? I understand its one ferry trip per day so I would imagine all the locals go back at 3PM too? What do you recommend base on your experence? And do we need to may in Maldivian money to get to the boat? Or USD is fine?

    1. Hi, oh wow October will be fantastic- that’s when I visited too. I hope you will enjoy the Eid celebrations!
      I don’t think it was possible to book the boat ticket in advance, so it’ll be good to get there early. Yeah it might be quite packed, especially in October as I think I remember the schools went on a holiday for a week. I think it’s best to get some local money although they probably accept USD – but they’ll accept it at a terrible rate. Have a great time!

  5. hello.

    very useful post. i heard water bottle is expensive thre so can u tell me how much it cost in maafushi island?

    secondly is supermarket nearby hotels? i will be staying in arena beach hotel. as im will b visiting in mid october

    thanks

    1. Hiya, I drank bottled water the whole year I lived in Maldives and never found it to be expensive. Obviously you may pay a bit more for it in restaurants, so just buy them in the local shops.
      Maafushi is a very small island so anyway you won’t have to walk very far to find a shop, however I don’t remember there being any big supermarkets on the island, so if you really need to I suggest going to a supermarket in Male first, before arriving in Maafushi. Enjoy your trip!! October is a fantastic time to visit, you should join in with the Eid celebrations!

  6. Hi Sarah, my girlfriend and I are thinking about camping on the deserted island you mentioned in your post for one night. Do you know which company or what way we should go about arranging this? We will have all the provisions, we just need the drop off and permission to camp there. Thanks,

    1. Hi Matt, wow I love your idea. I think you should try emailing a few resorts and asking them. Usually it is a resort which owns the uninhabited island close by, which they often call a ‘picnic Island’ and use for day trips. If you contact a local guest house instead of a resort, this should be cheaper but be sure it’s all being done legally!

      1. Thanks Sarah, I contacted a few guest houses and adventure companies and according to them it can’t be done. Also,currently, the uninhabited islands are owned by resorts and can’t be visited by non-guests. The only islands I was informed are possible to visit are the sandbars.

        1. Oh dear! Well, I was able to visit an uninhabited island close to Maafushi. My guest house organised it but probably they have a partnership with one of the nearby resorts, I’m not sure. Local Maldivian friends of mine have camped on the uninhabited islands in the past, but maybe it’s not strictly legal? I’m not sure.
          Sand banks make lovely day trips but I wouldn’t risk camping on one!!

  7. Hi Sarah! I will also be visiting Maldives 2nd week of October. Me and my friends plan to stay at Maafushi Island. I am checking the guesthouse where you stayed, Holiday Lodge Maldives. Did you book it online? Or did you go directly to the guesthouse? If online, what site would you recommend (ex, agoda, booking.com?)?

    Also, Is Holiday Lodge far from the port or drop off of the public ferry?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Oh great! I actually found the guest house through a friend of mine, but agora and booking.com are good shouts. You could always try emailing them directly to see what they say! It’s not far at all from the port but the guys will be there to meet you and carry your luggage. You’re welcome!

  8. Hello Sarah. What a lovely guide. Me and my girlfriend are thinking about planning a trip to Maldives this summer, and since we are both studying, we are looking for budget places to stay like Maafushi.
    Do you think 9-10 days on this island would be too much, if we combine relaxing with trips? (
    And can you tell more about the food? Did you eat at your own hotel for dinner, or is it possible also to visit other restaurants?

    Best regards,
    Marco, Denmark

    1. Hi Marco- 9-10 days sounds just perfect especially if you’re keen divers and explorers. You could always base yourselves somewhere like Maafushi and then visit other local islands too, if you wanted.
      The food is the main difference between staying on a local island and staying in a resort. Local island food is alright.. Our guest house made lovely BBQs with fresh fish. But in general they have a lot of rice dishes. Some local islands have very few restaurants, Maafushi had a few but also you were given the choice to eat out at other peoples guesthouses (since there are over 30 in Maafushi!) and I often ate at a guesthouse restaurant situated on the beach.
      Have fun, I wish I was going back myself! Sarah

  9. Hi Sarah! Are the ‘local’ Island safe for single, female travellers by day and nighttime? For example, if I visit one of the Islands, will I be able to walk to a restaurant by myself at night?

    Greetings, Marjolein

    1. From my experiences, I’d say absolutely! You might get some people looking at you, because it’s quite rare to see a woman on her own. The local women rarely eat out, too. Since the local islands forbid alcohol etc, I found them safer than walking home (I live in England) alone on a Saturday night! It gets dark quite early and some of the local islands are so small that you won’t be the only person walking around. Once I was sitting on the beach alone on a local island after watching the sun set and two policemen came over to ask if I was okay, and they told me I should probably have a man with me… Different cultures! As for the day time, no problems at all. Did you have any local islands in mind? Be sure to have your phone or a torch handy as some don’t have street lamps. If you head somewhere rather touristy like Maafushi, there’ll be many other visitors around, and the main restaurants are just a few minutes walk from the guest houses. 🙂

  10. Thanks for your quick reply, very helpful! At the moment I’m considering doing a liveaboard in the Maldives for a week, followed by a couple of days on one of the Islands. Maafushi is on my list, also because it’s not so small. I’ll probably be there in the beginning of july, as this is the low season, do you still think there will be a lot of tourists? A I will be travelling alone, it would be nicer not being the only one 😉

    1. It’s funny you should say Maafushi isn’t so small, maybe it’s just because I grew up on mainland but it seemed small to me! A larger island I found was Gan island, in Laamu atoll. It was much better for taking long walks around. I think there will be a fair amount of tourists in July, plus ‘budget travel’ and backpacking in Maldives is becoming increasingly popular! Do you have any liveaboards in mind? I’ve never done one but I stayed a few nights on Scuba Spa which was very luxurious. I mostly stuck to scuba diving with local dive companies as their rates were cheaper 🙂

  11. Hi Sarah. Your tips are super handy. Have you ever arrived Male on a Friday? I understand there are no ferries to the local islands on Fridays are speedboats for rental readily available on Fridays? Can that be arranged from the airport itself or do I go to Male first and take the speedboats from there to Maafushi? Thanks in advance for the reply.

    1. Hi Stanley– you’re right about there being no ferries on Fridays. I never really saw a dock for speedboat hire, though I’m sure it’s something that’ll be more readily available in the future. If I needed to rent one, I’d often phone a friend who knew somebody’s cousin or aunt or something and rent through them- island life! But there was a agency online I think I found once but I can’t remember. A speedboat transfer to Maafushi is probably quite expensive. You might be better off staying one night in a guest house in Male or even Hulhumale which is where the airport is, and then transferring to Maafushi on Saturday morning. Good luck!

    2. Another option could be contacting your guest house that you’re staying in Maafushi and ask them if they can arrange a speedboat transfer.

  12. Hello Sarah,
    Your post is simply superb to give a great insight on Maafushi. Me and my wife will be visiting Maldives in June end this year and will be staying in Maafushi Island. I want to know, can we get pure vegetarian food in Maafushi restaurants as we both do NOT eat Eggs, Fish or any form of meat.

    I heard that it is difficult to get it there? Also, it is fine if we can get some raw food/stuffs from home there as a backup option?

    Many Thanks.

    Regards,
    Sunil

    1. Hi Sunil- thank you I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      From my memory, vegetarian food was the same meals just without egg, fish or meat– so rice with vegetables and spices. Some places do pasta dishes but they weren’t fantastic so best to stick to local dishes. I would definitely suggest bringing stuff from back home, just in case. Mind- it’s been 2 years since I was there, perhaps with all the tourism they have imported new foods?!

      On resort islands you will definitely have a huge range of food to choose from– while you’re staying in Maafushi, you could try a one day visit to a resort or something for some R&R 🙂

      Let me know how it goes! – Sarah

  13. Thank you Sarah for the quick response. It’s good to hear that rice, vegetable and spice dishes can be found as local dishes in Maafushi.

    I will definitely let you know how it went once I am back.
    Regards,
    Sunil

  14. Thanks Sarah. I’m planning early for our Aug 2017 trip and so I came across your informative website. Kudos to you. I’d love to see the Maldives esp that we’re from the Philippines and we know about islands, secluded white sand beaches etc. Anyways thanks for the info, really useful 🙂

    1. Thank you Engr! Philippines is my dream destination, but I’d definitely want to be there for a good length of time. Any must-see places you could please recommend for me? 😁

  15. Hi Sarah, I’ve been going around the Philippines,th for the past 15 years, organizing for a group of friends (30+ pax every summer). I also have my own foundation #lapisplease. We can exchange messages via Facebook if you have questions, as I can definitely help you. I do have a fee questions on Maldives as well 🙂 Thanks

  16. Hi Sarah, thanks to a very much for your very informative posts. my friends and i are leaving for maafushi two weeks from now. we are from the Philippines. Is it ok to go around male and maafushi in shorts and tshirts or blouse since there are restrictions in the way we should dress.
    We will be staying at Lily Rest . Are you familiar with that inn?

    Anyways your posts will help us a lot.
    Thanks again.

    Tess

    1. Hi Tess- I’m glad you found the post helpful! Most tourists do wear shorts and t-shirts since it’s so warm, I would recommend shorts to the knee. Obviously you cannot enter a mosque in shorts and a t-shirt. Also when you’re swimming on these islands, shorts and t shirt is perfect – NOT bikini. 🙂 have a fantastic time!! X

  17. Hi again Sarah.
    Since me and my girlfriend are going to Maafushi this month, I have one more question.
    Do you know if it is enough to bring just US dollars or should we bring some maldivian “rufiyaa”? 🙂
    Best regards
    Marco

    1. Hi Marco! I would definitely try to bring the local currency before arriving! Since local shops will sell things in local money, but may charge commission with dollars. The exchange rate should be around 1 USD to 15 Rufiyaa I believe 🙂 have fun!!

  18. Hi sarah,
    Im goin to maldices by end of january.
    Can you help me on this
    1.can i find any speed boat/sea plane operating on friday?
    2.is there any chance i can join whale shark safari wjile staying in male/maafushi?
    3.and how much is the one day resort trip cost?
    Your. Reply would b much appreciated :))

    1. Hi Lin, thanks for your comment.

      1. I’m really not sure, it depends where you’re going, I.e a resort or a local island?
      2. Yes there are whale shark safari’s – your guest house or local dive club can help you arrange this.
      3. It really depends which resort you’re visiting and if you stay for a full day, including lunch etc etc. I’d say roughly $100 per person.

      Have a great time!

  19. i meant whale shark safari to south ari atoll side like maamigili area.
    Based on i heard,there are more possibility we can encounter whale shark there

  20. Sarah,
    I just found this post, don’t know how old it is. Hope you will see my post 🙂
    Me and my husband want to visit Maafushi, as we have small budget and cannot afford any luxurious resorts. But definitely will reserve one day to visit something, like you have suggested.
    My question is didn’t it rained in October? I read that till November it is not a good idea for Maldive, but we found some nice offers for octomber as well and I am a bit afraid to not have rainy weather.
    Also what can we do in the evening, there is something special? Also I heard that there is a possibility to rent a bike and walk around, do you know something about it?
    Thanks a lot!

    Ellina

    1. Hi Ellina! In October it was mostly hot and sunny, but it did rain occasionally. The rain can come and go, for example a rainy morning and a gloriously sunny afternoon. So I wouldn’t worry too much.

      The evening on local islands is mostly centred around dinner, going for a stroll, having an ice cream and soft drinks (since alcohol is illegal) and the youth hang around together, chatting etc. It’s possible to book evening activities with your guest house or local dive centre, such as sunset fishing trips, night diving, a romantic BBQ on the beach, etc.

      Yes I believe you can rent a bike if you like, though the island is pretty small so it’s possible just to walk around 😊 I would bring lots of reading material and perhaps a deck of cards etc if you find yourself bored in the evenings. But I had a magical time, and hope you do too!

  21. Hey Sarah,
    I came across your blog in my research on Maafushi. I am planing on going there from 12th sept-15th sept. although your post is from 2014 i hope you con help me out.
    I havent booked a hotel yet and wanted to know if I get to maafushi and then book one there?

    thanks
    Jawad

    1. hi Jawad, gosh 2 years already?! Seems only yesterday I was loving life in Maafushi. I think you shouldn’t have a problem doing that on the island, however you might find a problem at the visa/immigration desk on arrival. I think they like to see proof of where you’re staying, but I could be wrong. Good luck!

      1. Hi Sarah,
        Thanks for your quick reply. I have a couple of more questions, if you dont mind
        1. other than the hotel restaurants are there any other good restaurants on maafushi? and whats an average per head at these
        2. how much is the luggage limit on an icom tours spedboat? i am planing to take a shared one. (icom black, orange etc.)

        regards,
        Jawad

  22. Hello Sarah…I am speechless after reading this article… People like you definitely a blessing for all of us… I mean it is very difficult to spend time and help others like this… brilliant work!
    I am planning to go to Maldives with my wife…i am preparing list of questions…that I want to ask you…need your help… please share your email so that I can contact … Thanks in Advance 🙂

    1. Hello! Thank you, that’s so lovely to hear! Okay that’s no problem, you can find my contact details in the About Me page- or comment here with your Qs, perhaps others will benefit too!

  23. Hey,
    I don’t know if you still check this but I was wondering if there is any way to get to a resort to stay for a night without taking their personal speedboats. Also, do you have any recommendations on where to stay to see whale sharks.

    Thank you very much,
    Jared

    1. Hi Jared. One option I used to do was take a local passenger ferry to the nearest local island. Then either ask around and see if someone could drop me off, or get picked up from the resort much more cheaply.
      My Maldivian friend Sira always said that South Ari Atoll was the best place for whale sharks. There you’ll find many local and resort islands. Have a great tiime!

  24. Hi Sarah, I came across your blog recently, when I started doing some research on Maldives to plan for our upcoming vacation. I love your writing, even without being there I feel like I know what the country would be like. I was hoping you can help us with one question: it seems the resorts are charging almost a nights-rate for the speed-boat or skyplane transfer itself. Sounds like daylight robbery to me. Is it possible that I just book a resort accommodation and be able to arrange a cheaper transport to that resort independently? We cannot go beyond U$300 per night on accommodation and it’s looking bleak 🙁

    1. Hello Dee, thank you! That’s the tricky thing with resorts. Public passenger boats don’t go to resort islands. I would suggest taking a public passenger boat from Male or Villingili to the closest local island to your resort and perhaps even staying a night or two in a local island! Then the transfer to the resort should be much cheaper at a smaller distance. Maafushi is gorgeous. Good luck!

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