#thatcrazyadventure

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Maldives on a Budget


I am back in Maldives! And this time around, I managed to stay in Male City thus giving me access to explore ways to keep travelling budget low if I ever return for you gais. Arriving Male at 8.10pm left me with not much choice but to make my way out of the airport, hop on the boat and transfer straight to the city.

Transportation
From airport to Male City
Most hotels will have airport transfer pre-arranged. In cases where you don’t, fret not as you can make your way out of the airport, turn right and you shall see the building below.



Walk straight towards the building and get your ferry ride for MVR10 or USD1 (they accept both currencies) Ferry operators run from 6am to 12am daily and the boat ride to Male City is only 5 minutes away.





Inside Male City
Male City is the capital of Maldives and it’s only about 4km2 making walking the entire country…possible. 90% of Maldivians rely on motorbikes. For those with legs made of gold, you can take a cab from literally anywhere to anywhere on the island for MVR25 (about USD1.5) And let’s say you get too excited and packed your closet along to Maldives, you can then pay an extra MVR5 for each bag that you bring along.

To nearby islands/ day trip to private resorts
If you plan to stay entirely on Male City and plan to venture out to the islands on a daily basis, you can always speak to your hotel/ guest house operators to arrange the island hopping tour. I have done a good job sourcing packages for you guys as below. *pats my own back*



Above are some of the packages Jen Hotel provides and I believe there are plenty more packages at cheaper rates available all over the city.

Ok to wear Bikini by the beach?
This apparently has been the #1 question I get when it comes to promoting public island tours. And the answer is YES, it’s ok for you to wear a bikini as most public islands like Maafushi and nearby resorts allow you to strip down to your bikinis along their private beach. (Yes almost all islands in Maldives except for Male City has private beach for you to take it all off.

Diving/ Swimming/ Snorkeling/ Fishing /Dolphin Watching/ Island Hopping
Surprisingly, getting certified as a diver in Maldives is CHEAP! Ok la I think it’s quite long for me to type for what you have to pay so see for yourself lah the photo below. Everything is in USD ok. You just have to walk in to any tour operators or hotel to ask and they will be more than happy to assist.






Accommodation
I am here for work, so I got to check in to Jen Hotel. Jen Hotel is managed by Traders and Shangri-la thus price is slightly on the high side of budget at RM1,400 a night but it’s location is prime; 30 seconds from jetty 6. For the rest who wants to stay budget in the city, please go la to agoda.com or booking.com and check. Search for Male City and sort the price from lowest to highest and wahlaaaa you will be amazed how cheap a night in Male City can cost you.

Just to share, I stayed my entire 4D3N in Male City for meetings and yet we managed to squeeze time for island hopping as well as snorkeling trips complete with dolphin hunting during sunset. 

My itinerary (without all the meetings of course)
Day 1
8.10pm: Arrive at Male International airport
8.40pm: Board the boat prepared by Jen Hotel to Male City
8.50pm: Check in to Jen Hotel
9.00pm: Dinner in the hotel (you can proceed to have dinner in the streets of Male. They have pretty decent cafes and local stores for dinner along Chaandhanee Magu street)

Day 2
Morning: You can take a city walking tour to explore the rich culture and architecture here. (we got the tour for free from the hotel but of course we tipped the tour guide after that) We walked around to explore the country’s oldest mosque, parliament office, national museum, fish market and shop for souvenirs. The tour was short and sweet and gave us good insight  










2.00pm: Depart Male City to Sand Banks (journey take about 30 minutes) Sand Banks is a public island with absolutely nothing but coconut trees and white sandy beaches. We snorkeled and swam for a bit. Weather got stormy and we had to braced through the rain! (you can see from one of the photo down there where the storm approaches)







4.00pm: Depart Sand Banks to Maafushi. Maafushi is about 15 minutes away from Male city and is definitely one of the island where lots of budget travelers stay.

IMHO, I don’t really like this island but yes you can get really good hotel deals and excursion rates here. A night in one of the island biggest hotel is only at USD130 a night for 2pax. And island hopping packages as well as other water sports are ridiculously cheap here. The island is not really white sand blue water kinda thing but you get what I mean, stay here and venture out! (ok all photos taken straight from my gopro. Sorry but i damn lazy to edit the photos thus the colour abit off)








The ugly side of Maafushi






6.00pm: Depart Maafushi to Male City
7.00pm: Dinner and chill


Upon arriving back at Male City, we were greeted by this beautiful sunset



And we just chilled at the roof top bar of our hotel. And yes, with no alcohol. NO ALCOHOL.
Day 3
We got to transfer to Four Seasons Hura Kudaa to do some dolphins spotting on the way as well as snorkel off the waters of Hura Kudaa.















All in all, budget trip to Maldives is totally possible. You can do a 4D3N trip for less than RM3000 including flight booking. But IMHO, a budget trip to Maldives will mean no difference from any other islands you visit in the world unless you stay in private resorts because that's what Maldives' all about! The whole experience will be elevated when you empty your bank... literally.

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