10 months island hoping & saving the best for last
This country was kinda on my bucket list but not exactly, I am more of a jungle man but the woman I wanted to marry loves the beach so I felt this was the perfect ideal spot to propose to her even though I was planning on doing it in the Philippines during New Years. I seen this flight deal and I had to look it up. In doing so, I found I can make it on a budget and of course I love a challenge. So I booked the flight and wanted to stay a month but was uncertain of a lot of things and I am by far from being rich so we cut our trip to half the time and wanted to stay for two weeks and roam around and find some things out. One thing that is pretty hard to find out is really any valid answers in coming to this country on a budget. The information is out there but it is vague and I am here to present you with a lot of information I have gathered up while being here.
I set out to travel to Maldives from a really super flight deal from Manila. The ad posted on my email and I thought it was cheap, but I hesitated the situation really fast knowing I am on a budget, but my sixth sense kicked in & “wait a minute, I survived Japan for 6 weeks, this should be a cake walk”, so I started to dig into the country to see about prices. And, wow, cheap! Why is it cheap now? Well, because you do not have to stay at a resort island anymore in the country as a tourist. The government now has opened up all the islands to tourism since 2010 and man is it booming. So many great deals and many islands to choose from as far as guest houses go, there are some hostels but very few, so my recommendation is, if you want to travel Maldives, it certainly would be much better wth at least two or more people. Many of the rooms offer mega space for lots of people, so if you had a big group it would be super cheap. So on average from what I had gathered up was rooms were on average at about $40 on the islands father away and about $75 near the main capitals or airports or even the big tourists islands. So yeah it is a little more expensive than Japan but these rooms also included breakfast and the taxes which is what is ridiculous in this country. But how else do you think a million people are going to survive and make it in modern society out here in the middle of no where in the deep blue sea of gorgeous lagoons, bays, thriving forests and some of the best resorts in the world are right here South of India, a country full of hope and future dreams at wonderful Maldives.
So first things you should know is about immigration at the airport. We had an address written down that we thought was the name of the place because we booked off Airbnb, which by the way is probably the cheapest form of booking online to go with. Booking and Agoda seem so much more, I’d say on average 20% more. You surly can get more information off these sites as for reading the reviews and probably more pictures but we primarily stuck with Airbnb. (Agoda & booking charge 18% service charge while Airbnb charge 3%, paid by the host. But Airbnb charges the host 3% but they charge the customer a service fee also which is 12.5%.) This is why many places in Maldives are going under Airbnb. This is great information to have while you have cash in hand and tell the places of stay that you will be saving them 18% paying cash and not going through the website.
So at immigration if we had the right hotel name they probably would of let us through. So we had to sit and wait for them to call, verify, and even ask us how long we were staying, how much money we have, and also our full itinerary, which we did not have as well. So beware of this because they could possible turn you back or make you get a full itinerary before they release you into the country. I guess we were lucky by stating once we get to our first guesthouse we were gonna speak with the host and he was going to guide us through. The host and I had spoken for many days already and he told me to just come and when you get to the islands you can talk in person, and make better deals, too of course save money. So that was the agenda and lucky it went through. I think also if you have a written slip of someone to vouch for you on your stay then you can easily go through, and that is what they told our host, that he is responsible for us. Also it’s more about the money also, because they want to know how much they are getting from each resort with it being a 12% tax on top of a environmental fee which can vary around $3 each day per person according to the island. ( In Keyodhoo it was $2 a head and in Thulusdhoo it was $3 a head. ) So guest houses even charge a service fee so make sure you read everything in the ads, TWICE, take snap shots and do not be afraid to talk to the host, ask questions, this is another thing nice about hosting with Airbnb. A question not asked is a question not answered!
Our first host, the one that probably gave me more information than I needed was Hussain and his fellow workers. Hussain owns a guesthouse in Malè called the Raintree Resisdence Guesthouse. One thing that is nice about Maldives tourism is you can look up all this information on the government website, from each island and every single guesthouse, hotel, resort is all listed, with phone numbers and valid information along with prices, activities, ways of getting there, and much more. So basically you can just click onhttp://www.tourism.gov.mv/facilities/guest-house/
and look up all the information as you wish too. I will guide you on some key factors of my personal experience along with valuable information to make your time easy and affordable at Maldives.
Most of the hosts seem to know quite a bit about their country which is good and valid. Speed boats are expensive going far away from Malè and planes, PHiSH, forget about it, outrageous expensive. Be aware of seasons and the ferries sometimes do not run during certain periods. Speed boats however do continue to run I believe all year long. Honestly nowadays the islanders do not know much about the weather. Years ago in 2004 a tsunami hit and since then the weather has been very sporadic leaving not much room on when and what will change about weather, monsoons, and even the dry season. Before this tragic event the people knew exactly when the monsoon was here and when it will rain for long periods of time, even knowing the information about the strong currents, tides, and so forth but no more. 😔 It seems now the monsoon season is becoming around at different times, even coming twice a year now. So look up the weather, asks the locals and read the reviews. If coming within a couple weeks you can google the best weather site available called Ventusky , I use it all the time and it is generally 90% correct always. We have come here during January, 16-30 and have not seen any rain. The week before the locals said there was a little bit of clouds and some drops of rain but the currents and oceans changed rapidly. I can also say by the next two months most of all the guesthouses are full, so book before February and March to get a good rate and place. They had said November was bad weather and December was not the best.
What you can expect on almost all the islands is activities, from surfing to diving, wind surfing to fishing, sun bathing to eating dinner on the beach, having fish almost every meal and not seeing much coral anymore. About the coral, everyone wants to blame it on the hot weather or this bleaching action. Well I will give you my insist which is pretty accurate just using common sense. When coral is growing in water depth of 15 meters it surely is not from the hot weather. The same coral is growing in 1 meter as 15 meters and every meter in depth changes in temperature. Yes you can blame the hot weather in coral growing in 1 meter but not 15, that just does not make sense. And about this so called bleaching, bleach is a poison a salt in fact and this terminology wasn’t really spread across the nations until after the disaster of Fukushima. If you do not know about the tragic disaster that happened in Japan while an earthquake and a tsunami about folded a nuclear power station being right on the ocean, please for humanity look it up. The carbon rods that hold all the toxics of radiation, ___________ bleachhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radionuclide
the products by killing them. When looking at a dead person they are generally more white in color than another color. Same goes for when the life in the ocean dies it becomes white also, called bleaching. Remember we only have one ocean on this earth and the currents travel throughout the world. So when this infected poison goes into the water everything is infected and this is the reason why coral, massive fish, whales, and other water animals are dying. It takes minimum 15 years sometimes 25 years before these carbon robs are cooled down to extract them to a different place, per-say the deserts. So for this, many years a human can not get involved or they will die just like thousands have already breathing or being with close proximity of the radiation. Let alone two robots have died trying to find the main cause, problem or solution to help fix the situation at the plant. That’s right, robots, in fact under water robots, DIED. the third robot read up to 700REMS that is enough to kill a human as fast as the most deadliest snake in the world that bites you directly on your neck. Radiation cooks you basically from the inside out and fades you away like a light build going off in slow motion. Literally all radiation is deadly at these high levels, why you think when the doctors X ray you they go behind a closed room, ‘LIKE HELLO,’ and the people let doctors do chemotherapy on you. People…. It’s radiation, a killer, sorry about the rant but this is very important news for the world. Do you know where the earth gets it oxygen from. I will tell you where it gets 85% of the oxygen from, and that is the vegetation PLANT SYSTEM in our ocean. The life of under water plants gives us our oxygen. If coral is dying along with so many species in the water, do you really think simple fragile plants are going to live?… Here is some quick websites you can check out and learn some of this stuff on your own.
I really hope you look my information up and actually acknowledge this truth. There are things that can be done but I just hope time doesn’t run out.
😱😞Multi World Knowledge : on youtube is a good start to learning how free energy works
Back to my experience of Maldives. When coming with a group, it is so much cheaper doing this excursions. Because not like other tourist countries where you just ask people and join in to save on money. Let me better rephrase this since many of the local islands are quite different. It seemed in Keyodhoo the operation worked more like an actual resort and we had asked our host if we could combine an excursion with others to save money but it seemed he wanted to just take us on the boat alone. He did ask us if we wanted to go on a sand bank tour with others and told us a really high amount like $100 so we said no. But also I will say not to many guests were on this island at the time. So maybe only a couple people was going on a tour and asked us if we wanted to go. As to staying at Thulusdhoo, the host contacted the boats around to give a better rate but five times more guests were also on this island.
I know I am spread out about information but I just have so much knowledge I want to give to the world. Here is the breakdown of my Itinerary for the two weeks.
After male for one day we went south to Keyodhoo and stayed at blue ocean. We booked two nights on Airbnb and was going to make our way from there. We fell in love just like at the Raintree, it seems they have a touch for the western style for sure, but it feels like a four star hotel room if not a five star. A/c was turned on every time, clean, fashionable, with great designs on the bed, just so fashionable you would never expect it to be all the way out here in the middle of the ocean. The local ferry takes 6.5 hrs and is pretty much on time everyday, only Friday’s are the hold up because it is the countries national religion rest day and the people do not do anything. So be aware of Friday’s. The ferry running south seems to run every other day going south and every others day running north, so basically one day south and next day north. This seems to be the approach wth islands far away, as to close to Male many ferries are running and even speed boats are sometimes cheap. Ask your host about details.
(The ferries do not stop at resorts and the local islands will not bring you to a resort.)
This is what I was told so be aware, thinking you don’t have to pay for the extremely large fee by the resorts to get onto a speedboat. This is how the country operates so please be advised on this. When going to a resort it can cost a lot more than what you might be thinking.
If going south I believe Keyodhoo is one of the last islands the local ferry will take you. They might take you one more island south but that is it. Going North on the local ferry they take you to Dhiffushi island and that is the furthest. Going west of Malè I am unaware of. But you can look up the ferry timetable but it is not always correct. Always ask a local or your host because they generally have an updated version of the times.
The reason I went to this island is because this Atoll ‘Vaavu,’ is supposed to be the best for diving in Maldives and there is only one dive shop at the moment operated by a Swiss lady and local man. The shops name is Muraka Diving
I dove once at the famous nurse sharks spot, and it was awesome to see the sharks swimming so close to you, seen about 7 of them. But sad all the coral was pretty much dead. The current was super strong and this is one reason we didn’t get to go to the most famous dive site which is called, Fotteyo coral, ‘local name’ (hurahu kandu). This site is supposed to be like number three in the world. Sucks I didn’t get to go but I am still glad I dove at some of the best dive spots in Asia primarily. ( Make sure to check out my other blogs and get to read about my travels in over 30 countries going to the highest mountains, most dense jungles and best oceans of diving throughout the world. ) The diving cost around $100, the more you dive the cheaper it becomes. During December-January you can see many oceanic rays with whale sharks at Dhigurah island which is south west of Male. I believe a local ferry will take you but far away, there is an airport close to there. Can check it out. North of Keyodhoo is Thinadhoo which has a beautiful lagoon and primarily all this islands around here are Italian based. I guess years ago when the resorts started, different countries picked different Islands and now these resorts of this certain countries are making their way to the local islands to build guest houses. So around Maldives you get a mixture of many countries and their regions right here in the middle of the ocean. Also the trees are being cut at a rapid rate to put these new guest houses up which is sad considering how much of this islands are actually forest lands. Trash is becoming more of a problem as well. I hope they can get their actions better for the future. Many of these islands were all nothing but forests and jungle which is amazing to me finding birds, ants, bees, bats, and many other things on these islands way out here in the middle of the ocean.
Scientists just have discovered that long ago the land covered from India to Australia was once above the water, this certainly explains the forest here. Also pyramids was just discovered in this same region of land mass as I just described, something else to look into.
Many people go to Maafushi, which is close to Male so I would expect the people that go just for a short vacation, I personally like to be away from tourist spots but each, has their own opinion.
In Male their is a museum and a really cheap cheap seafood market, that is supposed to be the best in this country. Last year in November 23, 2018 Maldives elections and I believe their Independence Day opened the new highway to connect the man-made island of Male and the airport. Also another highway is being built and a reclamation process is happening on the east side of the island with the airport. Male is one of the most densely populated areas on earth and amazing how almost 95% of this country is just ran off of tourism, that should tell you how much money is in tourism. North of Male is Huraa close to the epic Four Seasons resort, where Justin Bieber stays all the time, famous for surf areas is now also having a reclamation process going on so we headed towards Thulusdhoo which has the best local surfing spot called the chicken or Cokes. I guess because their is actually a CokeaCola factory on the island and you can visit anytime after 10am except on Fridays. I have been in other countries but I didn’t make it to this islands factory. We was quite busy with doing many excursions at affordable rates from snorkeling to sand banks and also fishing. The factory is free of charge, this island has a fishing causeway or long dock that is also free and you can go snorkeling here during day when no one is fishing and see thousands of fish. Be careful of the currents, as well as not touching anything. The ladder also wasn’t in contact with the concrete so be-careful of getting up and down. Like all bikini beaches in Maldives it seems few chairs so get their early to grab one.
My trip in a nutshell;
Let me break down my experience a little more for you. Our first island was Keyodhoo staying at the BlueOcean for 6 nights. First I will say the service you get here is top notch, like literally having your own personal butler, as I have mentioned before and I have not paid for a service charge nor was I asked a tip or extra money after the final bill. Like I was saying before make sure you read all the details before booking, even contact them before making the reservations. This host makes your bed daily, decorates your room with flowers in your bed, while having candle light dinners on the beach all for the same cost. Just depends on the day really, of what is going on and probably the amount of people attending. I would recommend you staying a full week at each island to get the full details or just ask the hosts what is on the agenda during your stay. Every island is unique and the business has a remarkable different feel. This is because most of these guesthouses are opened up through Maldives locals which have prolly never even traveled outside of their own country. Hell many do not even know what a Hostel is! So this was the huge difference you would see as a local wanting to start a business from nothing to a local wanting to run the show like a resort because they had worked at one previously. While being at the BlueOcean guesthouse talking with Adula our host and personal butler lol and seeing how he performed his work, I knew instantly he worked for a resort. Upon asking, he said he was a butler for a private room, and this is exactly what we got on this island. And it wasn’t just our guesthouse, we talked to many people at the dinners as well as the beach and all got the same answer. So kudos to them at Keyodhoo island. I suppose the only real difference in this island was the price. I guess on Thursday and Friday they play music with the drums which we missed from being so tired. The island is small and can walk around in one hour very slowly. Their is a Thai massage place but the price is not Thai but a very well qualified massage lady is there. For me as well as others all said the massage was more than perfect. The island is building brand new guesthouses so if interested can check out Leaf Fish Guesthouse and I do not know the other one. Adula our butler took us around the island, went to the shipwreck with us were I proposed and hung out with us before and after food. He also went on other tours with other guests as the host but he also served others staying at other guesthouses. He really was great and because of him all the five stars go to Blue Ocean. He was by are side but not up are ass, he truly was very professional, great job Adula. The shipwreck or I should just say big boat costs $20 to go. I did not go around the island and get any prices on other boat tours or groups but I am sure if you wanted too, you would be able to find good deals by going with others on the boat. We heard them setting up the sandbanks with tables umbrellas and having lunch, doing snorkeling trips and the dive boat was leaving almost twice a day. The beach was very beautiful and was pretty ideal just for the tourists only. Again few chairs so go early especially on Friday because no tours are happening and everyone goes to the beach. There is only one coffee shop and no restaurants, almost all the guesthouses do full board or can be cheap like us and just pay extra for dinner which was $10 a head.
At Blue Ocean there full board was $100 a day per person which included a tour, plus three meals. We are cheap and I know how to travel, for we were paying $45 for the room which included the taxes and fees and paid $5 each for breakfast and $10 each for dinner. Which by the way was a full Buffett so we pretty much was full all throughout the day just eating breakfast and dinner. The breakfast was pretty consistent and didn’t change but was eggs, bread, tuna, rote, fruit, cereal, tea, coffee, milk, and juice. The dinner was always different and had many plates as well served with soda also. Can check in my pics. I liked this island because very quiet, pretty cheap, best diving, and had own personal butler at a budget price.
Now for the second island we stayed at Thulusdhoo at the guesthouse Burunu Hiyaa with the host name being Oo. Like the letter O. The boat ride consisted of 6.5 hours back to Malè and 2.5 hours to this island. Again traveling anywhere in this country you almost always have to go back to Malè to go to another destination unless the ferry is on the same route. So a couple times a week the ferry leaves Malè at 2:30 and that gave us thirty minutes to get off the local ferry from Keyodhoo to get on the government ferry to Thulusdhoo. The government ferries never run night time as far as I know. Also at Thulusdhoo their is a local island ferry that runs direct to Malè everyday except Tuesday’s and Friday’s. Which can be a much faster trip and the boat looked way better than the government ferry, plus the government ferry s just rude in my opinion. No bags allowed on seats, had to tell them my electronics are in it and not stacking bags on my shit, can not go outside. Just felt super rude nothing like the boat going south, and they say the island ferry is much better where you can go up top and smoke and chill same as going to Keyodhoo. We don’t know the ferry was gonna be in time and some say the ferries are not on time and some say they pretty much always on time, as for us was right on point every time. So we booked four nights after day on the ferry just to make sure because I have learned most hotels do not give money back for things as being late. So we arrived early and still went to the same guesthouse house hoping they would have a room opened. Now with booking with this place most of these guesthouses put each room available on Airbnb so when I seen one room I seen the dates were filled up and decided to contact host and ask if full, their reply was yes. Then I seen another room with same cost and wanted to book and seen I messaged this same person, so I was running out of time for booking since looking for a whole day because we had to switch our plans from Huraa island where I found out they are reclaiming the land to switch to another island. Needless to say I was tired and just wanted to book so I booked the same place where I messaged the host and they said they were full. When we got their no one was in the guesthouse and we ended up staying for 6 nights also. I also messaged another hostel there as well when I seen the rooms where full for the days we were going and asked them if they had any extra rooms available. Guess what they said yes. So Airbnb is not always correct and some of these hosts are very new to the program and really do not know how it works correctly let alone it is in English and that is not their first language. So again ask questions, and read all the details.
This guesthouse was pretty simple and basic but the island was very intriguing. Oo also made it a little more special. Getting there he walked us around the whole island watching the sunset over a new part of the island where they reclaimed it a couple years ago and walking to a beach that had been formed by the ocean over the last couple years. Truly amazing how powerful the ocean is here making new islands and changing sand banks sometimes twice a year.
Sand bank picture
After our walk we walked past the CokeaCola factory where you can visit this place free of charge, we were to busy to go but if you have not went to a factory like this I recommend, I have been to plenty throughout the world. This island is going to explode in the future with businesses and my guess is first they are going to expand the factory and possibly even make a beer factory next to it. Insane that all alcohol is imported and that is why so expensive at the resorts where you can only buy alcohol or some Islands have a beer boat and this island has one along with Maafushi also. This island has a lot of restaurants and we ate at the famous pizza place that has a big open area for eating outside with half of it covered. I forget the name starts with an o I believe and has white chairs. Our guesthouse recommended it to us. It was much cheaper in price and was much better looking. The other place we ate at was a local local restaurant that was right beside the stage on the beach. Some cafe place had some foods and snacks in the display that was like an India base type of food. Was cheap and very delicious. The building was red colored.
Staying at this guesthouse Oo had called some tours to see if we could fit with others and sure enough we had got some spots available. If the guesthouse can not find you a tour, talk with others, and plenty of boats at the bikini beach to find a tour. The bikini beach is ok here, a lot more people and the locals walk around it not caring unlike Keyodhoo. Was ok for me but little weird because it is against their religion. Another weird thing for me to find out is that many of the Muslims are divorced and many are with white woman. I guess you can have more than one wife here but it is based on your income. Yes weird but true facts. Weird I mean just by different, something you wouldn’t expect.
The first tour we did was to the manta rays where we seen about four of them, went to a sand bank after, which was amazing beautiful, then went to Huraa island for lunch and after went to see the big green sea turtles. The turtles you could see but very deep and the sand bank had some coral and fish near by and we got served a coconut. When we went to Huraa island we didn’t walk around but went to the restaurants near the port. They both are on the right side with harbor being one, almost directly in the front which was a nice place and we went further to the right side with a restaurant that was there that looked super expensive. Hanging right over the ocean with its own live sea fish aquarium and beautiful design of the place. We checked out the menu and it was cheaper than Harbor. So we stayed and ate and it was delicious. Defiantly worth just checking it out and looking at all the fish. I feed the fish some hot peppers and they ate it all, crazy fish.
This tour cost $35 each. After this day I booked a tour wth the local fisherman through Oo, for another $35 and got to fish wth the locals, what an amazing time as we caught 7 big fish all different and one huge Mahi. A must try especially with the locals. I got to keep a snapper and we brought back and had a baroque at our guesthouse and ate lots of food. This was the second time we had a Barbque by the way. The tour after this we went the shark point and then the sting rays along wth the eels. This was another great time and splitting the cost up it was $30. All the tours were fantastic, overly just awesome. At first we were being cheap and didn’t do any tours but lucky we found some great deals and didn’t hold back, went along and had great memories to last forever. I have dove at some of the greatest points from Indonesia to Philippines and Cambodia, Vietnam, and even the Caribbean and I would say Maldives would be a number one spot if the coral wasn’t almost all dead. But the fish life was by far the best, fish everywhere from all sizes to so many different species truly amazing sight to see hundreds if not thousands of fish all in the most clear visibility water you could possible see in. Even at the fishing dock where you can go thing or snorkeling and see hundreds of fish right here. A must see and Oo will bring you.
So as for Thulusdhoo it was a much better overall experience because of the tours. You can surely wear yourself out quickly especially being in the hot sun. So if setting up for a tour do not be out in sun the whole day before, no matter how much poison of sunscreen you put on yourself it won’t help. I must say that three things that must be done in Maldives is going to a sand bank, fishing, and at least going snorkeling in a famous spot if not diving. This island is also famous for surfing at a place called chicken or locals call cokes but I however didn’t have time. Their is always something to do and you can easily get tired being in the sun all day long. So plan wisely, intake plenty of vitamins and have fun. Also it is highly illegal to bring in alcohol and of course drugs. I hope this blog helps out the next traveler and please, like, share, comment and sign up for my future readings of me traveling the world at Afforable Budget Traveling by Thor.
As for Malè we stayed in Hulhulme and if you want a great choice of restaurant try Bombay Darbar. Delicious and good price.
A break down of our money:
$30 room, including taxes and fees with breakfast
$10 for food throughout the day
$35 for tour/ excursion
Ferry cost about $1 per hour
Cheers and now you know how affordable Maldives can be.
Ferry websites are;
Many people also do the live-abroad boats and can vary at extreme different prices but I have heard people saying you can get on for about $150 a day including like two dives a day for about a ten day cruise. A really great way to explore all of Maldives. I have not looked into it but here is one website I gathered up.
Here is some divers Instagram that lives in the country.
Of course mine is @brolooney
Here is some blogs you can continue to read; type with out the hash ( I just personally like to give lots of credits to blog writers. For one thing I am a blog writer, two it’s not easy to write for days long it seems, and three all of them have very valuable information. )