Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Maldives on a Budget: It's Possible!

Travel Dates: July 25 to August 2, 2015



     One day, my boyfriend was very antsy to book a flight anywhere.  But all domestic flights were pretty expensive during that time.  So we waited for the following days for any airline promos.

     A week after, he received an email from Tiger Air that there is a sale going to Maldives.  At first, he was hesitant, but he insisted that the airfare is really cheap.  Well, for me it is not, so I ignored it.  But after thinking it over and over again, he booked us a flight to one of the most popular destination in the world.

     Maldives is known as an expensive holiday destination among newly married couple.  But we are not travelling for honeymoon, we just want to see the islands and underwater treasure it has to offer.  With little knowledge about the country, I started searching the web on what to see, what to eat, how to travel via local ferries, and where to stay.  He even bought a Lonely Planet Maldives Travel Guide book!  So by the time we go there, we are ready to explore the islands on a budget.

     My boyfriend’s company approved his 2-week vacation leave.  Since, I can only file a maximum of 5-day leave, he flew to Maldives earlier and I just followed him there after a week.  We decided that he should do the travelling and diving in the Northern part of Maldives during the first week, while on the second week, by the time I will arrive, we will explore the South Male and North Ari Atoll.

     It was my first time to go out of the country alone.  I was a little bit nervous, but confident that I can go around the Singapore Airport and find my way to the designated terminal and gate.  And it was a very exciting experience! 

     I touched down Ibrahim Nasir International Airport before 12 noon.  Everything went smooth at the immigration (thanks to the immigration officer who was captivated by my smile :D) and my boyfriend was waiting outside to welcome me.  From the airport, as you walked outside, you can see that you are surrounded by bodies of water.  The water along the sea wall is crystal clear and blue.  I was amazed to see how clean the water is at the port.

     We took a short ferry ride from airport to Male City and rode a cab to Villingili Ferry Terminal.  The terminal is very busy with so many passengers and bystanders outside.  From there we booked our trip to Maafushi via the local Dhoni on the same day.  We only waited there for an hour and then the ferry arrived on time.  We boarded the boat together with the locals.  It was sunny and hot and everyone was busy.  At the same time, I’m happy and excited to see more of Maldives.

SUGGESTED ITINERARY 
Day 1 – Arrival to Male and ferry via Dhoni to Maafushi Island
Day 2 – Snorkeling and lunch at sand bar and explore Maafushi Island
Day 3 – Day Tour at Coco Island by Como (5-star Private Island Resort)
Day 4 – Maafushi to Male City, Explore Male City
Day 5 – Male to Rasdhoo Island, afternoon diving
Day 6 – Morning dive/snorkelling in Rasdhoo atoll and relaxing on bikini beach in the afternoon
Day 7 – Rasdhoo Island to Male to Villingili Island
Day 8 – Villingili to Male to Hulhumalle, Departure for Manila

BUDGET FOR OFF-PEAK TRAVEL SEASON
SOLO TRAVELER (8 days): USD 1,600 or 2,200 if diving is included
TWO TRAVELERS (8 days): USD 1,400 or 1,900 if diving is included


Note:  This budget is per person and includes roundtrip airfare, travel tax, hotel accommodation, food, snorkelling activities, day tour at private island resort, and transportation.  It may vary depending with the private island resort and the activities you will choose.  You can still manage a USD 1,000. 


At the port

Where we had our lunch near to Villingili terminal.

Villingili Terminal

The public ferry