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I TRAVELED: with my husband

TYPE OF TRAVEL: adventurous, budget, relaxing, beach, diving

FOR: 5 days

DATES: October – November 2018





For most expats, living in Bangalore is going to be as close to the Maldives as you can get. In less than two hours flight time, Air India will bring you from the hectic Bangalore to the tropical paradise of the Maldives. The Maldives archipelago consists of 200 inhabited islands, 80 resort islands and uncountable corals and sandbanks hiding just below the surface. The shallow waters result in the paradise style pictures that you will find all over the web. Now, if we think Maldives, we think about the beautiful one-island-resorts, villas on the sea, perfect honeymoons and… a very rough credit card bill on your return. I would be the last one to say it’s not worth it to experience the island resort for a couple of days, but luckily there are ways to keep a visit to the Maldives friendly for your budget.





Book your flights in advance, Air India return flights start from Rs. 15,000 return from Bangalore Kempegowda Airport to Ibrahim Nasir International (previously called Male Airport). Indigo and Sri Lankan airlines are other airlines that fly to Malé. From there you can take a speed boat, check with your hotel on the scheduled times.




Now the secret to a budget holiday is to visit one of the local islands. The local island I visited is called Maafushi and approximately 40 minutes (by speedboat) from Ibrahim Nasir International (MLE) Airport on Malé. Maafushi actually means “The Big Island” but it is a small island which is walkable in less than an hour.  We stayed at the Arena Hotel for around 120 dollars per night (Rs. 8,550), including taxes. While the hotel is decent with a great ocean view (to be fair, hard not to have on these islands) and varied breakfast, but ultimately nothing special. Other hotel options would be the Kaani Hotel or an Airbnb on the island.

Other local islands that I haven’t had time to visit but come heavily recommended (and will definitely try out in a next trip) are Himmafushi, Hithadhoo, Thulusdoo, Gan Island and Dhangethi (for diving with whale sharks!).

Arena Hotel, Ziyaaraiy Magu, Maafushi 08090, Maldives,

Kaani Hotel, Aabaadhee Hingun Road, Maafushi, Maldives




The Maldives is an absolute paradise for divers and snorkelers. The waters around the islands are filled with very healthy corals and a lot of big marine life is practically guaranteed every dive. A huge variety of dive sites are usually only a short distance from the island, making 2 fun dives a perfect half-day activity. While diving, we’ve seen schools of eagle rays, black tip, and white tip sharks, a leopard shark, sea turtles, schools of barracudas and other tropical fish, a manta ray. The fun doesn’t end under water as we saw dolphins and a pilot whale during our surface interval. We dove with Maldives Passions and I can absolutely recommend them. With 5 dives you get a good discount: we ended up paying approximately 40 dollars (Rs. 2,850) per dive.

Maldives Passions[email protected], Tel: +960 777 6877


If you are not that much of an underwater person, there’s plenty to enjoy on the Maldives. The islands are filled with picture-perfect beaches, visit different islands on a tour, or you can enjoy a variety of water sports. 



Want to experience Maldives’ luxury on a budget? Plenty of fancy resorts sell day entry passes for around 75 dollars (Rs. 5,344), including transport, food, and drink.




Kaalamaa (Velana Resort) serves contemporary and healthy foods very nicely presented. The Harbour Café, has a good local cuisine and is very affordable. Arena Hotel Beach Restaurant does a nice buffet BBQ style dinner on the beach.

Kaalamaa, Velana Hotel, Trip Advisor

The Harbour Café, Kaani Hotel, Facebook Page

Arena Beach Restaurant, Trip Advisor




If you do go for your splurge 5-star resort experience, make sure you check the following things whilst booking to overcome pricey surprises.

  1. Tax and charges often excluded from hotel prices. In my experience, this was a 12% tax and 11.2% service charge that came on top of the bill.

  2. Transport to and from your hotel is usually NOT included. For local islands expect to pay around 50 dollars (Rs. 3,562) per person return for a speedboat at set times. Local ferries are also available but often only once a day. Resorts speedboats can go up to 250 dollars (Rs, 17,815) per person whilst some resorts are only accessible via water plane, pushing the price towards 400/500 dollars (Rs. 28,500/Rs. 35,627) a person. 

  3. Alcohol on local islands is not allowed. Resorts might have it but for a price. Double check if it is included in your all-inclusive package.


All photos courtesy of Floor Peel

Florentina (Floor) lives with her husband Tom and dog Roti in Bellandur, Bangalore. She works as an IT professional and loves travelling and tasting cultures. After 2 world trips and a lot of travels through South East Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe, her assignment in Bangalore is the perfect way to explore India and the surrounding region. Favorite activities whilst travelling include sports: scuba diving, skiing, hiking, running and mountain biking, to compensate for the nice dinners, cooking classes and tasting of local specialties.


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