There is a common illusion about the Maldives that many people have, that these islands are only accessible to those with deep pockets that are ready to be emptied. But I am here to tell you that it is an illusion, because the country is home to over 200 local islands, some of which are open to tourists. And by choosing to stay on a local island not only are you being provided with an authentic experience, but you can also save money as the costs of accommodation is more affordable!
Considering the number of islands on offer making a choice between them can be difficult, so in this post I share my experiences at Dhiffushi Island (also known as K. Dhiffushi) in the Maldives to make choosing easier for you!
Throughout the Maldives, Dhiffushi is the first island to witness the sun rise above the Indian Ocean, being located just 30-45 minutes from the capital city, Male, and the international airport, Velana. The island doesn’t have a police station (due to the non-existent crime rate), but there is a mosque, medical centre, and school – playgrounds and football-fields, too, so it is also family-friendly. Currently, Dhiffushi offers ten options for accommodation and I stayed at Air Dhiffushi, where a host and chef were provided; located 50m from the beach, the guesthouse was ideal for us because after all, we were here for the ocean!
TO MALE OR NOT TO MALE?
Considering you probably flew several hours across the world, is Male worth your time? Well, if you’re a culture-vulture then consider visiting the National Museum and the National Art Gallery, but besides that, I wouldn’t recommend a visit as the city is clustered with people filling the air with heat and discomfort.
ANOTHER ILLUSION: TRUE OR FALSE?
I know many people that believe Maldivian food is tasteless, but that is false. Local food is packed with flavours, specifically pepper! The chef provided by Air Dhiffushi ensured that we tasted Maldivian produce, incorporating local fish that was freshly caught (tuna) and local veggies grown around Dhiffushi (some we even walked by). Besides the tuna, another favorite was roshi (the equivalent to Indian chapati), which was served daily for breakfast with tuna – a match made in heaven, really. However, note that Dhiffushi only houses three establishments that provide food and drinks, with one of the three being a restaurant that caters to a global audience by offering Russian, Greek, Indian cuisine and more; I can personally attest to the fact that Faruma Restaurant is cheap and delicious!
SCENES AROUND DHIFFUSHI
Being an island, there will be creatures wandering around that you’re unfamiliar with so come prepared because miniature monitor lizards are a common sight, as are baby sharks and overgrown sting-rays (which are fed almost every evening by Rashu Hiyaa Hotel). As the Maldives is a Muslim country, their two-day weekend is Friday and Saturday so many locals can be seen walking about or playing football, but normally the locals are spotted reclining against their version of a ‘lazy chair’.
A fact I found quirky about local life is that the trees are numbered, signifying ownership in case reparations are to be made to the owner – for example, if a guesthouse decides to cut a tree to create a room then the owner is to be paid for the loss of ‘property’.
UNDERWATER LIFE SEEN LIKE NEVER BEFORE
I’ve seen dolphins in Sarawak, Malaysia, but the experience I had in the Maldives was entirely different; I witnessed a dolphin flip in mid-air trice (yes, really) and was able to see their bodies gliding effortlessly through the Indian Ocean due to the water being translucent – a sight to remember. Besides that, I also went snorkelling along a sandbank (essentially an uninhabited island) the same size as my kitchen and witnessed a plethora of vibrant colours littering the ocean floor. If there is one thing to save for whilst planning a trip to the Maldives, it is most certainly the water activities (which are charged in USD).
I hope this post has inspired you to consider a trip to the Maldives, even if you budget may not extend to the luxury overwater villas at many of the resorts!
Have you visited the the Maldives on a budget? Please share your own tips with our readers in the comments below! Read Next > The Ultimate Getaway To Bimini Island
By We Are Travel Girls Contributor Raisa Gabrielli of RaisaGabrielli.com
Connect with Raisa Instagram
thanks for this post – i have never been to the maldives as i always thought it was a super pricey couple place to go. I will now look at it differently! Thanks!
We Are Travel Girls says
Thanks for reading and commenting Amanda, pleased to hear that you found this post helpful! Hope you get to the Maldives soon! XO, Becky
Anne Chng says
there are a few ways to do Maldives without burning a huge hole in your pocket. I have tried both and here’s my take:
1)Staying on local islands such as Hulhumale and Maafushi is a good chance to experience the true Maldivian way of life. all the day trips which I took were also offered by the private resorts within the same area – at a fraction of the price!
2) If you want to experience staying on the private island, you can upgrade to one through the hotel on the inhibited island.
3) No need to stay in water villa bunglows. Units at the back tend to be cheaper, afterall , you will be jumping into the same ocean ! and no point paying for resorts with pools.The purpose of Maldives is to be in the turquoise waters!
4) choose private islands that do not require flying a seaplane. Speedboat rides are a lot cheaper.. Yes having that picture perfect scene of the islands is gorgeous but you can do the same by chosing a window seat upon landing/departure. s
Thank you for this comment!
Ron Willams says
You have some really fantastic advice. Just added you to my feed reader! ;)
Raisa Gabrielli says
Thank you! Have a blessed year ahead :)
Budget Maldives says
Great review of Dhiffushi and budget travel scene of the Maldives by Raisa Gabrielli.
As some one who has visited few local islands I recommend anyone seeking to explore the Maldives without breaking the wallet to visit a couple of local islands to witness the true Maldives. Of course, if you really want to see a local island and enjoy snorkeling and swimming on the turquoise waters of Maldives, any island with a guest house is OK. But visiting a few islands while on a 2 week holiday gives a whole new dimension to your experience. And one must spend a day in a resort too.