Maldives on the Cheap: Budget Luxury Guide
The Maldives is one of those countries I never imagined I would be able to visit. It was only a dream Paradise Travel Destination of mine for ages. If you asked me 8 years ago if I would like to go to Maldives, I would probably just laugh not because there’s something wrong with the idea of being there, in fact, it’s my dream but because I knew it would never ever going to happen.There are only three things which I know about the Maldives. First, it’s an Archipelagic Nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Second, it has lots of Private Luxury Resorts that I could never afford. Third, it’s damn expensive to go and stay there. But I guess, the Universe has a way of surprising me. Before I knew it, I found myself on a wooden platform at the balcony of an over-the-water bungalow while starring at the horizon and enjoying the scenic view of the brilliant turquoise blue ocean. Maldives was no longer a dream for me, but when I was there, It felt like I was living in one.While the Maldives don’t have to break your budget, it’s important to know a few things before you go – or you’ll make some costly mistakes.
How to get to the Maldives:
Malé International Airport (formally known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) is the primary gateway to the Maldives. It is connected to a number of airports by several commercial airlines. But if you’re coming from Southeast Asia, you can connect in the following cities through these low-cost carriers:
- Singapore – SriLankan Airlines, Tiger Airways
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – AirAsia
Beaches are what tourists come to the Maldives for, but you need to ask yourself what type of beach holiday you want to enjoy there. As far as cost is concerned, there are two ways of doing it: Budget and Luxury.For a budget holiday, you need to plan ahead. Airfare alone is damn expensive. Either you book way ahead or keep a look out for promo flights if not, then be willing to pay a whooping $800-1000sgd round-trip. Uh oh! But we got ours only at about $400sgd per person two way. I booked 4 months earlier though. That’s the catch! lol And if you are coming from Singapore, I highly recommend Sri Lankan Airlines, aside from it being a flag carrier airline, their service really didn’t disappoint. They serve meals even on a short flight to Malé from Colombo. Just an hour away! You’ll never be hungry. lol! For your accommodation, if you are not willing to spend for a Private Island Resort, stay in one of the hostels, guesthouses or even Airbnb in the main Male Island or some local Islands which can only cost around USD$40-60/per night and just explore the Private Island Resorts through Island hopping which is at USD$50 for a full day excursion.For a luxury holiday, of-course, book a Private Island Resort and enjoy their over-the-top pampering. Stay in an over-the-water bungalow and feel like you’ve stepped into an aquarium. Need I say more? Each Private Island Resort has its own Airport service, either a private boat or seaplane transfer.While I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything, I would think twice about going the cheap route if I wanted to be able to drink wine and wear a bikini, which is generally allowed only on the private island resorts. Do take note that the Maldives is a Muslim country and forbids alcohol and pork from entering their country or being consumed on local islands.
3 Things to consider before booking a Private Island Resort:
In the Maldives, nothing is accessible without taking an additional domestic flight or a ferry to your chosen Island Resort. Hence, booking your preferred resorts ahead of time is a must, not unless, you want to stay in the local island and just sleep at a nearby guesthouse/hotel, and that’s a different story.1.) Consider the location: If you want to stay in a Private Island Resort, usually you’ll have to pay for Airport transfers, as the local ferries don’t stop at the resort islands. Speedboat transfers are expensive, roughly costs USD$100-300 round-trip but Seaplanes will cost you a bomb at USD$500-700. Take note that the farther the Island is from the Airport, the more expensive it is of-course. But you don’t need to travel too far just to experience your dream paradise getaway at a private island resort in Maldives. 4-stars private resorts offer a reasonable price and are already as good as those extortionate ones. 2.) Consider the meal options. Being in a private island means your only food source is the resort’s restaurants and in-room dining service. Expect them to be overpriced. Rooms may be booked full-board (breakfast, lunch & dinner buffet), half-board (breakfast and dinner buffet) and just bed-and-breakfast. But you can bring chips and other goods especially at-least a few liters of water. Bottled water is very expensive. You surely would not want to keep on buying from the resort’s pricey restaurant. 3.) Consider the tour options. Being at an exclusive resort means you can only hire them for your touring needs, and their tour rates are much higher than those in the local islands. When in Maldives, I suggest that you have to experience their signature over-the-water bungalow accommodation. It’s worth the price!Up Next is my review on Thulhagiri Resort & Spa, A Private Island Resort where we stayed for a couple of days. A great choice of a budget luxury holiday. How much did we spent? Check out if it’s worth the price!