Solo Travel In The Maldives on a Budget

My Solo Travel in The Maldives on a Budget

I know the heading of this post might sound much tricky to many of you. The reason is obvious. First of all, we all know the Maldives worldwide much famous as honeymoon and luxurious destination. And it is true as well. In the meantime, it is also possible to make solo travel in the Maldives on a budget. I’m sure you’ll love to know… 😉

During my solo trip to the Maldives, I visited Hulhumale, Villingili, and Himmafushi islands. I also had a quick visit to Male, the capital of the Maldives. I had no idea many adventures waiting for me in the Maldives. There are many top things to do & see in the Maldives. And interestingly possible to explore those on a budget. My three days the Maldives solo travel itinerary will help you get many insights and money saving tips. Even without traveling solo you can make a budget tour in the Maldives.

A short video on my solo travel in the Maldives before you’re going through inside.

How To Travel The Maldives on a Budget?

It was a pleasure to fly with SriLankan Airlines from Colombo to Male. But unfortunately, the flight was delayed and couldn’t reach Velana International Airport on time. And also nobody came to pick me from Kalaafaanu Retreat which I pre-booked through Agoda. I was shocked by the unprofessional attitude from this hotel authority in the Hangnaameedhoo Island.

So here it is, you never know what might happen on the way.

SriLankan Airlines FoodTasty Chicken Biryani [SriLankan Airlines]

My First Footstep in the Maldives with Uncertainty

It was almost 10 pm (Male Time), and I was still at the airport. I found one guy from HM Retreat. He offered me to stay at this hotel which is very near to the Male Airport in the Hulhumale Island. He sounds good, and instantly I decided to stay at HM Retreat. Sometimes you got to take a risk by trusting the new peoples around you throughout your solo journey. And so someone was right to say, believing is nothing but taking the risk. And later I came to know this guy works to transfer guest from hotel to airport and vice versa.

The Maldives in the Indian Ocean  The Maldives, Paradise On Earth

Seaplane in the MaldivesSeaplane

Points To Be Noted

  • No visa required for any countries to stay for one month as a tourist in the Maldives.
  • Must have to show the pre-booked hotel details to the immigration authority at Velana International Airport or Male International Airport.
  • You might face a lengthy interrogation session at the airport to give the valid reason to visit the Maldives. They interrogate me a bit more behind my solo travel in the Maldives. 😉
  • The Maldives is a Sunni Muslim country. So it is better to be aware of the Maldivian’s custom and tradition throughout your travel in the Maldives.
  • Friday after 7 pm no public ferry/speed boat transfer service from the airport to any islands.
  • Private speed boat/seaplane transfer service is available always.


HM Retreat, Budget Hotel in Hulhumale

A budget hotel or guest house is the best option to save money on accommodation. I liked my three nights (50$ per night) stay at HM Retreat. Breakfast is complimentary here and you can also access free Wi-Fi. Beautiful Hulhumale Beach is just a walking distance from this hotel.

HM Retreat in HulhumaleHM Retreat

It takes just 12 mins to 15 mins to reach HM Retreat from the airport. I found many of them are working at this hotel from Bangladesh. They all cooperated a lot, especially Mr. Rajib, made my solo travel in the Maldives a memorable one. Moreover, it was nice to see many Bangladeshis in the Maldives. Most are here with work permits.

My Three Days on the Hulhumale Island

The beautiful Maldives blessed with more than 1000 islands and 26 Atolls. To hop on an island, you must take the private/public ferry to speed boat and seaplane service. But exceptions are there for Hulhumale Island and Hulhule Island or Airport Island. Only this two islands are possible to visit by road.

I enjoyed my three days budget tour in the Hulhumale Island which is under North Male Atoll.

There are many budgets to luxury hotels and restaurants in the Hulhumale Island. There is one beautiful mosque, and one central park, which is favorite among locals.

Hulhumale Island in the MaldivesHulhumale Island

Many constructions are still going on in Hulhumale and came to know just some years back also this artificial island was not much popular among tourists. Now became a popular one.

I loved the beautiful roads and the greeneries in Hulhumale. I found this island is a beautiful one and best to explore by walking or biking.

Two wheelers are drastically common in the Maldives. Here in the beautiful Hulhumale Island, I saw many rough and tough local guys with long curly, dye hair biking very fast. But you must have to take the help of locals to enjoy biking.

Biking in the Hulhumale Island, MaldivesBike Ride Fun in the Hulhumale Island

Points To Be Noted

  • It is safe to move around on the Hulhumale Island.
  • Local police are cooperative and strict enough.
  • Avoid any unexpected offer from some local guys. They might try to bribe or tease you while traveling alone.

Day 1

My FIRST DAY in Hulhumale started with the fantastic beach view from the hotel room window. It was Friday. Last night I could not understand anything. Early morning after watching the sunrise view from the Hulhumale beach I became so happy and just forgot all the bad moments from the last night. Love you, dear nature! You are always more than enough to give me the unlimited happiness.

Hulhumale Beach in the Hulhumale IslandHulhumale Beach During Sunrise

Friday and Saturday are the weekends in the Maldives. Friday during prayer time (12:30 pm – 1:30 pm) all public services are closed for one hour.

Short Visit To Male & Villingili Island

I enjoyed making a short visit to Male and Villingili Island by taxi and public ferry. Villingili is a local island, and the Villingili Beach is within walking distance from the Villingili Ferry Terminal. There are also budget hotels and restaurants in the Villingili Island but not a touristic one.

Hulhumale Ferry Terminal is near to HM Retreat hotel. The easiest way to explore Male, the capital of the Maldives from the terminal by public ferry or speed boat service. Local island Villingili is very close to Male and possible to explore from Villingili Terminal by public ferry or speed boat service.

Travel The Maldives on a Budget - Hulhumale Ferry TerminalHulhumale Ferry Terminal

Villingili Island Beach in the MaldivesVillingili Beach

Villingili Ferry Terminal in VillingiliVillingili Ferry Terminal

By the way, the public ferry service in the Maldives is very standard. And this is the cheapest transport service in the Maldives. You’ll generally see locals traveling by public ferry. Go local if you’re on a budget tour in the Maldives.

Trying many water sports in the Villingili Island is possible. I found locals enjoying fishing and also playing football in the Villingili Beach. Many Maldivians enjoy a family trip to the local beaches on Friday.

You might like to book The Maldives tours, attractions, and activities online or check out some of the options below.

Solo Dinner at Cafe Asiana Restaurant in Hulhumale

In the afternoon I liked to explore Hulhumale on foot. There is one local market if you want you can explore. You’ll see more tourists in the afternoon and evening time in Hulhumale nearby the beach side. I had a solo dinner with Mongolian Chicken Rice at Cafe Asiana Restaurant, one of the favorite Asian restaurants in Hulhumale. It is not, a common to have a meal alone in the Maldives, hehe. I must say the food is tasty in the Maldives. While having food I had a bit chitchat with the food server, and he was from Bangladesh. 🙂

While loving to try for the first time #MongolianChickenRice at Cafe Asiana Restaurant, one of the popular #asianrestaurant in #Hulhumale #Maldives. ••••••• I came to know this bit spicy n sweet chicken rice is popular among #Maldivians. And in the Maldives you can try any types of food from various countries. But Barbecued fish is the most popular one by all. #myownwaytotravel ••••••• #travelphoto #travelfood #maldivianfood #travel #travelgram #visitmaldives #maldivestrip #maldivestourism #ilovemaldives #foodie #asianfood #travelphotography #maldivesislands #indianocean #solotravel #bbctravel #tlasia #tlpicks #travelasia #igtourist #travelblogger #writetotravel #travelblog #globetrotter

A post shared by My Own Way To Travel (@nafisa_habib) on

Day 2

My SECOND DAY in the Hulhumale Island was the most enjoyable one. I went for a day tour with one group of 14 travelers from the Hulhumale Ferry Terminal by boat to explore the mesmerizing beauty of the Maldives.

The Maldives Day Tour By BoatThe Maldives Day Tour By Boat

The Maldives Day Tour To Sandbank

The entire day tour including lunch, island hopping, dolphin watching, and snorkeling cost me just 130$ but gave me unlimited fun. The other 14 travelers were from the USA, Canada, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Singapore, and Malaysia. We altogether had the real fun at Sandbank. Loved to explore the underwater beauty of the turquoise waters while snorkeling. Snorkeling in the Maldives is much fun.

Sandbank Fun in the MaldivesSandbank

Sandbank in the MaldivesSandbank

Underwater Beauty of the MaldivesUnderwater Beauty of the Maldives


Tasty Maldivian Food Lunch on The Himmafushi Island

Himmafushi is also a local island and best for budget travelers. We had lunch together with delicious Maldivian food on the Himmafushi Island. We enjoyed fishing, watched the Dolphins. And also I loved the excellent shopping in Himmafushi. And I had sweet coconut water from the Himmafushi Island.

Trip Lunch in the Himmafushi IslandTrip Lunch in the Himmafushi Island

Maldivian Food in the Himmafushi IslandMaldivian Food

This fantastic day tour organized by Mr. Musthafa, from Dream Adventure in Hulhumale, and his cooperative team.

While Exploring Hulhumale IslandWith Snorkel Guide Musthafa

Souvenir Shopping at HimmafushiSouvenir Shopping in Himmafushi

Jet Skiing in Hulhumale

Hulhumale is also best for any water activities fun. Adventure in Hulhumale you’ll love and enjoy. You can try many water sports in Hulhumale. I enjoyed Jet Skiing at Hulhumale Beach. It took 45$ for 30 minutes. I loved the breathtaking landscape just before sunset. It was fun indeed.

Jet Skiing in the MaldivesJet Skiing

Memorable Dinner at Ocean View & The Catch 78

It was a great pleasure to meet Mr. Matthew from the USA at HM Retreat. He is exploring Asia for 20 years in various countries. He loved to throw a dinner for some of us from HM Retreat.  We had good food and time together at Ocean View Restaurant.

Ocean View Restaurant in HulhumaleOcean View Restaurant

For making this moment memorable and sweet, we had Red Velvet Pastry after the dinner at The Catch 78 Restaurant in the Hulhumale Island.

The Catch 78 Restaurant in HulhumaleThe Catch 78 Restaurant

Hence it will always be right to say that your journey might be solo, but throughout your trip, you’ll meet some nice peoples. And the moment you share with them will always be the memorable one to cherish forever.

Day 3

LAST DAY in the Maldives I gave some moments to entirely myself. I loved to walk alone beside the white sandy beach during the golden hour. I kept gazing at the turquoise crystal waters. Totally embrace this moment and the beauty of my solo travel in the Maldives.

Solo Travel in The Maldives - Hulhumale Beach in HulhumaleA Moment to Embrace

Way To the Male Airport

The only road which leads to the Male Airport is beautiful. You’ll enjoy the beach view while passing the road.

In conclusion, must manage a window seat to enjoy the top view of the Maldives from the sky. What a beauty! The Maldives, truly the paradise on earth. I was happy to make a safe and exciting solo travel in the Maldives on a budget. I’ll love to come back.

Average Cost of The Maldives Vacation

I expend only 359$ during my entire Maldives tour excluding air ticket fare. I traveled via Colombo to the Maldives by SriLankan Airlines. My route was Dhaka to Colombo to the Maldives.

You can avoid many unnecessary travel costs if you enjoy exploring like a local. Here is my total travel cost of the Maldives for three days on a budget:

  • Accommodation For 3 Nights
  • Food
  • Transport (taxi, public ferry)
  • Full Day Tour by Boat
  • Jet Ski (30 mins)
  • Total
  • $150
  • $11
  • $23
  • $130
  • $45
  • $359

The Maldives Travel Tips To Explore on a Budget

  • By all means, Avoid luxurious water villas and resorts in the Maldives for accommodation.
  • The accommodation cost is high in the private islands.
  • You’ll find many budget hotels in the Maldives on the local islands.
  • There are also many cheap hotels in Male; you can book through Airbnb. It will help you to reduce cost.
  • Also, take the public ferry service to explore many islands. Per person by public ferry will cost you less than 1$. But for the public speed boat, you have to count 30$ – 50$.
  • Furthermore, if you’re in Hulhumale or Male, try to take public bus service. It will reduce your cost. For any short distance the minimum taxi fare (25 MVR).
  • Have Maldivian food from local restaurants.
  • The best time to visit the Maldives in the low season (April to September) to avoid excessive travel cost.
  • Use local currency MVR instead of USD dollar; you’ll be able to save a right amount of money.

Are you on Pinterest? Click to save these for later read!

The Maldives Budget Travel ItinerarySolo Trip To The Maldives On a Budget

For more query, you can write to me or comments below. Are you planning a trip to the Maldives?

Nafisa Habib loves nature and often got fascinated by old beautiful architecture. Here she is with My Own Way To Travel to share her adventures on the road. To her nothing is so interesting than exploring new destinations around. And knowing a new culture and meeting new peoples on the road? Oh, yeah she just loves that too.

46 replies
  1. Eva
    Eva says:

    Oh my god, sorry to hear your experience about Kalaafaanu Retreat. So did they refund you the booking? Did they say why they didn’t turn up? I’m thinking to stay there for my trip to Maldives in the second half of the year. Would you recommend staying in Hulhumale or Villingili?

    • Nafisa Habib
      Nafisa Habib says:

      Yes, I got back that booking money. They were giving some lame reasons though they knew about the timing of my flight details. When I tried to contact they told me that, they were waiting for me since morning, and also it is not their headache if flight delayed. Anyways very unprofessional attitude. Thank you for your concern 🙂
      Well, I’ll like to recommend Hulhumale.
      Keep inspiring by reading.
      Have a good day Eva!

        DEEPAK KUMAR SINGH says:

        Mam..I want to go Maldives for honeymoon. Which resort or local will be suitable for us in budget .?? Kindly suggest me

        • Nafisa Habib
          Nafisa Habib says:

          Hi Deepak, thank you for asking. As you’re looking for a budget one then I can suggest you stay on any local island like Hulhumale or Villingili. There are many standard mid-range to budget hotels are there. But for a resort, you’ve to pay a bit high.

  2. Hitasha
    Hitasha says:

    U seem to have a great time. After seeing your post, I remembered my trip to Maldives. Water is anyway fun. Very informative post.

  3. knycx.journeying
    knycx.journeying says:

    Such a unique and interesting travel report and I agree it’s not often that I hear traveling to the world’s best honeymoon travel destination in the world! Glad to know that there are so much to see and do in Maldives apart from luxurious resorts.. Although I travel solo too, I think I will stick with visiting Maldives with my loved ones and family ~ 🙂

  4. Cat Khanh
    Cat Khanh says:

    Looks like you had so much fun! Travel solo seems like a great idea but it may cause some nuisance, such as being teased by local guys like you said. I think I still prefer going with my friends and lover 🙂

  5. Dr. Saber
    Dr. Saber says:

    Thanks Apu for this nice description of your amazing tour. How much it will cost for two person including air ticket.If we go for honeymoon.
    Thanks again.

  6. Lydia
    Lydia says:

    The Maldives definitely won my heart and a solo travel there is an awesome idea! It is definitely possible to travel there without breaking the bank, Nafisa. Exceptional post which brought back so many wonderful memories!

  7. alison netzer
    alison netzer says:

    This is so fun as you usually see posts about luxury stays in the Maldives. What a great way to explore and learn about the different places. Great post and love that you traveled solo.

    • Nafisa Habib
      Nafisa Habib says:

      Hi Alison, a pleasure to know you find this post the great one. Yes, even traveling solo possible to have much fun in the Maldives. And it was a complete budget trip. Thank you!

  8. Claire
    Claire says:

    I have always wanted to travel to Maldives but I am quite hesitant because of the cost – your post has however showed me that it is possible to tour Maldives on a budget 🙂
    Love the photo of the underwater world!!
    Happy traveling! 🙂

  9. Pujarini
    Pujarini says:

    Great tips to plan a trip to Maldives especially on budget. I have never associated Maldives with budget so this in depth post will be helpful for me to plan my trip. Saving it for later. Thanks

  10. Kavita Favelle
    Kavita Favelle says:

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips to be able to enjoy the Maldives on a budget, it’s always seemed such a super luxe super expensive destination that I never thought about it being possible to do an affordable holiday there.

  11. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit the Maldives but believed it was way out of my budget. I’m so pleased to learn that it can be affordable. Time to check the price of air tickets 🙂

  12. Sandy N Vyjay
    Sandy N Vyjay says:

    Maldives, Budget, Solo do make a strange combination. But you have shown by example that all three can be blended together into an intoxicating cocktail. There is so much to see and experience in the Maldives and can see you really had a great time. Your smile tells it all.

  13. Alicja KRYSIAK
    Alicja KRYSIAK says:

    I love your article on the Maldives. I’m planning a 7 day trip from Feb 10-16, 2019. I will be flying in from Kuala Lumpur into Mali (which I thought was the best option). I”m planning to stay at the Island Beach Hotel on Hulhumale and then go to the Thoddoo Retreat on the North Ari Atoll. How do you travel between the islands? Are there any options? what is the most reasonable option? I’m planning to stay at the Island Beach Hotel on the day of arrival and the day before I leave as they include transportation to and from the airport.

  14. Shaily
    Shaily says:

    Maldives is a such a beautiful destination I would so love to visit. Great to see you enjoying on this lovely retreat. I didn’t know there is no visa requirement for one month stay. Glad to know the trip can be planned on budget as well. I’ll keep all these tips in mind when I’ll plan my visit. Thanks for sharing. Your pictures are absolutely amazing!

  15. Rk
    Rk says:

    Great photos. Did someone take them for you?

    I’m interested in going to Maldives for longest time but it is so expensive. Now I have options.

  16. Farhan Arif
    Farhan Arif says:

    Your review was very great.

    I am planning my visit to the Maldives with my wife on Mafushi Island. I have read your review and in the start, you have mentioned about the Public Ferry Timings. I actually have 2 questions.

    1) In your review, you have mentioned that public ferries will work on Friday till 7 pm. If I reach 8.15am on Friday in the morning, will I able to avail their services?

    2) Secondly, How much exact time the immigration+visa issuer can take? As I will be arriving at 8.15am on Friday, Can I book 12.30 pm Speed Boat or should I take later one?

    If any more questions come to my mind, I will definitely ask.

    • Nafisa Habib
      Nafisa Habib says:

      Hi Farhan, thank you and good to know you’re about to visit the Maldives. Well, I mentioned already about public ferry/speed boat transport details inside the post. Yes, public ferries are available on Friday morning, only prayer time (12:30 pm – 1:30 pm) they close the service for one hour. It will not take much time at the airport immigration unless the queue is long. You can book any private transport services at any time. However, if it is a public speed boat, then 12.30 pm is prayer time, and you should take later. You have to spend per person 30$ – 50$ for the public speed boat.
      Yes, sure you can ask any questions, glad to help you out!

  17. Valentini
    Valentini says:

    I had no idea you could visit the Maldives on a budget! Surely there are always options but I think you did it pretty well! Great itinerary too, I will be there one day too hehe!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Don’t get me wrong: the idea of paradise is oh, so appealing. The problem is that I will never spend that sort of money on a single holiday when I could do it cheaper, plus I know that I can’t lie on a sunbed all day without getting incredibly bored. Couple that with the fact that I can’t imagine flying all the way across the world to only see the inside of a resort, however beautiful, and this type of vacation just isn’t my style. What I wanted was to see the real Maldives, the local islands and the people who live there. And I needed a way to see the Maldives on a budget. […]

  2. […] enjoyed my three days solo travel in the Maldives on a budget. It was fun to explore Hulhumale Island by walking and biking. Also loved hoping Villingili and […]

  3. […] Don’t get me wrong: the idea of paradise is oh, so appealing. The problem is that I will never spend that sort of money on a single holiday when I could do it cheaper and have two(!), plus I know that I can’t lie on a sunbed all day without getting incredibly bored. Couple that with the fact that I couldn’t imagine flying all the way across the world to only see the inside of a resort, however beautiful, and my friend’s idyllic holiday just wasn’t for me. I needed a way to see the Maldives on a budget. […]

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