The Maldives on a Shoestring: Beyond the Gloss of Resorts

Explore Real Maldives
Explore Real Maldives Holiday
Explore Real Maldives
Explore Real Maldives Holiday
A genuine Maldives holiday includes a journey to the heart of the island where people truly live. According to “Destination Iran”, the “Best at Travel” website has introduced some helpful information to explore the Maldives to best experience it.

For many, the mere mention of Maldives holidays evokes images of overwater bungalows, private island resorts, and a price tag that can make even the most seasoned traveller wince. But delve a little deeper, and you’ll discover the authentic Maldives – a world of affordable guesthouses, delicious local eateries, public ferries, and vibrant island communities waiting to share their traditions. Let’s venture beyond the well-trodden luxury paths and explore the Maldives that few get to truly experience.

Affordable Island Stays: The Local Way

Forget the exorbitant resort islands; numerous local islands offer budget-friendly guesthouses. These stays, often family-run, not only provide a comfortable bed but also a genuine Maldivian experience.

Maafushi: Once a sleepy fishing island, Maafushi has transformed into a backpacker’s haven. With its myriad of budget accommodations, it’s the perfect base to explore nearby islands.

Rasdhoo: Ideal for those interested in diving without splurging on expensive dive resorts, Rasdhoo boasts stunning marine life and several affordable guesthouses.

Navigating the Archipelago: Public Ferries and Dhonis

Streets of Maldives
Explore Maldives’ residential neighborhood and streets

Relying on private speed boats can quickly empty your wallet. Instead:

Public Ferries: These are not only wallet-friendly but also offer scenic routes. Ferries connect Male (the capital) to major islands, though do check the schedules, as they might not run daily.

Dhonis: Traditional wooden boats, Dhonis often run between closer islands, offering a more rustic and authentic travel experience.

Dive into Authentic Maldivian Cuisine
While gourmet dining in resorts is alluring, the local eateries offer a taste of true Maldivian flavours.

Mas Huni: A breakfast staple, it’s a mix of shredded smoked tuna, coconut, onion, and chilli, best paired with ‘roshi’ (Maldivian flatbread).

Street Eateries in Male: Explore the narrow streets of Male for affordable eateries serving Maldivian snacks like ‘Bajiya’ (fish pastry) and ‘Kulhi Boakibaa’ (spicy fish cake).

Local Cafes: Often called ‘Hotaa’ or ‘Tea Shops’, these are great places to mingle with locals over a cup of black tea.

Celebrate Maldivian Traditions

Beyond the pristine beaches, dive into the cultural core of the Maldives.

Traditional Craftsmanship: On islands like Gadhdhoo, watch local craftsmen weave ‘Thundu Kunaa’ (traditional mats) or craft intricate lacquerware.

Local Festivals: Time your visit with local festivals like ‘Eid’ or ‘Bodu Eid’ to experience traditional music, dance, and communal feasting.

Interactions with Island Communities: Engage in local community projects or even simple beach clean-up activities. It’s a heartwarming way to give back and connect with the locals.


The Maldives, often showcased as a luxury destination, holds treasures for the budget traveller willing to explore. From mingling with locals over a spicy Maldivian curry to hitching a ride on a traditional Dhoni, these experiences make Maldives holidays truly memorable. So, pack that backpack and embark on an adventure that goes beyond the glossy brochures, diving deep into the heart of the Maldives.

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