Maldives on a budget
As I said in my previous post, we were invited by Kirulhiya Maldives Guest House to experience the Maldives on a budget by staying on a local island and we said yes, despite the fact that the idea sounded pretty strange to us.
Why do I say strange? Well, because at the first search on the internet, you will see that you need at least 2000-3000 Eur for 6-7 days accommodation with breakfast included only, not counting airfare costs, other meals or activities around the island. Obviously, if you add more meals and take a half board, full board or all inclusive option, the price will increase.
*Note: I am not saying the hotels are not beautiful and deserve the money, but I think lots of people avoid visiting the Maldives precisely for this reason.
The good news is that Kirulhiya Maldives has convinced me that the beautiful islands of the Maldives can be visited on a budget too so you don’t need to rob a bank to fulfill your dream and not even get a travel credit for doing so J
I will tell you all about our experience in a guest house, but first I want to tell you a few reasons why you should consider visiting the Maldives on a budget by staying on a local island!
1. As obvious as it can be, the first reason to visit a local island and choose a guest house for accommodation is the smaller budget you need to allocate. Prices go as low as 50-60$/night/room depending on the season and occupancy which will never be found in a private resort in the Maldives, not even in the low season.
PS: You should always ask about the final price because tax (12%) and service charge (ussualy 10%) are often not included and you don’t want to have surprises when you arrive there. Please be aware that even on booking.com you have to check all the details.
2. You get to tan on the same amazing white sand and swim in the same crystal clear water whether you choose a local or a private island and this is where you will spend 90% of you time in the Maldives. I mean how could you not when you have in front of you one of the best places in the world at this chapter? Just look at the amazing Bikini Beach on Omadhoo Island which was situated 3 minutes walk from our guest house. I wish I could be back there right now!
3. You get to do the same daily activities as you would do in a big resort. To be honest, we even had more options at Kirulhiya Maldives than we had at the 5* resort we chose for our water villa stay. I will soon post an article dedicated to this subject where I will tell you all about the activities we chose to do while we were in the Maldives, but a short sneak peak: having breakfast on a sandbank, lunch on a deserted island, snorkeling at beautiful corals in the middle of the ocean, having romantic dinners on the beach etc.
4. Even if you do the same activities, the prices are definitely lower. Let me just give you an example. If you choose to visit another inhabited island, at Kirulhiya Maldives you have to pay 40$/person with lunch included, and the price for the same activity in the resort we chose would be 87 $ for a full day with lunch included and 68$ for a half day no lunch included and it would require a minimum of 8 persons. The same goes for sunset cruise which costs 45$ at Kirulhiya Maldives and 65$ on the resort island.
5. One very important aspect, at least for us, is the privacy you get when choosing a small guest house situated on a local island. To be honest, I think this was my favorite part. We had the beaches all to ourselves 90% of the time. The other 10% we had to share them with 2-4 people. That was simply amazing. Watching the sunset on an empty white sand beach can be pretty magical, don’t you think? Or should I mention our amazing sunset dinner on Omadhoo Island? You actually feel like you have the whole island to yourself!
PS: I can only speak from my experience at Kirulhiya Maldives on Omadhoo Island which is small and extremely beautiful. You can literally go make a complete tour or the island in maximum 30 minutes which allowed us to see both sunrise and sunset easily. I understood there are bigger local islands where I cannot vouch for how busy the beaches will be.
6. And if we are talking about privacy, I also want to add the one you get when choosing different activities. Even if you pay a smaller price than you would in a private resort, you get to do everything by yourself – with your partner or friends – not with 8-10 other hotel guests that you don’t even know.
PS: If you are traveling with friends and want to go in day trips together, prices will obviously be smaller depending on the number.
7. This leads me to the next reason which is flexibility. Because you don’t depend on other hotel guests, you get to make your own schedule. For example, if you go snorkeling and you don’t like the first stop so much, you can decide to jump in the boat and move to another spot without depending on others.
PS: That doesn’t mean you should not listen the advice given to you by the representatives of the guest house. They do know better. For example, you cannot decide by yourself the hour for having breakfast/lunch on a sandbank, you need to adjust based on the low tide J
8. By choosing a guest house on a local island, you get to better understand the local life, how people there live, dress, which are their daily activities, information about the religion, culture, education. As I said in my previous post, I was surprised by how kind the Maldivians are. They always smiled back to us when we met on the island whether we are talking about men, women or even children without keeping in mind the differences between us such as religion, way of dressing, etc.
9. You get to eat local traditional food at good prices opposite of what I can say about eating in a private resort. Example: one dish I really loved eating there Tuna Fried Noddles which were 7$ (plus tax = 8,5$). The same price applies for tuna fried rice, pineapple noodles, fish&chips, garlic chicken, buttered fried chicken, red snapper deep fried etc. For 1$ more, you can choose between Nasigoreign, which reminded me of Bali, Maldivian fish or chicken curry with rice & salad etc. The most expensive dish in the menu will be the yummy grilled lobster for 15$ and you don’t want to even think how much you will pay for a lobster on the resort island. Just to give you an example, a beef burger in the resort was 23$ (plus tax = around 28$).
PS: Vegetarian options such as vegetable/egg fried rice or noodles will cost you even less – 6$.
10. Staying in a guest house gives you special attention. At least, at Kirulhiya Maldives it does. Because they have a limited number of rooms and guests, they will always provide special attention by being careful with your preferences: you can choose the time for breakfast/dinner or you can even arrange with them special activities such as fruit breakfast on the beach as we did. This was a big dream of mine and Kirulhiya Maldives helped me transform it into reality.
11. One important reason to stay in a guest house is helping the local people and their business to grow. As I told you in my previous post, until 2011-2012, tourism could only be made in resorts on private islands. After that, they relaxed this restricting rule and guest houses started to appear on local islands too giving the Maldivians a chance to a better life by earning some money from tourism.
Even though the Maldives is known all over the world as one of the most luxurious destinations, the Maldivians often have a very difficult life, struggling for education and better jobs. If they want to study, give their children a proper education or have a good job, they have to live in the capital-city, Male, where rent is crazy expensive. The main activities in the Maldives are tourism, fishing and shipping industry.
Being another guest in a private resort won’t make a big difference, but staying in a local guest house will.
I was impressed at Kirulhiya Maldives Guest House by how willing they are at succeeding and offering the best services for their guests. I will show you in my next post how every guest is received with welcome drinks and personalized messages in the room while we got a printed general note at the private overwater villa in the resort.
Last, but not least, all the islands, local or private, have palm trees and coconuts! And have you seen a sad person under the palm trees or drinking a coconut cocktail? Well, neither did I J
See you soon with a detailed blog post about our stay at Kirulhiya Maldives Guest House – everything you need to know: rooms, food, location, how to get there etc.
Blonde around the World