Maldives on a Budget
Updated March, 2023
A very special place in the Maldives, Fulidhoo is one of a local islands on Vaavu Atoll. In recent years, Fulidhoo has seen an inflow of tourists in search of its Maldivian, budget paradise, with an inexpensive accommodation, beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters and a rich marine life, all those components behind which people fly half the world to get real Maldives experience and say with confidence : "Liked everything!".
The island is also famous for the "Langiri" events - a traditional dance with drums and tambourines, which is a cultural landmark of the island.
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How to Get: Transfers
Situated just south of South Male Atoll, on the northern perimeter of Vaavu Atoll, Fulidhoo feels remote, but it’s actually surprisingly easy to get to the island. Fulidhoo is located 57 kilometers from Malé. Despite this, it only takes just over an hour to get here from the capital. There is also a ferry connection between Fulidhoo and Maafushi Island. From nearby islands outside Vaavu Atoll, you may be able to hire a speedboat to shuttle you between the two.
There is no ATM on Fulidhoo, so please stock cash in Malé. Also a guest houses don’t accept card either, so you need to make sure you grab a good chunk of dollar from the airport on arrival! You can coordinate the traffic schedule and the transfer type in advance with the staff of your guest house (recommended), or check here.
SPEEDBOAT TRANSFER, Departure Jetty: Jetty No.01 These leave from Male, normally from the jetty called Muizzu Neru, near Mary Brown Restaurant.
Saturday – Thursday, Malé – Fulidhoo departure 11:00, travel time 1 hour, Price: $40 per person
Saturday – Thursday, Fulidhoo - Malé, departure 14:30, travel time 1 hour, Price: $40 per person
Friday, Fulidhoo - Malé, departure 16:00, travel time 1 hour, Price: $40 per person
PUBLIC FERRY, Villingili Ferry Terminal
Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday, Malé – Fulidhoo departure 10:00, travel time 3.5 hours, Price: $4 per person
Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, Fulidhoo - Malé, departure 11:00, travel time 3.5 hours, Price: $4 per person
Ferry stops in Maafushi Island along the way. For those in no rush, this is a great budget option.
PRIVATE TRANSFER, Departure Jetty: Flexible (Airport or Guest Preferred Location)
Duration: 1 Hour, Price: $400
With views of Rihiveli by Castaway on the northern horizon, Fulidhoo is measured 670 meters long and 200 meters wide and sits on the atoll's edge a few hours from the equator, and this is the most northerly island in the Vaavu atoll. The friendly Muslim population of the island consists of about 300 souls, half of them live permanently on the island. Thanks to the availability of fresh water, local vegetation and seafood, a remote fishing community thrives on the island for several centuries. The rest of the islanders work in the resorts, in the capital or on boats.
Life on Fulidhoo is simple and revolves around good things: family, music, fishing and relaxation! Time here flows slowly and visitors quickly adapt to the island's rhythm. The day is fastened with five prayers, that sound from the orange-colored mosque, allowing the locals to postpone their housework for a while and do pause to praise the prophet. In the evening, many islanders gather on the beach to enjoy the breeze and the sunset and as night falls they retreat to their homes for family meals or to the local café to catch up with friends.
Vaavu Atoll is known in the Maldives for its rich fishing grounds and its waters provide the best conditions for life and spawning of valuable fish species throughout the year, including tuna and other pelagic species.
After arriving from Male (sometimes ifor the company with dolphins!), guests are greeted on a short wooden jetty that divides in half a long and wide sandy beach on the south side of Fulidhoo. The island is so small that you do not even need a bicycle to explore all its corners.
The island's north side is covered by lush trees and bushes and in the northwest overhanging trees form a natural tunnel. Definitely come here on a hot afternoon for some shade. This place can’t be missed on a walk around the island
Explorering the island does not take you much time. Despite its tiny size, there are a mosque, a school, a medical center, a public council, a pharmacy, and a number of minimarts selling snacks and essentials on Fulidhoo. Oriented strictly from west to east, the island has a main street that cuts through the sandy strip of the center of Fulidhoo and along this street you will find a number of souvenir shops selling bright pareos and dresses, but they usually trade twice a week when visitors come from neighboring resorts on the island for excursions. Since English is the second language in the Maldives, most sellers and islanders can communicate in English, especially the younger generation.
Tiny in size and population, Fulidhoo is home to crystal clear lagoon on the east of the island, and a breathtaking reef on the west. Local residents during the day prefer to relax in the shade of a banyan tree, dreaming in hammocks or swaying on the Maldives swings. Early in the morning, fishermen go to sea, and at sunset hundreds of crabs race on the sands.
Perfect for relaxing on the cheap, the main bikini beach is really gorgeous and impressive at a glance. Fulidhoo has two tourist beaches that are on the western (sunset beach) and eastern tips of the island and are beautiful places, with fine sand and clear warm water. There are shady places and a few comfortable sun beds on the beach. On these beaches you can chill out, sunbathe and swim in a bikini in the clear waters of the lagoon.
Fishing in Vaavu Atoll is one of the main tourist baits, especially for those anglers who are looking for thrills and dreaming about the big Big Game Fishing trophies, including the GT. Fulidhoo has many professional fishermen who can organize a fight with marlin, fish, sailfish, vaah, yellowfin tuna and other large fish for you. In addition to deep-sea fishing, many guest houses offer morning and evening fishing on the reef. In both cases, you will find an appetizing ending - the catch will be cooked for free according to your taste.
With year-round warm water and great visibility, Maldives is one of the world’s most spectacular places for diving and snorkeling. Fulidhoo island is home to many world class dive sites, and for snorkeling, many great reef gardens right off the shore.
Opened in late 2016, Fulidhoo Dive & Water Sports (FDWS) is the only dive center on Fulidhoo Island, Vaavu Atoll. A small team of like-minded professionals offers exceptional diving and cheap world's ocean experience for adventure-seeking travelers from all over the world.
Fulidhoo Dive & Water Sports - registered as a 5 * PADI Dive Resort and offers a large selection of courses from Open Water to dive master, as well as professional courses, technical diving and free-diving. The dive school also provides children diving with Bubblemaker, PADI Seal Team and other courses (children from 8 years old).
FDWS also offer a large range of fun diving from the boat, diving with two balloons usually in the morning, and with one after dinner. Vaavu atoll is known for many large pelagics, including the hammerhead shark, gray reef shark, and the huge shoals of the large-eyed trevallies, and this incredible marine life makes the waters around Fulidhoo one of the best for diving in the Maldives! Night dive is a popular choice among avid divers, especially on the world famous Alimatha house reef, where divers can meet hundreds of sharks-nurses simultaneously, presumably, one of the world's largest known congregations!
The most popular sites around are Miyaru Kandu, Faru Kolhu, Kunaavashi Kandu, Fulidhoo Caves, Endheri Thila among many others spots.
Costs for scuba diving:
PADI Open Water Dive Course – $575
Scuba diving (certified, 2 tank dive) – $78
Scuba diving (introductory scuba dive) – $95
Things to Do
Fulidhoo Dive & Water Sports provides the guesta with facilities for water sports, including kayaks, SUP board, kite surf, snorkeling gear, catamarans, jet skis and more, and organizes island hopping, picnics on sandbank, snorkeling exursions with whale sharks and manta rays, romantic sunset cruises, dolphins watching trips,s tingray and sharks feeding, and Maldivian nights with cultural dance.
Although staying on a local island is great idea and with the lovely accomodation in Fulidhoo very affordable for those people looking for cheap Maldives holidays, some travelers still want a slice of luxury while in the Maldives. From Fulidhoo you can arrange day trips to nearby luxury resorts.
Costs for exursions:
Manta ray watching trip – $45
Whale Shark watching trip – $90
Snorkelling day trip – $45
Sandbank picnic trip – $45
Most guests prefer to eat in guest houses. Expect a delicious local, regional and European cuisine, including vegetarian food. Think of savory local curries, fresh fish, grilled steaks and barbecue along with pasta, chicken and vegetable dishes. There are two kinds of breakfast to choose from. You will also be very pleased to discover the real Maldivian cuisine!
In the local shops you’ll find ice creams, local fruit (bananas, papaya, watermelon, apples, oranges), biscuits, bottled water, crisps, soft drinks, nuts and nice chocolate. In the local cafes on the island, you can taste such popular Maldivian dishes as Nasi Goreng, fried rice with chicken, local afternoon snacks "dhivehi hedhikaa", and various fried fares.
Island Break's restaurant offers an exceptional variety of dining with something for every taste and occasion from light snacks to romantic candle light dinner setting at the beach.
Home to the finest restaurant on the island, Kinan Retreat boasts a renowned chef and skilled staff are here to satisfy your gastronomical cravings with fine cuisines from representing the West, Asia, and our local delicacies. Costs for dining: Local style meal – $5
Western style meal – $10
Best Hotels in Fulidhoo: Where to Stay
Like all other inhabited islands in the Maldives, Fulidhoo is a special kind of paradise. There are no water villas, cocktails at sunset, an infinity pools, and 5-star restaurants overlooking the lagoon. Nevertheless, today, Fulidhoo can offer all the components of authentic Maldives - these are white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, abundant marine life, the hospitality of locals and dozens of guest houses with reasonable prices for accommodation, food and excursions.
Accommodation on the island is offered at guest houses, in clean and spacious rooms, with air conditioning, hot water, comfortable beds, TV and some rooms overlooking the sea. Many hotels have good value for money, given the friendly and responsive service. In general, Fulidhoo Island is popular with many - calm, beautiful and unfrequented. Guests are dreaming to come back here more than once! There is wifi in the guesthouses but it might be a bit weak. Buy a sim-card from the Male airport instead if you’re going to need to be online!
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