Luxury Backpacking is all about visiting luxury destinations on a budget. Combining backpacking knowledge and a taste for luxury, a luxury backpacker knows how to have the best of both worlds. Australian blogger Alexis, of blog Mermaid Tales Adventure, did just this. She had a 2 week adventure in the Maldives on a budget, and she kindly agreed to share her secrets with Luxury Backpack readers!
Tell me about yourself and why you’re an expert on luxury backpacking in the Maldives!
“I’m Alexis and I’m the Australian born author of adventure travel blog Mermaid Tales Adventure. I love travel and my life revolves around combining amazing destinations with fun outdoor activities such as surfing, snorkeling and hiking and on a backpackers budget!
I recently spent two and a half weeks in the Maldives exploring the local island of Thulusdhoo where I was able to surf some world class waves, snorkel on beautiful palmed lined beaches and even stay in a luxury hotel, all on a backpackers budget.”
What made you choose to travel to the Maldives and why would you recommend it to other travellers?
“The Maldives is on almost every travellers bucket list, and it’s easy to see why. It’s totally idyllic and the water is just as amazing in person, but for many years it’s been out of reach for those travelling on a budget.
In recent years the Maldivian government has began allowing international tourists into local islands in the Maldives, meaning a multitude of cheaper accommodation options, also allowing tourists to see into the amazing life of the locals.
The Maldives are incredible, picturesque and now, totally affordable, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough for luxe-seeking backpackers!”
What is the most effective and best value way of getting to the Maldives?
“Transport in the Maldives can easily become one of your biggest expenses if you don’t choose the right islands and plan your trip accordingly. Locals islands such as Thulusdhoo are great islands to stay on, as not only are they cheaper but they are also serviced from the capital Male, by public transport such as ferries and speed boats, this will literally save you up to US$400 on a round trip.
To Thulusdhoo Island you can get the afternoon daily public ferry at 14:30 for only US$1 and will take around 90 minutes. If your flight doesn’t arrive to coincide with the public ferry there are two daily local speed boats which are US$30 one way, and are much quicker than the public ferry only taking around 25 minutes.
If you prefer the convenience of being picked up whenever suits you, your accommodation quite often can arrange your transfers privately but expect to pay around US$200 one way for a private boat, if you’re travelling in a group this can be a great option as they can carry up to six passengers.
For flights to and from the Maldives, I choose skyscanner for the best array of comparable flight deals – generally flying into another low cost country in Asia first and then through to the Maldives will give you the cheapest flight path. I was backpacking Sri Lanka prior to travelling to the Maldives and scored a one way flight from Colombo direct to Male for US$75.”
Tell me about the best hostels and low budget hotels that deliver luxe-for-less.
“On Thulusdhoo Island you can’t go past Season Paradise hotel, the only major hotel on the island, and the only accommodation offering an amazing infinity pool with a full view of the entire island !
I got a fantastic deal staying at Season Paradise by travelling during shoulder season. Most hotels and accommodation will be at around only 20% occupancy during this time, and quite often offering amazing deals to attract tourists.
We got a double occupany room with a stunning ocean view and delicious full buffet breakfast included daily for a mere US$65 a night – twin share that’s only around US$30 a night !
Season Paradise hotel can also has a really cool rooftop gym for those health conscious backpackers, a day spa and delicious restaurant – so whilst you save money on your accommodation you can splurge once in a while on an amazing meal or relaxation massage.
For more information on staying at Season Paradise hotel on Thulusdhoo Island, check out my latest blog post ‘Discovering Thulusdhoo Island in the Maldives’.”
“Whilst the Maldives aren’t exactly famous for their cuisine, the order of the day is generally fresh fish such as tuna and delicious fresh salads and fruit juices – it’s a great destination to eat healthy and fresh!”
“The Maldives are a muslim country and this also carries over into the countries laws.
Alcohol is prohibited on local islands and this includes Thulusdhoo. However, they do know how to make amazing fruit juices, smoothies and delicious mocktails, and if you’re really craving an alcoholic beverage you can always take a day trip to an exclusive resort island for the day.”
What do you recommend for the adventure traveller?
“The Maldives are the perfect place for adventure travellers and ocean lovers. Thulusdhoo Island is home to the Maldives most famous surf break ‘Cokes’ and has numerous other amazing world class breaks within short boat rides distance.
There’s also surf lessons available for those who have never surf but want to give it a try – what better place than in crystal clear ocean over stunning coral reef?
For the avid divers and snorkelers, Thulusdhoo also has an amazing array of coral gardens near by, and there are a few beaches directly off the island that have plenty of bright colourful reef fish.
Watersports are how Thulusdhoo has made a name for itself, whether you love jetskiing, kayaking, fishing, surfing, snorkeling, diving or maybe just simply relaxing, this is the island for you.”
Where would you go for the perfect sunset view?
“The greatest thing about the Maldives are that the islands are so small you get to see a sunrise AND sunset daily, and they’re simply amazing.
The little pier near where the public ferry arrives is a great spot to take in a sunset, you’ll also get to watch some locals fish for their dinner.
If you’re chasing a truly luxe spot, Season Paradise infinity pool is an absolute must, with view over the stunning ocean with the huge red sun in the background, it will have you in awe every single day!”
Hints and Tips
Do you have any must-know tips for luxury backpackers in Maldives?
- “To save money and travel to the Maldives on a budget, travelling in shoulder season is an absolute must, and it almost the only way to get accommodation at a reasonable price.
- The best part is, due to less tourists, you’ll also get better service, more perks such as included meals etc. and of course everyone knows, less people = better wifi signal, not that you’ll want to touch your tech whilst here!
- For a full list of the best budget tips and tricks to travelling the Maldives on a budget, check out the ‘10 Tips to Travelling the Maldives on a Budget’ this will help you plan transport, accommodation and what not to waste you precious pennies on.”
And lastly: describe the Maldives in one sentence!
“Pure picturesque serenity, a bucket-list MUST!”