5 Days in Maldives for Php 40,000 All-In (Including Airfare)

More than anything else, I’d like to thank those who shared their insights in my recent blog entry about the Maldives. I was very happy with the turnout! I suppose many of us are still curious and would love to hear about how to plan an affordable Maldivian vacation. So yes, as promised, my next post will be about the itinerary and cost of our trip to Maldives. By the way, if you wish to read my previous entry, here it is.

Manila to Maldives Flight Itinerary

If you’re coming from Manila, you can already book a multi-city ticket via the Air Asia website. Since there are no direct flights from Manila to Male, you have to arrange your layover in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore if you’ll be flying with other airlines. I believe Cebu Pacific has a Male flight too, but it seems more expensive than Air Asia (not sure). Anyway, we booked a broken ticket to Male, meaning we bought MNL-KUL-MNL separately because we wanted to explore KL as well. Unfortunately, one month before our trip to Maldives, Air Asia told us that their KUL-MLE route will be suspended. They offered to transfer us to an alternative carrier. We were apprehensive at first as we’re also considering rerouting our flight to India instead. That’s the reason why we have a Sri Lankan flight right here:

Air Asia + Sri Lankan Flight Itinerary
Manila to Kuala Lumpur
Air Asia
Kuala Lumpur to Male
Sri Lankan Airlines
Male to Kuala Lumpur
Sri Lankan Airlines
Kuala Lumpur to Manila
Air Asia
*Filipinos do not need to apply for a visa to Maldives.

Right infront of the Male Airport arrival area

Summary of Expenses

If you don’t want the nitty-gritty, here’s an account of the total damage of this trip. Please note that we went to Maldives more than a year ago. My blog is new and this post is a little bit late, I know right? My apologies.

Expenses Summary in PHP (per person)
Roundtrip Airfare with hold luggage
Accommodation (if shared with 1 person)
Activities (Resort island tours + snorkeling trip)
Public Transportation
Food (if shared with 1 person)
* Disclaimer: (1) We had a layover in KL before and after our flight. Expenses not included here; (2) prices for island tours may vary as well. Please don't treat the information as "official", they're based from our experience only. (3) Prices may vary due to php-usd conversion rates. Safe estimate for everything: PHP45,000

Itinerary and Cost

Route in a Nutshell

  • 1 day - Hulhumale
  • 3 days - Maafushi (2 excursions to island resorts with overwater bungalows)
  • 1 day - Male (2-point snorkeling trip)

Day 1: Hulhumale

  • 12:00pm → Arrival at Male Airport
  • 1:00pm → Public bus to Hulhumale (20 mins) = Php 48.00
  • 1:30pm → Check in at Fuana Inn (breakfast included) = Php 3,000.00
  • 2:30pm → Late lunch 
  • 3:30pm onwards → Free time at Hulhumale public beach
  • Dinner 
Access is free to this beautiful beach in Hulhumale 
A day in the life of Maldivian students in Hulhumale 

Day 2: Getting to Maafushi

  • 8:00am → Buffet breakfast from hotel
  • 9:00am → Free time; Hulhumale neighborhood
  • 11:00am → Checkout
  • 11:30am → Bus from "the neighborhood" to Hulhumale ferry terminal = Php 10.00
  • 12:00pm → Public ferry from Hulhumale to Male = Php 17.00
  • 12:30pm → Walk from ferry terminal to Villingili terminal (I regret this; should’ve taken a cab)
  • 1:30pm → Lunch at Villingili ferry terminal 
  • 2:45pm → Ferry from Villingili to Maafushi (90 minutes) = Php 66.00
  • 3:30pm → Check in Narnia Maldives Hotel = Php 9,000.00 for 3 nights
  • 5:00pm onwards → Free time, dinner, look for people who would want to share the speedboat with us
A mosque in the neighborhood of Hulhumale 

Day 3: Fihalhohi Island Resort

  • 7:00am → Maldivian breakfast from hotel
  • 8:00am → Speedboat ride shared with 2 other people = Php 2,300.00/person
  • 8:30am to 5:00pm → Fihalhohi Island Resort day trip with buffet lunch = Php 2,100.00/person
  • 6:00pm onwards → Light dinner, sunset in Maafushi 
+Fihalhohi Island Resort 
+Fihalhohi Island Resort 

Day 4: Kandooma Island

  • 7:00am → Maldivian breakfast from hotel
  • 8:00am → Exclusive speedboat ride = Php 2,100.00/person
  • 8:30am to 8:30pm → Holiday Inn Kandooma = Php 6,300.00/person (4k consumable)
For Php 4,300.00, we availed (1) Buffet lunch; (2) "Romantic" dinner by their infinity pool; (3) A large gelato before I left the resort! You can also use your “credits” to avail of any activities in the island i.e., catamaran tours, dolphin-watching, surfing


Day 5: Last day in Maafushi

  • 7:00am → Maldivian breakfast from hotel
  • 8:00am → Checkout 
  • 9:00am → Ferry from Maafushi to Villingili = Php 66.00
  • 11:00am → Taxi from Villingili to city center = Php 75.00
  • 11:30am → Look for a cheap hotel where we can leave our backpacks
  • 12:00pm → Check in at Hotel Real Inn = Php 1,800.00
  • 12:30pm → Lunch and snacks
  • 2:00pm → Snorkeling in two snorkeling points near Male = Php 3,000.00 for 2 people
  • 4:30pm → Free time for “City Tour” = Php 0.00
  • 7:30pm → Dinner at some garden restaurant = Php 460.00 for 2 people
  • 8.30pm → Checkout
  • 9:00pm → Ferry to Male Airport = Php 60.00
Snorkeling in Maldives 

You can cut the cost further!

If possible, get a flight that arrives in Male early in the morning. There is only one ferry to Maafushi a day and it leaves Villingili at 2:45pm (please refer to the official page of Maafushi ferry for an updated info). If you arrive in Maldives early, you do not need to book a hotel in Hulhumale. (Php 3,000.000 savings)

Instead of visiting 2 resort islands, just make it 1 resort island + 1 snorkeling trip. Or, choose 1 low-cost island resort (some do not have overwater bungalows though).(Php 4,000.00 savings)

Checking in a hotel and going on a snorkeling trip near Male are optional. We just wanted to do something while waiting for our red-eye flight. (Php 4,800.00 savings)

Regularly check the Air Asia and Cebu Pacific website for promo fares. (Php 4,000.00 savings)

Book a hotel with free breakfast, of course! Since the hotels in Maldives are expensive, why not choose the one with complimentary breakfast, right? (Php 200.00 savings per day)

Eat where the locals eat! I stuffed myself with mutton and chicken biryani. They're so good! (only Php 75.00 per serving).

Now, for the last question...

To see, or not to see Maldives? Hmm, that is NOT supposed to be a question! I urge you, go see Maldives before it’s too late. According to current worst predictions of global sea-level rise, the Maldives can disappear. Because of things like... climate change :/

That’s it! I hope you find these information useful for planning your trip to Maldives. I'm sure there are many other ways to make your trip more affordable. Just make sure you won't skimp on seeing at least one of the pretty overwater bungalows!

Swim with the clearest, bluest waters on earth? Why not!

So yeaaa! Backpacking or what have we gotten ourselves into?!

I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions about this itinerary! Share them through the comments please.

More about DIY Maldives: An Independent and Affordable Trip to Maldives

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Suggested Reading: 
Visit Paris on a Php50,000 Budget
How to Spend 4 Days in Batanes for Php 6,000
7 Simple Ways to Travel Europe for Less


  1. Hi!

    May i know what's the name of your accomodation in Maafushi?


    1. Hi Jane, it's in Narnia hotel. i've just checked in booking.com, unfortunately, the rates are higher now. btw, narnia is a good hotel with topnotch service! they will do their best to help you plan your excursions. i think there are other cheaper accommodations in the island as well.

  2. Is it true that alcohol is prohibited in maldives and only resorts and hotels can sell them?

    1. Hi, BT! Since Maldives is an Islamic nation, alcohol is banned for the local population. I believe I read it from wiki that if you're NOT a local, it's legal to buy alcohol. Island resorts are licensed to serve alcohol, but usually with a steep price. Hope this helps!

  3. What a lovely view! Thanks for this awesome article, I can now plan my Maldives trip without hurting my pocket or going broke after.

    1. Hi there Kristy! It's really a beautiful country. I suggest you go there during summer season, for clear visibility of the atolls from the plane! :) Good luck on your planning.

  4. Hi

    airfare is for per person right? 13k?


    1. Hi Joseph, yes it's 13k per person, booked via Air Asia Malaysia. I saw from one of my facebook comments yesterday that it's possible to get ~10k through Cebu Pacific. Go check it out :)

  5. Hi, I love this post and all your pictures <3 But I'm just curious, why didn't you go to Vaadhoo Island for the Sea of Stars? haha thanks :)

    1. Thank you, caoimhe!
      That's one of my regrets actually. I didnt know about the glowing planktons until we left for Male. Sayang nga eh! By any chance, did you see the sea of stars?

  6. hi. i would like to ask if i need to have a visa or just my passport?

  7. hi. i would like to ask if i need to have a visa or just my passport?

    1. Hi, Jan. You just need your PH passport. Maldives has a "visa on arrival" policy for Filipinos. Just make sure you have your hotel vouchers at hand just in case the immigration officer ask your whereabouts in the island :-)

  8. Hi, may I ask if the ferries going back to Male has schedules? Could we leave anytime from Maafushi to Male? Booking an evening flight kasi going back to PH. Thank you! Will appreciate your response.

    1. Hey there,

      As far as i know, there is only 1 ferry per day to Maafushi. It leaves Villingili terminal at around 2-3pm. The boat from Maafushi to Male leaves the island early, around 8am. Our hotel staff made sure we get on the ferry on-time as they know when it would usually arrive :-)

      I tried to search for the ferry sched and here's what i found:

      Hope it helps!

  9. Thankyou so much for this! I was looking for a resort that offered day trips only then i came across this! awesome! <3

    1. Hi, Rachelle! Don't worry almost all resorts in Maafushi can organize day trips for you. You can still lower 40k to around 30k too :) Nagsplurge lang kami konti for better resort experience.

      Enjoy your trip!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Hi pretty Brenda! May I know when did you go to Maldives? And by the way, your blog is very helpful for traveller like me who is so Kuripot! Hehe! Also, I hope you might share in detailed your Euro Trip. Looking forward to more travel blogs by you! :)

  12. Hi pretty Brenda! May I know when did you go to Maldives? And by the way, your blog is very helpful for traveller like me who is so Kuripot! Hehe! Also, I hope you might share in detailed your Euro Trip. Looking forward to more travel blogs by you! :)

    1. Hi Janine! :-)
      I hope I won't disappoint you when I say we went there 2014 pa. My blog's still new so I had to research if my info are up to date. I was also able to talk to a Filipina based in Maldives and she said it's become cheaper now.

      Re: Eurotrip
      I will definitely post it! To give you a quick info, 3 weeks cost me 100-120k php - allin.

      What I posted so far was about Paris:

      Thank you for your wonderful comment! Happy travels, Janine!

    2. Hi Brenda, yeah. My friend and her boyf just went there and they had an overall expense of more or less 70k. Not bad for 2 pax right? I am hoping that Maldives will be as beautiful as what you have captured next year. Hehe
      Anyway, 3 weeks Euro Tour for 110k++??? No way, you might be kidding me. Hehe. I am very excited for post travel blog re that. More travels to come! :)

    3. Yaz! 70k is okay. The expense depends on the choices you make! Yung sa europe, di pa yun tipid masyado. Like we had gondola ride, tried to stay in chic hotels and visited many museums in Paris. So you can still cut it to less than 100k. Really depends on the activities. Really thankful for readers like you who appreciate blogs like mine. God bless!

      - Brenda

  13. Hi brenda! Me and my friends are planning to go to MAldives. I am tasked to do the research. Been searching for a week and still can't understand maldives. HAHAHA. Can u please explain the islands? others are telling to book hotel in Hulhumale/maafushi etc. btw ur post is very helpful. nag online booking kayo or upon arrival booking? Pag hindi kinaya ng powers ko, will copy ur itinerary. haha. THANKS so much. God bless.

    1. Hi Michelle!

      Hulhumale and Maafushi are "local islands". The overwater bungalows of Maldives are found in the "private resort islands". Hulhumale is the island near the airport (connected via a long bridge); while Maafushi is 2hours from the airport.
      Whether you book in Hulhumale or Maafushi, it's fine as activities really vary per hotel. You can skip Hulhumale for Maafushi.

      Re: Booking
      We booked everything online. I suggest you do the same since there's still few hotels in Maldives, and I heard hotel price is higher when you walk-in.

      If you copy our iti, you can remove Kandooma since it's so expensive. You may replace it with cheaper resorts or other activities like dolphin watching or diving. But Kandoooma is very beautiful, i have yet to justify it in my future post.

      That's it. I hope I answered your question, Thanks for you comment, Michelle.

      - Brenda

  14. Hi brenda..
    Me(from ph davao) and my fiance from france are planning to take holiday in maldives this coming august..
    We have already our hotel reservations in paradise island resort for 16days. I have also my return ticket and showmoney in cash.(150usd/day).i also have my fiance's flight itenerary to proof that he is travelling from france also taking a holiday with me and his not maldivian citizen incase the immigration will be curious about his name written in the hotel reservation.
    I will take my flight from davao(silkair)-singapore (singapore airline) -male..(bus class) by myself.
    Im worried if i get offloaded,as i currently dont have a job,im just a fresh graduate and no bank accounts to show...and its my first time to travel abroad..and i'll just travel alone..my fiance will just gonna meet me in male airport..
    Do u think there would be possible chance that i will be offloaded??

    1. Hi there,

      I am not sure how immigration works and I don't want to share any unfounded answers to you :(
      But just my two cents here and some advice from a traveholic :D
      - make sure you have all confirmed bookings, hotel reservation, itinerary with you. Print all of them
      - be ready to show ties with your fiance - photos probably?

      Also, did you know that I was questioned by the immigration at the Male airport?! Maybe because I don't look rich at all! Everyone had their suitcases and lavish summer outfit while I had my rugged denim and 40L backpack with me!

      They did check all my booking confirmation and tried to call our accommodation in Hulhumale. They also asked for my full 5-day itinerary in Maldives. I answered everything in full detail coz, duhhh i have nothing to hide!

      So the moral of the story is... have all your documents ready! And answer the immigration folks with all honesty :) They don't bite... if you don't lie

      Thanks for dropping by my blog! And I do hope I shared some useful information to you!

      Enjoy Maldives!!!
      - Brenda

  15. Thank you for your sharing. This is what I am looking for. You did very well. Thank you again.

    1. Hi Hand Pham!

      Thanks for dropping by! Hope you share it to your friends who want to see the Maldives :-)

      Enjoy Maldives!
      - Brenda

  16. Hi! Thanks for this-- you have very helpful tips here. I am a Filipina seriously thinking of spending the coming holidays in Maldives but I'm super concerned about not being able to wear a bathing suit as it is supposed to be prohibited? Was that true for you in some cases? I'd appreciate your advice and guidance on this please. THANKS IN ADVANCE!

    1. Hi Teena!

      Great question!
      It's true that you cannot wear your bikini in a public beach. It's not allowed in their culture (or religion?) In private island resorts, YOU'RE ALLOWED to wear bikini! :-)
      When I say public beach, it's the one located in Male and Hulhumale. In Maafushi, you can wear bikini but ONLY in designated (covered) part of the public beach. Hope this helps!

      Thanks for dropping by my blog! If you loved the contents of my page, would appreciate if you like my fb page @ https://www.facebook.com/oneweektotravel . But no pressure :D

      Enjoy Maldives!
      Brenda ♥

  17. Thank you for your sharing. This is what I am looking for. You did very well. Thank you again.

  18. Thank you so much for this post, very informational and inviting :D
    You go girl, keep it up.

  19. Goodluck to you Unknown. I wouldn't worry about Maldives immigration., It's the Philippine IO you need to worry about. They have keen senses on detecting human trafficking and prostitution.

  20. I love Maldives!!! Next time I'll try Fihalhohi and Kandooma! Just went to Maafushi and Adaaran resort. Check out my itinerary for 4 days here: http://www.wheresjason.com/4-days-in-maldives/

  21. Hi! Just wanna ask if it's kid friendly? I mean the transfers and all. We are planning to bring a 4y/o and a 1y/o baby with us :)

    1. Hi Roan,

      The public ferry should be fine for babies. Honestly, I got scared when we rode the speed boats around Maldives because they were too fast! I think you should consider that one :) Just mention to the speed boat owner / operator in advance that you'll have cute babies in tow ;)

      Thanks for dropping by!
      - Brenda


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