Maldives Planning a Break 🌴

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Maldives Planning a Break 🌴

The luxury of some of the smaller islands in the Maldives comes at a price. However – if you include it as a short addition to a longer trip through other countries in the region – then this unforgettable experience can be enjoyed without drastically over-doing the budget.

Read on to find out how we included a 3-night Maldives break as part of our 3 week Sri Lanka Itinerary.



How Much will it Cost?

The price you can expect to pay to stay in a mid-to-up-market island such as Makunudu is around $750 per day per couple for half board. This includes breakfasts and dinners, but excludes lunch, tips, alcohol (😖), and some expeditions.

However, it doesn’t include getting there and away, which is why the cheapest way to arrange this is as part of a trip to a neighbouring country. In this way, the Maldives can be included as a stopover at the beginning or end of a trip to your main regional destination.

In the past, we’ve visited the Maldives using India as the principal destination, and similarly with Sri Lanka. Both are fascinating low-budget countries whose lower cost offsets the comparatively higher cost of the Maldives.

Emirates make it easy to arrange flight combinations with India and Sri Lanka.

On another occasion, we used Singapore Airlines to arrange a stopover in the Maldives en route to Singapore and Thailand.

Getting there from Sri Lanka

Maldives Planning a Break

Maldives – Planning a break in paradise

So planning a route through South East Asia can often offer the opportunity of a stopover in the Maldives at very little extra flight costs.

You will still have to arrange transport from Male (where you arrive) to the island you have chosen. If the island is not too far from Male (Bandos, for example), you can get there quite cheaply in one of the local Dhonis (the traditional fishing boat of the Maldives).

Bandos is also considerably more affordable than most of the outlying islands.

Check Prices in Bandos

Choosing an island (distance matters)

If the island if further out – and a lot of the better ones are – you’ll have to count on a pricy motor yacht transfer, or even a flight in a small plane.

The Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries, comprising 26 coral atolls, which are made up of hundreds of islands, and encompassing a territory spread over 90,000 square kilometers,

When choosing one of the many islands available to tourists, bear in mind that you’ll get pretty much what you pay for. For this reason, its better to bite the bullet and opt for something a little special.

After all – due to prices and accessibility – for many people this may be a once in a lifetime visit.


Makunudu, Maldives

We stayed at the Makunudu Island Resort located in the North Male Atol. We chose this island based on very good experiences from previous visits.

In the years between, we had also visited the Embudu and Bandos Island Resorts. These larger more affordable resorts offer good sporting facilities, and are geared more towards groups and families.

Given a fixed budget for our trip, (this time, combined with a tour around Sri Lanka) we preferred to book fewer days in the Maldives, but to have a more secluded, better-quality experience.

We therefore arranged with Emirates a short detour to Male, on our way to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

What’s Included?

We booked just 3 nights at the Makunudu Resort. Half board in a Deluxe bungalow came to US$ 2,200 (excluding a round-trip speedboat transfer for 2 of US$ 480).

Included in the price was a series of complimentary benefits provided to all guests staying at Makunudu Island:

♦  Daily International buffet breakfast, and table service dinner
♦  Unlimited use of snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel & fins)
♦  One snorkeling excursion during the stay
♦  One night fishing trip during the stay
♦  One introductory dive for beginners
♦  Unlimited use of catamaran sailing and windsurfing

Maldives Planning a Break

Small islet with Dhoni behind

Would 3 days break the budget?

Putting all this into perspective, our short Maldives break would comprise the first 3 days of a 25-day trip.

Although these 3 days would eat up a large proportion of our total 25-day budget, it wasn’t like we would have to live like Mahatma Gandhi for the remainder of our trip 🥴 (see Sri Lanka itinerary for more details).

See Our Sri Lanka Route

Maldives Planning a Break

The jetty at Makunudu island

At these prices, don’t sleep!

Because of the limited time we would have in the Maldives, we determined to remain as active as possible during our stay to make the most of what was on offer.

For such a small island, there is plenty to do if you’re up for it.

Luckily, we were able to arrange a flight that got us to Male just after 8 am on our first day. Since we had a 3-night stay, this effectively gave us 3 and 1/2 full days before our departure. The tricky bit would be staying awake on Day 1, after 2 long flights from Europe and a Dubai stopover.

We had a lot to pack into our short visit:

  • Night fishing in a traditional dhoni.
  • A day-excursion to swim with manta rays on a nearby reef.
  • An exclusive dinner for 2 on a tiny sandbank in a remote part of the Indian Ocean.
  • A dive to check for any friendlies at Shark Point.
  • A sumptuous barbecue on the beach
  • A trip to one the locally-inhabited non-tourist islands,
  • Joining with the island staff for an evening musical gig.
  • As much snorkelling around the house reef as possible.

Maldives 🤿 Under the Reef

Maldives Planning a Break

You can’t see the cabins for the trees!

How long is enough?

If money was no object, we would happily spend a full week on Makunudu. Despite the island’s tiny size, each week there is a varied menu of food and lots of water-based activities.

Two weeks would feel a bit decadent however, and would probably result in spending too much time lounging around on one of the secluded beaches.

After our 3-day stay, we prepared to shift down a gear for a more extended tour of central and southern Sri Lanka. At least it would be a short flight from Male to Colombo.

It would also be a bit of a reality check as we switched to $25-per-night guest houses and lashings of curry and rice 😳

Book a bungalow in Makunudu

If you enjoyed Maldives Planning a Break, check out our Short Breaks & City Stops. You may also like:


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