Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia 2017-05-05T09:11:31-04:00

Southeast Asia exudes beauty, hospitality, and culture. Find creative travel tips and itineraries for Southeast Asia here.


MALDIVES ON A BUDGET: Julie’s Itinerary


Below is brief summary of my (Julie’s) itinerary and budget for a 5 day/5 night stay in the Maldives. Feel free to reference it for booking a holiday in this tropical wonderland! Asia

The Maldives can be an extremely expensive place to visit. A night at a resort can cost between $400-3,000 USD. But don’t write off this dream destination due to the those types of prices. Here’s how I experienced the Maldives in April 2017, for a total of $722 USD…

Flight: $130

I’m currently based in Penang, Malaysia and found a promotion on AirAsia out of Kuala Lumpur (KUL) for my visit to the Maldives (MLE). That promotion plus the short, inexpensive round-trip Penang—Kuala Lumpur flight only cost me $130 USD. And that included the exit row seat I purchased for the red eye back to KL!

**To see how much a flight from your home airport to KL (or straight to the Maldives) would be, use Google Flights and compare prices.

Day 1 – Hulhumale: $54

[symple_bullets style=”check”]

  • Accommodation (inclusive of breakfast): $53
  • Ground Transportation: $1


My flight didn’t arrive to Male, Maldives until after 8:00 p.m. and there were no boats to my destination at that time of night. Therefore, I stayed the first night in a guest house, Express Inn, on the man-made Hulhumale Island. It was extremely convenient and a very clean room. I took a bus to get there via a road that connects the island to the airport island.

Day 2 – Hulhumale and Maafushi: $103

[symple_bullets style=”check”]

  • Accommodation (inclusive of breakfast): $38
  • Ground Transportation: $10
  • Shared Speed Boat: $25
  • Food & Beverage: $30


I took a car, arranged by Express Inn on Hulhumale, back to the airport in the morning to catch a 9:00 a.m. shared speed boat with iCom to Maafushi Island.

I was based on Maafushi, a local island, for the rest of my time in the Maldives. I stayed at a guest house called, Faza View Inn and booked it via Airbnb to avoid additional fees/taxes upon arrival. I recommend Faza View due to the outstanding hospitality of the three brothers that own it and the cleanliness. The rooms do not have views, but I didn’t mind since I was out and about all day. In addition, the brothers commitment to protecting the environment and the conversations we had about the Maldivian culture added value to my stay.

For rooms with a view, although higher rates, I recommend the Crystal Sands Resort guest house which can also be booked through Airbnb.

Click here for $40 off your first Airbnb stay.

I spent my second day in the Maldives on Maafushi learning about Maldivian culture, sampling the fresh sea food from the ocean-side restaurants, talking with other travelers, and hanging out at the bikini beach (or “speedo beach” as I prefer to call it!).

Day 3 – Maafushi, Snorkeling, and Night Fishing: $103

[symple_bullets style=”check”]

  • Accommodation (inclusive of breakfast): $38
  • Full-day Snorkeling to 3 Reefs, Dolphin Watching, and Sand Bank with Lunch: $35
  • Night Fishing and Freshly Caught Fish Dinner: $30


I went on an all day snorkeling excursion and experienced the amazing underwater world of the Indian Ocean. There were eight of us on the trip and it was arranged via Crystal Sands Resort–a guest house on Maafushi. While the snorkeling I did on day 5 was more personalized, the excursion with Crystal Sands Resort was very professional and I had an amazing time.

In the evening, my hosts at Faza View Inn took me out night fishing with two other guests visiting from Germany. We had a lot of fun out in the middle of the ocean on a traditional Maldivian boat, gazing up at a sky full of stars. After arriving back to the guest house, we were presented with an elaborate freshly cooked meal with the fish as the main event.

Day 4 – Maafushi and Day Trip to a Resort Island: $219

[symple_bullets style=”check”]

  • Accommodation (inclusive of breakfast): $38
  • Day at Resort Island (inclusive of boat transfer, sunbed, buffet lunch, and unlimited drinks): $100
  • Massage at Resort: $48
  • Food & Beverage: $15
  • Sunscreen (3 oz): $18


I visited the resort, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, for the day. My hosts at Faza View Inn had recommended I go to a higher end 5-star resort, but it was closed for renovations. I chose Adaaran Club due to the price and it was only a 25 minute speed boat ride from Maafushi.

Being at the resort for the day was very relaxing. I spent time on the beach and snorkeled the house reef. The buffet lunch was fabulous, as was having unlimited drinks throughout the day. I also got a massage (an additional cost) while overlooking the water…it was just what I needed!

After arriving back to Maafushi around 6:00 p.m., I spent the evening wandering through the narrow streets of the island. I even observed how “school pick-up” happens the small island. And I ended the day with dinner under the stars.

Day 5 – Maafushi, Half-Day Snorkeling, and Airport: $113

[symple_bullets style=”check”]

  • Accommodation (inclusive of breakfast): $38
  • Half-Day Snorkeling to 2 Reefs and Sand Bank with Lunch: $30
  • Shared Speed Boat: $25
  • Food & Beverage: $20


On my final day in the Maldives, my flight departed at 9:00 p.m. and the last shared speed boat of the day left Maafushi at 5:00 p.m. Therefore, I was able to get in one last snorkeling excursion. One of my hosts from Faza View Inn took me out on a personalized snorkeling adventure. We shared a boat with another guest house that had only three other snorkelers with them. It was the best way to end my time in the Maldives.

After showering and checking out of the guest house, my hosts walked me and two other guests to the jetty to catch the speed boat back to the airport. I had dinner at the airport with my new friends from Germany and then caught the red eye back to Malaysia.

I hope to get back to the Maldives someday and explore even more islands. I look forward to sharing that experience with you! And if you visit the country, I hope you’ll share your experiences as well!

Click here to find additional recommendations for experiencing the Maldives on a budget.


[symple_callout fade_in=”false” button_text=”Contact Us” button_url=”” button_color=”black” button_size=”default” button_border_radius=”3px” button_target=”self” button_rel=”” button_icon_left=”” button_icon_right=””]Interested in having Creative Travel Connections put together a customized trip for you or a group? [/symple_callout]