One thing I’ve learnt about the islands is they have all been so different to one another which is something I’ll be writing about when I write my huge guide to the islands soon.
For now, let’s talk about Thoddoo. The big difference about this island is firstly it’s an island all by itself and not part of any of the 19 atolls in Maldives like the other islands I visited.Drone shot of Thoddoo Island
Now Thoddoo is big, like huge compared to the other islands we visited. We wanted to go there because it’s where the majority of fruit is grown in Maldives and I thought it would be so rustic that it would really give us a true reflection of Maldives life.
I also knew there are good and bad things written about Thoddoo on the internet but seeing as time had passed and the local islands were changing so fast because of tourism, I really wanted to give this island a good shot.
How to get to Thoddoo
Local Ferry: The local ferry goes at 23:45 every night except Fridays and takes about 5 hours.
Local Speedboat: If you get the express from Male it costs $35 which leaves at 4pm everyday except Fridays. Because the ferry decided not to run on the day we had planned to arrive from Ukulhas, our amazing host from our guesthouse in Ukulhas managed to hire out the local speedboat to take us across the waters and before we knew it we had landed on a huge island thirty minutes away. It did cost us a hefty $130 thought.
Private Speedboat: I can imagine it’s around $200 for a private speedboat.
Where did we stay?
The outdoor area at Royal Stay Inn, Thoddoo
Afzal our amazing host from Ukulhas took us on the speedboat to Thoddoo and after a bit of an emotional goodbye, because we genuinely loved this guy, we were whisked off in a minibus to our new guest house called Royal Stay Inn.
I honestly chose to stay at Royal Stay Inn because a) it was super cheap and b) I liked the name Royal because I thought it reminded me of the Royal family so it was a sign. No lie, this is why I booked it!Bedrooms at Royal Stay Inn are spacious and clean!
We realised straight away the vastness of the island that we had to be driven to our guesthouse. Before, we’d always walk to the guesthouse as most of the islands didn’t have transport and didn’t need it either.
Our host Faysal looked after us at Royal Stay Inn
When we arrived at Royal Stay Inn, we walked into a lovely sandy garden area with tables chairs and we were greeted by our host, Faysal. Originally from Bangladesh, Faysal had been living in Maldives, working on various islands at different guest houses for the last four years. He was kind and charming and we knew we had picked a good place to stay.
Our room was spacious, had a TV with cable and the wifi was so fast, it truly kicked Australia’s butt out of the window with it’s speed.Breakfast local style at Royal Stay Inn, Thoddoo
Because we had chosen the full board stay at Royal Stay Inn we ate all of our meals there and it was honestly the best food we had in Maldives. The local breakfast was the best although it was the same on the other islands, it still was by far the nicest. For lunch we’d have a tuna noodle dish with papaya juice and dinner tended to be a curry with rice and salad and again that amazing papaya!
Things to do in Thoddoo
Thoddoo is full of greenery, this was on our walk to the beach
When we arrived in Thoddoo, one of the first things I noticed was how green it was. Lush palm trees towered above the sky at it was stunning.It’s a 15 minute walk to the beach past the plantations
After we had lunch at our guesthouse, we made a beeline down to the beach. Not like other islands, the beach was a good fifteen minutes walk away down a beautiful path lined with palm trees and plantations. It was amazing to see the fruits being grown, the people working on them and to really feel like we were immersed in Maldivian life.The beautiful beach in Thoddoo
But the beach, oh my. We found a load of bikes parked up at a small entrance and as we walked along, it opened up into something like a cave, like a beach bums den. Tourists can hire bikes from their guest house for $5 to ride down to the beachThe gorgeous beach area complete with hammocks and sun loungers
Hammocks came in the plenty, suspended by the many palm trees dotted around. There were sun loungers, washing lines to dry your towels, even a toilet so you could spend the whole day there and it was all shaded by the palm trees. Small gaps opened out onto the flat crystal clear ocean and we quickly realised it was by far the best beach we’d seen in Maldives. It was utterly mind blowing!
Having the beach all to myself in Thoddoo
There were quite a few tourists there, literally only Russian and Italian but most people were quiet and kept to themselves. The only shame were the young families who were running up and down the beach screaming every day. But, I suppose that can’t be helped and we had one of those, I wonder what this must have been like a few years ago moments. Our friend Adele from Fulidhoo Dive recommended Thoddoo to us and she was shocked by the beach den that she thought it looked much better than before so at least we knew it was a good thing. Beautiful roads in Thoddoo
It turns out just over a year ago there were 10 guest houses, and now there are nearly 30 which is insane at the rate of change happening on this island. I wondered if building would commence by the beach but Faysal told me that the council wouldn’t allow tourism to take over the plantations and I hoped it would stay that way.Guesthouses are going up fast on Thoddoo Island
We tried to look around the village but there wasn’t a lot going on there during the day. We noticed more people appeared towards sunset and we managed to watch local women, men and children all playing volleyball or football on the sports fields, and they were good, like really good. But people as we’ve seen on the other islands were really friendly on Thoddoo. Off to cycle around Thoddoo!
The following day, we hired some bikes from our guest house for $5 each so we could explore the island. All the bikes on the island seemed to be for children so we had a laugh trying to ride them but at least we could go and explore. As we cycled around which took us 1 hour and about 6KM (timed it on my Garmin 235 watch), we quickly learnt that the majority of the island was filled with plantations of mainly papaya and watermelon.Thoddoo is the home to papaya plantations!
As soon as we arrived at Royal Stay Inn, we were given papaya juice and it was amazing. Like seriously, it was the best papaya we had ever eaten and we got it every single day!Meeting a Bangladeshi worker on the papaya plantations
We managed to meet some of the people working on the plantations who were from Bangladesh who were not only endearing but you could see they had lived a life of plenty of stories. Unfortunately, due to a language barrier, we just smiled, took their pictures and we were offered papaya in return.Wondering around Thoddoo and meeting some of the locals
I really felt a sense that they were surprised that we wanted their picture and as they stood proud with their serious photo face on, we just stood there admiring their beauty. It turned out there were 2000 people on this island (that’s double to Ukulhas) and another 500 from Bangladesh who were mainly working on the farms.
So we learnt the island was actually quite small with a village in the middle of plenty of plantations, it was quite fascinating to see.The local children loved having their photos taken
We went out one morning to look for manta rays at sunrise. It was a memorable moment trying to find them then before we knew it, a huge one quickly swam right past Steve and I. It was an amazing sight. We then saw another one, or maybe it was the same one but it was beautiful watching it glide across the ocean.On the boat at sunrise looking back at Thoddoo whilst we went snorkeling with Manta Rays
We popped back for breakfast to our guest house, before we knew it we were out on an excursion for a day of snorkeling and to a sand bank. We wondered if the sand bank could top the one we saw in Fulidhoo but when we arrived, we were completely in awe. It was absolutely amazing and another one of those we are actually here in Maldives moments!Drone shot of me in complete awe on the sandbank
After a bit of dronage, we went out snorkelling off the sandbank which was just incredible and like being in a fish tank. I’d never seen anything like it before. Fish were swimming right up to us and all around us, it was amazing.Like being in a fish tank snorkeling near Thoddoo
We ended the day on the nearby island of Rasdhoo for lunch, an island I actually considered staying on. I was intrigued to see what it was like and after lunch we walked around for a bit. Turns out there’s no beach on Rasdhoo so tourists have to go to the sandbank to have beach days. I’m glad we didn’t stay on Rasdhoo for that reason.Walking along the street in Rasdhoo
We were also treated to a traditional Bodu Beru, the most popular form of dancing and music in Maldives. The dance and songs were beautiful, then the tourists have a go at dancing, my worst nightmare! Luckily because I was filming, I managed to bypass that offer so Steve took one for the team and did his typical grandad dance moves!Bodu Beru in Thoddoo, a traditional Maldives dance and music
And lastly, a popular thing tourists do on their last night is a romantic dinner for two on the beach. Capturing a romantic dinner for two organised by our guest house Royal Stay Inn
We managed to go down whilst an Italian couple who were staying at our guest house had paid for and it was absolutely stunning. The path up to the beach was lit with tea lights and before I knew it, it opened out onto a huge heart shaped candle lit shape with the table and chairs in the middle. It was really beautiful and an awesome way to end a holiday staying at Royal Stay Inn.
All in all, we had a great time on Thoddoo and saw it as a totally new experience to the Maldives.
Reasons to visit Thoddoo
- The beach is mind blowing and the best we saw in Maldives
- Immerse yourself in local culture to see where the fruit actually comes from
- The food at our guest house Royal Stay Inn was the best I had in Maldives.
- It’s a very quiet island, so if all you’re interested in is going to the beach and not mixing with the culture then you can easily do this on Thoddoo.
- If you’re thinking of staying at Royal Stay Inn here, make sure you take advantage of my $50 off your first booking here.
Have you been to Thoddoo? I’d love to know how you found it below in the comments.
Check out my other posts on Maldives below: