After spending our first night on the main tourist local island of Maafushi, we got the local ferry and paid something like $2US for a 1h30min boat trip to the neighbouring island of Fulidhoo.Drone shot of Fulidhoo and the tourist beach (top right of island)
I’d only read great things about Fulidhoo island for its authenticity, and real beauty, but I wondered, would this island still have its charm in 2018 or had mass tourism since taken over? And after reading such good reviews, had we set the bar too high? See why we fell in love with Fulidhoo Island Maldives throughout this post.
How to get from Male to FulidhooThe local ferry from Male to Fulidhoo
- Ferry from Male – takes 3.5 hours every, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and costs about $4US
- Ferry from Maafushi (same one as from Male)See here for more information about the local ferries from Male – Fulidhoo
- Local Speedboat from Male – takes 1h10m and costs $50 one way. Ask your guest house to arrange for you.
- Private Speedboat from Male – $200 one way. Ask your guest house to arrange for you.
The boat journey itself was actually great. We have travelled through Africa on many boats, ferries, dug out canoes, mini buses, you name it, so we’ve seen it all. In terms of being comfortable, this wad one of the best modes of local transport I’ve ever seen. Maybe we were just lucky that day but the boat wasn’t packed and we had non-stop smiles from the locals and their kids to entertain us throughout the journey.
First impression of Fulidhoo Island
Drone shot of Fulidhoo Island
When we arrived on Fulidhoo we were greeted by not only Arif, the owner of our accommodation at Thundi Guest House, but also Adele and Ali, the owners of the local scuba diving company called Fulidhoo Dive whom Steve would be diving with. We couldn’t believe they all came to meet us with such warmth.The local beach on Fulidhoo Island
Straight away, I could see this island was very different to Maafushi. It was quiet with not a single car on the island, and boy, it was beautiful. The turquoise water just popped so brightly against the beautiful beach as we arrived, I thought to myself, this is paradise. Long gone were the tourist shops that we saw in Maafushi and we finally felt like we were visiting an actual local island.Sitting at the end of the small boat jetty
The authenticity seemed to still be there although it was obvious there were a fair few guesthouses on the island with some currently being built. But this island was small, small enough to really get to know the people living on it and really feel like we were almost living there ourselves.
Apparently it’s one of the smallest islands in Maldives which would take around 10 minutes to walk around but I loved how many sides there was to this island.The local beach and jetty on Fulidhoo Island
With the local beach located next to the jetty and many of the hotels facing the pristine turquoise waters of the lagoon, the other side of the island where we were staying on, faced out onto the ocean with a nice cool breeze that was needed from the heat.
Beautiful tree lined tunnel street on Fulidhoo island
At the end of the island was the bikini beach, a much nicer beach than in Maafushi but big enough to host the few tourists staying on the island.The swing on the tourist beach.
We thought, yes, we’ve made it to Maldives because this is what we hoped the Maldives would be like. I don’t mean it was like a resort we were hoping for with overwater villas, I mean it had the charm and the local vibe we could have only hoped to experience and before we knew it, we were falling hard for this island. The main street on Fulidhoo Island
Where did we stay on Fulidhoo Island?
Thundi Guest House, Fulidhoo Island
When we arrived at Thundi Guest House, it felt like we had walked into a hidden oasis, shaded by palm trees with small snippets of views out onto the ocean – it was paradise.
Owner Arif previously had a smaller three bedroom guest house and was only one of the two guest houses on the island until recently. Now with 10 and more being built, tourism is starting to really make its mark on the island.
Even Arif had managed to upgrade his guesthouse which he was in the middle of finishing the build when we arrived. With nine rooms and what looks to be a beautiful rooftop restaurant to come in the next few months, this guesthouse was gorgeous.
Our room was clean and modern with aircon and I loved the big bathroom that brought in the daylight with an outdoor feel to it.
For $90 a night including breakfast, this was a fantastic guesthouse and we wondered if we would see better elsewhere on our trip in Maldives. I also loved that because we were facing the ocean side of the island, we’d get a lovely breeze throughout the day which was a much needed break from the stifling heat on Maafushi. It was also on the quieter side of the island as I noticed the Maldivians love dancing and music in the evenings which we couldn’t hear a peep of it from our guest house. In the middle of building the rooftop restaurant at Thundi Guest House. The view is incredible up there!
I also really admired how eco-friendly Thundi Guest House was. With their stand against plastics around the island, they were trying to educate the locals on recycling. Swedish born, Jacqueline has been working with Thundi Guest House for the last year, making videos and doing day to day jobs. She started Green Friday on ironically the biggest consumerism day of the year, Black Friday, in the hope to educate the local kids with how to recycle waste.Recycling bottles into vases on Green Friday at Thundi Guest House
We were lucky enough to join their class whilst we were there and it was amazing to see firstly how well behaved the children were but also their love for recycling and creating everyday stuff for their homes like turning a ketchup bottle into a vase.I really admired Jacqueline’s desire to help with the island, and the beach clean ups she would hold on a weekly basis. Teaching the children was a good start in the hope to continue it on for generations.
Fish curry was on the menu most nights but it was awesome!
Every night we had breakfast and dinner at our guesthouse although there were two restaurants on the island and we quickly learnt that the samosas at the local café were our go to for lunch. Breakfast was either local which involved roshi (local Maldivian bread like roti) and a tuna, coconut and onion mix with some fruit and tea or coffee. Or you could go for the continental breakfast of eggs on toast. We tried both and preferred the local breakfast to really get a feel for the island. The view every morning out to the water was just so special for us.Breakfast views like this would be hard to beat.
Dinner always involved fish and rice but I was certainly inspired by how many variations one can cook fish. On our last night, we were treated to chicken curry and caught that day fish, it was awesome.
Activities on Fulidhoo
During our time on Fulidhoo, we got to know Adele and Ali who run the local dive centre called Fulidhoo Dive. Adele, from England met local Ali whilst they worked together at the Four Seasons Resort in Maldives. Six years later, they packed up the resort life and moved to local island Fulidhoo to start their own dive business which is the only dive centre on the island and is a 5 Star PADI dive centre.Fulidhoo Dive owners Ali and Adele
I unfortunately couldn’t dive because of my recent accident in Sydney where I punctured my lung after falling into the harbour (you couldn’t even make this stuff up!). It was heartbreaking but I went on the boat to see Steve dive anyway for fun. And it was fun. His face lit up a thousand stars after diving with these guys, a face I’ve not seen this happy for a long time and it was priceless.
On the second day whilst diving with nurse sharks, we saw some dolphins and followed them on the boat for a few minutes. Owner Ali could see something was wrong and jumped into the water to find two sharks and a turtle all caught on a random fishing net underwater. It was a sight that would be very rare to be seen.We managed to witness a shark and turtle rescue whilst diving with Fulidhoo Dive.
More on this story and Steve’s review of diving with Fulidhoo Dive here.
Not long afterwards, they all went out for another dive with the hundreds of grey nurse sharks. Steve said it was the best diving experience of his life and he’s dived all around the world.Steve diving with sharks with Fulidhoo Dive, Maldives
What I loved about Fulidhoo Dive was not only their passion but their time for us. After meeting us on our arrival from the local boat, leaving us chocolate at the guest house as a welcoming gift to even taking me out for a morning of snorkelling and to an awesome tiny sand bank, they really looked after us.Fulidhoo Dive took us out to a sandbank in the middle of the ocean!
We also hired a local fisherman to take us out to our own deserted island called a picnic island and to an absolutely jaw dropping amazing sandbank for the morning as well.On our way to a deserted island on a fisherman’s boat.On our own deserted island with a floatie of course!
Walking along the deserted island with Jackie from Thundi Guest House
I couldn’t believe that we were standing there on this sand bank in the Maldives and paying no more than $70 each a day to holiday in this country. How on earth did we find out about this place?
On the sand bank with a drone of course!
At night time, the tourist activity was feeding the Stingrays at the jetty. That’s right, stingrays would come in every night to say hello and it was awesome.
Sunset on Fulidhoo Island
We really loved our time on Fulidhoo island. It was quiet, had a paradise but rustic feel and everyone was so welcoming and lovely to us, it would be not not to fall in love with this island.
Things to know before coming to Fulidhoo Island
- Men and women must dress with shoulders and below the knees covered. I pretty much never saw one tourist dressed appropriately. That goes for men too, make sure you don’t walk around with your top off.
- There is a bikini beach – you can wear a bikini at the tourist bikini beach, just make sure you don’t go swimming in your bikini on the local beach.
- Bring both US and local currency. There are local shops on the island selling all the usuals like chocolate, ice cream, water etc but they charge in local currency. However, we found it cheaper to pay in US$ at the local café. There’s no ATM on this island.
- How much? We spent $45 each on the accommodation, $13 each for dinner at the guesthouse each night, $3 each for a samosa lunch, and $2 on water. Ice creams were about $5 for various Magnum flavours. All in all, we spent about $70 a day each.
- Book Thundi Guest House via airbnb and save $50 with my credit here.
- There are 2 restaurants on the island (1 restaurant, 1 café) and Thundi Guesthouse will be opening their restaurant soon! We just had samosas for lunch and the guesthouse provided us with breakfast and dinner.
- Remember alcohol is banned in Maldives unless you are staying at a resort or if you’re staying on Maafushi, you can go to the boat bar. If a local is caught selling or drinking alcohol, they will go to prison and you’ll probably get deported if drinking illegally.
- The scuba diving is out of this world and you’d be mad not to visit! Diving isn’t only for the advanced certified, you can go for a snorkel or a discover dive if you’re interested!
- Wifi wasn’t the best, but make sure you buy a sim at the airport. The mobile speed was amazing, much better than it is in Australia.
- This is an authentic local island. Don’t expect it to be a vision of a resort because it’s not. The charm and beautiful authenticity had us head over heels immediately.
I did a lot of research on Maldives as it’s not easy to find the information out there about what islands to visit, how to get local transport but after months of research, I’ll be updating everything into a post soon!
Make sure you check out Steve’s review and our vlog on diving with Fulidhoo Dive and my review of Maafushi Island below!
Thanks for reading.