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The Maldives have always been a dream of mine and were very high on the bucket list. For me, the country with the almost 1200 islands is the epitome of the absolute dream paradise. 2019 I decided to finally visit the Maldives for my honeymoon. In this article I would like to give you a little insight and tell you about my trip. Perhaps you will find some inspiration and tips here on how to visit the Maldives before or after a Southeast Asia trip.

Travelogue: My Maldives vacation on Thulhagiri Island

Marcel and the turquoise waters of Thulhagiri Island, Maldives

Since my home base is in Thailand and I spend most of the year there, it is obvious that the journey starts from there. After all, the Maldives are only about 4 hours away by flight. My wife and I decided on the beautiful island Thulhagiri in the North Malé Atoll, because it was supposed to be an island that can be reached quickly by boat from Malé.

How to get to the Maldives from Thailand

Several airlines fly from Thailand to the Maldives: The choices were primarily AirAsia and Bangkok Airways. AirAsia flies from Don Mueang Airport and Bangkok Airways from Suvarnabhumi. Since we would arrive from the south of Thailand, Surat Thani, and land at Don Mueang Airport, the choice fell quickly on AirAsia. In addition, the flights are way cheaper at around € 300 per person (return flight, depending on the day of the week and season). Bangkok Airways is sometimes twice as expensive (but also the much better airline). So I first booked the flights.

You can get a first look at the possible flights, times and prices at Skyscanner. The website is perfect for a price comparison and overview.

View of Thulhagiri Island from the AirAsia plane
A first look at paradise: Thulhagiri Island from above

Travel time Maldives

Of course, travel time always plays a role in a Maldives trip. Because Tobi and I travel a lot in Southeast Asia and have already passed one or the other rainy season, we know that the rainy season is not a bad thing. In most cases at least.

It will certainly be no different in the Maldives, I thought, and took the “risk”. In addition, the off-season is by far the cheapest time and the prices for accommodation sometimes drop almost to half. So on Booking and Agoda I compared prices in May, June and July and found the best offer for us in June.

Arrival in Malé

In June of this year the time had finally come. After arriving from Koh Phangan and a night at the Amari hotel directly at the Bangkok airport, the flight to the capital Malé started at 9.30 A.M. The flight time is just over 4 hours and I definitely recommend booking a better seat and a warm meal and drink. However, this only applies to AirAsia – should you decide to fly with Bangkok Airways etc., all of this is of course included.

Similar to Thailand (or other countries in Southeast Asia), you get an immigration and customs card on the plane, which you have to fill out. With the German passport you can visit the Maldives for 30 days and you need no visa. You only get a stamp with a residence permit.

The immigration officers in Malé were friendly and we only had to wait about 15 minutes. Everything was completely uncomplicated and so my passport got a nice Maldives stamp for the first time (and certainly not the last one). Incidentally, you may be asked for the resort and return ticket when you immigrate. So it is advisable that you have both ready.

The counters of the resorts at Malé Airport
The counters of the resorts at Malé Airport

If you book a Maldives trip on your own, your hotel/resort will always contact you after booking and ask for the flight number. You will also receive information about which counter you have to go to in the arrival area. Finally, you need transportation to your destination island, either by speedboat or seaplane. You usually have to pay these extra. For me it was $ 100 per person for the speedboat return. An exception is the local boat, if you want to travel to one of the local islands. There are local boats with which you can get to certain islands much cheaper.

View from the airport/Hulhule Island at the boat pier and Malé
View from the airport/Hulhule Island at the boat pier and Malé

Tip: In most resorts in the Maldives, it is common to pay with US dollars. But also Euros are mostly accepted without any problems and of course you can also pay with a credit card. So you do not need to exchange to the local currency Rufiyaa or withdraw it at the ATM upon arrival. The exception is you want to go to Malé, the local islands etc. For your stay in the resort you should definitely have enough small bills for tips (luggage carrier, housekeeping, waiters etc.).

We quickly found the counter of the Thulhagiri Island Resort. After about 15 minutes in the waiting area at the pier, our boat arrived and we were even the only passengers. Not quite 30 minutes later, after a rather relaxed speedboat ride, we saw the turquoise glowing water and the palm groves of Thulhagiri Island from a distance.

Speed boat of the Thulhagiri Island Resort
In the speedboat to Thulhagiri – we were the only guests on the boat

One of the restaurants at Thulhagiri Island Resort, Maldives

Thulhagiri Island

The first impression was awesome! The weather was also almost perfect and the sun only hid from time to time behind some clouds. No trace of rain yet. After the check-in and a short wait, which was bridged with a welcome drink, we were finally able to get into the room. The excitement increased because it finally went to one of the water villas.

Water villas at the Thulhagiri Island Resort, Maldives
On the way to our water villa

I have to admit, these water villas have always been very appealing to us. For my wife and me it was a small dream come true and always very high on the bucket list. Depending on the resort and season, the prices for such a water villa in the Maldives start at around € 250 and there is almost no upper price limit. The prices in some luxury resorts such as the Hurawalhi Island Resort (you may have seen the famous undersea restaurant on Instagram and the like) are beyond price.

We were not disappointed and we fell in love with the room straight away. A highlight of these water villas is of course the huge turquoise swimming pool named Indian Ocean right in front of your nose.

Marcel and wife in one of the water villas at Thulhagiri Island Resort, Maldives
No matter whether vacation or honeymoon: The Maldives are the ideal place to relax in paradise – especially in the low season

At first, however, the swimming had to be canceled, because very dark clouds suddenly appeared on the horizon and it became quite windy. A few minutes later there was an extreme rain shower that reminded us again that the rainy season is present. After about an hour it was over again and for the rest of our time in the Maldives, it should remain the only heavy rain. The rest of the days were mostly sunny and only occasionally there were small clouds and a little drizzle – including sunburn. The “risk” of traveling to the Maldives during the rainy season was fully worth it.

Thulhagiri is a very small island and almost completely surrounded by beaches. Like many Maldives Islands, it also has a house reef that circles the island. You can go snorkeling both from the beach and from the water villas. Particularly striking on Thulhagiri Island is the large, almost sandbar-like section of the beach, which is also the main beach. We discovered the small beach bar there on the second day.

You can upgrade to all-inclusive for an additional $ 60 per person per day, which we did. The last time I had an all-inclusive vacation was in the Dominican Republic in 2011 and I have to admit, I enjoyed it to the full. The whole year before I hardly went on vacation and was traveling more to write articles for our blog. The feeling of a small all-inclusive vacation in the Maldives was really good after all the years in Thailand, Indonesia etc.

Palm trees on the dream beach of Thulhagiri Island, Maldives
Postcard motif: the main beach of Thulhagiri Island

Marcel and the water villas from Thulhagiri Island Resort in the background

Tip: By the way, you don’t necessarily have to stay in a water villa, because many resorts in the Maldives offer much cheaper beach villas. Depending on the season, you can also book a Beach Villa at the Thulhagiri Island Resort, which makes a Maldives vacation significantly cheaper. We also spent the last day in a beach villa to see the difference. And surprise: the beach villas are (at least in the Thulhagiri Island Resort) more spacious and a bit better equipped. A great alternative to the water villas!

Marcel swimming in the turquoise waters of the Maldives (taken with the GoPro and a dome)


The 3 days on Thulhagiri Island went by quickly and it was an incredibly beautiful time. Both the stay in our water villa, as well as in the room directly on the beach were simply fantastic. We were really lucky with the weather and the trip back was smooth, too. On the 4th day at 12.30 P.M. our flight went back to Bangkok on time.

Departure from Malé Airport
AirAsia airplane at Male Airport, Maldives

If you travel to Maldives on your own or want to visit it cheaper, the way from Thailand is a great option. Sri Lanka would also be a good option for this. Of course, you have to consider and plan significantly more things than on a package tour. You can spend a lot of time and money on a flight and if you are not necessarily in a water villa the accommodations are affordable, at least in the off-season. Island hopping would also be possible by traveling on from Malé to the next resort or to one of the local islands.

You will find a detailed hotel review of the Thulhagiri Island Resort as well as a few other tips for visiting the Maldives on your own on the blog.

Fantastic sunset in the Maldives

Have you ever been to the Maldives? Maybe even on Thulhagiri or in the North Male Atoll? Let us know how you liked it in the comments.