Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Last day in the Maldives, and some things we want to tell you about.

Writing this at Male Airport while waiting for our evening flight to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

We had a lazy last day on Dhiffushi Island. So lazy that it didn't even occur to us that we never did a blog post on that last day! And by the time we realized that, I just figured it could wait. Besides, we didn't do very much, although there are certainly some things we want to tell you about.

First of all, our stay at Nirili Villa has been fantastic. If you are looking for an authentic Maldives experience outside of the expensive tourist resorts, this is about as close as you'll get. Keeping in mind that it is budget accommodation at less that $50 USD per night, we feel that you can't go wrong for the price. 

A little about our host Husham, who was really a big part of our positive experience here. He was born on this tiny island 32 years ago. He has visited many of the other Maldives islands, however he has never traveled internationally. Full of local information and always ready to answer any questions you have regarding the history of the island and the culture of the local people. We learned a lot staying with him, that I don't think you would learn staying at a fancy resort. 

Typical view from just about anywhere on the island.

One thing we found so interesting is the very noticeable difference between the tourist culture and the local culture on such a small island, and how they sort of "put up with" each other.

Keeping in mind that the island of Dhiffushi is less than 1 km long, and only 200 meters wide, it is amazing how the locals and the tourists are very separated.

In the central area, we never saw any other tourists.

The Maldives is a strict Islamic country. The local women on the island are all fully covered, including some who wear the full black hijab, along with a face veil covering everything but their eyes. If you click the photo above to make it full screen, and then click again to zoom in, you can see the girl is wearing typical island garb for women. 

Men on the island almost always wear long pants and a short sleeve button up collared shirt, although many of the younger ones wear a t-shirt.

The locals almost all live in the central part of the island, while the coastal part has a ring road which has guest houses and boutique hotels, and over priced tourist shops. Here, you normally see the western tourists who are supposed to follow a modest dress code while away from the beach, although we noticed that many do not.

Then, less than 100 meters away from the center, there are three "bikini" beaches on the island where tourists are free to wear any type of swimwear they wish to, provided there is no topless or nudity, and of course many leave very little to the imagination.

There are a lot of girls wearing less than this as they have their Instagram moment in the sun.

We get the impression that while the islanders would prefer not to have this type of immodesty displayed, they are willing to put up with it for the tourist dollars involved. The same way that the money that comes in from the private island resorts makes up for the fact that they allow alcohol to be served there. There is absolutely no alcohol of any kind allowed on any of the public islands such as Dhiffushi.

And there are many tourists who would prefer not to have to cover up so much when they are away from the beach, and many flaunt the rules. The locals are too polite to say anything, even though they are offended.

There is one recently installed ATM on the island.

There has been a lot of construction on the island in the last ten years. Available tourist rooms have doubled, and many of the locals don't like it. Island council has recently limited the number of building permits, although money always talks and of course there is a certain amount of corruption, as there is in most countries.

Another interesting thing. I hesitate to wade into the climate change controversy, but we feel we have to mention things as we see them as travelers, with boots (or sandals in this case!) on the ground. There has been a lot of talk over the years about rising ocean levels and how it affects the Maldives. In fact, a report released in 1988 said that within 20 to 40 years, the Maldives would be uninhabitable. 

Of course, here we are 35 years later and there has been no noticeable change in the islands, other than a little erosion. Our host Husham says that he sees absolutely no difference in his lifetime, and that most islanders generally don't believe the now revised warnings that say the islands will be uninhabitable by 2050. 

Interesting stuff.

We came across this local fisherman who was cleaning his catch of small tuna.

We didn't have a lot of interaction with the locals, other than the ones directly involved with the tourist business. When we were walking through town, we would say hello in the local language and some people seemed surprised that we did so. Men almost always responded, but the women were very shy. We got one or two smiles and replies, but many just lowered their eyes.

There is a preschool as well an an elementary school on the island. Children up to the age of 14 go to school here, and after that they are boarded in the capital city of Male if they wish to continue their education.

The purpose of our trip here was just to break up the voyage between Bangkok and Istanbul by going to some countries that we wouldn't normally think of traveling to. And to prove to anyone that the Maldives (usually known as a very pricey destination) can be done inexpensively. Not including flights, we spent a total of $400 USD ($550 CAD) for two people for four nights including all ferries and all meals and our excursion with snorkeling and swimming with the sharks

As a stopover for four nights, we really enjoyed it. Considering that we're not normally beach people, this was a fun break for us, although four nights was enough. We wouldn't hesitate to do it again though if we were passing through.

Sunset at Dhiffushi.

Ruth and the sunset.

Amazing how the sky changes color.

Next stop, Abu Dhabi, UAE!


And in Canada...


  1. Another great post, thank you. Glad you two got to slow down, which I am learning is so important. Thank you for the tips. Traveling mercies friends 🙌🌿🕯️✨

    1. Thank you!

      Actually over the last couple of weeks we have really had a chance to slow down. We honestly didn't do very much when we were at the beach in Hua Hin for two weeks,, it was just too hot to do much but it is nice to take things easy every once in a while because we know the next little while will be a little busier for us.

  2. Fascinating info about the island, and I certainly didn't know about the Muslim culture there, requiring the women to dress in traditional covered-up garb. I don't know how hot it is there, but ouch, that would be uncomfortable in heat and humidity! Thanks for sharing all this interesting info, and I'm glad you got to visit there.

    1. For a small island there is a lot to learn about it!

      Some women wore the full burkas with the full face covering but we noticed more that had the face showing. We also thought about how hot is must be under all that, especially if they were wearing black but I guess because they have grown up in this weather wearing these clothes they are just used to it.


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