Fulidhoo Island Maldives

6 Reasons to Visit Fulidhoo Island Maldives

There are 1,192 islands in the Maldives.  Narrowing down which ones you’re going to visit is a tough job.  You can get it down to 187 because those are the inhabited islands.  And then narrow it down further by working out how long you have in the country and whether you want to spend your time in the Maldives on a resort island or a local island.  Then work out how you’re going to get there.  Fulidhoo Island made it to our short list of Maldives local islands really quickly.  And there are several reasons to visit Fulidhoo Island for us.  Here’s our guide to Fulidhoo Island, Maldives.

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Our Maldives itinerary included spending time on several local islands, as well as visiting a resort island (the rather lovely Malahini Kuda Bandos, which you can read about here).  We traveled between the islands on public ferries as well as speedboats.

So why then did we pick Fulidhoo Island?

I’m sure like us you think that the perfect Maldives island should have picture-perfect beaches, amazingly colored water, and palm trees under which to shelter.  Fulidhoo is pretty close to this.  That’s why we picked it.  It’s also a local island, rather than a resort island, so while yes, we’d be staying in a hotel, we’d also see what local resources were available here too.  And then we also came for the diving in Fulidhoo too.

On the Pier at Fulidhoo Island Maldives
On the Pier at Fulidhoo Island Maldives

Where is Fulidhoo Island?

Fulidhoo is the most northerly inhabited island of the Vaavu Atoll.  It’s only 57 kilometers (35 miles) from Male Airport.  It takes 2.5 hours to get here from Male on the ferry, or a much quicker 1.5 hours by speedboat.  We arrived here on the public ferry from Maafushi to Fulidhoo.

Arriving at Fulidhoo on the Public Ferry
Arriving at Fulidhoo on the Public Ferry

Fulidhoo Island is pretty small, just 200 meters by 700 meters (656 feet by 2,296 feet) and there are only 200 permanent residents here.  This whole atoll, the Vaavu Atoll only has 5 inhabited islands, and there are only 1600 residents in the whole atoll, making it the least populated atoll in the Maldives.  So while it might only be a few hours from Male on the ferry, it feels really rather remote.  It sounded pretty idyllic to us.  And you know what?  It was.

Fulidhoo was part of our 2 week itinerary in the Maldives, you can read how we did that here.

6 Reasons to Visit Fulidhoo Island

You’ll spot one of the reasons to come to Fulidhoo Island more or less as soon as you step off your ferry or speedboat and start to walk down the pier to the island. 

1.  See Rays at the Pier on Fulidhoo Island

The water is pretty shallow here at the end of the pier and the crowd of onlookers – people staying on the island and day trippers coming in from Maafushi and Male – are here to see the stingrays and occasional nurse sharks. We walked past the pier several times a day during our stay and they were always there. 

Rays at the Pier on Fulidhoo Island
Rays at the Pier on Fulidhoo Island

That might have something to do with the fact that they were being fed on occasion by locals of course.    The feeding dates back to when fishing boats used to return to the island after a successful day, the fishermen cleaned their boats and threw the guts into the lagoon.  The rays, of course, cleaned up, in more than one way.   There’s an association, presumably passed on through the generations (either that or there’s some very old rays here), that the sound of boat engines means food.

It was fascinating to watch, and there were often people in the water – take care they’re not called stingrays for nothing.  But they were incredibly graceful to watch and it was somewhat magical that they were there to greet us, and also to wave goodbye when we left heading back towards Maafushi.

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2.  Go Diving from Fulidhoo Island

We had decided to go diving in the Maldives. In much the same way that we decided to stay at a resort island (see our review of the Malahini Kuda Bandos, our review is here) because we might never come back, we figured we needed to check another item off the bucket list.  From learning to dive in Koh Tao (that was me, Nige has dived for more than 20 years longer than me), to diving on the Great Barrier Reef, to diving in the Galapagos, this was another place where it felt the diving would be special.

And it was.  We’d picked Fulidhoo because we felt it would be less crowded.  Generally speaking on the local islands, Maafushi is seen as the cheapest place to go diving in the Maldives, (it’s one of the reasons to go to Maafushi) but the crowds and number of boats would be larger, so we put this on our list of things to do in Fulidhoo.  And we’re glad we did.

There’s one dive shop here and they’re excellent.  They’re called Fulidhoo Dive.  We arranged our dives with them the night before.  We paid after the dives. You’ll pay an extra 3.5% if you need to use a card to pay.  It’s all very laid back and my idea of what a dive team should be like.

The dive team here at Fulidhoo Dive is excellent.  The team on the dive boat was superb, the dive leaders excellent and the small group we were in was just right.  In the Maldives, you can only dive to 30 meters no matter what your qualifications, it’s to protect the environment and marine life.  And we took two dives, which cost us US$150 per person, including insurance that would get us back to the medical center in Male if anything happened.

Diving from Fulidhoo Island
Diving from Fulidhoo Island

Our first dive took us to Adi’s Giri, where we saw a variety of fish and some coral, and it was an easy back-in.  It’s been at least two years since we dived – previously we dived in Dominica, in the Caribbean.  The second dive was slightly more challenging, simply because of the current.  We headed to Miyaru Kandu.  This dive site (Miyaru is the Maldivian name for shark) is at the southwest corner of Rihiveli Island and the tide going through the channel was pretty strong and a perfect place to see grey reef sharks, which we did.  It was a great dive.

I don’t have photos of the dive, as while we’d managed to buy a GoPro on our trip to Jeddah, we hadn’t at that point managed to find a housing that fit it, and while the GoPro Hero 12 is supposed to be ok to snorkel depths, without a housing we weren’t going to risk it diving.

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3.  Walk a circuit of Fulidhoo

C’mon, walking a circuit of an island is a cool thing to do.  Especially if you’re walking on picture-perfect white sand, slipping into the endless blue of the ocean all the way around.  And when that island is only 700 meters by 200 meters it doesn’t take long. 

Walking Around Fulidhoo Island
Walking Around Fulidhoo Island

And it’s really interesting to see the difference between the areas of the island.  Where the locals live and where the tourists stay.   It is all so much smaller than Maafushi, and all the more lovely for it

4.  Finding Perfect Beaches on Fulidhoo.

This tiny island is surrounded by beaches and it’s hard to work out where one starts and others end.  They don’t really.  There’s very little signage to indicate which is the bikini beach, other than where locals will tell you to go.  Bikini beaches are one of the quirks of the Maldives. 

This is a 100% Muslim nation and many of the local islands (as opposed to resort islands) are quite conservative.  Reading about it before we got here I was expecting to wear long sleeves and long trousers for the entirety of our trip.  That’s not the case anymore.  It is much less restrictive than it was when tourism opened up on these local islands in 2009.

Swing on Beach Fulidhoo Island
Swing on Beach Fulidhoo Island

However, it does mean that there are designated “Bikini beaches” on many of the local islands, on all other beaches and when walking through the areas of the island you’re required to be conservative in your clothing.   However, every local we found was friendly and when we saw tourists straying out of the “bikini” areas, it was simply explained to them that if they wanted to wear bikinis or swimsuits they had to go back to that area.

The four main beaches of Fulidhoo are

  • The Fulidhoo Bikini Beach.  This is the main island beach.  There are surrounding palm trees and it’s a lovely, lovely spot.  BUT there’s no shade here, none.  Not a scrap.
  • Fulidhoo Turtles Beach – you’ll find this beach on the south side of the island, where the waters are calmer, you may spot turtles here while you’re swimming.
  • Heading to the west of the island you’ll find Ohboy Beach, which is smaller and secluded.  There’s lots of mangroves here and you’ll get wet getting to it.
  • On the eastern side of the island is Alimas Beach –  there’s more of that glorious white sand and this is a popular place for swimming.
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5.  Snorkel and Swim Fulidhoo’s house reef

On the opposite side of the island to where the public ferries and speedboats arrive is the Fulidhoo house reef.  Just walk straight off the beach and into it, depending, of course on the state of the tide.  You may have to walk a little further out.  Tides tend to be strong here, so take care if you get into deeper water. 

Beach at Fulidhoo Island House Reef
Beach at Fulidhoo Island House Reef

We swam and snorkeled in this area and it was great, but as it’s not on bikini beach we both worse rash guards and shorts.  The sun is pretty darned strong here, so when doing any swimming I wore a rashguard the whole time.  I spent a total of 15 minutes with no rashguard on while on the dive boat and got burnt!

Marine life this close to Fulidhoo includes reef fish, angelfish, clownfish, butterfly fish, and even small sharks.

6.  Find a glorious Maldives Sunset on Fulidhoo

Sunset point on Fulidhoo is lovely.  And we had the beach to ourselves completely one night and while the sun might have mostly disappeared into a low cloud the sky still put on a magnificent display.  Most visitors seemed to gravitate to the west beach, but, as I said, we had the place to ourselves sitting at Sunset Point. 

Sunset on Fulidhoo Island
Sunset on Fulidhoo Island

I’ve marked it on the map for you to see. There are no facilities here, just some sand and a sunset and it’s all rather lovely.

What is Fulidhoo Island Known for?

Fulidhoo is the most northerly of the inhabited islands of the Vaavu Atoll in the Maldives. It’s known for diving, also for the rays that cluster at the pier waiting for incoming boats.  It’s also famous for a cultural event called the Langiri, which is a traditional dance with drums.

The island is famous for the skills of the residents with a Bodu Beyru – aka “A Big Drum” it’s played at all celebrations on the island, if there’s one happening while you’re on the island, don’t miss it.

Once a year, for the celebration of Eid-Al-Adha, the men of the island dress up as demons.  While Eid may be an Islamic festival this demon parade actually predates the Maldives becoming an Islamic nation in the 12th century!

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Where to Eat on Fulidhoo Island

Depending on the time of year that you visit, there will be more or fewer places to eat that are open.  We ate at the Dream Hut on the eastern side of the island just up from the pier.  They do a variety of great dishes and fabulous real Italian coffee.  Their prices were reasonable, and the service was good here.

Meal at Dream Hut Fulidhoo Island
Meal at Dream Hut Fulidhoo Island

Other places I’d recommend to eat are the Bougainvillea Inn, Shells, and the Faru Café, but as a go-to place, the Dream Hut was fabulous.  I’ve marked them all on the map for you.  We paid cash everywhere apart from the Faru Café, which took cards.

There’s no alcohol served at all on this island, it is a local island and there is no “Booze Boat” moored off this island either.  All the restaurants serve great fruit juices and there’s bottled water in abundance too.

Where to Stay on Fulidhoo Island

There are a variety of places to stay on Fulidhoo Island.  If you’re a diver you’ll likely be looking at Fulidhoo Dive, as they do some great deals if you’re diving with them.  If you want glorious beach views right from your room, then look no further than the Thundi Guest House.  We stayed at the Malas Island View in the center of the island, and got a great large room, with a super enormous bathroom.  Our breakfast was included each day and the team here was lovely.

 

All the accommodation available has Wi-Fi and most places also serve an included breakfast, although if you are going diving you’ll need to let them know the night before that you need an early breakfast.

Room at Malas Island View Fulidhoo Island
Room at Malas Island View Fulidhoo Island

All the hotels and gueshouses on Fulidhoo that we looked at included WiFi, but sometimes its a little spotty, and by far the best option for internet connectivity is to get an eSIM for the Maldives (the best option is here). If your phone doesn’t take eSIMs, then my guide to physical sims is here.

Don’t forget that you’ll also need a power adapter for the Maldives. Here’s everything (and a whole lot more besides) that you need to know about Maldives travel adapters.

How to Get to Fulidhoo Island

There are two ways to get to Fulidhoo Island, the public ferry or a speedboat.  The public ferries from Male come here via Maafushi.  We’d stayed on Maafushi before our trip to Fulidhoo and so took the boat from Maafushi to Fulidhoo, you can read about it here.

The ferry from Male to Fulidhoo takes about 3 hours.  Buy tickets at the ferry terminal in Male, in cash.  Alternatively, take a speedboat from Male to Fulidhoo it takes about 90 minutes and costs around US$45, (usually cash only), arrange with your hotel on Fulidhoo and they will have someone waiting for you in Male to check you in on the speedboat.

When you arrive at Fulidhoo Island all the boats arrive at the same place, at the single pier on the western side of the island.  If you’ve pre-booked a room at a hotel (highly recommended, there is limited supply here), then your hotel staff will be waiting for you.  There are only sand roads here, this is a sand island, and rollaboard bags do NOT roll in it.  There are usually a variety of ways of transporting bags from the pier to your hotel – from wheelbarrows to mini tuk-tuks.

Transport on Fulidhoo Island
Transport on Fulidhoo Island

What infrastructure is there on Fulidhoo?

So what can you expect on this island, this little piece of paradise?  Here are a few details about the infrastructure here on Fulidhoo.

ATM on Fulidhoo – there isn’t one

For a start there’s no ATM here on Fulidhoo, and not all the places to eat take cards (like the fabulous Dream Hut), so you’ll need to either withdraw cash or bring US dollars with you.  Our guide to ATMs in the Maldives covers where you can find Maldives ATMs and what the charges are.

US dollars are generally accepted in all places, and sometimes you’ll only ever see the prices in US dollars, but you will always be able to pay in Maldivian Rufiyaa too.

Stores on Fulidhoo

There are several small stores on Fulidhoo selling all varieties of things – from bags of rice, pot noodles, clothing, and the like. You’ll always find snacks and instant coffee too.  Prices are obviously more expensive here than in Male and definitely more expensive than you’ll find at home, as everything has to be first shipped into the Maldives and then here.  All of the stores and restaurants sell bottled water.  Your hotel will most likely also provide bottled water each day of your stay.

Healthcare on Fulidhoo

There’s a small health center here, we didn’t have to use it, but it provides basic health care to locals and visitors.  There are trained medics here, who provide help in an emergency, however you’ll be shipped off to Male for anything more serious.  Make sure you have adequate health insurance and travel coverage.

Mosquitoes on Fulidhoo

While you’ll find many of the Maldives resort islands fogging and removing standing water to try and control mosquitoes, Fulidhoo is a small local island and there’s none of that.  I did pick up a few bites here in Fulidhoo – read my guide to Mosquitoes in the Maldives – and cover up, use repellent, and be sure to wash any DEET-based repellent off before going in the ocean.

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Map of Things to Do in Fulidhoo Island, Maldives

You can also see full map for Fulidhoo here.

Map of Things To Do on Fulidhoo

Tips for Traveling the Maldives

Final Words on Fulidhoo Island, Maldives

I can’t lie.  This was my favorite island in the Maldives.  It was quiet and laidback.  I could walk along the beaches and not see another person.  I watched the sunset each night of our stay here without another person in view.  I ate great Maldivian food, stayed in a comfortable bed, swam in the ocean, dived, and was sad to leave.  This was my idea of the Maldives.  White sand beaches, glorious blue ocean.  This is Fulidhoo.

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