Male to Maafushi

How to Go from Malé to Maafushi [Maldives Ferries & Speedboats]

Maafushi is the biggest and most popular of the Maldives local islands and it’s generally where many visitors will head to if they’re visiting the Maldives independently.  Maafushi was our first stop in the Maldives and it was a good introduction to visiting the Maldives.  There are several options for transport between Malé and Maafushi, and we’ve included details on how to go from Malé Airport to Maafushi and the considerations in this 100% Muslim country about the days of the week on which you can travel by public transport.  Here’s our guide on how to go from Malé to Maafushi.

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We arrived at Malé airport, fresh after a very early morning flight from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.  It was a fabulous way to arrive and you can read more about our business-class flight with Saudia Airlines here.  However, we’re here on a 2 week Maldives itinerary with a plan to visit 5 local islands and a resort, and our first stop is Maafushi.

Where is Maafushi?

Maafushi Island is in the Kaafu Atoll of the Maldives, about 27 kilometers (16.77 miles) from Malé.  The Maldives consists of 1,192 islands – which are grouped into atolls.  An atoll is a ring-shaped island, series of islets, or coral reefs.  Twenty six atolls make up the chain of islands in the Maldives, although these are grouped into 20 administrative atolls.

Maafushi is the largest of the local islands in terms of facilities for tourists, including accommodation, water sports, and restaurants. There are many reasons to put Maafushi on your list of Maldives islands to visit, here’s our top 9 reasons to visit Maafushi.

TOP TIP

Speedboat Maldives

Book a Speedboat from Male to Maafushi here

The quickest way to go from Male to Maafushi is to take the speedboat. Routes are possible from the airport or from Male.

How to Go from Malé to Maafushi – Transport Options

In this guide on how to go from Malé to Maafushi, we’ll cover the fastest way to travel from Malé to Maafushi, the easiest way to get to Maafushi from Malé, and the cheapest way to get to Maafushi from Malé.  They all involve boats and most visitors to Maafushi go straight there from Malé airport, so I’ll cover that too.

An important consideration is the day of the week that you arrive in the Maldives as there are no public ferries available on Fridays. The working week starts on a Sunday and Friday and Saturday are the weekend. The Maldives is 100% Muslim country, and the 2008 constitution forbids non-Muslims from becoming citizens.

We’d planned our 2 weeks in the Maldives around travel on Fridays using public ferries, private speedboats and shared speedboats.

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How to go from Malé Airport to Maafushi

If you’re arriving at Malé Airport and want to go to Maafushi, then you have a couple of options for transport.  I’ll cover how to do that, but first, you’ll need to get some cash (you’ll need it for the ferry), and you’ll probably also want a local SIM card.  Read about money, cash, and ATMs in the Maldives here – and get yourself a Maldives eSIM here – you’ll be able to connect on pretty much all the ferries easily.

Malé Airport (aka Velana International Airport – VIA) is located on Hulhulé Island, close to Malé, the capital island of the Maldives.  It’s located in the North Malé Atoll.  Hulhulé Island is connected to Malé Island by both ferries and a bridge, so you can actually take a taxi or a bus from the airport to Malé Island, but it will just cost you more and take longer than the public ferry, so keep reading.

As you walk out of arrivals at Malé Airport you’re just steps (walk across the road,) away from the Indian Ocean.  To take a public ferry to Maafushi you’ll need to first take the public Malé Airport to Malé ferry and then take another ferry to Maafushi.  Here’s how to do that.

Malé Airport to Malé by Public Ferry

The jetty for the public ferries is very close to the exit of the airport.  Walk straight out towards the water, cross the road (there’s a pedestrian crossing, and remember cars drive on the LEFT in the Maldives), then turn left.

Male Airpoort Ferry Ticket Booth

Buying Tickets for the Malé Airport to Malé Public Ferry

Walk about 30 meters and you’ll see a small booth.  It’s here that you’ll buy your tickets for the airport ferry.  You’ll need to pay cash and in Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) here.  Tickets cost 15 MVR per person.  You’ll receive a ticket and need to hand it to the boat crew when you board the ferry.

Your ticket covers you and three pieces of luggage.  If you have more than that, you can buy an extra ticket. 

Airport Ferry Tickets Male Maldives

You cannot book these ferries in advance, just turn up, buy a ticket, and wait in line.  We took this ferry several times in our Maldives Itinerary, and always got on the next one, and they were never full.

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Malé Airport to Malé Ferry Timetable

The ferries from Malé Airport to Malé take about 10 minutes to cover the route to the Malé Ferry Terminal on the island of Malé (I’ve marked it on our map to make it easy to spot.)  The ferry to Maafushi leaves from the same ferry terminal.

Onboard the Male Airport Ferry

Malé Airport ferries run every 15 minutes from 06:00 until 19:00.  From 19:00 to 00:00 they run every 30 minutes. These ferries DO run on Fridays.

Male Airport Ferry arriving at the airport

When you arrive in Malé (this is the ONLY stop on this ferry), exit the front of the boat turn to the right, and go through the exit gate. 

You’ll then need to take the public ferry to Maafushi. Here’s how to do that.

This option only works if you’re NOT traveling on a Friday, and if you are getting to Malé at a certain time of day to be able to take advance of the public ferry service.  Read on for more details on taking this ferry.

Malé to Maafushi by Public Ferry

Whether you’ve arrived from the airport or whether you’ve been staying in Malé and are now heading to Maafushi you’ll first need to buy a ticket for your ferry to Maafushi.  First of all, you’ll need to consider the timetable for this boat.

Malé to Maafushi Public Ferry Timetable

TWO different public ferries go from Malé to Maafushi, the 309 and the 306

The timetable for the 309 ferry from Malé to Maafushi is as follows:

Saturday to Thursday:  Leaves Malé at 15:00 and arrives at Maafushi at 16:40 (DOES NOT RUN ON FRIDAY)

The timetable for the 306 ferry from Malé to Maafushi is as follows:

Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday:  Leaves Malé at 10:00 and arrives Maafushi at 11:30

You can find the MTCC public ferry timetables here.  You’ll want to read our guide to Maldives public ferries in conjunction with it.

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Buying tickets for the Malé to Maafushi Public Ferry

You need to buy a ticket before boarding the ferry to Maafushi, so to buy your ticket from Malé to Maafushi, you need to go inside the MTCC Ferry Terminal building.

You can also buy this ticket for the public ferry from Male to Maafushi online with Bookaway. There is a premium for buying online but at least you can pay with a card!

If you’ve just left the airport ferry then turn immediately left and enter the second set of (open) doors into the ferry terminal.  You’ll see the ticket sellers behind the glass.  The ticket sellers speak English, so just ask, confirm the time of your ferry, and hand over the cash. 

Tickets from Malé to Maafushi on the public ferry cost 22MVR per person.  You’ll get a ticket that you need to hand to the boat crew as you board.

Male to Maafushi Public Ferry Tickets

Then you can proceed to the seating and waiting area.  There are different waiting areas roped off for different ferries.    There are places to get something to eat or drink on the second floor.  There’s no A/C in this waiting area, but there are fans.

MTCC Building Male Waiting Area

Boarding the Malé to Maafushi Public Ferry

When the ferry is ready to board, one of the boat crew will come and make an announcement, and they usually board 15 minutes or so before departure time.  And while all the Maldives ferries that we took arrived a little late (note, a little, not hugely), they ALWAYS set off from the first station bang on time (even the airport ferries!).

Grab your bags, and walk towards the ferry.  It’s not a scrum, and the boat crew is pretty good at making sure that everyone stays in a single (ish) line, so if you’re in a group and you’re crowded together, you’ll be asked to get into a line.

Hand your ticket over as you board the boat.  All the ferries board from the front, step up, and walk through the ferry.  The ferries from Malé to Maafushi are bigger than the airport ferry.   Your luggage goes to the back of the boat and is stacked up and you just pick a seat.

The signs on the seats for “don’t sit here” are from COVID and can be ignored unless they reinstate any controls. 

Hints for Picking Seats on Maldives Public Ferries

For the airport ferry, it doesn’t matter so much as it’s such a short trip, but for the longer ferries you’ll want to consider sitting somewhere

  1. Where you get a breeze from the window
  2. Where you have a curtain you can control if the sun is on your side (hint: sit on the other side away from the sun)
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If you need to use the internet while you’re on the Male to Maafushi ferry then you’re in luck, there’s a signal all the way. So get yourself an eSIM for the Maldives and be connected all the time. Its generally faster than the WiFi connections in a lot of the hotels.

What’s the public ferry from Malé to Maafushi like?

The ferries are wooden boats, with rows of wooden seats, with padding on them.  They’re clean and seaworthy.  There are usually at least two members of the crew and a ticket seller.  If you’re boarding the ferry anywhere other than Malé, then you’ll pay for your ticket while you’re on the boat, an official will come round and hand tickets over and take your money.  All the tickets have a price printed on them.  There is rarely any problem with them having change and all the boat crew wear MTCC (Maldives Transport and Contracting Company) t-shirts.

Male to Maafushi Ferry

If you’ve not managed to get your bag to the luggage storage area at the back of the boat then one of the crew will come and move it so you’re not blocking the aisle. 

The ferry from Malé to Maafushi ran to time when we took it.  It was comfortable for the 90 minutes we were on board, and there was enough of a breeze. There’s no power available for travelers, so make sure you’ve charged before you get on board. Here are details of the power adapter you’ll need for the Maldives

At the front of the ferry, there’s a small shelf where the crew has some stocks of drinks, coconuts, and snacks for sale.  Cash only.

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Malé Airport to Maafushi Speedboats

We arrived in the Maldives on a Friday, and knew that there would be no public ferry running to Maafushi so we prebooked a speedboat from Malé Airport to Maafushi.

You can pre-book a speedboat here.

Malé Airport to Maafushi Speedboat Timetable

Several different companies run speedboats to Maafushi from Malé, times differ depending on the day of the week, but there are usually 6 or more speedboats a day available for this route.  The speedboat to Maafushi takes about 50 minutes.

Speedboats leave Malé Airport at 09:00, 10:25, 13:10, 15:25, 18:10 and 21:15

You can confirm the departure times here and book a ticket here.

Malé Airport to Maafushi Speedboat Cost

The public ferry from Malé to Maafushi costs 22 MVR (and you’ll have to add to that the 15 MVR for the airport to Malé ferry), but even so, that is still only US$2.41.  A speedboat from Malé Airport to Maafushi costs from US$25 (usually more like US$40) upwards.  And if you arrange to pay for it while you’re in the Maldives, then you’ll 99% likely have to pay cash (either in USD or MVR).

Speedboats run at different times on different days and several different companies run them.  You can book them online here, or you can book via your guesthouse or hotel on Maafushi.

You’ll be met near the “Information Booth” outside arrivals and your group will be gathered together and then you’ll be taken to the speedboat.  They’re pretty well organized with a clipboard and a list of names of people that they’re expecting.

Male Airport to Maafushi Speedboat

Speedboats leave about 15 meters from the airport ferry ticket booth, but your guide will take you to the right boat.  If you have hard-sided cases, then you can leave them on the dock and they’ll be stored in the luggage area.  We had backpacks and noticed that the inbound boat was disgorging pretty wet suitcases, so we kept our packs with us for the trip. 

Speedboats have lifejackets, but there’s no safety briefing, and while it was faster than the public ferry this speedboat wasn’t bone jarringly uncomfortable.

Male to Maafushi speedboat inside

If you’re taking a speedboat from Malé City to Maafushi then you’ll pick it up at Jetty 6, opposite the Bank of Ceylon.  You WILL need to prebook it.

What’s the Speedboat from Malé Airport to Maafushi Like?

It was a pretty comfortable ride.  We made one stop at Malé to pick up additional passengers (which made the boat 100% full) and also some cargo, but the timetable was kept and it was an easy journey to take.

On the Male to Maafushi Speedboat

Malé to Maafushi Private Speedboat

If you’re in a group and want to get to Maafushi even faster then you can take a private speedboat to Maafushi from Malé.  This can be ordered at whatever time you like and it can take a maximum of 6 people.  Expect to bounce off the top of a few waves.

Check prices for private speedboats from Malé to Maafushi here.

Arriving on Maafushi Island

Whether you arrive by public ferry or speedboat onto Maafushi Island, so long as you’ve let your guesthouse or hotel know what your mode of transport is, they’ll be waiting to meet you.  This is to help with luggage (these are sand islands, and rollaboards don’t roll too well), and if you’re staying a little bit further away sometimes a motorbike.

We’ve been met by motorbikes and rode pillion to the hotel, electric carts, wheelbarrows, and hand carts. 

Map of Ferry Jetties for going from Malé to Maafushi

You can also see full map of the ferry jetties here

Map of How to Go from Malé to Maafushi

The quickest way to get from Malé to Maafushi

The quickest way to go to Maafushi from Malé (or Malé Airport) is to take a speedboat you can book speedboat tickets from Malé to Maafushi here.

The easiest way to go to Maafushi from Malé

The easiest way to get from Malé to Maafushi is to take a speedboat.  It gets you there quicker and there are more timetabled speedboats than public ferries available.

Male to Maafushi

The cheapest way to go from Malé to Maafushi

The cheapest way to get to Maafushi from Malé is to take the public ferry.  You should take note of the timetables and ensure that they work for you and also note that you’ll need to get from the airport to the Malé ferry terminal to pick up this ferry. You can pay for these tickets in cash at the ferry terminal, or you can prebook them online with a card here with Bookaway (for a premium).

The best way to go from Malé to Maafushi

We’ve done this route both ways, by speedboat and by public ferry.  If you’ve got the time (and if the timetable works for you), then the public ferry is a fabulous way to travel.   If you don’t, or if you arrive on a Friday, then you’ll need to take a speedboat, you can book a speedboat here.

Tips for Traveling the Maldives

Final Words on How to Go from Malé to Maafushi

There’s something of an anxiety knowing that you’re arriving in a new country on a day when a lot of public services aren’t running.  We’d chosen deliberately to arrive on a Friday, to fit the rest of our Maldives itinerary and so opted for our Malé to Maafushi speedboat, but also took the public ferry later in the itinerary.  Just plan, make sure that you make the timetabled ferries or boats, and enjoy Maafushi!

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