Rasdhoo Island offers a diving holiday between the local population on the Maldives
In my previous post about scuba diving with Rasdhoo Dive Centre, you could read how I figured out that it´s now possible to travel the Maldives in an affordable way. I shared my experience about diving with a local dive centre on the Maldives and staying in the Rasdhoo Dive Lodge. In this article, I will share some more travel information about Rasdhoo Island in particular. The island has not lost its charm due to the arrival of travellers on the island and therefore you can still enjoy a quiet island with Maldivian Divehi culture on Rasdhoo.
On which atoll is Rasdoo Island located in the Maldives?
The name of the coral atoll where Rasdhoo is situated might be a bit confusing. As far as I am correct here the administrative name is Alif Alif Atoll, which is also sometimes named as Alifu Alifu Atoll or shortly A.A. Atoll. Sometimes the atoll also gets referred to as Northern Ari Atoll but I also came across names as Ari Atholhu Uthuruburi Atoll, Ross Atoll, Rasdhukuramathi Atoll or simply Rasdoo Atoll.
Geographic travel facts about Rasdhoo, also Rasdu Island, on the Maldives
Rasdhoo Island is the capital of the Atoll named as above. It´s located at about 65 km from the capital of the Maldives, Malé, and her international airport. Rasdhoo, also sometimes called Rasdhu, is about 575 metres in length and 400 meters width. Rasdhoo is not a resort island, but an inhabited local island with a variety of guesthouses available. The local population consists of about 1200 people.
Resorts in the area & facilities on Rasdhoo Island
There are two resort islands very closely located to the island: Kuramathi Island Resort and Veligandu Island Resort. You can reach both islands by boat. Local facilities on Rasdhoo Island include a police station, a hospital and a pharmacy. There is also a mosque, a soccer field, a children´s playground and a primary school with a nursery.
Guesthouses and other budget accommodations for your travels to Rasdhoo Island
Since around 2013, local guesthouses have started to open their doors on Rasdhoo providing accommodation for travellers. This was the start of an attraction of another type of tourist to this part on the Maldives and the beginning of an option for travellers who are looking for an alternative to resorts. Not much later, dive centres opened as well and they started to take people diving to the amazing world-class dive sites close to Rasdhoo. Right now, there are around 7 dive centres on Rasdhoo and roughly 25 guesthouses offering travellers a choice for different accommodation options for all kind of budgets.
World-class scuba diving whilst staying the affordable way on a local island in the Maldives
If you stay on Rasdhoo Island, the dive site called ´Madivaru Corner´ and her famous shark show is right at your footsteps and it takes only 5 minutes by boat to get there. The dive site offers an incredible marine life with grey reef sharks, white tips, different species of rays, leaf fish and much more. Rasdhoo is also the home of the hammerheads, and these wonderful marine creatures are seen, although with a bit of luck, on a regular base. There is also a manta cleaning station at about 20 minutes by boat and where mantas can be guaranteed in the right season (November till April).
Scuba dive information for your diving holiday to Rasdhoo Island
If you´re looking into more information about the diving here, you can read my article about staying in Rasdhoo Dive Lodge and diving with Rasdhoo Dive Centre. You can book a dive holiday package with prices starting from US$ 600,- per person for 4 nights in an air-conditioned, double room in the dive lodge with breakfast, including 6 scuba dives, return speedboat transfer from Malé and an extra activity to choose from. Also, I will soon write another blog post about the scuba diving around Rasdhoo Atoll. However, in this article, I like to share more practical information for your stay on Rasdhoo.
Travel tips for Rasdhoo Island as your local dive holiday destination on the Maldives
There are a few advantages of choosing Rasdhoo as your dive destinations on the Maldives. I will name a few, here.
You don´t need a seaplane from Male to get to Rasdhoo Island
Rasdhoo is located at about 1 hour by speedboat from Malé. You don´t need to pay an expensive seaplane to reach the island. Speedboat companies offer two boat rides daily from Malé to Rasdhoo, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Only if your flight arrives late at night you need to book a night in Malé. But even if you need so, you can find a cheap guesthouse in Malé on booking.com
Nice destination on the Maldives for travel couples with a diver and a non-diver
Because the dive spots are located so close to the island, you can sign up for the dives exactly as you choose. If you only go for one dive, you will be back in a couple of hours. Specifically, Madivaru Corner is only 5 minutes away but most of the other dive sites can be reached in about 20 minutes too. Diving from Rasdhoo Island means that you can get the most out of your time and you don´t need to spend many hours on a boat ride to the dive sites. This makes it also a suitable destination for couples with a diver and a non-diver.
Rasdhoo Island is developed for travel & tourism but still kept its charm
The concept to stay in guesthouses on the Maldives is still pretty new. However, Rasdhoo has developed and got accustomed pretty quick to the tourism industry. Rasdhoo offers some souvenir shops and a couple of restaurants and cafés. There is a small beach where tourists can relax and lay on the beach in their swimsuit or go for a swim. However, it is still a very quiet local island which hasn´t lost its charm. In comparison to an island like Maafushi, on Rasdhoo you can still imagine yourself on a hidden place in the world away from the mass stream while tasting the local Dhivehi culture of the Maldives.
Besides scuba diving: Things to do on Rasdhoo Island
Maybe you´re a non-diver or you´re travelling as a couple in which one of you is scuba diving and the other one is not diving. Although Rasdhoo is a small island, there are still quite a lot of activities you can do besides scuba diving. Non-diver packages are available from about US 350$ including 4 nights in an air-conditioned, double room in the Rasdhoo dive lodge with breakfast, including 4 excursions to choose from and return speedboat transfer from Male.
Watersports options on Rasdhoo Island on the Maldives
There is a huge selection of watersport options to choose from on Rasdhoo. Non-motorized watersports include stand up paddle, snorkelling and kayaking. Also windsurfing, kitesurfing and catamaran sailing is possible if there´s enough wind, with the most chance for better conditions in June and July. Motorized watersports include jetski, waterski, wakeboarding, banana boat, kneeboarding and fun tube.
Excursions & day tours on Rasdhoo Island
At only 5 minutes by boat from Rasdhoo, you can find a sandbank called Madivaru Finolhu and an uninhabited picnic island, called Madivaru. Most dive centres and accommodations can organise a boat trip to these places but also sunset dinner or lunch can be organised in these places. Another option is to rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard and go there by yourself. Other excursions from Rasdhoo include night fishing, dolphin cruise, whale shark day trips, visiting a resort or attend a Maldivian traditional Dhivehi music called ´Bodu Beru´.
Other activities, like volunteer, on Rasdhoo Island
There is also an option to help as a volunteer at a local school on the Maldives, amongst some other activities. Holiday Garden Rasdhoo is involved with the volunteer programme and you can contact them directly for more information.
Practical travel information for your diving holiday to the local island of Rasdhoo on the Maldives
The Bank of Maldives has an office on Rasdhoo and there is an ATM, where you can do cash out with your overseas card. You can only take out Rufiyaa, the local currency of the Maldives, at this cash machine. On the island, however, you can pay in Rufiyaa but also in US Dollars. Like already mentioned before, there is also a hospital and a pharmacy on Rasdhoo Island. Furthermore, there are some souvenir shops, small supermarkets and convenient stores. There is also a basic gym on Rasdhoo.
How to travel to Rasdhoo Island on the Maldives?
You can reach Rasdhoo by speedboat or local ferry. You can catch the speedboat from either Malé airport or Malé city. It takes about just over an hour from Malé and the price is around 40 US$, one way. There are two speedboat companies operating between Malé and Rasdhoo, called Nevi and Coral and there´s always one speedboat in the morning and one in the afternoon. Another option to travel between Malé and Rasdhoo is by the public ferry company, called MTCC. It takes about 3,5 hours from Malé city to Rasdhoo and the price is around 4 US$, one way. MTCC local ferry operates on a variety of days at different times.
Package holidays to Rasdhoo Island on the Maldives, or travel it yourself?
Most guesthouses and dive centres on Rasdhoo offer packages including accommodation, diving, speedboat transfer and breakfast. Like Rasdhoo Dive Centre, most other accommodations offer packages if you´re interested in booking a complete diving holiday package. However, if you´re an individual traveller or like to combine a variety of islands during your holiday on the Maldives, you might prefer to plan it all yourself and book accommodation only. Keep in mind that´s it highly recommended to book your speedboat transfer in advance since it´s very hard to organise this on the airport.
A selection of accommodation options for travelling Rasdhoo Island
There are many guesthouses and holiday homes on Rasdhoo now, I have visited some of them but not all. I have made a small selection of the places I liked the most and also this selection give you a choice for a different style of accommodation types for different budget. I will list the accommodation in order starting with cheap and simple to a bit more expensive with some more comfort.
Holiday Garden Rasdhoo – budget guesthouse for a local homestay experience
This is a very nice accommodation for a local homestay experience and to get a better taste of the real Maldives. The owner is extremely friendly and the people can also help you with excursions like snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and other watersports. It´s located very close to Bikini Beach which is the nicest beach for tourists and where you can also find a watersports centre. The accommodation features a very nice area outside to relax and meet other travellers. Single travellers, as well as couples, are staying here.
Rooms at Holiday Garden Rasdhoo on the Maldives
There are different rooms to choose from like deluxe, standard or superior. All rooms feature satellite television, airconditioning, mini bar, safe, shower or bath tube among other things.
The people from this organisation also organise packages in which you can do volunteering in a local school on the Maldives. Rooms go from US$ 50,- per night including breakfast and there is an option to book full board too. The place can be fully booked sometimes, so book it well in advance. For more information, or to book this accommodation, you can click on this link to booking.com. And support Splashpacker a little bit without paying extra for it (I receive a little commission). Thank you!
Budget rooms at Tranquila guesthouse on Rasdhoo Island
This accommodation is especially liked by single travellers, Tranquila guesthouse offers clean air-conditioned rooms from US$ 60,- close to Bikini Beach. The accommodation comes with a garden and a 24-hours front desk. My friend has been staying there and really liked the place. The rooms come with a flat-screen tv and a desk. Breakfast & WiFi is included in the price and the guesthouse can also arrange the transport from Male for you. Check here on booking.com for more information.
More simple accommodations for budget scuba diving travel to Rasdhoo Island, Maldives
There are many other budget accommodation within this category on Rasdhoo Island. Check for a complete overview on booking.com by clicking on this link or use the search box below. Personally, Holiday Garden Rasdhoo has my preference due to the friendliness of the owner and the vibe & cleanliness of the place.
Rasdhoo Dive Lodge to meet fellow scuba divers during your holiday
This is a nice accommodation for all kind of travellers, but especially scuba divers. The lodge is situated right next to the dive centre and also has in an in-house restaurant on the roof. It´s a nice place to meet other divers, also for single travellers. It also features a nice outside sitting area to relax or socialize and a tour desk.
Rasdhoo Dive Lodge – flashpacker accommodation on the Maldives
Spacious rooms are in flashpacker style with a queen-size bed, private bathroom, airconditioning and coffee/tea facilities inside. Prices go from 65 US$ per room including breakfast. You can read more here about my experience of staying here. You can use this link of booking.com to book the Rasdhoo Dive Lodge.
Rasdhoo View Inn – for families with children
Another flashpacker style accommodation and popular accommodation amongst couples and families. They even offer a babysitting service for a fee. This accommodation is located a few minutes walk from bikini beach and has a 24hrs reception. There is also an outside area with barbeque facilities and excursions can be organised.
Rasdhoo View Inn offers a bit more luxury for Flashpackers
Rooms offer airconditioning, a private bathroom, mini bar, safe, hairdryer, flatscreen tv, coffee & tea facilities. Prices go from 75 US$ per room including a nice continental breakfast. You can book this accommodation through booking.com by clicking on this link.
Rooms on Rasdhoo Island – looking for a budget hostel or a hotel with more luxury?
Things are changing very quickly in Rasdhoo and at the time of writing, some accommodations already have changed names or styles. Also, new guesthouse are opening on a regular base. Some of them are more oriented to the budget diver, whilst others are offering more luxury including spa. Check out booking.com for all latest accommodation options on Rasdhoo Island.
Flights from Asia for your scuba diving holiday to the Maldives
If you like to include the Maldives whilst travelling through Asia, there are very cheap flights with Air Asia from Bangkok in Thailand and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from as low 80 US$ or even 30 US$ one way! It is also a nice idea to combine your diving holiday on the Maldives with a stay in Sri Lanka. I can recommend using 12go.asia to find your cheapest flight. They scan all available flights for you to find the cheapest option.
Travel from Europe to the Maldives for your scuba dive holiday to Rasdhoo Island
When looking for flights coming from Europe, there are direct flights to the Maldives from the following European countries, as far as I know, but this information is subject to change. From other European countries listed than below, you can find flights with a stopover in either the countries listed above, the middle East or Sri Lanka. Once again, it´s a nice idea to combine your holiday to the Maldives with travelling Sri Lanka.
Use 12go.co for a scan of all flight options from your area, or use the search box below.
International flights for travelling to the Maldives
If you´re living in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere in the world, I can recommend using 12go.co for your cheapest flight. This travel company scans all available airlines for you. You can also use the search table below.
Travel Tips for your scuba diving holiday to Rasdhoo Island on the Maldives
Combine your scuba diving holiday on Rasdhoo Island and travel to other local islands on the Maldives
Combine your holiday to Rasdhoo with other islands. There are more local islands on the Maldives where guesthouses have opened and you can combine your holiday to Rasdhoo very easily with another island. You reach the island Ukulhas within 15 minutes by speedboat or 1 hour by local ferry.
Go island-hopping on the Maldives and visit Maafushi or Fuvahmulah
It´s also possible to travel from Rasdhoo to Maafushi in 1 day. If you want to combine something different and even more exclusive, you can dive the home of the tiger sharks and visit Fuvahmulah. Fuvahmulah is reachable by a domestic flight for around 250 US$ (subject to change and dependent on dates and availability).
Do a local-style liveaboard from Rasdhoo Island
Combine your holiday in Rasdhoo with a small mini liveaboard. Rasdhoo Dive Centre will start to offer short liveaboard trips in the same style as travelling to a local island: a basic & budget liveaboard!
Little extra information for travelling to Rasdhoo Island on the Maldives
Please note that Alcohol is available on liveaboards and resort islands, but not on Rasdhoo or other local islands on the Maldives. The Maldives is 100% Islam by law, therefore alcohol is strictly forbidden except on resorts or liveaboards. Respect the local culture, you don´t need to cover yourself completely but avoid walking through the streets in your swimsuit only, at least wear some clothes and show some respect.
What´s next on Splashpacker?
I´m so enthusiastic about this idea of travelling the Maldives in local style and on a budget, that I will write much more about it. I´m also still working on a blog post with more information about the scuba diving around this beautiful atoll and another post in which I share my experience of visiting Ukulhas and the diving from there in an article.
- All prices are subject to change, last updated in May 2020