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Thulusdhoo Island – A Hidden Gem in the Maldives

A couple walk on a sandbank seen from very high up drone shot

Thulusdhoo Island – A Hidden Gem in the Maldives

Thulusdhoo is a beautiful small island in the Kaafu Atoll – also known as the Male Atoll. It’s famous for its stunning beaches, world-class surfing spots, and vibrant coral reefs.

A colourful street in the Maldives with a teal coloured wall and a yellow kayak leaning against it

Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo is a tiny island, you can walk from one end to the other in around 10-15 minutes. But don’t let its size fool you, Thulusdhoo packs a big punch as a holiday destination. It’s one of the closer islands to the Maldives capital of Male. This proximity makes it a perfect destination for those on a budget, or anyone looking for good value in a nation more synonymous with high-end luxury.

Looking to make your Maldives trip more affordable? Check out our complete guide to the Maldives on a Budget.

A small tropical island dotted with small houses and hotels

Getting to Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo is one of the easiest islands to get to, the main two ways being public ferry or speedboat. The public ferry is the cheaper of the two options, but it does take longer.

Thulusdhoo by Public Ferry

The public ferry runs from the main Male Island, which isn’t the same place as Male Airport. So, the first thing to do after landing is to cross over to the main island. An airport ferry runs from Velana International Airport to Male every 10 minutes throughout the day. It only costs $1 and departs right outside the airport. You buy the tickets from a small booth near the water.

A blue and white ferry coming into dock in bright blue water

The airport ferry will take you to Hulhumale Ferry Terminal on Male which is where the Thulusdhoo ferry usually runs from. It’s worth checking as soon as you arrive though as sometimes it goes from Villingili Ferry Terminal on the other side of the island. It’s only a short taxi ride between the two but you don’t want a last-minute rush.

The public ferry to Thulusdhoo departs at 15:30pm every day except for Fridays, costs $3 per person one way, and takes about 90 minutes. If your flight lands at an awkward time or you’re arriving on a Friday, then it’s definitely worth considering the speedboat.

Thulusdhoo by Speedboat

The speedboat goes directly from Male Airport, so you don’t need to bother with the airport ferry over to Male. It costs $30 per person one way, they run multiple times a day, and it only takes 30 minutes.

To book the speedboat and for information on dates and times, you can contact your hotel or guesthouse. The Maldives tends to be a little old-school and so it’s usually easier than trying to book online. Also, the information online isn’t always accurate or up to date.

Best Things to Do in Thulusdhoo

There’s loads to do on Thulusdhoo, even though it’s a tiny island. And there are some great boat trips and excursions to the surrounding reefs. You can easily spend 4 or 5 days here, or even longer if you enjoy more chill days.

Bikini Beach

In the Maldives, the majority of islands designate specific ‘Bikini Beaches’ for tourists. As a conservative Muslim country with traditional dress codes, these zones allow visitors to wear beach clothes like shorts and bikinis.

Thulusdhoo’s Bikini Beach is located on the east coast which is where most of the guesthouses and hotels are. As you get near, there are signs pointing you in the right direction. With it facing eastward it’s the perfect spot to go to watch the sunrise. The wildlife seems particularly active in the mornings, with crabs scurrying across the beach and herons and fruit bats flying overhead.

There’s a shallow reef just off the coast which you can easily swim to. It’s not often you can access a great snorkeling spot completely free as you don’t need a boat. There are huge numbers of tropical fish, and within a minute of passing the breakwaters I saw a baby shark meandering his way through the reef!

If you’re looking to book any excursions, the beach is one of the best places to do so. There are a few stalls at the back of the beach. It’s worth talking to a few to find out what options you have each day.

Sunset at the Western Sandbank

As good as the sunrise is on Bikini Beach, the sunset on the western end of the island is even more magical. There is a long sandbank extending out from the peninsula surrounded by a huge area of shallow, warm, clear water.

Coca Cola Factory

We were surprised to find out that Thulusdhoo was home to a Coca Cola factory. It may seem like an odd “activity” to include, but it’s pretty interesting. The factory here is the only Coca Cola factory in the Maldives, and it supplies sodas to the entire nation.

Developed in the ‘80s, it was a sensible location for a factory as Thulusdhoo was already home to a small industrial area. The island was known to specialize in drying sea cucumbers as well as fish.

A girl stood next to a huge Coca-Cola sign and giant human-sized bottle of Coca-Cola

They don’t have any set tour times, so your best bet is to drop in and ask at the gate if you can go in. They may allow you straight in or tell you a time to return later in the day. It’s better to go in the morning because some afternoons the plant isn’t running and so they don’t do tours.

Interesting Fact: The Coca Cola factory in Thulsdhoo is the only one in the world that uses desalinated water.

Pier

To the west of Bikini Beach you’ll find a narrow pier called Naafi Jetty stretching out from the shore. It’s a great place to sit and watch the sunrise as the sky burns orange and pink.

Many seabirds use it as a platform for fish spotting, so keep your eyes out for herons and cormorants. You can also spot a lot of marine life from the jetty. Many small reef sharks, turtles, and rays drift on the passing currents. The best time to see animals is at dawn or dusk as they tend to be more active.

Snorkeling Trips

A coral reef with mushroom-like corals and a large shoal of fish

Our favorite thing to do in the Maldives has to be the snorkeling trips, and Thulusdhoo has no shortage of them. You can get boat trips to some incredible sites like mushroom reef and turtle point.

Where to Stay in Thulusdhoo

Sunset over a sandy street in Thulusdhoo

For a nice, mid-range hotel we’d recommend Akiri Surf Residence. It was around $85 per night, for a nice room with breakfast included. You can also help yourself to coffee and tea, which is a nice bonus.

Where to Eat in Thulusdhoo

We were pleasantly surprised to find so many restaurants on such a small island. Before arriving, we had assumed there would be limited choice, and mostly eating in hotels, but we were wrong.

A few places we enjoyed were Aqua Beans and Santa Rosa which both served delicious Indian style curries. Santa Rosa was a lovely setting with the sound of water flowing and the outdoor area was surrounded by plants and trees. Byyoni is a very popular local place that serves Maldivian dishes.

Thulusdhoo FAQs

Why is Thulusdhoo Island famous?

Thulusdhoo is famous for its world-class surfing spots, including the renowned Cokes and Chickens breaks.

Is Thulusdhoo safe?

Thulusdhoo is generally safe for tourists, but standard safety precautions should be observed.

Can you drink alcohol in Thulusdhoo?

Alcohol is not permitted on Thulusdhoo, as it is a local Maldivian island.

How far is Thulusdhoo from Male?

Thulusdhoo is approximately 27 kilometers (16.8 miles) from Male.

How long does it take to get from the airport to Thulusdhoo?

The transfer typically takes around 20-30 minutes by speedboat and 90 minutes by local ferry.

How much does it cost to go from the airport to Thulusdhoo?

The cost for a speedboat transfer is approximately $25-30 USD one way while the ferry is around $3 USD.

How many days are enough for Thulusdhoo?

A 3–5 day stay is ideal to explore the island, enjoy water activities, and experience local culture.

Can you wear shorts in Thulusdhoo?

Yes, you can wear shorts on Thulusdhoo, but respect local customs when in non-tourist areas.

How do you get around Thulusdhoo?

You can easily explore Thulusdhoo on foot as it’s a very small island.

Is Thulusdhoo a local island?

Yes, Thulusdhoo is a local Maldivian island, offering an authentic experience alongside surf tourism.

Is Thulusdhoo worth visiting?

Yes, Thulusdhoo’s attractions and picturesque beaches make it a worthwhile destination for snorkeling and surfing enthusiasts.

Is Thulusdhoo expensive?

Thulusdhoo offers a range of accommodation options, and costs can vary, but it’s far more affordable than exclusive resort islands in the Maldives.

Thulusdhoo Island – A Hidden Gem in the Maldives

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