Gulhi Island Getaway: Unforgettable Excursions and Watersports Experiences Await!

Watersports and excursions Gulhi island Maldives - on a budget

Friday, 25th August 2023

Welcome to the Sunny Side of Life : Gulhi Island, Maldives! It’s a true paradise surrounded by the beautiful blue Indian Ocean. Just a 20 minutes Speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, here you can have a lot of fun doing water activities and going on trips on a Budget. Whether you like exciting things or just relaxing under the sun, you’ll enjoy it here.

In this guide, we’ll talk about all the cool stuff you can do, like exploring colorful coral and going on boat rides to see the breathtaking island views. Get ready for a great time and make memories you’ll always remember!

How to get to Gulhi from MLE Airport ?

By Speedboat : the most convenient Way !

Want to get to Gulhi Island from the airport, or go back? The easiest way is on a fast speedboat – only 20 to 25 minutes maximum ! Look at the schedule below to know when. This way is always busy, so it’s smart to book your seats before.

We can help you do that through hala Maldif. It costs $30 for one person to go one way, and that includes our fees. Just talk to us on WhatsApp or email to book. You can pay in different ways like through local bank transfer (Bank of Maldives) or via Payment link (WISE accepted).

Once you’re all set, we’ll tell you the speedboat’s name and details. To catch it, just walk for 2 minutes from the Arrival at Velana International Airport – you’ll see a place to get on the boat. Our speedboat to Gulhi is always there, right by the smoking area on the jetty’s right side. Your easy trip with us starts here!

#Departure from MLE Airport to GulhiDeparture from Gulhi to MLE Airport
Saturday to Thursday10:00 and 13:30 and 17:0008:15 and 12:30 and 16:15
Friday 09:30 and 17:0008:15 and 16:15
Weekend at Night (Thu, Fri, Sat)22:1519:00

** The Speedboat schedule is subject to change sometimes, and we regularly update it.

* In case you are in Male’ and not in MLE Airport you can still take the same Speedboat for the same price, and the departure will be from Jetty number 1 in front of MMA (Maldives Monetary Authority). The Schedule from Male’ it will be 5 minutes after the departure time from MLE Airport.

* For coming back from Gulhi, in case you want to stop in Male and not in MLE Airport we can drop you off also in Male’ for the same Price.

** For a memorable experience in the Maldives, we recommend spending half a day in Male’ City. Explore historical sites like the Hukuru Miskiy, discover local life, and savor Maldivian food. Take a guided walking tour with a Local for the best experience here.

Speedboat at the Arrival Jetty of Velana International Airport (MLE)

By Public Ferry : the most cheapest Way !

The cheapest way to reach Gulhi is by using the Public Ferry run by MTCC, which costs 22 MVR (around 1.5 USD) for each person per trip. The journey lasts approximately 75 to 90 minutes, but there are a few things to consider:

  • You can’t catch the public ferry from the airport. It only goes from Male’, the main city.
  • You’ll need to take a taxi from MLE Airport to the Villingili ferry terminal. This taxi costs a fixed 85 MVR (5 USD)

#Departure from Male’ to Gulhi Departure from Gulhi to Male
Saturday to Thursday15:0007:50
FridayNot operatingNot operating

* * New Updates : Public ferry to Gulhi now is departing from Hulhumale Ferry Terminal in Male’ (in Front of Maagiri Hotel).

Now it’s more easier and no need anymore to take Taxi : You just need to catch the Airport Ferry to Male’ (10 MVR = 0.65 USD) , that runs every 15 minutes, and once you arrive to Hulhumale Ferry Terminal you just buy ticket to Gulhi (Line 309). You can always check all Ferry Schedules here.

  • The public ferry has some inconveniences:
    • The trip is long and can make you tired.
    • You might have to wait around for it.
    • It doesn’t run on Fridays, which is the off day in the Maldives.
    • If the weather is bad, it won’t operate.
    • It doesn’t run at night.
    • It goes just one time per day, so it might not match when your plane arrives.
    • Also, you can’t book the public ferry online. You have to purchase the ticket right at the ferry terminal counter. Only Cash accepted.

Because of all these things, we suggest choosing a speedboat instead, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to spend.

Transfer between Maafushi and Gulhi Island

You can travel between Maafushi Island and Gulhi using a speedboat daily or a public ferry (Every Day except Friday). The speedboat ride costs 10 USD per person for one way, and it’s a short trip of less than 10 minutes. If you prefer, you can also hire a private speedboat too, which usually begins at around 60 to 70 USD. To arrange your trip from Maafushi to Gulhi, simply message us on WhatsApp, and we’ll assist you.

If you’re interested in the public ferry, you can find the schedule below (Line number 309) :

# Departure from Maafushi to GulhiDeparture from Gulhi to Maafushi
Saturday to Thursday07:2516:20
FridayNot operatingNot operating

** Ferry ticket cost less than 1.5 USD for one way, and the journey is around 20 minutes.

Gulhi vs. Maafushi: Why Gulhi Island Shines Brighter for Your Maldives Getaway!

Gulhi Island, South End Beach

Compared to Maafushi Island, which is always crowded with lots of tourist groups and not very clean, Gulhi Island stands out as a much better choice. The water around Gulhi Island is even clearer and more beautiful. It’s the perfect Island for a peaceful and relaxing vacation. On the other hand, Maafushi is really quite noisy and busy, almost it becomes like the bustling Bangla Road in Phuket Thailand or the crowded Kuta in Bali Indonesia. So, if you’re looking for a quiet and serene Getaway and more Privacy, Gulhi Island is the ideal destination for you and it’s the best choice for Honeymooners and for Families with Kids too.

As someone who knows a lot about Maldives, visited more than 40 Local Islands, and has lived here for a long time, until this moment, I want to be honest with you : Maafushi Island has changed a lot in the past 8 to 10 years. It’s not the same beautiful place it used to be. There are now lot of tall buildings like New York Skyscrapers that ruined the Nature beauty and has taken away its sense of being an Island. And there’s a lot of construction happening nowadays until today. It’s not the peaceful and enjoyable spot it once was.

That’s why I strongly recommend choosing Gulhi Island (or any other Island) over Maafushi. Some tourists they struggle even to take nice memorable pictures in the sea at Maafushi with nice and empty background because there are so many people around.

Plus, it’s important to know that you won’t find alcohol on any local islands in the Maldives, including Maafushi, as the Maldives is a Muslim country. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re lying at you definitely. However, there are ”Offshore boats” parked near both Maafushi and Gulhi islands where you can enjoy drinks like beer or wine or any other alcoholic beverages. Additionally, as part of our excursions, we offer the opportunity for a ‘Resort Day Visit’ (Day Pass) from Gulhi to a 5-star luxury resort island. This package includes unlimited alcoholic drinks, buffet lunch, and round-trip transfer, all at an affordable price.

It’s also worth mentioning that some tourists end up picking Maafushi because they were really misled by commercial travel agents who only promote Maafushi as a group tour destination. Interestingly, many of these agents have never even visited the Maldives themselves and they don’t know anything about what’s happening here. So, don’t just follow the crowd blindly. Make your own choice wisely.

Gulhi Island takes the lead with its crystal-clear turquoise waters and an even more impressive house reef. Gulhi it’s the perfect Island for snorkeling and diving : in some spots you can snorkel with the Whale Sharks, Nurse Sharks and Stingrays. You can see also the Angle Fish, Moray Eels, Dolphins, Turtles, and Unicorns Nemos. What’s more, all the exciting excursions and water sports you can find in Maafushi are also available here in Gulhi, often at the same or even lower prices. So, not only do you get to enjoy the stunning water, but you can also have all the fun activities without breaking the bank. It’s a win-win situation for those seeking a fantastic experience without the crowd and noise.

On the other hand, most of the reviews on TripAdvisor show that people compare the turquoise water of Gulhi to Maafushi, and almost everyone agrees that Gulhi’s water is better and the best :

Water Sports & Activities in Gulhi

Gulhi Water Sports are located in the Bikini Beach, it is open everyday from 09:00 to 17:00. Everything is available from Jet Ski, Banana, Surf, Kayak, Paddle Board, Wakeboard, Fun Tube,… Here only Cash is accepted, either local currency Maldivian Rufiyaa or USD. So don’t forget to bring some cash with you for your personal expenses. They offer also package includes combination of different activities. You can see the list of full prices in the table below.

Gulhi is much better than Maafushi island and you can really enjoy the Sunny Side of Life in Gulhi doing this Water Sports in a better Sea that is not crowded, and at affordable rates.

List of Prices

#15 min20 min30 min40 min1 hour
Jet Ski60 USD80 USD100 USD
Banana80 USD120 USD
Wakeboard25 USD50 USD90 USD
Fun Tube60 USD100 USD
Paddle Board15 USD
Kayak15 USD
Package (Banana – Fun Tube – Jet Ski – Paddle- Kayak)140 USD
Surf15 USD per Head (Gurus Point)20 USD per Head (Quarters Point)

Daily Excursions from Gulhi

Here are the daily excursions from Gulhi Island with full details. Please note that for shared trips, there must be a minimum of 6 people on the boat to qualify for the stated price. The price may vary if there are fewer than 6 people, but rest assured, there are daily Guests departing from our Guesthouse Partner or neighboring Guesthouses in Gulhi. We can arrange shared trips a few days in advance or up to 1 day before the chosen date. For private trips, we can accommodate your request at any time in advance.

To book, simply reach out to us via email at or through WhatsApp.

1 – Full-Day Trip (Vaavu Atoll)

  • Dolphin
  • Shipwreck
  • Fulidoo Island (Stingray)
  • Sandbank

Combined: USD 95 per person (minimum 6 persons) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 480 (Including all taxes) (2 persons)

What’s Included: Lunch, Snorkeling gear, Go Pro Videos

Trip Time: 08:30 – 15:00

2 – Half-Day Trip

  • Dolphin
  • Turtle
  • Sandbank (Lunch at Sandbank)
  • Coral Garden

Combined: USD 65 per person (minimum 6 persons) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 220 (2 persons) (Including all taxes)

Trip Duration: 09:00-13:00

3 – Resort Trip : Day Pass (Adaaran Prestige Vaadoo)

  • Entrance fee
  • Lunch
  • Alcohol & Soft Drinks
  • Roundtrip Speedboat Transfer
  • All Taxes

Private: $160 per person

Combined: $150 (more than 6 per persons)

What’s Included: Lunch, Snorkeling gear, Go Pro Videos

4 – Sandbank Island

  • Snorkeling
  • Sun time on sandbank

Combined: USD 50 per person (minimum 6 persons) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 220 (2 persons) (Including all taxes)

What’s Included: Snorkeling gear & Sun umbrella, Go Pro Videos

Trip Duration: 2 hours

5 – Whale Shark

  • Whale Shark
  • Manta Ray
  • Dhigurah Island Tour

Combined: USD 140 per person (minimum 6 persons) (Including all taxes)

What’s Included: Lunch, Go Pro Videos

Trip Duration: 07:30-14:30

6 – Sunset Fishing

Combined: USD 40 per person (minimum 6 person)(Including all taxes)

Private: USD 100 (2-4 persons) (Including all taxes)

Trip Duration: 17:30 – 19:30


Combined: USD 45 per person (minimum 6 persons) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 170 (2 persons) (Including all taxes)

What’s Included: Go Pro Videos

Trip Duration: 1-2 hours

8 – Sharktastic Tour

  • Sharks
  • Sting Rays
  • Other different colorful fish

Combined: USD 50 per person (minimum 6 persons) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 170 (Including all taxes) (2-4 persons)

What’s Included: Snorkeling gear, Go Pro Videos

Trip Time: 13:00 – 15:00

9 – Maafushi Island Trip

Combined: USD 20 per person (minimum 5 persons) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 70 (2 persons) (Including all taxes)

Trip Duration: 1 hour

10 – Guraidhoo Island Trip

Combined: USD 40 per person (minimum 5 persons) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 100 (2 persons) (Including all taxes)

Trip Duration: 1 hour

11 – Island Hopping

  • Fulidoo (1hour)
  • Maafushi (1hour)

Combined: USD 70 per person (minimum 6 person) (Including all taxes)

Private: USD 320 (2 persons) (Including all taxes)

Where to Stay in Gulhi : Discover the Perfect Guesthouse !

Welcome to our Guesthouse in Gulhi, situated near the south end beach and the harbor, and just a short walk from the Bikini Beach too. Managed by our wonderful colleague, Oney, experience the warmth of Maldivian hospitality with excellent service throughout your stay. If you want an amazing Maldivian vacation without spending too much money, you’re in the right place.

Our Guesthouse has really nice rooms with balconies that look out over the ocean. The view is fantastic, and the rooms are comfy and relaxing. From your window, you can even see the fancy Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, where a single night costs more than 1000$ ! You can enjoy the same stunning sea views as the fancy resorts, but here, a night for two in high season doesn’t go above 90$, taxes included. In this local island, you get the same clear blue water, and fun water activities and trips, all without breaking the bank.

What makes the place special is that you can also get to know the local people and experience the friendly culture of Gulhi Island. It’s a chance to learn about Maldivian life and make new local friends.

In the mornings, you will be served a complimentary delicious breakfast, and you can enjoy tasty Maldivian, Western, and Indian food during your stay.

Recent Guest Reviews :

It was good. I enjoy my view from apartment. Very nice place.
Ghuli is a 30 minute boat ride from the airport. Mustapha was always available to answer questions and help with understanding what was going to happen. You land in Male, and I encourage you to ask for Mustapha's help getting a speedboat arranged. I landed at the airport at 9:15am in the morning. I walked out of the airport (it's small) to a landing where someone took my bags helped me onto a super fast boat. In 30 minutes I arrived and because it was available I was able to check in at 10am. That is amazing. The boat ride only cost 25 dollars. The room I had was facing the ocean and really wonderful. There is a beautiful beach 30 feet from the hotel where you can also order food. The bikini beach is only a 5 minute walk and it's great too. I will be returning to this place. The people, food and ambiance are all amazing. Oney at the front desk is the best guy in the world who literally helped me with every single thing I needed. 10 out of 10 awesome. Go there. And have fun!
We had an amazing stay at Ilaa Beach, amazing accommodation on a beautiful island and great excursions available! All the staff were so friendly and helpful to us and Mustapha was amazing! Always available to help if we had any questions - would really recommend 😊
Ich habe Mustapha zwar nicht persönlich angetroffen, die Kommunikation mit ihm war jedoch sehr gut und er hat immer schnell auf sämtliche Fragen und Anliegen reagiert, Mustapha war stets an meinem Wohlbefinden interessiert. Ich musste mich um nichts kümmern (Transport, Ausflüge, etc.), das alles hat Mustapha mit seiner Crew für mich organisiert. Das Zimmer war für den Preis in Ordnung, der Ausblick einfach wunderschön. Das Essen in der Unterkunft war gut und sehr günstig. Die Insel an sich ist klein, recht ruhig und wenig touristisch, der Strand ist sehr schön. Leider gibt es auf der Insel Ecken, die nicht so gepflegt und sehr vermüllt sind, was schade ist.
We had an amazing time at ilaa beach house. Mustapha was super helpful and kind. The staff was really kind and helpful as well. We felt most welcomed and at home. Mustapha was always reachable and helped us book tours and trips. The hotel restaurant is good, the view from the room was stunning. Gulhi is a beautiful small island with amazing nature and really great activities and friendly people.
Wir würden die Unterkunft von Mustapha und seinem Team jederzeit weiter empfehlen! Das Hotel ist nur wenige Gehminuten vom Strand entfernt, bietet Blick auf das Meer und gutes Essen. Auf der Insel gibt es ein paar nette Restaurants, wenn man nicht im Hotel abendessen möchte (was aber im Hotelrestaurant möglich ist), einen netten Markt und kleinere Supermärkte. Mustapha hat sich wirklich außergewöhnlich um uns gekümmert, alles im Voraus organisiert (insbesondere die Fähre auch am Freitag) und uns immer sofort geholfen, wenn wir Hilfe benötigten!
Amazing place nothing to say
Loved the place… close to the bikini island which has the most beautiful clear turquoise water. Host was very proactive and helped me with all my questions promptly. Will definitely recommend this place, I am traveling alone and felt very safe, at home.
Bardzo kameralny hotelik . Kucharz z b . Dobrym i tanim jedzeniem prawie jak nasz osobisty . Gotował tylko dla kilku osób . Obsługa i komunikatywność to plus . Okolica pełna „tubylców” . Blisko do portu . Tu wszędzie jest blisko . Nasz pokój był z pięknym widokiem . Jedyny minus LO drugiej stronie „inne pokoje” jest budowa która za moment zasłoni widok i pracujący 24h agregat - chyba stacja odsalania wody . Ale nas to nie dotyczyło . Pozdrawiamy
thanks mustapha for hosting us n helping us during our stay in gulhi, a small n beautiful island. would recommend gulhi and stay with mustapha to have a nice n pleasant stay in a small n peaceful island.

Book Your Affordable Maldives Getaway Now!

So, if you want an amazing vacation in the Maldives and on a Budget, we’ve got you covered. You’ll have a fantastic time here, and it won’t cost you a fortune. Plus, when you book with our Partner, your money goes directly to local Maldivian people, supporting the local economy (unlike most of Resorts owned by international companies). Book now through the Airbnb listing here. Thank you.

Perfect Itinerary in Gulhi Island 6 Nights / 7 Days

If you’d like to enjoy Gulhi, you have two options with us. You can either book nights in our Airbnb listing, or we can set up a great package for you that includes your stay, transfers, taxes, and various excursions. Just contact us anytime, and we will provide all the info, a quote, and a personalized package.

Here’s a recommendation:

  • Day 1: Airport Transfer to Gulhi
  • Day 2: Full Day Excursion
  • Day 3: Visit 5-Star Island Resort
  • Day 4: Free Day to Enjoy Gulhi Beach
  • Day 5: Vaavu Atoll Full Day Tour
  • Day 6: Half Day Excursion with Sandbank Visit and Romantic Candlelight Dinner
  • Day 7: Airport Transfer from Gulhi

** Photo credit for some images on this page goes to our friend Ihsan (See from the Sky), the photographer who captured stunning Pictures in the Maldives.

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