The Maldives used to be the preserve of honeymooners and the rich who could afford to pay thousands of dollars to stay at a luxurious resort. This changed in 2009 when restrictions on foreigners were lifted—locals could build guesthouses and visitors were allowed to visit inhabited islands (not just resort islands). While the Maldives is not as cheap as India or SE Asia, it is possible to enjoy some of the best beaches in the world on an affordable budget.
We thought we’d found paradise on Fulidhoo island, but Reethi Beach Resort took it to another level—even more stunning beaches, bluer water, an abundance of sea life, even dolphins swimming off the beach.
I’ve always dreamed of staying in an overwater bungalow. I drooled over photos of luxury villas perched on stilts above an impossibly blue lagoon on a distant tropical island. I wanted to gaze at the sea from my bed and watch fish swim by my terrace. My only regret about our decision not to get married (we’ve been together 17 years) was that I missed out on a honeymoon—the perfect excuse to splurge on an overwater bungalow.
Amanda Burger is a solo full-time traveller, vegan, and housesitter who runs the Burger Abroad blog. She has one of the most impressive carry-on packing lists I’ve seen and travels with a tiny backpack that fits under airline seats and weighs just 5 kg.
Fulidhoo is a different kind of island paradise. There are no over-water bungalows, no sunset cocktails, no infinity pools, no cafes lining the beach. Seven years ago it wasn’t even possible for tourists to stay here, and even during our visit there were only two other tourists on the island.