Very tiny, even by Maldivian standards, and very green local island Thinadhoo is undeservedly overlooked by tourists. Let me tell you about the island, how to get there, the beach and the house reef, the many sharks, where to stay, and where to dine. It will be a comprehensive review of this little island.
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Pros and cons of vacationing on Thinadhoo
The only downside to this little piece of paradise is that it’s quite inconvenient to get there and slightly more expensive than other popular local islands. But this downside pales in comparison to all the pros.
In reality, another downside is the infrastructure of the island. Although Thinadhoo is a local island, it sometimes feels like you’re staying on a private resort island because there’s almost no infrastructure on the island.
Consider this: on any local island where local residents live, and Thinadhoo is a local island, there are hospitals, pharmacies, schools, police stations, shops, mosques, and stadiums. Of all of this, there is only a small shop and mosque on the island. Oh, and there’s a souvenir shop too.
But the pros outweigh the cons by far:
- The island is tiny, quiet, and secluded. Half of Thinadhoo’s area is covered in jungle, and there aren’t many local islands like this.
- There’s a gorgeous, long, and deserted bikini beach for tourists.
- There’s an excellent house reef: there are mantas, rays, sharks, thousands of fish, and the reef itself is very close to the beach, so even beginners can swim there.
- The homely atmosphere on the island. Everyone really knows each other here.
General information about Thinadhoo island
Briefly, some general information about Thinadhoo island:
- Coordinates and map (don’t get confused, there are three Thinadhoo islands in the Maldives): 3.487825909982329, 73.53801923456376
- The island’s dimensions: 600 by 180 meters. There are only four streets here, and you can walk from the sunrise beach to the sunset beach in 2 minutes, just like in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book “The Little Prince.”
- The population is much more interesting: according to some estimates, 40 people, according to others, 150, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Interesting fact:There’s a three-story hotel called Plumeria on the island. Thanks to this hotel, there’s tourism here, and it controls and manages half of the island. They have a restaurant, a gym, and a diving center here. A large portion of the island’s residents work in this hotel.
- The island of Thinadhoo is located in the Vaavu Atoll, 80 km away from Male. This is relatively close, as there are atolls located 500 km away from Male.
Important note:There are three islands named Thinadhoo in the Maldives. The other two are non-touristic and are very far away from Male, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to reach them. However, it’s impossible to confuse the ferry and arrive at the wrong Thinadhoo because ferry service from Male is only available to the island that I’m writing about in this article.
To differentiate between these islands, people often add the first letter of the atoll where the island is located. Our island is correctly named V.Thinadhoo (the island of Thinadhoo in the Vaavu Atoll). There is also Ga.Thinadhoo and Gdh.Thinadhoo, but you need the one with the letter “V”. This can be found in official schedules for ferries, speedboats, or other official information so that you don’t panic if your transport is heading to V.Thinadhoo.
- Thinadhoo Island is pronounced correctly as “Tinadu”. In Dhivehi, the letter “h” is almost never pronounced. I recommend reading an article about Dhivehi language and its peculiarities. The ferry schedule in Dhivehi is also provided, but you won’t be able to understand it without assistance.
How to get to Thinadhoo
There are local islands that are easier and faster to reach, but overall, it’s not particularly difficult, and you don’t have to sell your kidney to pay for tickets.
There are three ways to get to Thinadhoo from Male:
- Seaplane. There is no regular route to the island, so you need to book a private transfer. The one-way price is around $700-1000, but it’s for your entire group of up to 4 people. In the article about seaplanes in the Maldives, you will find websites where you can book such private transfers.
- Speedboat. It departs twice a day from Male at 11:00 and 16:00. The one-way ticket price for one person is about $65, and round-trip is $130. Travel time is one and a half hours. You can book it through your hotel on Thinadhoo, or by yourself on the carrier’s website or the OdiApp.
- All necessary information about speedboats and carriers, where to buy tickets, is provided in the article through the link.
And of course, for those with strong spirits, there’s the state public ferry. Whether or not to sail on it is up to you. I did. The advantages are that it’s cheap and less bumpy than the speedboat, because the ferry is bigger, heavier, and slower. But it still rocks. If your flight conveniently arrives in Malé according to the ferry’s schedule, why not? It’s a great experience and a good way to save money 🙂
Here’s what you need to know about the ferry to the local island of Thinadhoo:
- It costs about $5 one way. You can buy tickets right before the ferry.
- The trip takes 5 hours.
- You need the ferry number 306 V.RAKEEDHOO – V.FULIDHOO (remember that the letter V stands for Vaavu Atoll).
- The ferry runs on the necessary route three times a week.
- From Malé: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday – departure at 10 am. On the way, the ferry stops at the ports of Maafushi and Fulidhoo. According to the schedule, at 3 pm, the ferry stops for 5 minutes at the port of Thinadhoo and then continues on its way.
- From Thinadhoo to Malé, it also runs three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday. It leaves at 9 am and arrives in Malé at 2:05 pm. There may be delays of up to an hour due to bad weather.
Accommodation and dining
It’s as simple as can be on Thinadhoo Island. There are only about 10 hotels and guesthouses, and the average price per room per night is around $100. This is quite expensive for local islands, as there are cooler and more popular islands where accommodation costs between $50-70 per night.
I recommend the Plumeria hotel, which I mentioned earlier. In general, the entire island’s infrastructure is built around this hotel. They have their own piece of beach, a pool, and the most reasonable restaurant on the island, one of only two or three. You can even buy a package tour from your city, including a transfer on an “all-inclusive” basis. This is the only such option on the island.
- Here’s the page for the hotel itself, which you can book directly: Plumeria Maldives
- And here’s where you can find tour packages to this hotel: prices start at $2,500 for seven days for two people, all-inclusive.
There isn’t a large selection of eateries on the island. Each hotel and guesthouse offers free breakfasts, which I recommend taking advantage of. Some accommodation options offer good dinners for an additional fee, which are around $20-25 per person. You won’t go hungry for sure.
In addition to the Plumeria hotel restaurant, there is also a coffee shop and a local restaurant called Chaka Chaka. Plus, I heard from a local resident that another cafe is planned to open at the end of 2023. You’ll definitely find places to dine, and the prices are reasonable everywhere.
All about the beach on Thinadhoo: snorkeling, sharks, and more.
If you’ve already researched the Maldives, you’ll know that you can only swim in bikinis on designated bikini beaches on local islands. And such a beach isn’t available everywhere. As for Thinadhoo, the official bikini beach is in the jungle part of the island. But in reality, it’s everywhere. There are so few locals, and the beach around the island is so beautiful and convenient for swimming that tourists swim everywhere.
But the official bikini beach on Thinadhoo is located at coordinates: 3.4858884099103067, 73.5350623305729
- The beach has fine white sand and plenty of shade.
- The road to the bikini beach is simply amazing, a path through the palms – the photo was at the beginning of the article.
- There are plenty of loungers and tables, all free.
The island’s house reef is a huge plus. First of all, it’s alive and there are a lot of fish here. Secondly, the boundary between the reef and the ocean is very close to the shore, making it easy to swim and snorkel here.
- The best snorkeling is at the boundary between the reef and the ocean. You can find more details about this and who you can meet on the Maldives in the article “Everything about snorkeling on the islands.”
- Sharks swim into the port at sunset every day. Nurse sharks and reef sharks can often be seen while snorkeling on the reef. There are turtles. Mantas are more difficult to spot as they live at depth and only feed near the surface of the reef early in the morning around 6 a.m.
Overall, in just a couple of days of active snorkeling for a few hours each day, you can see all the underwater inhabitants: sharks, turtles, rays, moray eels, and millions of fish. And if you’re unlucky while snorkeling near the shore, you can always take a tour and guarantee to swim with the sharks.
Island excursions and activities
It’s the same as everywhere else. You’ll realize there are no landmarks on the island, and you can walk around it in 40 minutes. You’ll know every corner of Thinadhoo by the first evening.
As the locals say, the main attraction of the island is the ocean. All activities are related to it. No matter what entertainment or water activity you need, you need to go to the diving center. They offer a full package of entertainment. There are currently three diving centers on Thinadhoo, one of which is located at the Pulmeria hotel.
Here are some activities that await you on Thinadhoo:
- Kayaking – $30 for 4 hours
- Stand-up paddleboarding – $10 an hour, you can paddle around the perimeter of the entire island above the reef.
- Snorkeling on neighboring islands – from $20
- Fishing and night fishing with the opportunity to grill your own catch – from $25. Learn all about fishing in the Maldives.
- Diving: from $50 per dive. You can take a course and get an international PADI certificate.
- Excursion with snacks to neighboring uninhabited islands and the disappearing sandbar, also called Picnic Island or Sand Band. From $30.
- There are excursions with full day packages, such as swimming with mantas, whale sharks, and rays. Food and drinks (non-alcoholic) are included.
I have a few tips to share:
- Regarding internet access, if you need a local SIM card, get one in Male. There are no telecom stores on Thinadhoo, but every hotel has Wi-Fi. Learn more about internet and mobile service in the Maldives.
- Keep in mind that even though there are all-inclusive resorts on this island, it’s still a local island, so you can’t buy alcohol here. There is simply none available on Thinadhoo.
- The island is quite tiny, so if you don’t enjoy snorkeling and aren’t willing to spend a couple of hours each day swimming over the reef along the beach, you may find it boring. There aren’t many other activities here 🙂
Regarding Thinadhoo as a vacation spot:Thinadhoo is a fantastic island for a vacation. It has a beautiful beach, ocean, and reef, which is what draws tourists here. This island is definitely in my top list of local islands.
Unfortunately, most tourists don’t make it to Thinadhoo and settle for Maafushi, where the ferry from Male stops. Maafushi is much closer to Male, which is why it attracts tourists. Don’t make the same mistake as many others!
- A review of the local island of Maafushi: (Spoiler: Thinadhoo is 50 times better, Maafushi is a dirty and overcrowded tourist island with a small bikini beach and no proper reef)
- Check out my review of the local island of Dhigurah as well. It’s a slice of paradise that is very similar to Thinadhoo, and maybe even better. There are many whale sharks here, and the bikini beach is over a kilometer long. If I gave Thinadhoo a rating of 9 out of 10, Dhigurah gets a solid 10!
In conclusion, the local island of Thinadhoo is definitely worth your attention. If you don’t care about the number of shops and don’t really like tourists – the fewer people, the better – then Thinadhoo is an excellent option. It is a hidden gem among the atolls of the Indian Ocean, about which tourists don’t know much, unlike the popular Thoddoo or Maafushi.
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