Maldive Dhoni Cruise

Resort: Maldives
Operator: Explore
Destination: Maldives
Price From: £956.00

Why book this trip?

Board a traditional Maldivian dhoni cruise and sail through idyllic turquoise waters and palm-fringed beaches. This relaxing journey includes the islands of South Male, Felidhoo and Meemu, visiting remote fishing communities and stopping at beautiful reefs for snorkelling in crystal clear waters.

  • Uninhabited islands and pristine beaches– Visit unspoilt, idyllic corners of the Maldives, far away from the tourist resorts
  • Snorkelling and swimming in tropical waters– Enjoy warm, clear water and go snorkelling for opportunities to spot manta ray, turtle, clown fish and other sea life on beautiful reefs
  • Traditional fishing villages– Spend time with the local people and learn about their life in this tropical and remote paradise.



DAY 1– Join trip in Male

Our adventure begins in Male where we spend the night. The circumference of the island is little more than 5 kilometers and the city is a hive of activity, in stark contrast to the laid-back islands of the archipelago that we will be exploring in the coming days.

You’ll need to arrive into Male International Airport (MLE) where you will be met and transferred to the waterfront to meet our moored dhoni and crew. Once on board there will be a welcome meeting and a chance to settle in to our home for the next week before having dinner on the deck as the sun sets.

DAY 2– Sail to Vavuu Atoll and explore Kuda Anbaraa Island

As we take our breakfast we begin cruising south, passing through the Vaadhoo Canal to the South Male Atoll – a smaller and quieter neighbour to the more developed North Male Atoll. Here, many of the islands are inhabited simply by vegetation and white sand, surrounded by clear turquoise water and reef. Heading further south we cruise to the Vavuu Atoll, where we spend time exploring the uninhabited and picturesque islands of Kudiboli and Kuda Anbaraa. When exploring this and other islands in the itinerary, it isn’t necessary to bring special footwear. Most customers seem to manage well in flip-flops, and these have the obvious advantage of being quick to get on and off – ideal for walking through sand. Our afternoon is spent snorkelling or relaxing on board. Over the course of the week, underwater fauna we are likely to see include green turtles, reef sharks and gigantic manta rays, as well as smaller sting rays and eagle rays. At each stop, we will also swim among a rainbow of small, colourful fish, including the famous Clown Fish. Our knowledgeable local guides will be able to help identify many of the underwater species that we come across.

Today, and each day, afternoon tea with freshly baked cake will be served by our talented chef.

Every meal is included on the dhoni . Menus are likely to include freshly-caught fish each day, as well curries and pasta. Drinking water, tea and coffee are readily available, with alcoholic and soft drinks available for purchase on-board. You can pay your bill for drinks at the end of your cruise in US dollars or by Credit Card.

Our cabins are compact, but with plenty of room for two people and luggage. However, many customers choose to enjoy the tranquillity of sleeping under the stars on deck for at least some of the nights.

DAY 3– Snorkel in the clear waters of the Meemu Atoll

Today we sail south for a further two to three hours, crossing to Meemu Atoll – home to one of the longest stretches of reef in the Maldives. On this or other crossings, we may be lucky enough to be chased by spinner dolphins, sometimes swimming and jumping alongside the boat. As well as this on some occasions we will spot flying fish close to the dhoni. Meemu Atoll is made up of 34 islands, of which 25 are uninhabited. Some of the inhabited ones grow yams, and all of them are largely dependent on fishing. Here more than anywhere, we are likely to experience the true Maldivian way of life. Shortly after entering the atoll, we arrive at Fenboa Finolhu – another beautiful uninhabited island where we aim to base ourselves for the night. We will have plenty of time to enjoy the white-sand beach and to snorkel on the reef. This evening, we can look forward to a barbeque beach banquet in an idyllic spot on the island, laid on by the dhoni crew.

DAY 4– Cruise to Dhiggaru Island for a Bodu Beru display

After a relaxed start, we head east to the inhabited island of Dhiggaru. Here, we drop our anchor by a particularly good snorkelling reef. Later in the afternoon, when it has cooled down a bit, we plan to go ashore to meet the island’s inhabitants. We may be struck by the traditional, yet relaxed, way of life in the island’s lively village. Very few tourist groups visit and we must remember to dress and act respectfully, removing our shoes when visiting a house or a mosque. In the evening, we hope to be invited to a performance of Bodu Beru (Big Drum) – the traditional folk music of the country.

DAY 5– Visit the traditional village of Felidhoo

Today, we head back to Felidhoo Atoll and its administrative centre, Felidhoo. With a population of about 400, this is the least populated of all the country’s administrative centres. Again, we take time to visit the village and have the opportunity to enjoy another Bodu Beru performance.

DAY 6– Discover Hulhidhoo reef before sailing to Fulidhoo

By now, we are likely to be feeling completely relaxed, as our routine of reading, sunbathing and napping between island stops and snorkelling spots has become second nature. With a subtly different name to our previous day’s stop-off, we break today’s journey with a visit to Fulidhoo Island. Once again, we meet the locals and gain more of an appreciation of their life in this tropical paradise. After a further visit to the island of Hulhidhoo, we anchor by a large reef, where we can spend time snorkelling.

DAY 7– Sail to Male stopping to snorkel at Embudhoo Reef

Our last full day on the boat sees us cruising back towards Male. We take the opportunity for some final snorkelling and swimming, before enjoying a farewell meal with our boat crew.


DAY 8– Trip ends in Male

The trip ends after breakfast on our dhoni in Male.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Male at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available on the dhoni. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Male International Airport (MLE).

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