Thoddoo Island in Maldives. Full review
Thoddoo Island is located 67 km west of Male and also 20 km away from Rasdhoo Island (the administrative capital of Ari Atoll), which I’ve already written about. Thoddoo is about 2 km in length and 1 km in width. One-third of the total area is agricultural, another third is the village itself, and the rest of the island is empty. The island’s population is about 1,400 people. You can get to Thoddoo directly from Male or with a transfer in Rasdhoo. The first thing that catches your eye is a huge amount of trees and green plants, and also white sand on the beach.
Thoddoo Beach & Snorkeling
It’s the beach that Thoddoo is famous for. But it turned out that Ukulhas beach is even better that this one, but I wrote about it in a separate post.
A tourist beach is located in the western part of the island. It’ll take you 15 minutes to get there (if you go from the neighbouring guest house). You just need to go through the plantations of various fruits. In this case an ideal variant is to hire a bike. But this service is offered by not every guest house. For example, bikes are available in Serene Sky Guest House.
Its borders are conditionally marked by small stakes. The beach is very clean and well-maintained. Its size is a bit more than 100 meters. During the peak season the beach is really overcrowded. That’s why it’s planned to be extended. Buoys float in water; they mark the borders of motorboat-free zone. It means that outside this area it’s allowed to go by motorboat, by jet-ski, etc.
Thick bushes grow along the coast, and numerous pathways take you to the ocean. However, there is only one way that can lead you to the bikini beach. The sand itself is fine; there are absolutely no glass or dead coral in it, so you can safely walk there.
There are several hammocks under trees for you to have a rest. It’s clear that their number is limited. The water is very clean, and there is practically no floating litter.
Thoddoo home reef is rather big and extended. However, there are not so many snorkeling points. A reef is located at a stone’s throw away from the bikini beach, near to one of the borders marked by buoys. But there are only a few types of corals and several fish species. Somebody can be satisfied with it, but a truly magnificent reef with lots of small fish (and even with skates and sharks) is located far from the coast.
A sand bank that is seen from the beach is a landmark. It’s not the edge of the reef, so the current there is not so strong. But to get there, you should be good at swimming and use flippers. I swam without them, but it took me much time. Firstly, I just was not able to swim more quickly. Secondly, you’re to swim all the time approximately 300 meters, because the depth is about 2-2,5 meters.
But in the reef area itself you can easily stand. And don’t swim alone, just in case. There were 200 meters left, but I had no flippers, so I decided not to risk and I did not swim farther. There might be a strong current.
When I was on Rasdhoo, I experienced the same situation. I was swimming from a neighboring inhabited island to the outer reef. The way to the reef was OK, but when I was swimming back, but for my flippers, I would have faced real problems. The current there tends to shift during the day.
Activities In Thoddoo
As I’ve already mentioned, the island is rather big, and going sightseeing on foot in hot weather may cost you a lot of money. That’s why a good and budget variant is hiring a bike. In the morning or in the evening you can go round the island and see all the sights of it outside the tourist beach. You will be impressed, trust me!
This type of activity can be organized by yourself – just find a local guy, who will show you the plantation, or you can order a tour in your guest house. You’ll also be provided with a fruits basket. Nowadays the realization of the hydrophonic farms programme has been implemented, with support of the government, international funds and local representatives, particularly Serene Sky Guest House.
The program is aimed at growing young trees using as little water as possible. All water is obtained from under the ground. And to water all the farms, a huge amount of water is spent. This technology is intended to cut down on water consumption.
Thoddoo is one of a few islands in Maldives that exports fruit and vegetables to other islands. There grow papayas, watermelons, bananas, coconuts, etc. If you want to pick fruit from a tree, you’d better get permission from the locals.
The full assortment is represented in several shops. There you can find fruit, drinks, cookies, etc. Some shops are difficult to find, they’re not marked on the map. There are also 1-2 gift shops on the island, and they are open only in the evening.
There are only 3 cafes on the island (one is near the harbor (for locals); another is near the football pitch (with rather high prices); the other is not far from the mobile boom (with local colour and reasonable prices)). What I liked most in the last two cafes was the fact that there each table is a separate private zone surrounded by green plants. In such an atmosphere you feel really comfortable.
Thoddoo food, like that of other local islands, is not very diverse. There you can try rice, tuna, fried chicken, macaroni, tuna soup with coconut milk, pancakes with tuna and coconut, casserole with tuna and rice, various tuna pasties. And, of course, a variety of fresh juices are available. The average dinner cost for two is about $10-15.
There are only 2 diving centres on the island; the second one, Serene Ocean, was opened not long ago. Apart from diving, they offer snorkeling with manta rays, water skiing, parasailing, wet-biking, etc. At least there is some competition between activities.
And, of course, you’re free to go fishing any time you wish.
All the things needed can be found on the island; there is a hospital, a school, a kindergarten, a gym and a football pitch. There are two large mosques, one of which is being built by a Maldivian magnate, an owner of the resort network, for quite a long time.
This is advantageous to him, because he can import building materials free of charge under the guise of giving money for charity. This mosque is set to become the largest on the local islands. According to the latest reports, soon it’ll be opened.
On Thoddoo, like on any local island, people go swimming in the morning (till 12.00), then they eat, rest or sleep till 16.00, and after 16.00 and till sunset they go swimming again. By the way, don’t forget to take sunscreen (at least SPF30).
Animal life of Thoddoo, like that of any local island, is not very diverse. Ashore there are a lot of crabs and hermit crabs of all sizes. On the beach herons can be found. When it gets dark, you can see huge flying foxes sweeping over your head. They are not dangerous for people, and they eat fruit. Speaking about reptiles, there are small iguanas and geckos. In the morning you can wake up to the sound of this bird:
And, of course, on Thoddoo (depending on the season) there are a lot of mosquitoes (the same can’t be said for Rasdhoo). So make sure that you’ve taken mosquito repellents with you. Most of the mosquitoes are found near plantations, and not everywhere, but only in some areas.
The island is home to about 1.2 thousand people. The locals are very friendly and welcoming. Tourists are treated there with greater curiosity than on Rasdhoo, where the locals have already got used to them. The locals are not yet ‘spoiled’ by tourists. They always greet people. But there you’ll find not so many English-speaking people, which puts some obstacles during communication.
On Thoddoo, as well as on other islands, it is allowed to walk in bikinis only on the tourist beach. Today ordinary Maldivians are not as poor as they used to be. Significant stratification between the rich and the poor is not observed. They can afford to hire migrant workers from Bangladesh.
In these days there are coming more and more of them, because they are ready to do any hard work for a very low salary. They are very easy to distinguish, because they don’t speak English.
Tourists in the island
During the peak season there may be lots of tourists, and the beach then is overcrowded. Today 6 guest houses are being built (in addition to the 15 ones, which have already been built).
There are a lot of Russian-speaking tourists. I think it is connected with the promotion of local guest houses among the Russians. There are also Latvians; they build their own guesthouse that soon will be opened. And, of course, there are a lot of Chinese people. They are taken there in groups accompanied by an English-speaking guide. As I’ve mentioned before, nowadays it’s cheap enough for them to spend their holidays in Maldives.
Transfer To Thoddoo
Cost: $15 one way, per person (the travelling time is about 5 hours).
Departure from Male: every day at midnight (except Thursdays and Fridays).
Departure from Thoddoo: every day at midnight (except Thursdays and Fridays).
NOTE: as its private ferry it can go earlier or be canceled.
Cost: $45 one way, per person (the travelling time is approximately 1 hour).
It’s available every day, except of Friday
Departure from Male to Thoddoo: at 11:00 and 16:00.
Departure from Thoddoo to Male: 07.00.
Another option is with a transfer in Rasdhoo.
Available every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday:
Departure from Male: 9.00 (arrives in Rasdhoo at 12.10).
Departure from Rasdhoo: 15.15 (arrives in Thoddoo at 16.30).
Available every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday:
Departure from Thoddoo: 7.00 (arrives in Rasdhoo at 8.15).
Departure from Rasdhoo: 11:00 (arrives in Male at 14.10).
Rasdhoo-Thoddoo and Thoddoo-Rasdhoo ferries are available every day except Friday.
Note. Schedule is subject to change. The information is current as of Apr 2017. For all the possible ways of transfer contact the administrator of your guesthouse.
Full ferry schedules can be found here .