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Viaggio alle Maldive fai da te - sand bank di sabbia bianca nel mare delle Maldive - Maldives diy travel

Dhigurah Island is a hidden gem in the Maldives. It’s the perfect place to relax, experience the local culture and explore a stunning coral reef. A holiday on Dhigurah Island is a very different experience from staying in a luxury resort. It’s ideal for people like us who like to feel free and not ‘relegated’ to one place.

How do I get to the Maldives Dhigurah? When’s the best time to go? In this article, we’ll give you some useful info and tips for planning a holiday on the island of Dhigurah.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

We were fortunate enough to be able to organise a trip to the beautiful Maldives archipelago and, when we had to decide which atoll to go to, we set two musts for our holiday

  • find an island experience some of the local Maldivian culture and be able to go for walks lasting at least 20 minutes;
  • swim with whale sharks.

These two must-haves of ours led us to locate the beautiful island of Dhigurah in the South Ari Atoll.

In this article, we have decided to share with you all the information we think you might find useful for organising a holiday on this island and to tell you a little about Dhigurah, hoping to entice you to set off for this Maldivian paradise!

Dhigurah Island, Maldives: general info, language, currency and services

Dhigurah Island is located in the South Ari Atoll, one of 26 natural atolls in the Maldives archipelago. It’s got an elongated shape with a total length of about 3.5 km and a maximum width of about 300 m, making it one of the longest islands in the Maldives.

The northern part of the island is where you’ll find the town centre, with the harbour, hotels, restaurants and all the services you could need. Currently, buildings cover about half of the island, although several hotels are under construction. The other half is covered by tropical forest. At the southern end of the island is the longest sandbank in the Maldives, which is a great draw for various excursions from other islands.

The island of Dhigurah is home to the local population, with around a thousand people living there. The economy of this island is based on tourism, and it’s still developing. Guest houses in the Maldives are a fairly new concept, but they’re becoming increasingly popular. Dhigurah is the perfect place for this, so we also recommend you visit it as soon as possible before it loses its ‘wild’ connotation.

As for the language spoken in Dhigurah, English is the language commonly spoken in tourist facilities, shops and restaurants although you may encounter some people who do not speak it.

The official currency is the rufiyaa, also known as the rupee, with an exchange rate of about 1 € = 16 rufyiaa.

Practically all accommodation facilities and restaurants accept credit cards and dollars (in some cases also euros), but we recommend that you take a small amount of cash with you because the small shops and supermarkets only accept cash payments.

Also, although there is an ATM on the island, it happened to be out of order for a few days, so we recommend that you withdraw some money on arrival at the airport in Malé.

There are a few hotels, restaurants, bars, supermarkets, a sports centre and a first aid clinic on the island.

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - tramonto alla bikini beach di Dhigurah

Sunset in Dhigurah

Maldives Dhigurah how to get there

Dhigurah how to get there? The answer is: international air flight to Malé and then internal connection by plane or speedboat.

The main airlines that fly to Malé from Europe and Asia are Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airlines and Neos. If your departure airport is in America, you will need to fly to Europe, such as Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and buy a ticket from one of these companies. Similarly, if you are coming from Australia, you will need to fly to an Asian airport served by these airlines, such as Kuala Lumpur.

With the exception of Neos, which offers a direct Milan-Malé flight (but, of course, generally costs more), all other airlines have a stopover in between.

In the case of our DIY Maldives trip, we opted for our trusted airline Qatar Airways, making a stopover in Doha, Qatar. This airline offers excellent service, very friendly staff and, in general, punctuality. Excluding the stopover time at Doha airport, the journey took just over 10 hours, of which 6 for the Milan-Doha route and 4 for the Doha-Malé route, and cost around €700 per person (booked well in advance).

Once you have arrived at Malé airport, you have three options to reach the island of Dhigurah:

  • Malé Maldives Dhigurah how to get there by air: the closest airport to Dhigurah is Maamigili Airport, which is about a 20-minute flight from Malé. The airline serving Maamigili airport is Villa Air – Flyme and you can check the flight schedules on the official website which you can find at this link. In general, three flights are available in a day, two in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once you arrive at Maamigili airport, you will be taken by shuttle bus to the port, from where you will take a speedboat that will take you to the port of Dhigurah in 20 minutes. The cost of the flight is approximately €200 per person.
  • Malé Maldives Dhigurah how to get there by speedboat: not far from the Malé airport exit (2 minutes walk) is the harbour from which speedboats depart. The duration of the speedboat trip is about 1 ½ hours and the trip costs € 60 per person. You can consult the route map and buy your ticket at this link.
  • Malé Maldives Dhigurah how to get there by seaplane: seaplane trips are offered by the resorts, so unless you are staying at Amada Kuda Rah or Lux South Ari Atoll we advise you to discard this option.

Dhigurah Island when to go: the weather

The best time to go to Dhigurah is from January to April. We went in the second half of April and apart from one cloudy day and a few 5-minute downpours, we found it sunny and warm!

The months to avoid are May and November, which statistically have the most rainfall. In fact, shortly after we returned home, there was constant rain for days.

During the good season temperatures during the day are around 30 °C while in the evening they drop but never below 26-27 °C. The climate is very humid, so during the day the perceived temperature will be higher.

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - Temporale sul mare a Dhigurah

Storm on the sea at Dhigurah

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - cielo azzurro e palme verdi a Dhigurah

Clear skies in Dhigurah​

Dhigurah Island: the population and the rules to respect

If you’re planning a trip to an inhabited Maldivian island, it’s important to know that there are certain rules to follow. Many people imagine a trip to the Maldives as a perpetual holiday in a bikini, sipping an aperitif at sunset and being able to do what you want without restrictions. All this is true if you decide to stay in a resort, but if you opt for an island like Dhigurah where there are hotels and guest houses in a built-up area, you will have to respect the customs of the population.

In fact, the Maldivian people are Muslim and that means:

  • It is not possible (and not respectful) to walk around the built-up area and on certain beaches in costume. Specifically, we are talking about part of the north-west coast and the east coast, where, however, swimming is not recommended due to the presence of very strong currents as it faces the open ocean. The beaches where you can swim in a swimming costume are the bikini beach, located halfway along the west coast near where several hotels are located, the long beach and, of course, the sand bank.
  • Alcohol is banned, so you won’t find any on the island and it could be an opportunity to have a nice detox holiday like we did! You can find non-alcoholic beers in restaurants and supermarkets. We discovered a bar where they served some very good non-alcoholic mojitos that were great and we are talking about Malaveli. Alternatively, you can take a day or half-day excursion to the nearby Amada Kuda Rah resort (10 minutes away by speedboat) where you can find all the booze you want!
  • Friday is prayer day, so all activities such as excursions and services are closed from noon until late afternoon.

The people of Dhigurah are a bit shy and timid but you have to consider that the inhabitants started seeing the first western tourists a few years ago and need to get used to people with different habits and attitudes and dressed differently from them. Don’t be afraid to greet them and you will find that talking to them and finding out more about their customs and lifestyle will add value to your holiday!

Dhigurah Island: the beaches and the white sand

As we mentioned before, the two beaches where you can safely sit in a swimming costume and enjoy the sun are the bikini beach and the long beach.

The bikini beach is located approximately halfway along the west coast of the island and is a beach surrounded by several palm trees, under which you can find some shelter from the sun and spread out your towel. The sea at Bikini Beach is great for swimming and there are no strong currents. There’s also a small snorkelling spot nearby, where the water stays shallow and is ideal for those who are afraid of the ‘big blue’ or don’t feel confident in deep water.

The long beach is located at the southern end of the island and can be reached by a walk of about half an hour along the path that winds through the tropical forest. Alternatively, you can be accompanied by a baggee, a service provided by all the accommodation facilities on the island.

The long beach is a very long stretch of fine white sand that continues in the middle of the sea to become one of the most beautiful sand banks in the entire Maldives archipelago. We suggest going there especially when the tide is low so you can enjoy the entire length of the sand bank and reach the island opposite. There are a few umbrellas and sunbeds on the beach for free use by tourists, but there are no bars or services, so we suggest going to the sand bank with plenty of water and food.

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - sand bank di Dhigurah

Sand bank

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - long beach di Dhigurah

Long beach

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - mare della bikini beach di Dhigurah

Bikini beach

Dhigurah Island: the sea, snorkelling, manta rays and whale sharks

Without wishing to state the obvious, the sea on the island is beautiful, with the blue and turquoise colours typical of the Maldives. But apart from the beautiful sea, we are keen on snorkelling and the coral reef on this island is very beautiful. There are several spots around Dhigurah where we recommend snorkelling or diving.

As we have already told you, the spot where snorkelling is easiest is located near the bikini beach and is the only spot you can reach directly from the beach. To reach the other spots, you will have to use a boat.

Along the west coast of the island is the reef, which is shallower than on the other side because it faces the interior of the Ari atoll, where manta rays can be seen. There are several manta rays moving along this coast and you will not be hard put to see some in these areas.

When we chose our holiday destination and opted for the island of Dhigurah, it was because one of our dreams in the drawer was to be able to see whale sharks, which are resident along the east coast of the island. Although there is a remote possibility that you might not be able to see them on an excursion (we always saw them), the added value of Dhigurah in terms of diving and snorkelling is the chance to swim alongside these enchanting marine mammals. It is an incredible and exciting experience, even if there are always many tourists (also from other islands). In addition, the reef on the east coast is very colorful and very rich.

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - squalo balena

Whale shark

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - manta

Manta ray

Isola di Dhigurah Maldive - tartaruga

Sea turtle

Dhigurah Island: where to stay

There are several guest houses and hotels on the island. The largest facilities are located on the west coast, near the bikini beach. We 100% recommend the guest house where we stayed: the Atollkey Beach Villa. This guest house consists of 6 bungalows near the beach, a small reception and a restaurant with a terrace where breakfast is served.

The bungalows are spacious and have air-conditioning, a safe, a minibar, a television, a bathroom with an outdoor shower, a large wardrobe, a desk and a comfortable bed!

We didn’t miss a thing and the staff were very friendly and helpful (a special compliment to Raado with whom we struck up a wonderful friendship and who accompanied us on all our excursions!). The staff helped us with the organisation of the trip, especially with internal transfers, and took care of booking all the excursions for us.

Viaggio alle Maldive fai da te - Guest house alle Maldive - Maldives diy travel

Atollkey beach villa

Dhigurah Island: what and where to eat

The cuisine on the island focuses mainly on fish, cooked on the grill or sautéed with vegetables, but there is also a good choice of meat, such as beef and chicken. All dishes are generally accompanied by plain rice.

There are about ten restaurants on the island and we recommend two of them:

Obviously the Atollkey restaurant, which offers mainly Thai cuisine, but you will also find hamburgers and couscous dishes;
The Malaveli, located on the rooftop of a hotel and offering international cuisine, which can satisfy any of your tastes.

Breakfast is both savoury and sweet, with eggs, toast with jam and fresh fruit.

Visiting an island inhabited by the local people is a completely different experience from resorts, but for us it was very beautiful and interesting! With this article, we hope we have enticed you to have the same experience and given you lots of useful information for planning your holiday on the beautiful island of Dhigurah.

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