Complete guide to Gulhi island, Maldives in 2024

The 1,192 islands that make up the Maldives archipelago are arranged in different atolls, or small island groups. The country is a well-liked travel destination because of its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and tropical climate.

The Maldives islands, which are divided into two groups—public and private—offer the best in terms of luxury, culture, and complete immersion in the way of life there. Moreover, this idea allows guests to reserve a Maldivian vacation according to their own spending limits and tastes.

In the early decades of the archipelago's tourism industry, visitors were limited to staying on private islands. But when the government approved the building of guesthouses in 2009, everything was different.

Nowadays, visiting a public island is the best option for tourists looking to experience a low-cost trip to the Maldives while learning about real life. And Gulhi is among the most popular inhabited islands in the Maldives for vacationers.

Concerning Gulhi

The tiny fishing island of Gulhi, which lies 21 kilometers south of Velana International Airport, has white sand beaches and an abundance of marine life. With just 900 permanent residents, it is one of the Kaafu Atoll's least populated isles. Gulhi, which is close to the island of Maafushi, is a great place for visitors to interact with locals and learn about Maldivian culture.

The island, which is 670 by 230 meters in size, has a mosque, a few minimarts, cafes, souvenir shops, and a bashi playground. Nevertheless, there are no ATMs, so daily expenses must be paid with USD or Rufiyaa, the Maldivian currency. The nearest ATM can be found in Maafushi, but the transaction fee may be a little pricey. Fortunately, a few reputable eateries and inns in Gulhi take credit cards.

The majority of people on the island make their living from fishing and boat building. While some fishing vessels work every day, others go out to sea for days at a time. Considering its proximity to Malé, Northside of Gulhi boasts the oldest dockyard in the Maldives that is still in operation.

Gulhi both now and in the 1980s

It's interesting to note that Gulhi was a well-liked travel destination prior to the mid-1980s, when outsiders were prohibited from accessing private islands. Numerous bed and breakfasts on the island are reported to have hosted hundreds of visitors.

The last ten years have witnessed a gradual return of Gulhi's former splendor. As Maafushi rises to prominence as one of the Maldives' most popular public islands, Gulhi serves as the more sedate, peaceful, and quiet neighbor.

The term "Gulhi" refers to a tiny earthen clay pot that Maldivians use to carry water in a dhoni, for those interested in onomatology.

Boat in Maldives

How to get to Gulhi

Depending on the cost or time of arrival at the airport, tourists can choose between public or private transportation to get from Malé to Gulhi. The following are the options for travel:

Public ferry: The most affordable option is the MTCC public ferry. Route 311 ferry makes stops at Gulhi first, then at other South Malé Atoll islands. It departs at 3:00 PM from the Villingili/MTCC terminal and arrives in Gulhi by 4:15 PM. At 8:00 AM, the ferry departs the island for the return journey. The cost of public transportation is $3 per person, and on Fridays and Mondays, there are no services.

Speedboat schedule: Tropic Xpress operates speedboats that leave for Gulhi at 12:30 and 4:45 PM. The trip costs $25 to $30 per person and takes 25 to 30 minutes. From Gulhi, speedboats depart for Malé at 7:45 AM and 1:30 PM.

Private speedboat: Travelers who prefer to go at their own pace can rent a private speedboat. A personal boat ride costs about $170 per way.

The Gulhi island is not very large in terms of transportation; walking from one corner to the other takes about half a kilometer. Motor vehicles are not used on the island because there are only dirt roads. In an hour, you could easily cover all the landmarks and take a foot tour of the entire area. An additional option for exploring the island is to rent or borrow a bicycle from your guesthouse in Gulhi.

Activities in Gulhi

It's common for first-time visitors to Gulhi to be taken aback by the sheer volume of events and activities available. These excursions not only keep tourists busy, but they also offer unparalleled insight into local culture.

Take a day trip to the beach.

Gulhi has distinct beaches for residents and visitors, just like the majority of public islands in the Maldives. When visiting North Beach, one must wear modest clothing in accordance with Islamic law.

But South Beach allows visitors to wear bikinis and offers plenty of sunbeds. At the shops or guesthouses nearby, you can also rent jet skis or snorkel gear so you can explore the house reef, which begins about 200 meters offshore.

Go surfing

Gulhi offers easy access to some of the top surfing locations in the Maldives, making it the perfect choice for both experienced and novice surfers. Reachable from the beach on a surfboard, you can catch one swell off the reef.

Another well-known left-hand break in the area is called Guru, after a guesthouse in Gulhi. A short boat ride gets you to two more challenging favorites, Twin Peaks and Quarters.

Travel to Maafushi.

In the archipelago, Maafushi is perhaps the most organized public island, making it a popular destination for tourists. Almost three times the size of Gulhi, it offers a variety of eateries, lodging options, hotels, and water sports.

Visitors have two options for visiting Maafushi: either spend the night, see the sunrise, and take a public boat back. The distance between the two islands can also be traveled in just 30 minutes by public ferry.

Take pleasure in diving

The South Malé Atoll is well-known for its kandus, or overwater sea decks, and pelagic (open sea) diving. The island's Adventure Diving center offers a number of trips to nearby destinations, including Guraidhoo Kandu, Embudu Kandu, Losfushi Corner, Kuda Giri Wreck, and Kadooma Caves.

You might see reef sharks, barracudas, Hawksbill turtles, eagle and sting rays, and a variety of other fish during the environmentally friendly dives. 


Take a look at some night fishing.

Fishing trips depart from most hotels and guest houses a few hours before sundown. Depending on their preferences, visitors can rent a dhoni or a speedboat. The crew provides hooks, lines, and sinkers to individuals once the boat has found a good location close to the reef. When you return for dinner, the kitchen staff cooks whatever fish you catch for you.

Fishing at night is a very special experience. It's also easy enough for anyone to participate in. But please make the travel arrangements through your Gulhi guesthouse or another approved location. In this manner, the boat transports you to a designated area of the ocean where fishing is permitted by law.

Restaurants in Gulhi

Gulhi is a popular tourist destination with a number of eateries offering a variety of full-course meals and snacks. The food is fresh and locally sourced, and the atmosphere is nearly always idyllic. 

Tropical Plate

The Tropic Tree Maldives hotel's on-site eatery, Tropic Platter, is situated not far from Gulhi's southern tip. It provides courtyard seating in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

The restaurant serves a variety of dishes, including Indian, Chinese, and Continental, and is open from 8 AM to 10 PM. In addition, visitors can ask for terrace dining options here, where they can eat while taking in a panoramic view of the island.

Fulhoi Dining & Restaurant

The Hotel Fulhoi, which is located in the heart of the island, features an on-site restaurant that serves seafood and dishes from Europe and India. The restaurant offers both indoor and rooftop seating, with the latter being particularly popular given the tropical climate of the Maldives.

The menu features traditional dishes like fried rice, spaghetti, tuna curry, and grilled reef fish. In addition, the restaurant offers soft drinks, flavored milkshakes, tea, and coffee.

It's important to remember that public islands in the Maldives prohibit alcohol use.

Top Beach and Accommodation in Gulhi

Premier Beach, well-known for its north waterfront location, has an exterior that resembles a ramshackle shack. Nonetheless, the dining area is quite hospitable, featuring a number of wooden tables arranged by the windows, outdoors, and indoors.

The menu features a variety of seafood and Italian dishes, such as chicken pizza, octopus fried rice, spaghetti aglio olio, and tuna fried noodles. Guests can order a continental platter that includes eggs and bread for breakfast.

If not, they can choose from a variety of Maldivian regional dishes like mas huni, a dry dish made with coconut, tuna, onions, and green chilies, and roshi, a flatbread.

Cafe Dhilakani

Dhilakani Cafe, a well-liked restaurant in a small street that serves snacks, rice dishes, drinks, and ice cream, is close to Gulhi Youth Center.

The menu features a number of well-liked dishes, including fish and chips, tuna omelet, tuna soup, and chicken kothuroshi. When visitors have inquiries about the island or the food, the welcoming cafe staff is happy to assist them.

The Coffee Shop in the Shadows

The charming little restaurant Hideout Coffee Shop has a grey exterior, adorable graffiti on the wall outside, and a striking dark sign.

It is without a doubt the place to go in Gulhi for coffee lovers. Here, you can sample fresh brews, peanut milkshakes, mango smoothies, and virgin mojitos.

The coffee shop also serves a variety of comfort foods if you're feeling hungry. To mention a few, there is tuna pizza, tandoori submarines, Greek salad, and lemon chicken burger.

Best hotels and guesthouses in Gulhi

Gulhi's Ayala Ocean View

One of Gulhi's best guesthouses, Ayala Ocean View is close to Bikini Beach. As the name implies, visitors to the establishment unwind in luxurious rooms with stunning views of the sea.

The guesthouse is comprised of three stories and twenty dwellings. All promise a comfortable ambiance and have a modern appearance. Free WiFi, TVs, electric kettles, and private bathrooms are among the amenities offered in the rooms.

The hotel also features a restaurant called Benha and a rooftop terrace. Diners can choose from an all-day menu featuring regional and global cuisine. In addition, inhabitants desiring to discover the numerous wonders of the Maldives can request the staff to plan outings such as fishing, scuba diving, and boat rides.

Another well-liked guesthouse in Gulhi is Beach Stone Hotel, which is well-known for its welcoming atmosphere and proximity to Bikini Beach. With a charming exterior, the hotel has rooms with views of the ocean and is conveniently located just ten minutes from Gulhi's floating bar.

In addition, the rooms feature an island theme and are large, bright, and colorful. The accommodations have air conditioning, desks, chairs, WiFi, private bathrooms, and safe deposit boxes inside.

Beach Stone's in-house restaurant serves a breakfast and dinner buffet. Additionally, the staff can plan private events like barbeques and sandbank picnics, as well as beach diners.


Gulhi is a tranquil haven in the Maldives, offering visitors looking for leisure and cultural immersion an unmatched experience with its tranquil beaches, underwater marvels, and a tasteful fusion of tradition and contemporary tourism.

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