Public Ferry Boat Transfers in the Maldives

Public Ferry Boat Transfers in the Maldives
Date : 10 Mar 2021
Categories: Maldives Islands

The archipelago nation has reopened its borders to international travellers and is adjusting to the new normal. The approved transit tourist facilities are adhering to the guidelines given by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the Ministry of Tourism. There are a number of rules and regulations for both, the tourist authorities and tourists. Every instruction should be followed if you want to have a safe vacation in the island nation. 

In this article, we present important details about transfers in the Maldives via public ferries. If you are travelling to the country anytime soon, then go through these details to have a better understanding.

What is a public ferry boat transfer?

 Also known as slow dhoni transfer, transfers via public ferry boat is the cheapest among all transfer modes in the Maldives. The fare for this transfer ranges between $5 to 30 USD per head one way from Male to the selected local island. You should know in advance that these ferries provide transfers to only local islands and not to the Maldives resorts. The slow ferry dhoni is actually quite slow compared to a speedboat. For instance, if a speedboat takes half an hour to reach a place, then a dhoni will take nearly one hour and thirty minutes.

Government base company MTCC operates public ferries for the locals around the island nation. It connects only local islands. It is the oldest type of mode of transfer in the island nation.


Basic technical details of dhoni

  • Speed: 12 Kn to 20 Kn/hour
  • Capacity: 50 to 100 passengers 
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Engine: Yanma
  • Average length: 60 feet

What does public ferry dhoni look like?

A multi-purpose sailboat having a motor or lateen sails, dhoni or doni (pronounced d?ni) is extensively used in the Maldives. Resembling a dhow, a traditional Arab sailing vessel, its usage within the multi-island nation has been quite crucial. The traditional dhoni is one of the oldest known sea vessels. Many of these were built with coconut palm timber. In earlier times, the sailing dhoni was used by Maldivian fishermen. Many of them switched to a mechanised dhoni during the industrial revolution.

Maldives ferry booking

Public ferries cannot be booked online. You have to directly make a booking at the ferry counter in Male city. In case you want to book an advance, then you can contact your local guesthouse or hotel to reserve tickets for you. There may be extra charges for that as owing to the demands of the local people, most of the ferries may be fully booked. 

Frequency of Maldivian public ferry schedules

The public ferries operate on several atolls and islands. These are- North Male atoll, South Male atoll, North Alif atoll, Vaavu atoll, and South Alif atoll area. These ferries do not sail to any resorts in the Maldives. However, some guesthouses come under its network. The public ferries operate mostly three to four times a week, and it is very difficult to fulfill the requirements of all tourists. They run infrequently and also, there may be a lot of cancellations owing to the bad weather conditions. Thus, it is not ideal if you are there for a vacation. 

Getting around the Maldives

From Male, public ferries operate four times a week to some islands in the capital city and Alif atoll. Most of them are inter-atoll ferries, that is, ferries running within the atoll. For instance, you will not find apublic ferry to Baa atoll from Male but inside Baa atoll, but inter-atoll ferry connections will be available. 

Things to keep in mind before choosing a public ferry boat

Things to keep in mind before choosing a public ferry boat 

  • Public ferries operate to only local islands and not to any resorts. Thus, you can reach only those guesthouses and hotels via these that are located on the local island. 
  • It is the cheapest mode of transfer in the Maldives. 
  • All the public ferry terminals are located in Male. It takes nearly fifteen minutes via taxi to reach the ferry port. 
  • Public boats operate only during the daytime. 
  • There is a toilet facility in public ferries. 
  • The chances of seasickness due to unfavorable weather conditions are high in public ferries. 
  • There are no business class or premium seats available on a public ferry.
  • Per person is allowed to carry two luggage items and a handbag. Any extra bag will be chargeable.
  • If you are travelling in a big group, for instance, 40 to 100 people, then you can hire a private dhoni or boat. It is ideal for excursions such as snorkeling, sandbank trips, etc.
  • These ferries operate from Male only. You will not find any inter atoll ferry connecting to the capital city. 
  • There is no air-conditioning facility in the public ferries but the journey will still be comfortable owing to the natural breeze.

List of islands connected by Male and inter atoll ferry islands

List of islands connected by Male and inter atoll ferry islands

Male atoll north and south area island ferry routes

  • Maafushi Island
  • Thulusdhoo Island
  • Guraidhoo Island
  • Gulhi Island
  • Himmafushi Island
  • Huraa Island
  • Dhiffushi Island
  • Kaashidhoo Island
  • Gaafaru Island
  • Rasdhoo Island
  • Ukulhas Island
  • Mathiveri Island
  • Bodufulhadhoo Island
  • Thoddoo Island
  • Himandhoo Island
  • Feridhoo Island
  • Maalhos Island
  • Thoddoo Island
  • Rakeedhoo island
  • Keyodhoo island
  • Felidhoo island
  • Thinadhoo island
  • Fulidhoo island
  • Maafushi island
  • Mandhoo island
  • Kunburudhoo Island
  • Mahibadhoo Island
  • Hangnaameedhoo Island
  • Omadhoo Island
  • Fenfushi Island (interconnect)
  • Maamigili Island (interconnect)
  • Dhidhdhoo Island (interconnect)
  • Dhigurah Island (interconnect)
  • Dhangethi Island (interconnect)

List of atolls inter atoll ferry to islands (do not connect to Male City)

  • Baa Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Dhaal Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Faafu Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Meemu Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Noonu Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Shaviyani Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Haa Dhaal Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Haa Alif Atoll Ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Raa Atoll ferry (only inter atoll ferry)
  • Lhaviyani Atoll ferry (only inter atoll ferry)

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