Male to Maafushi Island by Ferry or Speedboat – Which is Better?

by Jackie
A blue, red, and yellow ferry at the Male’s Henveiru Ferry Terminal dock

If you’re traveling between Maldives’s Male and Maafushi Island, there are two ways to get there – by public ferry or speedboat. 

What is the difference between the two? We’re sharing the differences between the public ferry and speedboat options from Male to Maafushi and the pros and cons for each. 

For budget travelers, the cheapest transportation option is the public ferry. Taking the speedboat is the more expensive alternative. 

What did we do? Our flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Male landed after 8:00pm, so we spent one night in Male. We needed to go to Maafushi the next day and took the public ferry. We would recommend it!

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Public Ferry – The cheapest and most local way

This is the route that we took and it was so easy to do on our own. 

The public ferry departs from Male’s Henveiru Ferry Terminal, located on the northeast of the island, and arrives at Maafushi’s port. Everyone pays for the ticket at the ticket office and then waits for the ferry to arrive.  

Check the ferry schedule online here and change the dropdown menu with departure from Male. 

A blue, yellow, and red ferry approaches the Male’s Henveiru Ferry Terminal dock

This is the government public ferry


Top Reasons to Consider (Pros)

  • It’s affordable at 53 Maldivian Rufiyaa ($3.50 USD) per person one-way. It’s the same price for locals and tourists. 
  • Buy tickets on the day of departure. It’s recommended to buy the ticket 30 minutes to 1 hour before departure. 
A Ticketing and Information area to buy tickets for the public ferry at Male’s Henveiru Ferry Terminal

Buy the tickets for the Male to Maafushi public ferry at Male’s Henveiru Ferry Terminal

  • It’s a slow and comfortable speed, so the chances of getting seasick is low. We ended up taking naps on the boat due to the gentle rocking on the ferry. 
  • There are plenty of seats available.  
Rows of seats with blue fabric inside the Maldives public ferry from Male to Maafushi

Here is the main seating area for the ferry.

  • The ferry is larger so you can stretch your legs and walk around.
Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, sticks her head outside of the window area of the Male to Maafushi public ferry and a blurry view of Maafushi Island in the background

We’re getting closer to Maafushi Island


Things to Think About (Cons)

  • The schedule is limited as the ferry departs once or twice per day except Fridays. According to the ferry schedule, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday depart from Male at 10:00am and arrive at Maafushi at 11:30am. Or, there is another ferry scheduled every day except Friday which departs Male at 3:00pm and arrives at Maafushi at 4:40pm. 
  • The ferry leaves on time or a few minutes early, so get to the ferry waiting area at least 15-30 minutes before departure. 
  • The ferry may get canceled due to poor weather. 
  • It takes longer to arrive from Male to Maafushi – about 1.5 hours one way.
  • No toilets onboard. 
  • It can be more crowded, especially on weekends, as locals use the ferry.

Speedboat – The higher cost and faster way

You can easily take a speedboat from Male Island or the Velana International Airport (Male Airport) to Maafushi. 

We haven’t taken the speedboat between Male and Maafushi, but we took speedboats as a part of our snorkeling excursions and used iCom Tours for one of our tours. So here is the information based on our research and experience. 


Top Reasons to Consider (Pros)

  • Speedboats depart every day and more frequently. If you’re using iCom Tours, the Airport – Male – Maafushi route depart every 1 hour 45 minutes. The first departure is at 9:15am from the airport and last departure is 10:00pm. 
  • It’s faster to arrive in Maafushi – only 45 minutes.
  • The boats may have a small toilet onboard. 
  • There are fewer crowds as the speedboat holds up to 28 people.
  • You can reserve a seat online, so you don’t need to worry about missing a seat. 

Things to Think About (Cons)

  • It costs more than the public ferry as tickets start at $20-$25 per person one-way.
  • Speedboat goes faster at 30-35 mph so you’ll feel the waves and the boat’s bounciness. You may encounter seasickness. 
  • If you miss your speedboat, you’ll need to pay for another ticket. So, give yourself extra travel time to make it to your speedboat’s scheduled departure time. 

Which Way is Better?

It depends on your time constraints and budget. 

If you have more time and want to experience a local way of traveling, taking the local ferry is a fantastic option. Besides the Male to Maafushi route, we took the local ferry from the airport to Male and from Fulidhoo – Maafushi – Male and didn’t have any issues. 

If you need to arrive at Maafushi faster, then taking the speedboat is a suitable option. 

Check out our Maafushi posts below (coming soon!):

  • Why Visit Maafushi
  • What to Do on Maafushi
  • Where to Eat on Maafushi
  • Whale Shark Snorkeling Experience
  • Shipwreck Snorkeling Experience
  • Transportation from Maafushi to Fulidhoo
  • A Fun Maafushi Itinerary

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A blue, red, and yellow public ferry which does the Maldives's Male City to Maafushi route

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