5 Places With Overwater Bungalows That’ll Have You Convinced You’re in the Maldives

Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort

The Maldives is best known for the brilliant blues of its water and its resorts with overwater bungalows that snake across the surface. But what the archipelagic state in South Asia is also known for is how expensive it is to travel there.

Due to the remoteness of the area, there are no direct flights to the Maldives from Australia. Add to that the cost of staying in nice accommodation and you’re likely going to shell out upwards of $500 a night.

With all that in mind, you’ll be pleased to know: Maldives-like destinations do exist. There are plenty of other spots around the world that mimic the Maldives’ overwater resorts and have similar-coloured water. Ahead, we round up a few of our favourite Maldives alternatives — without the steep cost.

Related: 10 of the Best Kid-Friendly Resorts Currently Making a Splash in Fiji

Related: Want to Escape the Crowds in Fiji? Try These 5 Underrated South Pacific Islands Instead

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands in central South Pacific. It has no traffic lights and no buildings taller than coconut trees. Neighbouring island Aitutaki is where you’ll find overwater bungalow resort: Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort, an adults-only retreat with complimentary stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and push bikes as well as an on-site spa.

Sabah, Malaysia

Sabah, a Malaysian state in the northern part of the island of Borneo, is home to several overwater accommodations ranging from budget to luxe. These include Gayana Marine Resort in Pulau Gaya, budget-friendly Scuba Tiger Semporna Holiday Resort in Semporna and Mabul Water Bungalows in Kota Kinabalu. As Sabah is known for its incredible diving, most of the resorts are geared towards divers with some room rates including diving sessions.

Gayana Marine Resort

Palawan, Philippines

Officially called the ‘Province of Palawan’, Palawan is an archipelago in Phillippines region of Mimaropa. Here, you’ll find quaint fishing villages, clear, shallow water and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The province is home to a handful of overwater bungalow resorts. El Nido Lagen Island Resort has just 18 overwater bungalows so is ideal for privacy. Huma Island Resort is a great option for divers. And Cauayan Island Resort has a few 4-person overwater bungalows with private pools.

El Nido Lagen Island Resort

Bedarra Island, Australia

A 30-minute boat or helicopter ride away from Mission Beach in Queensland lies Bedarra Island, home to just one resort: Bedarra Island Resort. Despite the island comprising 45 hectares of tropical rainforest, it has just 12 overwater bungalows and hosts a maximum of 20 people. It’s worth noting that as the resort is all-inclusive and factors in two people per room, rates start at $1,890 per night. In other words, it’s not cheap. But considering the fact it’s within Australia so will save you big on flights and time, it’s a bargain Maldives alternative.

Bedarra Island

Port Vila, Vanuatu

Port Vila is the harbourside capital of Vanuatu. The Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu can be found here — it’s an affordable choice with 148 overwater bungalows atop a lagoon. Another overwater bungalow here, located in Erakor Lagoon, is Warwick Le Lagon which, among its assortment of room types, features four overwater bungalows. Iririki Vanuatu Resort, a three-minute ferry ride from Port Vila, is set on 28 hectares of tropical landscapes and has two pools. Its overwater bungalows have balconies with views of Port Vila Bay, the surrounding rainforest and mountain ranges.

Port Vila Vanuatu

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