Maldives – day III, last day recap and some tips

If you see a postcard with a bird’s eye view of huts made of nipa and bamboo connected by wooden foot bridges lying on a coral blue sea shore, you know its Maldives.

speedboat going to Centara
speedboat going to Centara
Centra Resort, Maldives
Centra Resort, Maldives

We spent our third day in one of the known resorts in the country — the Centara RasFushi Resort. The owner of the Inn ‘Mazin’ gave us the idea that we could do a day tour of a lot of resorts in Maldives. It cost us six 100sgd per person. The day tour consists of a speed boat ride to bring you to the resort and back to the inn, buffet lunch at Oceans Restaurant, unlimited drinks and use of swimming pool in Waves Pool Bar, and access to some areas of the resort not including access near the water villas.

Centara RasFushi Resort
me at Centara RasFushi Resort

It was so hot that day but it didn’t stop the girls from exploring the resort while I relaxed on a sun bed fronting the sea. There were Korean couples doing pre-nuptial photos by themselves with the help of a tripod and trigger and some props like balloons. There was even a small wedding held in a secluded area of the beach.

the girls at Centara
the girls at Centara

Waves Pool Bar was generous with alcohol in our drinks. Note that you can only get alcohol In Maldives from resorts bars as it is a 100% Muslim country. It was relaxing and tiring at the same time. It’s a shame that we didn’t stay in a resort for a night, it’s a must.

beach front
beach front

Since dinner is not included on the day tour at Centara, our tour guide brought us to Dinemore Restaurant. It’s a Sri Lankan food chain that serves pizza, submarine sandwiches and other dishes. The submarine though not so stuffed taste nice and the price is not bad. For tomorrow, i don’t think we can do any activities as the sea planes are fully booked. Anyway, we don’t have much time as our flight is at 12nn. If you are planning of going to Maldives, I listed below some of activities and tips that I think would be useful.

Activities and tours you can do in Maldives

Male’ Tour – a transfer from local ferry to Male’ was accompanied by a guide. You can discover the history of the capital city and visit places including the Fish Market, the Friday Mosque, The National Museum and Sultan Park. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore Male’, buy souvenirs, or just watch the world go by from a local coffee house. Cost per person is $10.00. Actually, if you would do this by yourselves, free and easy you just need tobpay for the ferry ride to/from Male.

Island Hopping – 3-hr trip to 2 local islands for 2 persons is US $200.00. For 3 to 6 persons, it’s US $85.00 per person. Maldives is composed of almost 2,000 islands, just talk to your tour guide which are possible to go to from the island you were staying.

Dolphin Watching – 2-hr trip for 2 persons is US $100.00. For 2 to 6 persons, it’s US $45.00 per person. I haven’t seen a dolphin in my life but I was thinking I might when I scuba dive so I didn’t join this tour. But when I asked my travel buddies how was the dolphin watching, their faces lighten up telling me they enjoy just waiting for the dolphins to come at sunset.

Kuda Bandos (Picnic Island) – Full day. For 2 persons, US $120.00. For 3 to 6 persons, US $45.00 per person (excluding entrance fee of US $11.00 per person) Kuda Bandos can be included in your island hop, know your options.

Submarine Tour – 45 minutes dive per person is $85.00. Round Trip Seaplane Ride — 45 minutes dive is $85.00 per person. For these activities try to book in advance, it’s really hard to get booked, they need atleast 8 people to do the trip.

Manta Snorkeling – 2-hr trip for 2 persons is US $130.00. For 3 to 6 persons, it’s US $60.00 per person. Snorkeling (Banana Reef, Kurumba House Reef and Coral Garden) is a 2-hr trip, for 2 persons it’s US $100.00. For 3 to 6 people, it’s US $45.00 per person. Some Tips: It’s cheaper if you book directly to the resort and find the resort you want to stay in a day in advance as some of the resorts we intended to visit were already full for the day. Same goes with the activities. If you want to dive it is cheaper if you go straight to the dive centers than when you book with your hotel. Tigerairways offers the cheapest flight from Singapore, for as low as less than 300 sgd. For this travel, I spent 1,200 sgd all in all (souvenir items I bought included).

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The sunny side of life – Maldives day II

Natz and I woke up early to have a glimpse of the sunrise in Hulhumale from the Inn’s roof deck. We had to be ready for scuba diving before 8am so we got ready before going to breakfast. Breakfast in Newtown Inn is a simple meal of the semi-spicy sausage, fried egg, a loaf of bread with jam and butter on the side and coffee. We wanted to load up for a long day in the ocean but there was no menu other than what they served so we just brought water and a snack.

Sunrise view from Newtown Inn

view from the room veranda

We reached ProScuba before 8am. The Taiwanese owner brought us to a bigger dive centre where all other scuba diving centres rent equipment for their clients. We waited for our turn to get the equipment we needed then headed to the bay to wait for our ferry. It was scorching hot already when we left for the ocean.

ferry finally came

On the ferry, it seemed like we were the only newbies in that trip. A girl dive instructor came to us and introduced herself but we ended up being handled by a Sri Lankan guy dive instructor named Sarath. He is a man of few words, he smiled when he introduced himself but I could feel that he was somewhat strict. I spend the travel time telling Natz of the fantastic experiences I had in Scuba Diving to make her feel good about trying it.

We got ready as soon as we approached the first Dive spot which is called the ‘Coral Reef.’ I was starting to get nervous and excited at the same time and I knew Natz felt the same though she was more nervous than excited. It was time to jump, Sarath went first and showed us how to do the Giant Stride. I followed, struggling a bit with the weight of the gear I was wearing. When it was Natz’s turn, she panicked and almost quit.

Bannerfish at Coral Reef

I was surprised, because I thought that the person who could swim well would be more confident in Scuba Diving but it really depends the person. I know Natz was thinking way forward like what if we die. Anyway, jumping into the ocean is the hardest part of Scuba Diving. Sarath tried to calm her when she floated on the water and I think she was just not used to breathing in and out of the regulator. Sarath instructed us to swim towards the shallow part of the sea to do the basic test.

Scuba Diving in Maldives

In Scuba Diving, a diver who is not PADI or SSI certified is restricted to do the Discover Scuba diving course, which is the entry level one. This meant that I always have to do the basic test which includes ‘Regulator Retrieval’ and ‘Mask Clearing’ underwater. Sarath had a hard time – others were already exploring the reef when he decided to stop the test because Natz and I had a hard time sinking. He said it might be because we were not breathing properly. We finally started moving and I tried to take a lot of photos to divert Natz’s attention from being scared.

Coral Reef Maldives

Eel in Coral Reef

What I love about scuba diving is that I find peace under the sea while being amazed with God’s wonderful creations. I saw some lobster, barracudas, sea cucumbers, anemones, parrot fish, etc. We girls got a few scratches from corals as the diving suits we were wearing were the short type. I didn’t find the dive site very interesting though, maybe because we didn’t go deeper than 10 meters. Sarath said the turtles are 15 meters ocean deep. Anyway, I was so proud of Natz for finishing the course alive, hehe.

Lion Fish in Coral Reef

Lobster in Coral Reef

Moving to the next destination, we sunbathed on the deck of the ferry while chatting with Sarath. I still wanted to dive but sadly they only brought enough tanks for what we registered. Sarath told me that he could accompany me in snorkeling on the next dive site instead. I can’t swim and I thought snorkelling with a life vest is boring, so good for me. We stopped at Kurumba Island and I was so amazed with the power of fins to make me float plus Sarath’s help. That site was way better than the first one.

Sarath and I

Sarath and Natz

Heading to Kurumba Island

There was a tank-like thing standing in the sea and below that was a school of fish. How I wish I dived in Kurumba instead. Aside from a lot of fishes, ever cute clown fishes, I saw a manta ray and a baby shark in Kurumba. It really made my day. Natz at the same time enjoyed snorkelling with just her goggles. She is a good swimmer and we were able to maximize our time underwater.

Fishes at Kurumba

Fishes at Kurumba Island

Kurumba Island

Kurumba Reef

The day was really tiring. Diving was like effortless workout and we didn’t even feel hungry after. The girls were not yet back from Island hopping when we came back to the inn so we went for an early dinner first. They arrived when we are about to go out to cycle. The bicycle seats were too high for us and they were really uncomfortable, so we ended up returning them in the Inn and took a stroll instead.

with a Sea Star

Before bedtime, we spent half an hour with the girls discussing what to do the next day. It was really hard to book for a sea plane and submarine ride so we all agreed to visit and stay in a resort for a day. It was a long day as expected, but it was another good diving experience to cherish.