Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Maldives Day 4 - Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa

22 Jan - With a night well rested, we started the day with some some sea sport activity called Kayaking since we can try all non-motorized sports activity for free with our Gold package. Arm with sunblock all over our body, we reached the sea sports center, grabbed ourselves a Kayak and into the sea we go! 

A Centara staff helping us to prepare the Kayak

Photo taken off the bottom somewhere in the middle of the sea while Kayaking

Well, *mds* soon says she is tired from the rowing and we decided to head back to shore after about 20 mins out. Haha, she sure don't like the sun! =p When we got back to our villa, we took advantage of the good morning sun and start snapping photos!

Our rented snorkeling equipment (Just for show)

Teddy Bear enjoying the sun and sea

Lunch time at the Italian Restaurant

Taking more photos of scenic spot on the way back to villa

Since the weather is so nice to us (Not raining), we decided to go snorkeling again to make full use of the snorkeling mask we purchased and brought from Singapore. This time, the sea is much clearer compared to the day before and there are more fishes!

Fish swimming around the reefs

Caught this fella resting on our villa steps. It decided to give way to us and went hiding at the side

Artistic shot (Not sure how we did it though)

After snorkeling, we spent some quiet time reading His words before preparing to go for our dinner at the Middle East Restaurant. Little did *mds* know that there is a surprise for her! Well, we expected it to arrive at 8pm, but the staff brought it to our room around 7pm.

Happy belated Anniversary!

Anyway, we left the cake and champagne in the room after taking some photos and proceed for our dinner. In summary, for our Middle Eastern meal, it only looked nice but doesn't taste nice. Well, I guess the chef is not up to the mark....Felt bloated after the meal... since we thought it is not nice to leave so many food untouched... lol

Grilled chicken

Lamb patty

Fruits Platter

Ice cream Sorbet - Strawberry, Lime and Basel

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Maldives Day 3 - Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa

21 Jan - Today is the day we are finally going to our long awaited resort at Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa. After we have our breakfast and lunch, we bid farewell to The Somerset Hotel around noon time and got onto their complimentary transport back to the airport, where we went straight to counter 12 to check in our luggage and wait for our complimentary speed boat ride (We got it free from booking direct at the resort website, else it is chargeable). Can't wait to check into our room and swim in the crystal clear waters!

Speed boat ride to Centara Ras Fushi

The speed boat we are in

The check in at the reception is pretty smooth. One person will be in charge of a couple or group to explain the resort rules and regulation. If you bought their Gold Package (Full Board All in package, which is highly recommended. The Ala Cart prices here are very inflated), they will explain to you again what you will be getting. I will be listing some of the significant items on the Gold Package list below. One very important point is to book your lunch and dinner reservation at the various restaurant  on your arrival as sitting are limited. They have the Thai Restaurant (Suan Bua), Italian Restaurant (La Brezza) and Middle Eastern Restaurant (Al Khaimah). Personally, after trying all 3 restaurants, we felt the Italian is the best among the three. You can give the Ocean Restaurant a skip as they are only serving buffet style food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After the explanation is done, they will transport you and your luggage to the room assigned to you!

Centara Ras Fushi Gold Package Significant Benifits
  • Complimentary wireless internet access throughout the resort.
  • Daily replenished minibar service including a selection of snacks, soft drinks and mixers, mineral water, chocolates, beer, and two miniature spirits. Minibar is stocked once per day. Additional stock will incur a charge.
  • Open Bar service is available daily from 11:00 until 23:00 hrs. at the resort’s 3 bars - at the exception of Waves Pool Bar where beverages are served from 10:00 until 18:00 hrs. Beverages comprise all house pouring brands, wines (red, white, and sparkling), draught beer and a bottled, premium spirits, and a selection of cocktails, as well as still water, soft drinks, filter coffee and tea selection, coffee and juices.
  • Snorkelling equipment and water sports equipment including canoes, pedals, and rental of windsurfing equipment. Windsurfing lessons are chargeable.
  • Unrestricted dining: Guests have the freedom to order from the à la carte menus without any credit restriction for lunch or dinner at Suan Bua or La Brezza (excludes some premium dishes which are available with additional charges). Guests can also dine à la carte for dinner at Al Khaimah (must be booked in advance to avoid disappointment). Available during regular restaurant opening hours with a prior reservation.
  • Daily spa credits of USD 50.- per villa to redeem at SPA Cenvaree. Credits may be accumulated and used against spa treatments in SPA Cenvaree (excludes Spa Retail products). Credits cannot be refunded or exchanged for cash.
  • Guests can enjoy up to 3 dives per villa, per week (up to 3 times per 7 days) as an alternative to spa treatment on selected days. (terms and conditions apply).
  • Two pieces of regular laundry washing and pressing, per villa per day.

On the way to our villa over water!

Our room - 230

Bathroom in the villa

Bedroom to be issued with life jackets for snorkelling

Our Jacuzzi and sun bath mats overlooking the crystal clear waters.

Steps to the sea

The first thing we do after check in is to walk to the diving center to loan their snorkelling equipment. We thought we need the flippers for ease of snorkelling but it later proved to us it is more of a hindrance than help. To loan you the snorkelling equipment, you will need to pass their swimming test, which is to swim in the sea for about 5 meters with everything on. Don't ask me why but it is their resort rule. Final advise: you don't need the flippers for snorkelling. With everything set, we brought our underwater camera and into the sea we go!

The sea today is a bit milky as there are tiny sediments floating around, so the pictures are not that clear.

We did see occasional fishes swimming by....

Some long beak fish?

Catch this fella before it zoom off into the distance

Dinner at Suan Bua, sitting beside a star lit pool

Live band to accompany your dinner

Truth be told, the Thai food here does not taste Thai to us... Hahaha

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Maldives Day 2 - Exploring Male

20 Jan - Since we arrived on a late night flight, in order not to waste our time at the resort, we decided to stay over at Male island and do our self exploration for a day. Male island by itself is not big, probably about 3 km by 2 km, with most of the attractions concentrated on its northern shore. 1 day will be more than enough for you to walk one round the island and take lots of pictures!

Started our day with a breakfast at The Somerset Hotel

Republic Square in the morning

Masjidh Al Sulthan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam - Islamic Centre & mosque with golden domes opened in 1984, with conference hall & Islamic library

Shaheedh Hussain Adam Building with a big Maldivian flag

Fresh catch of the day at the Fish Market (Size of the fish is huge!)

Rasfannu - Artificial beach with jogging track, swimming & fishing areas, plus barbecues, swings & showers

Tsunami Monument - Steel memorial adorned with spheres representing those who lost lives in Boxing Day tsunami in 2004

When we got back to the hotel around noontime to escape the burning sun, we got a surprise!

Victory Monument - To tribute those who shed their blood to protect the civilians of Maldives from the terrorist attack on 3rd of November 1988

Muleeaage - Ornate house built for Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III in 1906, & now Maldivian president's office

China friendship bridge connecting Male island and Hulhumale

Republic Square at night

Overall, there are still a lot of construction going on on Male island. The landscape will probably change in a few years time, with bigger buildings coming up along the north shore. With a fruitful day spent and tired from all the walking, we retired for the day. For the meals, it is highly recommended to stick to their fish dish, which are extremely tasty. Their 2 most common fishes are Tuna and Reef Fish. For the rest like chicken... you can skip it, I just feel they overcook the meat... Haha. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Maldives Data Plan and Tips

Yup, here is the plan available at Velana International Airport which travelers can buy once they go out of the arrival gates. It is recommended to pick Dhiraagu as they are the biggest operator in Maldives and they cover almost all the islands. Even though your resort might have wifi connection, they may be weak or limited at times (like what I had experienced), so I highly recommend to get a data plan to stay connected throughout your stay.

For the available plans, they have 3GB at USD$16 and 15GB at USD$22. The staff will help you to set up your phone, so do not worry. For us, we bought the 3GB plan and used it most of the time for Goggle Map navigation on Male island and play Pokemon Go for our 5 days 4 night stay. When we depart, we still have some unused data.

And Yes! We can confirm that Pokemon Go! is available on Maldives. They have plenty of Pokestops  on Male island and their gyms are easy to fight. 50 coins a day is almost guaranteed!

For local currency exchange, you can do it at the Bank of Maldives counter. Do remember to keep the receipt if you intend to change back the currency before you depart. For the accepted currency, they will accept USD, SGD, and some other major currencies. RMB is not accepted, so to be safe, please arrive here with USD.

Hope the above information helps.

Maldives Day 1 - Departing Changi, Hello Male

19 Jan - A trip to Maldives has been a dream trip which I owed to *mds* for a long time and finally, He has made it happened. I managed to secure my leave dates, book a flight at promotional rate and obtained a resort package that is within my budget. Best of all, the operator of the resort is one of the hotel brand that is used by my current company, so I will be getting their member points to redeem for discounts later on. =) From the numerous reviews I have read, Maldives is known for their crystal clear waters and relaxing environment, so I will be going there for our belated Honeymoon, chill, relax and have fun snorkeling in their waters!

I have read that there will be a new Japan Gourmet Hall opening in Terminal 2 about 5 months ago and that is where we will be heading for our dinner before boarding our flight.

(Photo grabbed from Straits Times website)

Actual dining hall

There are not many stalls in the hall, just about 5 stalls which does not serve any appetizing food in my opinion. The concept is like Ramen Champion style, where diners will be issued a token at the entrance to order their food at the stalls, and pay for their meal at the cashier before they exit the area. I tried their ramen and it taste weird. Definitely will not be going back here again.

Safely arrived in Male at around 10pm local time and we went straight to the hotel counter (Counter 43) at the arrival area for our complimentary transport to Male main island.

Before exiting the airport, we make sure to visit the local telcom (Dhiraagu) outside the arrival area  to buy our data card for Internet roaming and Google Map navigation, in case we get lost tomorrow. Haha. The price is not expensive (I will share in the next post), so visitors from Singapore do not need to whack their brain in getting a wifi egg since there are not a lot of operators providing Maldives coverage back home and even if they do, the price plan is way too expensive. The staff at the counter will help you to setup your phone.

The hotel room where we will be staying for 2 nights. It is large with a living room area and they secured our ferry ride from the airport to the main island and got us a taxi to bring us straight to the hotel! Actually, if you walk... its about 5 mins, but the taxi ride took about 10 mins as it drove one big round the island. LOL.