Tag Archives: scuba diving

Best Local Island Maldives : Fuvahmulah Island

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Fuvahmulah Island

Fuvahmulah is an island and its own atoll, located in the South of the Maldives. The population is approximately 15,000 people and it is known as the only atoll to have one island.  Pronounced more like ‘formula’, it is a local island, not a resort island and therefore Maldivian laws and customs are more applicable here than in resort islands. As on all local islands, alcohol is prohibited and you cannot wear bikinis on the local beaches. However, Fuvahmulah locals are very relaxed and strict dress codes do not apply.  Fuvahmulah is not a well known tourist destination in the Maldives, although it is becoming increasingly popular for its dive sites and marine life.  

oceanic manta scsuba diving
Fuvahmulah – best local island in Maldives for scuba diving with oceanic manta rays

Fuvahmulah Dive Sites

Fuvahmulah is host to a huge range of marine life. In season, you can scuba dive with oceanic manta rays, thresher sharks, tiger sharks and whale sharks. It is also possible to see hammerhead sharks as well as other sharks like oceanic white tips and silver tips at different times of the year and depending how lucky you are. I feel we saw more megafauna in 3 days of diving than most people see in a lifetime.

Tiger Shark Diving Fuvahmulah

Tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is famous. It is the best dive site to go tiger shark diving in Maldives. The tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah have been around for a long time. They are used to feeding on the fish carcasses that the fishermen throw off the edge of the harbour at the end of their fishing day. Local dive centres and liveaboards now take advantage of this and feed fish heads to the tiger sharks just before entering the water.

Fuvahmulah Tiger Shark Dive

The ‘tiger zoo’ as the harbour dive site is nicknamed is not without its controversy. Some locals are angered at how this dive site now means that children cannot learn to swim in the safe area near the harbour as they had traditionally always done. Fuvahmulah has strong currents and big waves and other areas are not particularly safe to swim for beginners or young children.

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah


Fuvahmulah Accommodation

Because it is not a well-developed tourist destination, Fuvahmulah hotels are limited although it is a growing industry. I thoroughly recommend this Fuvahmulah guesthouse that we stayed in. Calyx Grand Fuvahmulah is clean, spacious and the staff are very helful (click here to view Calyx Grand Fuvahmulah on Agoda). Ask your Fuvahmulah dive centre for a pick up as it is a short truck ride to the harbour.

Fuvahmulah Diving – Fuvahmulah Dive Centre

There is a well known dive centre called Fuvahmulah Dive School (FDS) who we considering going with as we had many good recommendations. However, we chose Fuvahmulah Tiger Dive as we booked through a local friend and got very cheap dives because of this. One thing I recommend is asking if the dive school gets big group bookings. Some of the diving can be with big groups of Chinese or Indian divers and you may be expected to join dives with one of these large groups. We travelled as a group of 6 divers and therefore requested our own dive guide which was perfect for us. 


Cost of Diving in Fuvahmulah

Fuvahmulah is one of the cheapest places for budget diving in the Maldives – which makes no sense because the diving is so incredible! Expect to pay upwards from $40 per dive depending on how many dives you are planning to do and if you have your own equipment. As usual with diving packages, the more dives you book, the cheaper the cost of diving.  It is also possible to book Maldives diving package deals, with flights, accommodation and diving all organised for you. However, it is cheaper to book flights, accommodation and diving separately. It is also cheap to dive and travel to Fuvahmulah if you have a Maldives work permit as there are big discounts available.

How to travel to Fuvahmulah from Male, Maldives

Fuvahmulah island is located in the deep South of the Maldives, so you can fly to Fuvahmulah from Male, the capital. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes. At the time of writing, two airlines with a few flights a day fly from Male to Fuvahmulah. While the diving can be cheap, the flights aren’t always so compare different airlines to find a better rate, try Maldivian airline and Fly Me and Manta Air.


Best Dive Site in the Maldives

We spent most of our 8 dives on the same plateau, a dive site called Farikede, about 15 minutes from the harbour by dive boat. In terms of the marine life, it must be one of the best dive sites in the Maldives. We had approximately 30 oceanic manta ray sightings, 26 of which the amazing Manta Trust team managed to ID for us and we added 22 new mantas to their database. Read here for more about Manta Trust and the work they do. We also saw 3 whale sharks, one of whom was new to the Maldives Whaleshark Research Programme and we got to give her a name. On our last day we scuba dived with the biggest whale shark I have ever seen (approx 8-10m) and 2 thresher sharks.

The dive site depth ranges down to about 40m and we saw oceanic manta rays near the surface from the moment we jumped from the boat, all the way down to 40m.  The marine life here seemed extremely curious and mantas and whale sharks circled us multiple times, a true ocean encounter.


Diving in Fuvahmulah : Local Boat Dives

We scuba dived from a slow traditional boat, Maldivians call a ‘Dhoni’. The boat returned to the harbour after every dive so surface intervals are spent on land inbetween dives. A couple of times   Click here for my recommendations of what to take on a dive boat. 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Big fans of our dive boat


The best time to dive the Maldives – when to dive in Fuvahmulah

Diving is possible year round in Fuvahmulah. However, most people agree that diving between November and April is the best season for diving because of the chances of oceanic manta rays, whale sharks, thresher sharks and hammerheads. In rainy season, from June onwards the sea gets rough but the chance of hammerheads increases. The tiger shark dive is available year round.


Restaurants and Places to eat in Fuvahmulah

Real Breez restaurant is great because of the large balcony and good food. They serve great local food including vegetarian options and also the Indian cuisine. The cafe by the harbour is also good and it serves local food. I definitely recommend trying Kottu Roshi – a Maldivian twist on the traditional Sri Lankan dish. If you’re vegetarian make sure you say so and make it very clear that being vegetarian includes no meat and no fish as vegetarians are still a relatively new concept to the fish-heavy Maldivian diet. 

Maldives Local Island Travel Tip: Be prepared to wait a LONG time for food. This is not a resort island and we often had to wait over an hour (occasionally 2 hours!) for our food to appear. I recommend adapting to the slower pace of island life and also don’t wait until you are hungry to find a restaurant.


Things to Do in Fuvahmulah

  • Visit Fuvahmulah Thundi – a thundi is a Dhivehi word for the beach at the end of an island. The Fuvahmulah thundi is a large pebble beach on the island which includes a nearby restaurant
  • Visit the lakes – Fuvahmulah is an unusual island in the Maldives because it has freshwater lakes. You can visit and hire kayaks or pedalo boats to spend some time on one of the lakes as part of Fuvahmulah Nature Park.
  • Go to Addu – Addu also has some fantastic diving and it is accessible by boat from Fuvahmulah
  • Hot Spring with Mud Baths – Fuvahmulah has muddy hot springs where you can relax after a day of exciting scuba diving in the ocean

Maldives Liveaboard Diving

It is possible to dive on a liveaboard around Fuvahmulah. As I haven’t dived on a liveaboard I cannot comment on the experience. I will say that we loved being on the island and as the dive sites are all located near the shoreline, it was not necessary to pay for a luxury liveaboard when we could stay in a cheap guesthouse and do budget dives. 

Night Diving in the Maldives

Most Fuvahmulah dive centres do not offer night diving for safety reasons. The currents can be strong and I’d rather not meet a tiger shark at night time!

Have you visited Fuvahmulah yet? How was your experience? Where is the best diving in the Maldives for you?

For what to pack for a Maldives trip read my Maldives Packing List guide here

For what to take on a scuba diving holiday or dive boat trip read my Scuba Diving Packing List here

For more cheap diving in Maldives, read this scuba diving Maldives article here

 

Best Local Islands Maldives

Best Local Islands Maldives

There are many island contenders for best local island in the Maldives. There are 1125 islands across the Maldives and around 200 of these are inhabited and are divided into local islands and resort islands. The islands are grouped into atolls. Some of these are reachable by speedboat from Male Velana international airport and some of them require a second flight, either by expensive but awesome seaplanes or a domestic flight.

Photo of local island Thulusdhoo
Visit Thulusdhoo: One of the best local islands in Maldives – only 30 minutes from Male airport

Which Maldives island is the best?

There are so many amazing local islands in the Maldives that it can be hard to decide which Maldivian islands to visit. So far, I’ve spent my Maldives holidays on more than eight different local islands so here are my reviews for the best local islands in the Maldives.

Best local islands Maldives – Scuba Diving

Best local islands Maldives – Scuba Diving with Pelagics

There are so many great scuba diving spots in the Maldives but Fuvahmulah has to be the best island in Maldives for scuba diving. Fuvahmulah island has amazing pelagic ocean giants and you can see tiger sharks, whale sharks, oceanic mantas and thresher sharks. All of these ocean visitors make Fuvahmulah one of the best local islands for scuba diving. 

Fuvahmulah is a big island by Maldives standards, contains two freshwater lakes and requires a domestic flight from Male airport to get to Fuvahmulah. For my in depth guide to Fuvahmulah island read this article here.

oceanic manta scsuba diving
Fuvahmulah – best local island in Maldives for scuba diving with oceanic manta rays

Best local island in Maldives – Scuba Diving with Marine Life & Coral Reefs

Rasdhoo island is one of the best local islands to visit in the Maldives for scuba diving with a lot of marine life and pretty coral reefs. You can see reef mantas here as well as many different types of reef sharks and colourful coral making Rasdhoo one of the best Maldives island for diving. Read my full Guide to Rasdhoo island here.

Rasdhoo Island Views – best local islands Maldives

Best Island for Snorkeling Maldives

Maldives best island for snorkeling with manta rays

The best local island for snorkelling with manta rays will be to stay on a local island in Baa atoll such as Dharavandhoo. For everything you need to know about seeing manta rays in the Maldives, read my manta ray snorkelling blog post here.

underwater photo of snorkelling with a manta
Snorkel trips to see manta rays in the Maldives

Maldives best island for snorkeling with turtles

Thoddoo island is the best island to snorkel with turtles in the Maldives, just off of the bikini beach in Thoddoo. Eagle rays and tropical fish can also be seen. For my guide to Thoddoo island, read more here. 

Best local islands in Maldives for beautiful beaches

There are so many beautiful beaches in the Maldives that it is challenging to pick the best. Many Maldives beaches have soft white sand and clear turquoise water. One of the best local islands that stands out to me with its beautiful beaches is Gulhi island. Read my Gulhi island Guide here.

local island Gulhi beautiful beach
The beautiful bikini beach in Gulhi – local island near Male

Thoddoo island has a bikini beach that is absolutely stunning with uninterrupted ocean views that will not disappoint its visitors. A bonus of Thoddoo island is having turtles that you can snorkel with just off the beach. Read my full Thoddoo Island Guide here.

Bikini Beach in Thoddoo
best local islands Maldives – Thoddoo Bikini Beach

Best Local Island in Maldives for surfing

Thulusdhoo is one of the most famous and best local islands in Maldives for surfing. The island is beautiful and has huge waves that are reef breaks. This island has many professional surfers come to stay and the size of the waves is usually recommended for more advanced surfers. As a beginner/intermediate surfer I found the size of the waves intimidating. Thulusdhoo also has one of the best rooftop infinity pools in the Maldives. Read my full Thulusdhoo island guide here. 

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives
Best Rooftop Swimming Pool – best local islands Maldives

Best Local Islands in Maldives near Male Airport

If you don’t want another flight or a long speedboat ride, then stay on local islands near to Male in Kaafu atoll. The following islands are all the best local islands near Male airport:

Gulhi

Thulusdhoo

Guraidhoo

Maafushi

For more information about visiting the Maldives read the following articles:

Maldives Packing List

Maldives 101: Everything you need to know

Best cheap diving in the Maldives

Best Cheap Diving in the Maldives

The Maldives is known for luxury resorts and five star hotels. It is also home to amazing marine life and is heaven for those that love scuba diving. There are many incredible dive sites to visit in the Maldives but liveaboards are not budget friendly.

If you are a beginner scuba diver then why not get scuba qualified in the Maldives? There are many accessible dive sites for beginners although to join deeper dives then consider doing your Advanced Open Water to be able to reach a depth of 30m. Local dive shops are accredited by PADI or SSI and you can even do some online learning before your Maldives diving trip to save time. 

Cheap Diving Maldives : Local Islands

One of the top ways to go cheap diving in the Maldives is by staying on local islands and diving with a local dive shop. While it is not as cheap as, scuba diving in Thailand for example, it is much more affordable and diving packages are available. The more dives you plan to do the cheaper it can be.

Scuba diving local islands in the Maldives

Scuba Diving Maldives Cost

Scuba diving Maldives prices depend on if you are staying at a resort or a local island. Resort islands are clearly more expensive than diving local islands in Maldives. On Maldives local islands scuba dives range from $40-60 US dollars a dive including equipment. 

Cheap Diving Maldives – Local Islands Maldives

These are the following local islands which have great scuba diving. These are the islands that I have personally visited and scuba dived from.

Cheap Diving Maldives – Fuvahmulah

Arguably the best scuba diving in Maldives, Fuvahmulah should absolutely be on your scuba diving Maldives bucketlist. In Fuvahmulah you can see tiger sharks, manta rays (oceanics and reef manta rays), whale sharks, thresher sharks and hammerhead sharks. Read my full Fuvahmulah Island Guide here. 

Cheap Diving Maldives – Rasdhoo

A great island to stay on and dive from every day. Rasdhoo has healthy, colourful coral, lots of reef sharks and turtles and a small chance of hammerhead sharks. Read my full Rasdhoo Guide here if you are thinking of visiting this awesome island.

Beautiful beaches and scuba diving in Rasdhoo

Budget Diving Maldives – Gulhi

From Gulhi you can access many of Kaafu atoll’s great dive sites including an impressive wreck dive. Read my full Gulhi guide here.

Best cheap diving Maldives – Guraidhoo

Guraidhoo is close to the famous Maldives dive site Kandooma Thila which does not disappoint. With strong currents you can see numerous reef sharks and eagle rays swimming in the currents as you drift by. 

Budget Diving Maldives – Hulhumale

Hulhumale is often not considered a great local island to stay on as it doesn’t have a bikini beach and is often seen as an extension of Male and so visitors often overlook it. If you are a diver I strongly recommend spending a couple of nights in Hulhumale to dive the nearby dive sites. The dive sites near Male have incredible marine life such as bull sharks, huge sting rays, spinner sharks and a good chance of hammerheads. 

Budget Diving Maldives – Marine Life

With over 200 islands that you can stay on, there are certain islands that are better for marine life than others. 

Manta Ray Diving Maldives

You can see manta rays at various locations in the Maldives. For more information about diving with manta rays in the Maldives, then read my manta ray Maldives article here

cheap diving Maldives - photo of oceanic manta photobombing me and friends while scuba diving
Photobombed by an oceanic manta on local island Fuvahmulah- dive goals

Best Cheap Diving: Shark Diving Maldives

For sharks, I definitely recommend diving Hulhumale, diving Kandooma Thila near Guraidhoo and Fuvahmulah. 

Tiger Shark Diving Maldives

The best place to go tiger shark diving in Maldives is Fuvahmulah island. Please note they do feed the tiger sharks here so it depends how ethical you feel this is if you want to do it. There are many dive sites around Fuvahmulah island with the best diving in Maldives that do not involve feeding marine life. 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah

Have you dived in the Maldives? Do you have a recommendation for the best island diving Maldives? I’ll be heading back for more scuba diving local islands soon!

Pin Me for Later

pin me to pinterest diving in the Maldives on a budget pin me to pinterest diving in the Maldives on a budget

Best Diving in South East Asia

Having been scuba diving in various countries around Asia, I am often asked where is the best place to scuba dive in South East Asia. Taking into account countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, here are my top scuba dive sites and the marine life you can spot during the dives such as sharks, manta rays, whale sharks and turtles. The following places are the best dive sites in my personal experience and I can’t wait to add more to the list. Consider these top diving destinations when booking your next scuba diving trip for some impressive underwater adventures.

Best Diving in South East Asia: Indonesia – Scuba Diving in Komodo National Park

scuba diving with frogfish komodo national park

To this date, Komodo remains the most exciting and awesome place to scuba dive that I have been so far. Healthy, brightly coloured corals and a whole range of marine life from manta rays, to sharks to turtles and macro life, Komodo has such an incredible underwater world. After a holiday trip here, I decided to do my divemaster course here and enjoyed every dive. There are strong currents so it’s a great place to improve your skills. You will be expected to pay extra national park fees whenever you enter Komodo National Park whether it’s for scuba diving or snorkelling trips.  The most impressive dive sites are probably Batu Balong which is always a clear favourite, and you will see why once you jump in the water, but also the North of Komodo for crazy currents and lots of sharks.

Best Diving in South East Asia – Best place to dive with Manta Rays in Nusa Lembongan

manta ray in nusa lembongan indonesia scuba diving

Indonesia is one of the best countries to scuba dive in, both for learning to dive, like doing the Open Water course and also for the diversity of marine life you can see there. Nusa Lembongan boasts manta rays all year round and you would be extremely unlucky not to experience a dive or even a snorkel with a manta ray there. It also has some enjoyable drift dives and some dive sites with fairly healthy coral and a lot of frogfish!

Best diving in the Philippines – Thresher Sharks in Malapascua, Cebu

scuba diver waiting for thresher sharks in malapascua cebu philippines

If, like me, you are a shark addict then definitely head to Malapascua, Cebu in the Philippines to dive with the thresher sharks. There’s an extremely high chance of seeing these 3 metre long sharks at around 25 metres so this is aimed for Advanced divers or those who have completed a deep dive speciality. The tails are so impressive and I’ll never forget the early morning experience of kneeling in the sand at the bottom of the sea being circled by these amazing thresher sharks.

Best place to see whale sharks in Thailand – Richelieu Rock and Koh Bon, Thailand

Whale shark at richelieu rock in Thailand

Scuba diving Richelieu Rock is arguably one of the best places to dive in Thailand. Not far from the Similan Islands or Koh Similan off the west coast of Thailand, it has lovely purple corals and a fairly good chance of whale sharks when in season. You can only visit during dry season, approximately October to May as this area and the Similan Islands are closed over the monsoon period.

For more Thailand Scuba Diving tips check out this blog post

Best diving in the Gili Islands, Indonesia – “Turtle city”

scuba diving with green turtle in the gili islands Indonesia

For those seeking turtles, head to the Gili islands off of Bali and the dive site they nickname ‘turtle city’. I was told by my dive instructor that if I only saw 10 that was considered unlucky!

Scuba diving in Tulamben, Bali – World War 2 Wreck Dive – The Liberty Bell

angel fish diving wreck dive in tulamben liberty bell

One of the best wreck dives that I did in Bali is the Liberty Bell in Tulumben, close to Amed and the jumping off point to the Gili Islands. The wreck is a shore dive so I strongly recommend diving at sunrise as there were no other divers around when I did and these huge bumphead/humphead parrotfish circle around the wreck in a school.

Next up, I’m exploring the Maldives so read more here about the best diving in the Maldives/EVER!

For ideas and suggestions of what you should take on a dive boat click here

Pin Me 

Photo for Pinterest of scuba diving underwater pictures

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my South East Asia travel blog!

Gift Ideas for Scuba Divers and Ocean Lovers

Looking for the perfect gift for your scuba diving or ocean obsessed loved one or friend? Read the list below for inspiration and potential gifts for Christmas presents or birthday presents for your scuba diving obsessed friend. I’ve selected presents for ocean loving people to suit a range of different online shopping budgets.

Scuba Diver Gift: Dive computer (big budget)

This is on my Christmas list this year (hint hint Mum and Dad). When you’ve got more than a few dives under your belt, you may want to start taking more responsibility for yourself underwater.  Especially if you are thinking about doing a future divemaster course then consider getting a dive computer. A friend I met on a dive boat personally recommended the Cressi Leonardo dive watch (which she actually received as a Christmas gift!). It is certainly much more budget-friendly than others I have looked at and they have a range of different colours. Compare prices and see the different ranges here on Amazon

gifts for scuba divers

Scuba Diver Gift: Books of top dive destinations

I actually bought this as a birthday present for a scuba diving friend. It has incredible photos of dive sites around the world and is definitely an inspiring present for those who love diving.

 

 

Scuba Diver Gift: Practical Present

For your scuba diving buddy who has long hair and is sick of getting hair tangled up in the mask straps behind his or her head. Buy them a scuba mask strap cover, I personally love this mermaid style one and am putting this on my Christmas present list. Click on here to compare prices and see other styles.

 

Eco-friendly Ocean Gift: Scuba Diving Water Bottle

Having seen first-hand the amount of plastic floating in the water while diving in Indonesia last year I am now more of an advocate than ever for cutting down on our plastic consumption. Living in Thailand this is not always easy to do as even buying street food comes in so many different containers and in countries where you cannot drink the tap water, plastic bottled water is the only alternative. However there are now more hostels and hotels offering refills (at a discounted prices) and I always take advantage of this. For anyone who wants to save the environment, consider buying them this refillable water bottle and help save our planet, a small step at a time. It’s a water bottle in the shape of a dive tank!

Scuba Diving Presents: GoPro and accessories (big budget presents)

While the GoPro is definitely a very generous present to receive (click here to compare prices between different GoPros) there are all sorts of extra accessories that can be bought at a cheaper amount for your already gopro obsessed friend. While I already have a selfie stick and a float, I now am after one of these domes for half water and half land shots. Although they are quite large for travelling!

 

 

 

Fun Gifts for Scuba Divers: Small Budget

I love these cute PADI inspired luggage tags for your friend or family member to add to their suitcases or even their fin or BCD bags.

Ocean Lover Present: Fish Book

Thanks to my lovely parents for this great Reef Fish ID book that I received for my birthday last year. The more I dive the more I want to be able to identify the fish I see and to develop my knowledge further. I have this one as I dive around the Indo-Pacific and it actually seems to be more in depth than most I’ve seen on dive boats themselves. Buy it or a similar one here on Amazon. 

 

perfect gifts for scuba divers and ocean lovers
Yellowface Angelfish in Komodo National Park

 

Scuba Diver Themed Gift for Men or Women: Evolution of Diving T-Shirt

I think these diving themed T-Shirts are a great extra gift to give to anyone who loves diving. I actually bought one for my first ever diving buddy a long time ago and I think it was appreciated. Check sizes and stock here and buy yours today. 

Unique Ocean and Beach Fun Gift

If like me, you are whale shark obsessed then you need one of these HUGE inflatable whale sharks in your life! A friend bought one but then she left the island I’m living on and so I had to get myself one!

Whale Shark Inflatable Gift
Messing on my whale shark float in the Maldives

Ocean Gift: For the Mermaid in your life

Okay, so my awesome sister gave me one of these mermaid fishtail blankets a few years ago and it’s very cosy and perfect for snuggling up on the sofa (especially when you aren’t used to winters in the UK!). It was such a great gift and I was so happy with it! Compare mermaid blanket prices below by clicking on the image.

 

Ocean Gift: For mermaid lovers on a budget

I love this mermaid quote and who doesn’t love a good mug for their cup of tea or coffee? Ones with wittier sayings are even better. Buy yours here on Amazon.

 

Scuba Diving Gift: Practical Present

With the same mermaid quote but a notebook version, for the diver who loves to keep a journal of all their diving adventures and dive trips.

Best Practical Gift for People who love the ocean

I will forever swear by these dry bags. They are so useful and handy and I take mine everywhere with me, to the beach, islands, boat trips and even mountains when it might rain. Buy your dry bag here, I think 5 litre is the best size for a day bag.

 

 

Suggested posts for you:

For more practical ideas of what to take scuba diving, read this useful post

For useful backpacking essentials that everyone should have, click here

For an ultimate guide for what to bring travelling in South East Asia read here

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These are all gifts that I want or already have!

 

Pin Me For Later

Perfect Gifts for Ocean Lovers (1)Perfect Gifts for Ocean Lovers