Wednesday, September 22
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Paradise – four hours away

2 May 2021 By AFP

If you cannot remain tied down to your home and must head out for a holiday to enjoy the upcoming EID break, your safest bet during the pandemic might be Maldives! Located in the midst of the Indian Ocean, just about a four-hour flight away, a stay in any of the islands in Maldives will prove to be nothing short of a dream trip to paradise.

Of late, with strict travel restrictions in vogue in most countries, travel buffs have very little scope to travel for leisure. And, that’s one of the reasons why a lot of high profile tourists, especially a large number of Bollywood actors, have been flocking to Maldives for a wonderful vacation within a short reach. But while Bollywood stars have been reportedly offered free vacations, provided they post promotional photos and videos on social media after their trip, one can make the most of a family trip to Maldives within a reasonable budget.

With more than a thousand splendid islands and 26 coral atolls brimming with marine life, one can enjoy a luxurious, fun-filled stay in any of the islands in the Maldives archipelago wherein each island is a single resort, offering a comfortable stay in close proximity with sugar white sands and turquoise waters teeming with colourful fish and other marine life. One can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving, relaxing on the sands, exploring islands going for fishing trips or dinner cruises and many other activities that make your trip worth cherishing for a lifetime.

In accordance to health requirements all travellers travelling to and from Maldives are required to submit a self-declarative health declaration within 24 hours prior their departure to Maldives. According  to official information, effective April 20, the requirement for negative PCR test and mandatory Quarantine does not apply for travelers who present proof of completion of vaccination (i.e. WHO’s EUL listed and/or competent authority approved vaccines only) followed by the completion of 14 days period prior to arrival in the Maldives. Other tourists must hold a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, with a sample taken not more than 96 hours prior to their departure to the Maldives.

Double chain of 26 atolls

Home to five per cent of the planets reefs, Maldives is a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, that spans across the equator. The country is comprised of 1192 islands that stretch along a length of 871 kilometers. While the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of that is dry land. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls.

The country’s unique geography mesmerises the visitor with reefs that offer bands of colour, tiny jewel-like islands rimmed with the whitest of soft sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and a select few on each of the atolls are resorts while some of the islands are used for industry and agriculture. The international airport is located in the capital island – Male.

The environment

The Maldives has one of the most delicate environments anywhere on the planet. Coral reefs are the foundation of the islands. They offer protection to the tiny islands as its natural defense system, and the country’s economy depends heavily on the health of its reefs and ecosystems.

Several conservation efforts are underway to protect the valuable marine environment of Maldives. While several marine species and birds are protected by law, protected areas have been designated to ensure the conservation of specific ecosystems and the rich biodiversity of the country. This includes designated nature reserves in islands of various atolls to protect wetlands and mangroves and the protection of marine areas and the designation of biosphere reserves that covers coral reefs, islands, sea grass beds and mangroves.

Connectivity

The Maldives is well connected with the rest of the world. Several flights from Europe, Middle East and South East Asia operate to Velana International Airport, the main gateway to the Maldives, located on Hulhule island in North Male atoll. Once in the Maldives you can travel to any of the twelve domestic and international airports to which several daily flights are operated. Scheduled ferry services also operate from Male to most of the atolls.

If you are travelling to a resort, your transfer will most likely be prearranged at the time of booking your accommodation. Transfers to resorts around the airport are by speedboat and transfers to resorts and islands further afield are by seaplane.

All nationalities receive a 30-day visa on arrival, provided that you have a valid passport, an onward to ticket to continue your journey and a reservation at a tourist facility or enough funds to cover your stay in the country. Prepaid SIM cards are available from two mobile service providers at the airport. The SIM cards can be used for local and international call and for data.

 

Hotels/resorts to consider

Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts offers luxurious accommodation surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful natural settings. The signature of these gorgeous resorts is their levels of privacy. Here, travellers can rediscover its unique features from its iconic over-water villas, to its selection of incredible water sports and world-class dining. 

 

Atmosphere Kanifushi, Kanifushi Island

Launched in December 2013, Kanifushi was one of the First Resorts in Maldives to have ‘Kanifushi Plan’, a Premium Plan, offering an all-encompassing 5-Star resort experience. Situated in the Lhaviyani Atoll, Atmosphere Kanifushi is home to 172 detached villas and suites, where you can enjoy access to the pristine white beaches and beautiful turquoise lagoon surrounding the island. 

 

Oblu Select Sangeli, Sangeli Island 

Meanwhile, Oblu Select at Sangeli takes you on an exclusive romantic journey with its honeymoon water suites, providing the ideal setting for some of your life’s most unforgettable memories. Situated at the North-Western tip of Malé Atoll, the island of Sangeli is a five-star resort. 

 

Varu by Atmosphere, Madivaru Island 

Varu by Atmosphere offers 108 villas dotted around the white sandy beaches and expanding over the turquoise lagoons onto three jetties with the over-water accommodation types. The beach front villas and suites that are based on the island have direct access to the surrounding pristine white sandy beaches with views of the ocean beyond. These water villas also come with the option of having a private 10m2 infinity pool.

 

Oblu by Atmosphere, Helengeli Island 

Oblu by Atmosphere at Helengeli, a four-star superior resort, offers guests a unique all-encompassing holiday plan. Situated in the North Atoll and just 50-minutes away by speedboat from Male’ International Airport, the resort comprises of 136 villas in 4 categories. Helengeli Island has a very renowned reputation for its incomparably exotic house-reef, snorkelling, water sports and superb channel diving, just meters from the shoreline. 

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