|First glimpse of Paradise|
The moment I stepped out of Velana International Airport, I was greeted with soothing views of coconut trees lined up along the road, ferries docked up on the jetty and pristine blue waters everywhere. As my connecting flight to the resort was a couple of hours later, I immediately put my luggage in the cloak room, exchanged some USD for the local currency, Maldivian Rufiyaa and got on the ferry to Male.
|Jetties near the Airport|
Male, the capital city of Maldives which is a tropical island nation south of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, is barely a 20 minutes ferry ride away from Hulhule Island where Velana International Airport is built. The ferry ride costs somewhere around 20 MVR and you just need to hop onto one of the ferries scheduled for your destination.
|The Presidents Office|
The island is 1.7 km long and 1.0 km wide, but with over 100,000 people crammed onto it, Male is by some measures the world’s densest city. Male is occasionally dismissed by travelers as a mere transit destination with “nothing to do”, and it is indeed not a party place. However, it does have a distinctive character of its own, with narrow streets, colorful houses, graffiti and a strong communal feel, and it may be interesting to stop a little longer and soak in the atmosphere if you’ve got time on your hands.
Male’s main street Boduthakurufaanu Magu, home to banks and most government buildings, runs along the north shore. Roughly in the middle is the square of Jumhooree Maidhaan, a handy reference point since it has a giant flagpole visible from far away. From the flagpole extends a series of ten jetties running eastward, with jetty #1 (the Presidential Jetty) right in front of the square and jetties #9 and #10, used by the airport ferry, at the northeastern tip of the island. PS – Avoid going to Male on a Friday that too especially before lunch, as everything is closed down. The shops only open up post lunch on Fridays.
|Access to one of the jetties|
|The streets of Male|
After a leisure walk in the streets of Male and some souvenir shopping, I headed back to the airport and boarded the domestic flight to Maamigilli, to reach Sun Island Resort and Spa, which is an add on cost but totally worth the extra buck as the 35 minutes flight provides an eagle eye view of the islands and the unique atoll formation. A lot of resorts charge separately for a photo flight tour to witness paradise from the sky, so a domestic connecting flight is definitely a blockbuster deal.
|An Eagle eye view of one of the resorts|
Finally after first taking an International Flight, then a domestic flight followed by a speedboat, I reached my destination ‘Sun Island Resort and Spa’ which was going to be my home for the next one month. The moment I stepped out of the speed boat, it was love at first sight with the resort.
A densely vegetated Island with a picturesque beach and surrounded by turquoise blue water lagoons was right there in front of my eyes, staring back at me, just as I had pictured it in my mind. I just couldn’t believe my eyes, that I was indeed in paradise and I had to take a moment to soak it all in.
|Turquoise Blue Lagoons surrounding paradise|
|What a wonderful way of spending the day – sitting by the pool, sipping some chilled beer.|
Being the largest resort island in Maldives, Sun Island Resort and Spa has something for everyone to indulge in, starting from a 4500 sqm world class Spa – ARAAMU Spa, a mini golf course; basketball, volleyball and badminton courts. A 5 star PADI Dive center – DiveOceanus and a lively watersport centre, a shark feeding area and a sting ray feeding area.
|When the sting rays start swimming near the beach during feeding time|
|Sharks fighting for their food|
Read ‘Araamu SPA – Pamper your senses’ here.
|Araamu Spa – Pamper your senses|
On the food and beverage end, the resort has an Italian specialty restaurant – Al Pontile, a Thai restaurant – Sun Star, a speciality restaurant – Southern Star, the seafood restaurant – Island BBQ, the buffet restaurant – Maaniyaa restaurant and the most unique one – Zero Restaurant – A fresh salad bar. One can get their fix of drinks at the main bar – Meekanu Bar, the beach bar and the mini golf bar.
With densely vegetated cobblestone pathways running throughout the island, Sun Island Resort and Spa has designed their accommodation to cater to different types of travelers such as the Standard and Superior Beach Bungalows – for the beach lovers, Sun Villas – for the peace lovers, Sunset Villas – for the best sunset views and the Water Bungalows where you walk down the jetty to reach your room set on stilts above the tranquil turquoise lagoon.
|Water Bungalows – The Ultimate Maldivian Experience|
|The true definition of luxury – Staying in a room built on silts with a private entrance to the water lagoon|
|Densely Vegetated Cobblestone Pathways|
|Early Morning View from my room – Always a good start to the day|
The location of the resort in the South Ari Atoll is a big plus point as the South Ari Atoll has something to offer for every diver no matter of how experienced they are. Starting from completely protected reefs with no current at all up to thrilling drift dives with extremely strong currents. Unique reef formations and wide range of marine life biodiversity lets you embark on unending series of adventures to more than 50 different dive sites.
|Whale Sharks – The gentle giants of the oceans|
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What a lovely way to beat the #mondaymorningblues A morning dive with my buddy @druviskruklis and that too my first one after receiving the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Though had a lot of high hopes of seeing some manta rays today but as luck would have it, we didn't spot any manta rays but instead caught glimpses of a grey reef shark and two white tip reef sharks instead. . . . Thanks to @diveoceanus for arranging the dive. . . #TravelWithETLR #EatTravelLiveRepeat #sunislandresortandspa #Maldives #PADI #scubadiving #scubaindia
|Room Number 547 and cycle number 470 – You are missed|
With a plethora of activities on offer, Sun Island Resort and Spa ensures that every guest gets the true Maldives experience and takes back memories for a lifetime.
What are you waiting for? Book your Stay Here.
How to reach Maldives
Male International airport is connected to all major cities in the world. Almost all the major airlines operate regular flights to Velana International Airport (Male International airport) from all the major cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai and Hyderabad. Mega Maldives Airlines now operates a direct flight from Delhi to Male thrice a week. Now one can have a hassle free flight experience to Maldives from Delhi. There are also direct flights from Kochi and Bangalore.
To enter Maldives, Indian Nationals don’t require pre-arrival Visa. Maldives tourist Visa is free for Indian nationals issued on arrival at Male International airport valid for 90 days. For the tourists of other nationalities, a 30 day visa free of charge, is issued on arrival in the Maldives.
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