“Where Waters Dance In Shades Of Shimmering Blue.” Angsana Velavaru
Seen as one of the world’s most desired holiday destinations the Maldives is another country that’s under five hours flight from the UAE. Pristine white sandy beaches, clear azure blue seas teaming with marine life and luxurious accommodation sums up what to expect from a trip to the tropical islands scattered across the Indian Ocean.
Twenty-six coral atolls (ring-shaped coral reef) make up the Maldives that spread down across the equator. There are approximately 1,200 islands of which 200 are inhabited but only 100 of those have tourist resorts. As well as a top choice for honeymooners, the Maldives is also a mecca for scuba divers as the warm clear waters offer some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world. Brightly coloured tropical fish, coral reefs, sea turtles and if you are very lucky a whale shark, there’s certainly plenty of underwater action to thrill even the most experienced diver.
Probably the hardest part of a trip to the Maldives comes in the planning stages when you have to decide which island to visit, with over a hundred to choose from there’s somewhere for every occasion and budget. We choose Velavaru Island (Turtle Island) which is part of the South Nilandhe Atoll (56 islands of which only 8 are inhabited), just a 40-minute seaplane flight from the capital Malé. The seaplane ride is a fantastic experience in itself flying over the atolls and landing precariously on the water next to a floating jetty.
The charming Angsana Velavaru is located on Velavaru, a tiny secluded island lined with Angsana trees that you can circumnavigate in a twenty-minute walk. We spent a week relaxing on the beautiful fine sandy beach, checking out the marine life, making cocktails and being pampered at the spa. Angsana Velavaru (part of the Banyan Tree group) offers guests the choice of over a hundred luxury villas. Beachfront villas with outdoor bathrooms are right on the water’s edge and water villas, accessed only by boat, each with a private infinity pool and over water trampoline above the coral reef.
Traditional Maldivian cuisine is served alongside international favourites and plenty of seafood in the main on-land restaurant along with great cocktails in the beachfront bar. Funa Restaurant offers diners a unique experience in a thatched roofed hut perched on stilts above the water and in-Ocean Azzurro is accessed via boat like its neighbouring water villas. There’s also in-room dining as well as romantic beachside dining and BBQ options.
An on-site fully equipped PADI Dive School offers thirty different diving spots to explore the South Nilandhe Atoll, you might even spot that elusive whale shark. There’s also snorkelling trips and plenty of watersports including canoeing, windsurfing, sailing and fishing. Award winning Angsana Spa offers a range of treatments (including a rather fabulous full on couples treatment), there’s also a fitness centre and yoga classes on the beach. Although mainly frequented by couples it’s a family friendly resort with activities for children.
We did get a brief chance to explore Malé before our flight back to the UAE. Densely populated it’s a lively place and completely different to the paradise islands for which the country is most well-known. High rise building tower above the streets, people rush from place to place on mopeds, a busy hive of activity only interrupted by the call to prayer on this predominantly muslim island.
Rising sea levels are a constant threat to the Maldives. As the lowest country on the planet the island’s could become uninhabitable or even disappear over time so my advice is go sooner rather than later. Here’s a look at our visit in pictures 😉