SJ Mobilità Travel Diaries

December 7, 2020

Blissful Experience at Varu Island Resort, Maldives

Filed under: Travel,Visa — jani @ 4:03 pm

During the Covid time, Sur and myself missed the most is travelling. When my friend Ajay from Kaia Tourism (He can be reached at ajay.anand@kaiatourism.com) told us about Maldives and he had got a good deal, we decided instantly to go ahead for Sur’s 40th birthday. Even though both of us were not really comfortable to travel at this time, we just took a risk of going for it and am glad we did that.

About Maldives:

Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small archipelagic state in South Asia, situated in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres from the Asian continent’s mainland. Maldives translates to Garland of Islands in some of the southern Indian languages, and which is what you will find there. The white sand and turquoise color of the sea/ocean is truly breathtaking. Even though I have heard about Maldives and it’s beauty, it was not in my immediate bucket list of travel but I am glad that we took a risk in this Covid time and thanks to the Maldives Govt and its people in controlling the covid cases and opening up the borders soon. Their efforts are commendable in ensuring all the safety protocols are followed and in keeping the covid cases under control to ensure others could visit their beautiful country. Hats off to them. If you need a break from all the Covid stress, now you know where to head to…You are in safe hands in Maldives and am sure you will thank me later.

Covid Guidelines:

Before travelling to Maldives:

  • PCR Negative certificate valid within 72 hours of departure (Would recommed to reach out to a good hospital when ever you undertake international travel. Manipal Hospital gives the report within 24 hours and they were excellent in their service)
  • Fill up the health declaration form of Maldives (https://imuga.immigration.gov.mv/ethd/create) within 24 hours of departure and have the copy of the same

Before returning from Maldives:

  • Fill up the health declaration form of Maldives (https://imuga.immigration.gov.mv/ethd/create) again within 24 hours of departure and have the copy of the same.
  •  Fill up the self declaration form of India before boarding the flight (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration), without which you would not be allowed to board the flight

Visa:

I heard this is the only country providing visa on arrival to all the countries free of cost. So why do you wait? Just ensure you have your boarding pass, passport valid for at least for 6 months and PCR Negative certicate. Voila, you get your on arrival visa from 30 to 90 days.

Travel Itinerary:

Day 1: Travelling from Bangalore to Malé, you don’t feel like you are doing an international trip. It’s just 2 hours of flight time and as you start to enjoy the ocean and it’s turquoise color, you had already landed Velana International Airport to the beautiful country of Maldives .

The immigration process was a breeze and once the visa on arrival stamp was done, we exited the airport. We were picked up by the Varu team at the airport, then we waited for other guests to join and headed to the speedboat which almost took 40-45 minutes to reach the Varu Island Resort.

We were greeted by the staffs as we got out of the speedboat, headed to the reception, had a welcome champagne, finished the check-in formalities, prebooked the activities for Diving/snorkelling, Sunset/Star gazing cruise and received the pre booking details of other specialty restaurants and then we were escorted to our rooms.

We had booked the watervilla and it was superb. We just lazed around for the day and went to Charcoal (Pool Bar) for a high tea and snacks as we were hungry by then since we missed the lunch. Then we lazed around in the beautiful villa in the late afternoon. It was time for dinner and had to go to Lime and Chili restaurant (multi cuisine restaurant). We were not hungry, so had a quick bite and then returned to the room and crashed for the night.

Day 2: After a sumptious breakfast at Lime and Chili, went for a swim near our water villa. Then we headed for a quick lunch and then rested. We had to cancel the sunset cruise booked at 5 PM as we were lazy to step out and went back to sleep. We had to force ourselves to go for Dinner as we had a booking at Kaage (Maldivian Cuisine). It was Sur’s 40th birthday and initially I offered him to change it as he is a vegetarian and I knew the Maldivian cuisine is incomplete without Tuna, he wanted to go ahead. So we entered the restaurant after a nice walk around, we were offered screwpine fruit juice shot as a welcome drink, which I thought I would miss since we were not exploring the capital other than the resort island where we usually get this fruit. Then we were given Feyli, which is black or dark blue wrap-around which has a border at the bottom with different types of stripes. With the evolution, the original black lines have been replaced by gold and silver as well. Then we headed to the room to watch the video, about Maldives and it’s history, which was very interesting. I didn’t know cowrie shells were used as a currency once. After enjoying the video, we sat for dinner. I enjoyed the authentic Maldivian cuisine which is mainly Tuna and other sea foods and Sur had to settle with the vegetarian version. It was interesting people could make so many fish snacks out of Tuna like samosa , rolls etc which was a pleasant surprise since all I knew was various fish curries, being a coastal girl myself. I had a great time trying out the authentic local dishes and I was impressed. Then staff had got a nice chocolate cake to celebrate Sur’s birthday. Since he is not a huge fan of chocolate, I had to eat his cake and it was yummy. Then we went around for a nice walk and then headed to our villa. Sur had a lovely surprise awaiting where the staffs had decorated the bed with happy birthday message using coconut leaves and rice petals. It was so beautiful and am glad he had a great 40th birthday with such amazing staffs around to make his day all the more special. We didn’t feel of removing the decoration so soon, so we sat out on the deck for sometime enjoying the stars, and then had to come back to the bed to crash for the night.

Day 3: Had a late and an amazing breakfast, swam in the ocean, went for a lunch and then it was time to catch up for a nice massage. Sur had an amazing hot stone massage which was worth every penny. I opted the aromatherapy which was complimentary. Then we walked around the beach for some time and then it was time for the Indian Ocean Gala dinner near Lime and chili. It was the best dinner with lovely music and delicious food. If you are travelling, make sure you are there on Friday night so that you don’t miss this. There were lot of honeymooners who had a nice table arrangement done separately and it was beautiful. After some time, rain did spoil that. But staffs did their best to ensure they had a lovely time.

Day 4: We had to wake up early since we were going for the diving, so had an early and quick breakfast and headed for diving. Since Sur was certified he went for the diving at two different spots and I heard this was one of the best for diving and I settled for snorkelling. Unfortunately the water was so choppy and I felt very uncomfortable, so I had to withdraw and that was very disappointing. I heard it was so beautiful which I missed it. We returned and then headed to lunch at Nu restaurant (Mediterraean). The food was as usual great, staffs were amazing and service was excellent. We rested for awhile and then headed to Lime and Chili for another great dinner. We skipped the star gazing cruise since it was cloudy and crashed for the night.

Day 5: Had an early breakfast and we had to check out. So we packed everything and kept ready so that staffs can pick up the luggage and then we waited in the reception for our speedboat back to airport. Thankfully staffs took the tempearture and reminded of our health declaration form which needed to be filled, we didn’t realize it had to be filled before 24 hours departure as well. So we filled it quickly and then headed to the speedboat to the airport. After almost 40 minutes of drive, we reached the airport. We had to wait for sometime in the foodcourt, since the airport is small and we were not allowed to go in until the airline counter opened up. After half an hour, the counter opened and we went for a checkin. To our suprise the lines were not moving and people were standing there for a long time, we were puzzled why there was a delay and what’s making the checkin so slow. Finally when we reached the counter, we had to face the truth that our boarding passes would not be handed to us until, we fill the self declaration form in Air Suvidha portal, which almost no one did and that’s why it was taking so much time and is mandatory for people travelling to India. I was a little annoyed that why did the airline or cleartrip where we booked the flights didn’t mention about this in any of their communications so that we would have done it earlier and not wasted our time and also other fellow travelers who were in the queue. I had to appreciate the airline checkin staffs, who were very supportive and were patient enough to wait for us to fill the details. Finally we filled up, showed the confirmation and then airline staff handed over the boarding pass. Then we headed to immigration. It was a breeze as usual and once that was completed, we headed to the security, did a bit of shopping and waited in the food court. After a dry burger for lunch, inspite of ordering it with cheese, headed down to the gate for departure. We finally boarded after a slight delay and then it was announced that there is a flight delay again for half an hour. I just slept off in the flight, so I didn’t realize when it started taking off. After 2 hours we landed in Bangalore and then we were in for a lot of health checks, first they checked the self declaration form, then temperature check and then oxymeter check. Since we cleared all, we were allowed to go to the immigration counter. Then we picked up our luggage, did some shopping and as we were stepping out we were stopped for another check. It was for Covid tracking and after taking our passport details, we exited the airport and finally reached home after an hour.

That was one hell of a trip and travelling for the first time during Covid, it was all a learning experience. First of all I wanted to say a big thanks to Varu Island Resort Staffs who were so helpful, provided excellent hospitality and they were amazing. Special mention to their simplicity, that’s what I loved them for. They had a smile for everyone, ensured every one was attended to and were prompt to assist when needed. Even though, due to Covid, we couldn’t hop on to other islands or do any sightseeing, we had a great time as Varu staffs ensured we had fun and we didn’t miss out any. My admiration for the people of Maldives for their simplicity, their welcoming nature and their amazing work to ensure all the safety protocols are adhered during this Covid time so that we all remain covid free and have a great holiday break inspite of the covid situation. A big applause to them…

I know many of you might want to travel but a bit scared. It’s the right time to travel to Maldives and rest assured you are well taken care of and you would enjoy the place without worrying about Covid and people are so welcoming to anyone coming to their country and they are glad to host you and give you a memorable experience. Now this should be on your top priority. Happy Holidays……

Shukuriyaa Maldives…….

 

 

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