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Kipp traveled to the idyllic Angsana Velavaru resort in the Maldives, and discovered the island state isn’t just for honeymooners.
September 16, 2009 10:57 by Dana El Baltaji
For years, I’d heard of Dubai residents travelling to the Maldives for quick breaks. They’d travel over Eid holidays or Christmas to spend a couple of nights in bliss. When they came back, they’d show me pictures of themselves frolicking on white sandy beaches like love-struck teenagers in a pop video. It was sickening.
But those beaches in the pictures were unlike anything I’d seen in Dubai. In spite of all the promotional videos or hotel photos of couples on gorgeous beaches in the emirate, I have yet to see a pristine coastline with uninterrupted views of the horizon.
I really wanted to swim in paradise.
In August, after months of living under the threat of being eaten alive by the financial crisis, I decided I was going to the island state, whether my budget liked it or not.
Thankfully, all tourists travelling to the Maldives (even Lebanese, Pakistani and Algerian passport holders) can get a free 30-day visa at the airport. There are strict rules about renewing a visit visa, but frankly, most people wouldn’t stay longer than a month.
Why, you ask? Because it’s more expensive than you think to visit paradise.
Since Jazeera Airways cancelled its flights to Male, the island state’s capital, the only direct flight to the Maldives from Dubai is on Emirates Airlines. A return ticket in August cost over AED3800, which was more than I was prepared to pay for.
The cheapest flight I found was on Sri Lankan Airways, which cost roughly AED2300 including tax. There’s a short layover in Colombo on the way to Male, and a 10 hour layover on the way back. I won’t lie to you, it was a painful experience.