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Old 25th November 2021, 20:04   #1
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Default Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)

It had been close to 2 years we hadn’t planned any trips or vacation thanks to the pandemic
Now that we were fully vaccinated and the cases were considerably low, we decided to plan for a trip.

The location:
We started our research in the month of October and found that Maldives had only 80-90 active cases at that time. On further research found the flight costs were very low in November. So, the location and date were fixed – Maldives in November.

Our specific challenges:
  1. Pet friendly resort (for our cat)
    • Narrowed down to a very few resorts with water villa and private pool as a precondition.
  2. Flight restrictions for carrying a pet on board
    • Found that only Air India allows pets on board
    • The timings of Air India were not suitable for the travel (either too late in the evening with stopover or too early in the morning).
    • Finally had to leave our pet cat behind for the first time in 6 years.
  3. Finding a boarding facility for our cat:
    • Considering she is special, having fallen from 3rd floor, lost her senses to excrete on her own, it was finally decided to board her at Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital where the staff would take care of her special needs.
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-mili.jpg

Travel Documents/forms required for travel:
  1. Confirmed tickets (including return ticket).
  2. Confirmed resort bookings for the duration of stay
  3. Vaccination certificate (applicable for 18+)
  4. IMUGA QR Code (Maldives Health declaration Certificate) – To be filled within 24 hours of flight. Needs below details - https://imuga.immigration.gov.mv/ethd
    • Passport details
    • Vaccination details
    • Negative RTPCR reports (Sample collected within 96 hours of departure)
    • Resort details
    • Purpose of visit
  5. Air Suvidha required during return - https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsu...o-registration
    • Passport details
    • Vaccination details
    • Negative RTPCR reports (Sample collected within 72 hours of departure)
  6. Forex
    • Credit card should work.
    • As I did not have a credit card, enabled international transactions in the debit card, however, this costs 3.5% per transaction.
    • Bought a prepaid Thomas cook Forex card – which had some nominal fee when loading the card.
    • There was no need to withdraw from ATM as we used the Forex card everywhere.

Quarantine process if RTPCR is positive when returning:
As per Maldives regulations, if you or any of your family members is tested positive for COVID, you will be quarantined in the same resort for 14 days. This would end up really expensive if we were to be stranded in the luxury resort so we decided to stay shift to a cheaper resort before we got a RTPCR results.

The booking details:
  1. Ocean villa with private pool
  2. Cost: 2,545 USD (approximately INR 1.89 Lakhs) for 3 nights including breakfast (This was for one villa - we booked 2 villas, as we were 2 families travelling together)
  3. Considering we were vegetarians, additional INR 1L for food didn’t make sense.
  4. Instead we ordered alacarté at the island restaurant which cost us INR 20,000 for lunch and dinner for 4 days. Special thanks to the Indian chef Sanjay who agreed to accommodate our request.
  5. Booked directly from Hotel Website and got 15% discount https://www.standardhotels.com/maldi...ties/huruvalhi
  6. Payment done 1w prior to arrival in USD via payment link

Ariel View of the resort
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Snorkeling gear ready for use setup in the villa
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Ocean view from the villa
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-oceanvilla_privatepool.jpeg

Budget Resort for last night (to dodge the quarantine bullet): H78 at Hulhumale, Maldives.
- https://hotel78maldives.com/
  1. Double room with balcony facing the beach
  2. Cost: 135 USD (INR 10,000) for 1 night including breakfast.
  3. Booked from booking.com – payment done directly at the hotel.
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Flight Cost:
Indigo flight - Bangalore to Malé and return cost us around INR 1.26L for 5 people.

Travel Insurance:
Considering the COVID situation could lead to our stay getting extended, we went ahead with TATA AIG Travel insurance – cost us INR 7,000 for 5 people for full coverage, including COVID, extended stay, flight cancellation etc.

Parking at the Airport:
Meru cab did not allow 5 people in one cab due to COVID restrictions and booking 2 cabs from our home to Airport was INR 2800 one way. So decided to take out our Tata Hexa instead and park it at the Airport. It cost us INR 2000 parking for 5 days.

Travel:
INDIGO flight from BLR to MLE was 1 hour 40 minutes – so we reached at Velena International Airport at approximately 1:00 PM.

The Sea plan to the resort was at 2:30, so we waited at the sea plane terminal for more than an hour.

Whole family waiting for our pick up at sea plane terminal
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-seaplaneterminal_pic_sticker.jpg



Once aboard the sea plane – it took 1 hour for us to reach our resort drop point.

Inside the sea plane:



From the sea plane drop point – A speed boat from the resort picked us up – this was a 5-minute ride in the speed boat.

Here’s a video of our transfer from Speed boat to Sea plane during our return (we were too tired to make a video of this on arrival) - This wasn't an easy task especially with my 2 year old.




At the resort:
The resort was beautiful and well maintained. The staff too was very courteous. Here are some pictures during our stay.


Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-20211123_121536collage.jpg

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-dad_daughter_pic_sticker.jpg

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img_20211121_161355.jpg

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img20211119113633.jpg

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img20211119113751_01.jpg

At the breakfast buffet, my daughter just swallowed a big piece of watermelon
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img20211120094730_01.jpg

No matter where you go, Indian food is always fulfilling

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img20211120143058.jpg

We could directly step into the ocean from the villa
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img20211120154630.jpg

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-dsc06438.jpg
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-dsc06432.jpg
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-dsc06535.jpg
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img20211121115457.jpg

The lighting at night was really beautiful

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img20211119234655-1.jpg


Precautions:
Here are some of the things that went wrong for us, you may want to take some precautions to avoid,
  1. Power bank in check-in baggage – I know we aren’t supposed to carry power bank in check-in baggage, unfortunately an old lost power bank was found in the one of our check-in baggage. And boy did that cause some drama at the airport before departure. So please ensure you carry your power bank in your cabin bag.
  2. Plan your RTPCR test in Maldives such that it won’t cost you 135 USD per person.
  3. Carry lot of sunscreen lotion
  4. International power extension cord – in the cheaper resort there was only one international power socket, better to carry one for backup.
  5. Data roaming: Upload travel documents before reaching Airport during return – We did this, but we had to really struggle with internet speed in Malé city. The speeds in resort were around 15 mbps, but in the city it was less than 1mbps, so it took us more than 4 hours to fill and upload the forms, better take a data roaming pack – unfortunately Airtel didn’t have it for us.
  6. Turn off all lights when parking: Ensure that all the lights of your car are turned off, I had to get my Hexa jump started because of my mistake.


Jump starting the Hexa. Help arrived in 45 minutes
Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-hexajumpstartpic.jpg

Hope you enjoyed the travelogue Stay Safe !

Last edited by Aditya : 27th November 2021 at 19:42. Reason: Not more than 2 smilies per post please; Rule #11
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Old 26th November 2021, 10:14   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)

Wow!

Amazing travelogue. Thank you for sharing in such detail, especially the ones related to the documents and forms required for travel.

Also, amazing photos, the place looks stunning.

Cheers!
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Old 27th November 2021, 12:39   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)

This is very informative and glad that you had an awesome time! I'm planning something similar, wanted to check the cost of the seaplane ferry, that would be an additional cost if I'm not wrong. Correct?
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Old 27th November 2021, 17:07   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)

Thanks for sharing Satish. Surprisingly I am staying at Satndard Maldives as well next week for my vacation. For the last day I am staying in Male city. Just wanted to know if you got your rt pcr test done in Male or at the Standard? If at Male city, where did you get it done and how much did it cost? My only worry is that I am in Male for a day before my return flight. If the report doesn't come on time I will be stuck!
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Old 27th November 2021, 21:54   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shome View Post
This is very informative and glad that you had an awesome time! I'm planning something similar, wanted to check the cost of the seaplane ferry, that would be an additional cost if I'm not wrong. Correct?
The cost of a Sea Plane transfer(round trip) is $350 - $500+ per head depending on how far the resort is from Male City. I think its worth it for the experience, I came back from Maldives this Monday which was my 2nd trip this year and my 1st criteria for booking a resort was to have an affordable Sea Plane connection.

Few pictures I took during and before the flight:

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img_1081.jpg

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img_1082.jpg

Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)-img_1086.jpg


Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_7 View Post
For the last day I am staying in Male city. Just wanted to know if you got your rt pcr test done in Male or at the Standard? If at Male city, where did you get it done and how much did it cost? My only worry is that I am in Male for a day before my return flight. If the report doesn't come on time I will be stuck!
GoAir (GoFirst) cancelled my flights to Maldives and return flights also so I ended up staying an extra day in Male City. You can get your test done at the resort as it is valid for 3 days (72 hours) and you will arrive in India by then.
I had this same worry of the report not coming in time so I got it done at the resort which was a bit pricey ($50).

For all people planning a trip to Maldives avoid GoFirst, they get you to book showing low prices and then cancel without even informing you(I found out when I tried to book my seat). They never respond to emails and a typical wait time for their call center is 20-30 mins and it often just disconnects randomly.
They cancelled both my flights and the return one when I was already in Maldives. Outgoing roaming calls are Rs.400 per minute and their call center is the only way to reach them
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Old 29th November 2021, 10:55   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)

Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_7 View Post
Thanks for sharing Satish. Surprisingly I am staying at Standard Maldives as well next week for my vacation. For the last day I am staying in Male city. Just wanted to know if you got your rt pcr test done in Male or at the Standard? If at Male city, where did you get it done and how much did it cost? My only worry is that I am in Male for a day before my return flight. If the report doesn't come on time I will be stuck!
My RTPCR was done at "The Standard", 1 day before my return flight. Our sample was collected at 11:00 AM, we checked-out at 1:15 PM on the same day and reached our cheaper resort (H78) at 5:30 PM. We got our results at night 10:00 (our host WhatsApp-ed the reports to us). Our flight back to Bangalore was the next day at 12:00 PM. So we had to spend the night and get up early morning to fill up IMUGA and Air Suvidha (this took us 3-4 hours due to ultra slow internet).

Also, do check with "The Standard" if they expect you to carry a negative RTPCR report during check-in. Cause I remember them telling me that they don't accept split stay customers, meaning, you can directly check-in into "The Standard", but you cannot stay at a different resort after you land, and then check-in into "The Standard".
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Old 29th November 2021, 11:49   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore to Maldives, post-pandemic (November 2021)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shome View Post
This is very informative and glad that you had an awesome time! I'm planning something similar, wanted to check the cost of the seaplane ferry, that would be an additional cost if I'm not wrong. Correct?
Yes the sea plane cost is additional. In our case, the resort prices included the sea plane charges as well. I think it was around INR 20,000 per person for pick-up and drop.
The resort representative took care of driving us from International Airport to the Sea plane terminal. They also took care of our check-in baggage. So the transfer from Airport to Sea plane was fairly smooth.

Even though the sea plane ride was less then 1 hour, the waiting and the delay was almost an additional 2 hours. So, even though we landed at the Velena International Airport at 12:00 PM, we reached the resort at around 3:30 PM.
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