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Travel insurance and more. The Maldives
Just a four-and-a half hour flight away from Singapore, the Maldives is a popular destination with honeymooners and couples who flock there for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Located south-west of Sri Lanka and India in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has a unique geography. It consists of a chain of 1,200 small coral islands and sandbanks grouped in clusters or atolls. The atolls are resplendent with sandy beaches, lagoons and a luxuriant growth of coconut palms.
With Scoot now offering flights to Male, its capital, this breathtaking destination has become more affordable from Singapore.
But first the important stuff. Political unrest, Zika and more.
Unfortunately, the on-off political unrest and violence in Malé in recent years have made this usually peaceful nation a concerning destination for travellers. Always exercise caution and avoid any protests or rallies. The good news is that outlying islands, resorts or Malé International Airport are not usually affected by protests or rallies.
Threats of terror attacks at tourist destinations, however, cannot be ruled out. It is important for Singaporeans to stay informed and be safe while travelling. Research your destination’s current situation and remain vigilant and alert to local weather news, advisories, and security developments.
Maldives is also listed as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. As Singaporeans we are no stranger to the Zika virus but find more information about it and how it is transmitted here.
Most visits to Maldives are trouble free. The most common problems faced by Singaporeans are lost and stolen passports, and swimming and diving related accidents. Sea swimming can be dangerous and lead to drownings. Ocean currents are strong so swimmers should comply with the advice and instructions of the locals. Do not swim unless you are confident.
E-register your trip
The Ministry of Foreign affairs advises you to register your trip with them so you can be contactable in the event of an emergency. Because Singapore does not have an embassy in the Maldives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be your first contact point if you run into trouble.
The eRegister system is a voluntary and free service provided by the MFA to all Singaporeans who travel or reside overseas. It allows you to record information about your travel itinerary abroad.
MFA contact information
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office, Tanglin, Singapore 248163
Email [email protected]
Telephone (24 hours) (65) 6379 8800/8855
Website to register https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg
Emergency contacts in Maldvies
Police: 119 / 332 2111
Medical Emergencies: 102
Visas for Singapore travellers
Singaporeans can obtain a visa-on-arrival for a stay of up to 30 days in the Maldives. Visitors must have a passport that is valid for the duration of the stay, a valid ticket for their journey out of the Maldives, and sufficient funds to cover the expenses of the stay or a confirmation of reservation in a resort or hotel in the Maldives.
Purchase comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. That means you are covered the moment you buy your travel insurance should anything happen before your trip begins. For instance if you have bought your travel insurance before any news breaks out or travel advisory’s are administered you would be able to claim for curtailing your trip. Not only will this save you plane expenses, but you may also be refunded for your hotel and unused entertainment expenses. Check out Budget Direct Insurance for affordable comprehensive travel insurance with great benefits for cancellation, delay and curtailment due to riots and political disturbances along with terrorism, kidnapping or hijacking coverage.
If you don’t purchase travel insurance before any advisory is issued or news breaks out, you will unfortunately have to bear the costs of cutting your trip short. Additionally, if you bought your travel insurance policy after the travel advisory was issued, you may not be adequately covered as many insurers will not cover known events or trips to countries against the advice of the government.
If you have an upcoming trip to the Maldives
Understanding how the situation is changing and what parts of the Maldives are being affected, if any, is key to knowing how you should navigate the area once you land. You should read about where most of the protests, if any, are taking place, potential areas for terrorist attacks and which areas are generally safe. If you have to then consider changing your itinerary to focus on places that have not been affected by any political situation. In these cases, arming yourself with as much knowledge about the situation can help you reduce risks associated with your trip.
Make sure you are prepared for all risks before leaving
If your destination in the Maldives is a high-risk area, it may be beneficial to pack emergency supplies such as extra medicine, cash, a small first aid kit and anything else that you think may be necessary in the event of an emergency. Though you may not need to utilise these things, it can at least bring some peace of mind. Additionally, travel light—if you can substitute your laptop with your tablet, opt for that instead. Packing lightly can ease maneuverability in the event of an evacuation. Memorise some of the most important phone numbers in the event you don't have internet access or can't use your mobile phone.
Now for the good stuff…Why you should go
The Maldives is home to extensive coral reefs and diverse marine life, making it a scuba diving haven.
Besides encountering manta rays, sting rays and eagle rays, divers can also explore underwater shipwrecks caused by the shallow reefs.
If you are not keen on scuba diving, snorkelling may be a good alternative. Many of the resorts in the Maldives cater to snorkellers.
You won’t have to go too far below the surface to experience the colourful coral and abundant sea life. If you are lucky, you might even get to swim with turtles, eagle rays or hammerhead sharks.
According to Surfer Today, the Maldives has some of the best waves in the world. The best time for surfing is between April and October.
Many hotels and resorts offer surf instruction and rental on-site, so if surfing in the Maldives is on your wish list, you may wish to check that out.
Big game fishing
The Maldives is not only a paradise for divers but also for those who enjoy fishing. The Maldivian waters have a rich variety of fish, including mahi mahi, tuna and giant trevally.
Fishing in the Maldives is a year-round activity but if you wish to experience big game fishing, the best time to go is between November and March.
Many resorts in the Maldives offer a dolphin watching cruise, or a sunset dolphin cruise.
Spinner dolphins are the most commonly spotted in the Maldives. These playful dolphins often follow the boats and put up a ‘show’ for the passengers.
Your resort may include a short flight from the airport upon arrival, but either way, you’ll want to see the Maldives from the air on a scenic flight. This is probably the best way to get a sense of the sheer number of islands and atolls, as well as have an aerial view of the reefs and wrecks.
A seaplane excursion is not cheap; but it is well worth it, especially for photography buffs who will want to capture the stunning scenery from above.
There are over 80 private island resorts with overwater bungalows or villas in the Maldives.
The good news is, they are not just for the wealthy. The bungalows range from three-star to five-star. Many are part of all-inclusive resorts, so you should factor that in when comparing prices.
Scoot flies twice a week to Male, the capital of Maldives. Average return fares are approximately $400.
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