December 2017


Vibrant Gan Island, Maldives
December 2017




There is nothing more relaxing than taking in the sublime scenery of the Gan Island

Gan island in Addu Atoll is a perfect offering of activities from water sports to the immersive exploration of Adduan culture and history as well as the island's rich eco-diversity.


Words: Jan DSa


This southernmost island in the heart-shaped archipelago (once called the Seenu Atoll) promises an array of adventures and sights that will leave you wanting for more. A string of white-beach laden islands cosied up in the lush Indian Ocean as you pass the Equator in the aircraft. White sandy beaches contrasted by a tranquil blend of emerald and cobalt waves that drape the coral reefs underwater.


If you love water sports, there is no end to the number of activities that you can indulge in the Indian Ocean - try paragliding or para sailing, wind surfing or canoeing, jet-skiing or water skiing. But if greenery is your interest, then the nature walk into the forest is a must where you will discover ancient banyan trees, rows of coconut palms and breadfruit trees that shelter many birds, migratory creatures, not to forget the Indian flying fox. You could even sign up for an eco-conservation programme where you will plant corals at the coral nursery.


Otherwise chill by the beach as you watch several bird species fly by - the white tern (dhondheeni), the common sandpiper, Indian pond heron or whimbrel.


Cycling tours

The best and most interesting part of being on Gan Island is that you can cycle your way to the other neighbouring islands of Addu Atoll thanks to the 17-kilometre British-built causeway.


It is at the neighbouring Maradhoo, Hithadhoo and Feydhoo islands that you could easily be sitting at a roadside eatery sharing a refreshing cup of hot chai (tea) with a fellow Adduan while snacking on some Maldivian savouries.


The Adduans follow Islamic traditions so take time to visit the beautiful mosques with elegant architecture such as the Feydhoo Mosque and the Dandhivaaru Miisky on Maradhoo island or the oldest Muslim cemetery in Hithadhoo island.


To the east of the Gan Island one can find the islands of Villingili, Meedhoo as well as Hulhudhoo - all accessible by speedboat.

Explore the British era remnants in Gan Island both on land and under the sea.


Explore British Historic sights

The British Memorial Site is a testament to British presence in Gan Island and two canons stand on this site to this day, with a stone plaque that pays tribute to soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the war.


The Royal Air Force Station Gan accommodated 600 officers from the Royal Air Force in 1957; the base is today a part of a tourist resort. Within the compound are several other buildings from the British era that still remain intact - the ‘NAAFI' supply store, the Astra cinema that kept the RAF forces entertained and the Gan Post Office. Complete your history tour by scuba diving to 33 metres underwater and greet the British Loyalty shipwreck. Once an oil tanker that was used in the Second World War, it is now the breeding ground for marine life and a thick blanket of corals.


Swim with manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles

There are several dive centres in and around Gan Island. It might be a bit daunting when the manta rays swimming alongside have over 5m long wings, but these gentle marine animals are harmless. Turtle Point is situated just outside the Gan reef. A dozen turtles, usually the Hawksbill species, might also pass by.

There are several ‘kandu’ (dive sites) to get to the coral reefs – Gan Kandu, Villingili Kandu and Manta Point...


Explore coral reefs

Get your snorkelling gear on and dip into the clear waters to take in the spectacular view of the ruby coloured coral reefs usually made of whip and fan coral colonies. Addu Atoll is the only atoll in the Maldives that escaped the 1998 global coral bleaching.


There are several ‘kandu' (dive sites) to get to the coral reefs - Gan Kandu, Villingili Kandu and Manta Point to name a few. Regardless of which dive site you choose, the colourful array of marine life will take your breath away. It is as if an artist painted a brilliant landscape underwater!


Traditional Maldivian cuisine

Gan island has been influenced by Indian, Arab as well as Sri Lankan cuisines and so you can expect to enjoy fresh catch of the day and a lot of curries whether you decide to eat in a hotel or a café. Nearly every Maldivian meal in Gan Island has three main components: fish, coconut and starch derived from taro, breadfruit and sago.


How about trying something unexpected? A home-made meal with the Adduans in the island. Relish in simple yet delicious dishes shared with a sense of community.


That is how the true meaning of hospitality flows in Gan Island and Addu Atoll.

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    Enjoy a dolphin cruise at sunset

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    Cobalt waters, chalk white beaches and emerald green vegetation paint a dreamy landscape of a Gan Island holiday

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    Go back in time and witness the island's history at the former Royal Air Force Station Gan

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    Experience the peace of diving with a manta ray, the graceful underwater giant of Gan Island

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    Go snorkelling over a carpet of coral at Turtle Point

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    Gan Island is a great destination for authentic culinary experiences

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