Ukulhas – The Champions of Environment Protection in Maldives

Ukulhas is among one of the many islands in North Ari Atoll. This atoll is well known for its abundance in natural beauties such as the reefs, sand banks, uninhabited islands and dive points famous globally, resulting in numerous resorts throughout the atoll.

Ukulhas is about an hour away by speedboat from the country’s main airport, Velana International Airport. It is easily accessible by daily speed boat rides between the island and the airport. Ukulhas is in the center of the atoll so it is a very convenient spot if you are looking to explore the beauty of Ari Atoll.

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The island has a population of about 1000 and was a predominantly fishing community until the introduction of local tourism to the island in 2012. Now tourism industry is booming in the island with it being the main source of income for the islanders. Tourists are welcomed to Ukulhas with smiling faces and friendly locals. Some may strike up a conversation with you or offer a friendly match of chess during the evenings. Whatever it maybe that you seek, everyone will be willing to help.

To date, the island has over 30 guesthouses, 10 restaurants which offer a variety of cuisines from all over the world, various convenience shops, and other amenities such as dive centers, a gym and a children’s park.

Cleanest island in Maldives
The island is well known for its cleanliness. You will see women sweeping the roads and beaches daily just after sunrise and before sunset. Many other islands in Maldives take Ukulhas as role model for their well-established waste management system. It is the first island in the history of Maldives to systematically manage its waste.

Champion of Environment Protection
The residents of Ukulhas love their natural environment and try to keep the island as green and clean as possible. Ukulhas conducts several cleaning and planting programs each year and has organized multiple awareness programs on waste management, marine ecosystems, and biodiversity. Ukulhas achieved the Green Leaf award for its outstanding services on protecting and preserving the island’s environment and was recognized as an environmental role model. Now the islanders are an environment conscious community who actively promote cleanliness and sustainable practices in their daily lives. This has in turn made Ukulhas a clean and well-maintained island unspoiled by litter.

Coral Gardening
The residents of Ukulhas are ocean lovers and it’s a part of their daily life to protect the marine life. Ukulhas is one of the few local islands in Maldives actively carrying out a coral gardening project. With the initiative of Ali Zameer (Zamicko) and the residents of Ukulhas, the coral gardening project was started in 2019. The project aims to build an eco-marine park in the island and to have a healthy house reef in the island. With the help of Murakabay Maldives Dive School in Ukulhas, Zamicko and his team planted the first batch of corals in March 2019.

World Class Convention Center
The island has one of the few convention centers in Maldives located outside of Male’ city. The Ukulhas Convention Center was built in 2019 and capable of hosting various events. Apart from the capital city, such facilities are only available in luxury resorts. The Convention Center can accommodate up to 400 people and consists of a multipurpose hall, including a meeting room, VIP meeting room, two classrooms, admin office, and cafeteria. It offers convenience, comfort and affordability. It has opened new doors to those seeking to host their events in a beautiful island in Maldives at a reasonable price. The facility is perfect for SMEs & NGOs to host their conferences and meetings. Ukulhas Tech Fair 2019 was the most notable event held at the Center. The fair was organized by the Maldivian Professor Hassan Ugail’s Ugail Foundation, and the Director of the Visual Computing Centre at the University of Bradford in the UK. Well-known scientists and professors from around the world attended the Fair.

Underwater Beauty
The beauty bestowed on the island by the geography makes it the perfect Maldivian getaway. These include an award-winning white sandy beach, turquoise waters on the horizon with an easily accessible house reef swarming with colorful marine flora and fauna such as harmless baby sharks, and turtles swimming right next to it. If this is not enough and you crave some privacy, you can choose to spend the day lazing with your loved ones on one of the many sandbanks or uninhabited picnic islands in solitude just minutes away from Ukulhas. Ukulhas is also in close vicinity of some of the top dive sites within the country such as “Ukulhas Thila”, “Hafsa Thila” and “Mayya Thila” – which all offer spectacular underwater sights which will leave even the most experienced divers in a trance. Other activities you can enjoy include fishing, dolphin watching, sunset dinners and many more.

Swim with Mantas
Another top activity among majority of tourists who visit Maldives is Manta Ray safaris where you get to see and swim along with the gentle giants. As the manta rays glide through the waters in all their majesty, it is hard not to pause in awe. However, manta ray sightings are often seasonal with only a few spots in the whole country from which manta rays can be spotted all year round. Ukulhas is luckily just a 5-minute speed boat ride away from such a spot in which an encounter is almost always guaranteed.

Ukulhas offers you a chance to experience the world renowned luxurious Maldivian sun, sand and sea along with an authentic local experience. And the icing on the cake is that all this and more can be enjoyed on a budget!

Photo Credits: Siarez Photography

Editors note: This content is endorsed by Ministry of Tourism and Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

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