While Male may be the capital of the Maldives – a place where visitors almost exclusively arrive into and leave from the country, it’s interesting that many visitors do not spend a single night in Male. This is because most visitors go directly to their resort island and spend most of their time there.
Many visitors still get to see Male via day trips organised by several of the resort islands.
Male isn’t particularly large – in fact it’s possible to walk around the island in slightly over an hour (it’s dimensions being approximately 2km long and 1km wide).
For its land mass, Male is pretty densely populated with around a 70,000 strong population. There are ongoing land reclamation projects in progress to increase the amount of space on the island.
Despite being a small city, Male offers the kind of services you would come to expect from any capital including books, post office, internet access, bookshops, travel agents, a myriad of eateries and so on.
There are a few points of interest for those who venture into Male to get a glimpse of life in the capital.
The Islamic centre & mosque is one of the grander structures in the city. Hukuru Miskiiy is the most ancient mosque in Male and dates back to the 1650’s.
There is a National Museum displaying various artefacts once owned by the Sultans (from clothing to weapons).
You may also enjoy visiting the Muleeaage (a structure initially built as a palace and also used as presidential residence in the past).
Shoppers will find quite a few places of interest in Male – for instance Chandanee Magu and Orchid Magu have a cluster of souvenir shops & cafes.
Male isn’t a place to go to for bars or clubs but other forms of entertainment do exist – there are a couple of cinemas (the Star & Olympus on Majeedi Magu). There are also opportunities to catch an outdoor concert at New Harbour.
For sports enthusiasts there is the National Stadium where football & cricket games are regularly contested.
Male has several hotels, guest-houses & inns to suit a wide range of budgets should you have the opportunity to spend a couple of nights.
Those who do get to visit Male for any length of time can enjoy a wide range of eateries serving many different types of international cuisine. Male has several small tea shops offering (non-alcoholic) drinks and small snacks or “short eats” (hedhikaa). Tea shops also offer “long eats”, which tend to be larger more filling dishes.
Tea shops in Male are on the whole cheap and chirpy affairs, serving simple foods at low prices. There are also several higher priced restaurants to choose from. These include cuisines such as Italian, Thai, Indian, American & Chinese. Most restaurants also have their own in-house restaurant.