By Win & Manuel – 25th Sep 2021
Located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, Malé is one of the smallest national capitals in the world – with an area of 5.8 square kilometers and a population of approximately 150,000. It consists of a central region connected to the airport island via Sinamale Bridge and two other islets. Hence, hanging around the city and enjoying its sights and sounds only takes a short amount of time.
With just a day trip or an overnight stay, you could have a good sense and appreciation of the city’s buzz and lively activity. A welcome change from mostly non-Maldivian staff encounters on the resort islands and an excellent opportunity to plunge into the heart of the Maldives – its fascinating people, colorful history, and rich Maldivian culture.
Here are 10 things that we recommend you to do or local sites to pay a visit when you are in Malé.
1. Old Friday Mosque
The oldest mosque in the Maldives, dating back to 1656. A stunning structure made of coral stone in which intricate decoration and chiseled Quranic scripts are ingrained. As this is a religious site, non-Muslims who wish to visit inside must obtain permission from an official of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. You may be allowed to enter on the spot if you are conservatively dressed and the time is not within the prayer schedule.
2. Fish Market
This community is the soul of Malé – where you get the authentic feel of Maldivian culture. After tourism, fishing is the second largest industry. It is interesting to watch the catch of the day arrive at the fishing port. Look out for a variety of seafood, from large tuna, squid to red grouper.
3. Fruit Market
Malé Local Market is situated not far from the Fish Market. A great variety of tropical fruits and vegetables are available such as dragon fruit, papaya, mangosteen, custard apple, mango and enjoy a delicious, refreshing coconut drink.
4. Tsunami Monument
The spiraling monument pays tribute to the victims of the 2004 tsunami. It stands on the edge of the sea in remembrance of those who were affected by the tragedy. Since then, the government has declared 26th December as a day to commemorate the Maldivian spirit and solidarity in the time of disaster. Ponder at the incredible power of nature as you gaze over the sobering memorial and through the waters beyond.
5. Shopping at Majeedhee Magu Road / Chaandhanee Magu Road
In Malé island, there is a main tourist shopping area known as Chaandhanee Magu and also Majeedhee Magu road. Do not expect big shopping malls with international brands, this is for the local souvenirs such as coral beads, postcards, magnets, local fashion.
6. Artificial beaches
There are two artificial beaches on the east coast of Male island. This is a place you can have a quick dip and take away the heat and chill around. Long walks on the seaside whilst clicking within the picturesque sunset is an absolute must-do. This is a public beach and there are dress restrictions here. Strictly, there is no swimwear allowed and women need to cover up while visiting this place
7. Try Local Maldivian Food
Malé has many nice restaurants and cafes. Do pay a visit to their local tea house for a taste of their local food. The traditional cuisine of the Maldives is filled with Arabic and Indian flavors which come from Kerala and Sri Lanka, being very spicy and hot. Chilies, onions, basil leaves, and lime juice are used in many recipes. Seafood is the main highlight of the Maldivian table. Particularly popular meat of skipjack tuna, tuna frigate, and yellowfin tuna in particularly tuna is a big part of their local diet. You can also visit their cafe and restaurants in Male. Some good ones here
a. The Sea House
b. Belle Amie Bistro
c. Seagull cafe house
8. The National Museum of Maldives
The museum houses a massive assemblage of royal antiquities going back to the Buddhist and Islamic eras. From various costumes and ornaments of former kings and queens, cloth and paper manuscripts to anthropological objects, arms, and armor. Everything is under one roof. This gamut of artifacts is a reflection of the country’s treasured heritage.
Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III built Mulee-Aage for his son between the period of 1914 to 1919. And since then, the site has been the ancestral home of former Sultans and royalty. But through the course of history, with the abolition of the Sultanate. The building is now used for various government administrative purposes or as a residence for visiting heads of state and other dignitaries. Mulee-Aage is the official palace of the President and is a must-see in any Male’ tour.
10. Republic Square
Situated on the northern outskirts of Malé, this green square is notable for its lined palm trees. The estate was constructed in 1989 and features a flagpole with the nation’s largest Maldivian flag waving proudly. This area is also a popular spot for locals to meet.
In closing, if you have time to spare before or after your Maldives resort vacation, Malé is well worth a side trip. Based on experience, most of our customers typically extend for a day and stay an extra night at Hullumale to seize the opportunity to explore the capital city.