One of the world's smallest national capital, Male is known for its ancient mosque and colourful buildings. With its beauty and progressiveness being talked about the island today has grown into one of the most visited places in the Maldives. It is a casual town best for wandering without pre-planned itineraries. With heritage buildings on the one hand, and trees and waters with welcoming shades on the other, Male is a must visit. This pint-sized Maldivian capital is a mercantile pulse of the nation which has a lot to offer to its tourists. Away from a resort's infinity pool and succulent buffet, Male gives you the most authentic experiences in the Maldives. Surrounded courageously with turquoise waters, it is the driving soul of the whole archipelago. From strolling on the streets jostling with shops and lively markets to learning about the Maldivian history, you would love every moment spent in the capital city of Male.
This is a beautiful structure which dates back to 1656. The oldest mosque in the country, Malé Hukuru Miskiy is known for its sea-culture architecture. Ornate with carvings of the Quranic script the shrine is considered very pious among the Maldivian Muslims. The mosque also opens its doors for the people outside Islam after they take special permission from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
The Heritage building is an epitome of knowledge. Sheltering a gamut of artefacts which long from the ancient Islamic period of the Maldives, this museum introduces you with almost all the events of archipelago's history. If you are someone who has a knack for crafts and history, then this is your go-to place.
3. Male Fish Market
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Male, the fish market is the heart and soul of the city. Though there is nothing special about the place as it is only a local market, it holds great importance for being the bread and butter to many dhonis. You get to see the daily activities of the fishermen and salesmen. Also, if you love eating seafood then grab your hands on tuna and other fresh fishes you see. Surprisingly, the market is all clean with a hygienic environment.
As the name implies, the beach is man-made yet chooses to serve its visitors in the most natural forms. The small crescent-shaped structure is loved by the locals as well as the tourists as they can swim or do nothing at all at the beach. Visit here, laze around, relax a little, and make the most out of it.
5. Sultan Park
Sultan Park, renamed as 'Rasrani Bageecha' is a park which includes a 12 feet glass tree house capable of giving a view of the entire park, a beautiful two storied water fountain, a vertical garden, children's playgrounds, and a green tunnel. Mariyaadhuge with traditional hammocks can also be spotted in the park. To make Male look more charming the park houses more than 18,000 trees, hence taking you into a lush green fresh zone. For helping you escape the scorching heat, the park also has it sown snow world. This 'Winter Theme Area' with igloos, ice skating, etc. is the key component of the park. You are assured a great time at the Rasrani Bageecha.
6. Muleeaage & Medhu Ziyaarath
Despite being two different attractions, they are named together as they stand next to each other. While the first serves as the official residence of the President of the Maldives, the latter is the tomb of Abul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary who is known for bringing Islam inside the boundaries of the archipelago in the 12th century. Many walking tours in the city take you to Muleeaage, the bungalow that boasts of its classical architecture.
7. Tsunami Monument
It is a memorial for the people who lost their lives in December 2004 floods. These floods were the most extreme disasters to have taken place in Maldivian history. Built on the edge of the sea one can even observe lovely sunsets from here.
Located in the North Male Atoll, Villingili also known as Villimale is a small island also considered as the fifth district of the capital. A short boat ride from the mainland of Male takes you to a world that is breathtaking. The brightly painted houses with lively locals and surroundings which give out all Caribbean feel deserve your visit.
Ideal for the ones who wish to explore the magical underwater of the Maldives, this Whale Submarine tour takes you to the mysterious depths of the Great Indian Ocean. After you reach the depth of 100 metres, you will see the coral reefs and different fishes such as White Tip Reef Sharks, Napoleons, Yellow Box Fish, Lionfish, etc. The submarine stays for around 45 minutes inside the water. Witnessing the secrets of Ocean via this submarine dive will undoubtedly be one of the best things you would ever do in your lifetime.
The average cost per person for this tour is INR 5000. It might be less or more depending upon your tour operator.
Snorkelling in Male
The South Atoll of Mahe and the nearby Hulhumale island is known for great snorkelling safaris which shouldn't be missed. You are provided with a jetty that takes you from the mainland to the snorkelling spots. The turquoise waters spread their charm as no one would ever have. They are too beautiful to leave you spellbound. As you step into the waters and connect with the fishes and other aquatic species you'll disconnect yourself from the materialised world and enter a tranquil zone.
The price of snorkelling starts from INR 700 for one hour and rises depending on your tour operator and services offered.
The Maldives might not be a shopper's paradise, but it is excellent for collecting some mementoes. Male can fulfil your shopping needs as you experience the culture of this idyllic island. The Male local market introduces you with the vibrancy of the stunning archipelago. The handicraft sections, local snacks, clothes, toys, and souvenirs of the 'bazaar' are enough to tempt the foreign tourists. Majeedhee Magu is another one-stop shopping destination. From accessories, electronic goods, garments to some fantastic cafes, this market can be a threat to your pockets as you would wish to buy everything you see. Number three is the Island Bazaar which posses the authentic European collection of goods such as fridge magnets, cushions, etc. And the STO Trade Centre with its second and third floors devoted for souvenirs.
The only option to reach Male is by Air. The main airport i.e. Male International Airport (MLE) connects Male with major countries such as China, Dubai, India, and Sri Lanka. There are charter flights coming in from Singapore and Europe.
A free 30-day visa on arrival is issued as soon as you reach the airport. This can be extended to a duration of 90 days with valid proof of enough funds and travel documents.