Male Island: What to Do in the Capital of the Maldives 2023

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You would like to be in that overwater bungalow, right? But your flight arrived late at night in Male, or maybe you would like to spend a few days in the Capital of the Maldives and want to know what to do and visit. We got you! This is the guide you need to understand the largest city of Maldives Islands, more similar to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur when you look at the crazy amount of scooters around. Keep reading to know What to do in Male Island.

There’s so much to do and explore in this vibrant city. From visiting the iconic Grand Friday Mosque to indulging in delicious Maldivian cuisine, you won’t be bored for a second.

And when the sun sets, the city comes alive with a buzzing nightlife, with a lot of things to do in Malé.

So grab your sunscreen and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Male Island, Capital of Maldives!

Overview City of Male Island – Capital of the Maldives

Malé, the bustling capital city of the Maldives, is a fascinating blend of history, culture, and modernity. Located on one of the largest islands in the Maldives archipelago, Malé has a rich historical tapestry that dates back to the 12th century, when it was a trading post for spices and coconuts.

Despite its small size, the city is densely populated, with over 130,000 residents crammed into an area of just 5.8 square kilometers. This makes it one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

The population is predominantly Maldivian, with a mix of other ethnicities due to its role as a trading and tourist hub. One of the most captivating aspects of Malé is its unique architecture, which is a mix of Islamic influences and modern designs.

The 17th-century Hukuru Miskiy mosque, made of intricately carved coral stone, stands in stark contrast to the contemporary high-rises. Malé is also home to the Maldives National Museum, which houses a collection of historical artifacts that offer insights into the country’s Islamic and maritime heritage.

In the past, Malé was known as the King’s Island, serving as the seat of royal power and housing the royal palace. It was originally called Mahal and was a fortified city complete with walls, gates, and defensive structures. After the monarchy was abolished in 1968, much of the city, including the Royal Palace and its historic forts, was torn down under the governance of President Ibrahim Nasir. Despite this, some key structures like the Malé Friday Mosque have stood the test of time. 

 Visit the Grand Friday Mosque, the Old Mosque and King Salman Mosque

Make sure to visit the Grand Friday Mosque while you’re in the city. It’s an impressive architectural masterpiece. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this gem during your visit to the Maldives. The mosque’s striking golden dome is a prominent feature on Malé’s skyline. The interior of the mosque is equally remarkable, adorned with intricate woodcarvings and elegant Arabic calligraphy.

Inaugurated in 1984, the Grand Friday Mosque and the accompanying Islamic Centre were named in honor of Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu-Al-Auzam, the Maldivian ruler who was instrumental in creating this architectural wonder. The Islamic Centre features a three-level structure, the primary section of which is occupied by the mosque, capable of hosting about 5,000 devotees. Inside, you’ll find a grand prayer hall with beautiful chandeliers and a mesmerizing carpet.

The Grand Friday Mosque was built to replace the old Male Friday Mosque. Their names are very similar, so don´t mix they up. They are only 4 minutes walking from each other. The Old Mosque was built entirely using corals from the sea around. Because of that, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage cultural list in 2008 as unique example of sea-culture architecture. It was built in 1656, and it is the oldest Mosque in Maldives.

A new mosque, ready but not official opened yet

And for the last, the new King Salman Mosque, so new, that is not officialy opened yet! It was supposed to open in 2021 to celebrate Maldives 50th independence anniversary, but it got delayed and praying started in April 2022. Financed by Saudi Arabia, this mosque got its name from Saudi Arabia´s King. The building is ready, but they need to wait for a King´s visit, delayed because of the pandemic.

The mosque structure rises six levels and is accompanied by five minarets, each symbolizing one of the five pillars of Islam. Rather than featuring a conventional dome, the building sports a design that mimics the appearance of a giant blue Bedouin desert tent. It can receive 6000 prayers, and it is the largest mosque in the Maldives.

Discover the National Museum of Maldives in Sultan Park

Don’t miss the chance to visit the National Museum in the Maldives. Trust me, it’s not your average museum!

This place is packed with historical treasures and a whole lot of cultural significance. You’ll be blown away by the exhibits they have on display. From ancient artifacts (like an ancient 11th century Buddha head made of coral) to traditional artwork, this museum has it all.

And let me tell you, the architecture of this place is something else. It’s like stepping into a whole new world.

Take your time to explore the artifacts and soak in the rich history of the Maldives. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the country’s heritage that you won’t want to miss.

The National Museum complex has two large buildings separated by Sultan Park in the old palace grounds across from the gold-domed Grand Friday Mosque (Islamic Centre on Medhu Ziyaarai Magu).

Ticket price in August 2023 is 10 USD for adult foreigners. Opening times: Sunday to Thursday – 10am to 04pm

Visit the local markets – Fish Market, Majeedhee Magu

Head on over to the Male Local Market for a vibrant and lively shopping experience. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

As soon as you step foot into these markets, you’ll be greeted by a riot of colors, sounds, and smells. It’s like stepping into a whole new world!

Explore local handicrafts and marvel at the intricate designs and craftsmanship. You can find miniatures of boats, mats made out of coconut and palm leaves, and a lot of products made of seashells.

You can sample the mouthwatering street food while you’re at it. Your taste buds will thank you. Maldives has a lot of fruits to try, like screwpine juice. But if you are interested in textiles and clothes, go to Majeedhee Magu, 

Don´t forget to visit the fish market. Best time is around 3pm, when fishermen arrive with new products. Eating fresh tuna is a must, but in the market you will find Valhomas, dried tuna. You can spend some time here looking at them slicing the fillets, but unfortunately they don´t speak english very well.

Indulge in Traditional Maldivian Cuisine

When you’re in the Maldives, you can’t resist indulging in the mouthwatering flavors of traditional Maldivian cuisine. Trust me, it’s a culinary adventure you don’t want to miss.

The Maldivian food culture is a delightful mix of influences from India, Sri Lanka, and the Arab world. So get ready to tantalize your taste buds with some must-try Maldivian dishes.

Start your culinary journey with Garudhiya, a clear fish broth that will warm your soul. Then, dive into Mas Huni, a dish made with shredded smoked tuna, coconut, and onions. It’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth! 

Don’t forget to try Bis Keemiya, a Maldivian take on samosas, and Kulhi Boakibaa, a delicious fish cake. These traditional Maldivian dishes are just a taste of the country’s culinary delights.

If you want to keep it simple, there are nice dishes you will find everywhere and is very good. Fried noodles, fried rice and Kotu Roshi (instead of noodles, they use bread), And they mix this with Tuna, Chicken, Beef, Vegetables, or Valhomas. We ate this everyday in our stay in public islands and we love it. 

Tour in a real Submarine

Exploring the underwater world in a real submarine is an exhilarating experience that allows you to witness the mesmerizing marine life of the Maldives up close.

Forget snorkeling or diving, my friend, because this submarine adventure takes it to a whole new level! You don´t get wet, you don´t have to breath through a tube, and you don´t need to defog you mask.

Picture yourself sitting comfortably in a submarine, descending into the deep blue ocean, surrounded by the oceanic wonders that few get to see.

The Maldives is known for its unique marine life, and this submarine tour gives you a front-row seat to witness it all. From vibrant coral reefs to colorful fish, you’ll be in awe of the underwater beauty.

It is a 45 minute dive that dives 50 meters deep with 48 people. They even have a restaurant inside.

It was built in Germany by Bruker Meerestechnik, and it is the only submarine tour in southeast Asia. We´ve tried a sub tour in Aruba two years ago and it was amazing. They also have tours in Grand Cayman, Barbados, St Thomas, Cozumel and Hawaii, and no accidents reported, so it is super safe and one of the best things to do in Male.

Day trip to a resort from Male Maldives

A day trip to a resort in the Maldives offers you the chance to kick back, relax, and soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches. Picture yourself lying on the sand, the warm breeze caressing your face, and the crystal-clear waters inviting you to take a dip. Ah, paradise!

But the fun doesn’t stop there. These resorts have a plethora of activities to keep you entertained. From thrilling water sports like snorkeling and jet skiing to island hopping adventures, there’s never a dull moment. And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not try some underwater exploration? Dive into the depths of the ocean and discover the vibrant coral reefs and exotic marine life.

If you are waiting for your night flight, or between islands, this is a great way to visit another resort. One of the best options is the Day visit to Crossroads, an island connecting Saii Lagoon and Hard Rock Maldives. It is only 15 minutes speedboat ride from Male International Airport. Price is only 20 USD and includes round trip transfer, access to beach facilities, shower, changing room, swimming pool. Totally worth it.

Enjoy a Sunset Cruise in the Indian Ocean

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Indian Ocean as you enjoy a sunset cruise.

You and your loved one, on a luxurious yacht, sipping champagne as the sun dips below the horizon. Can you feel the romance in the air?

The Indian Ocean provides the perfect backdrop for this unforgettable experience. As you sail along, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning views, with the sky painted in shades of pink, orange, and purple. It’s like a painting come to life.

And let’s not forget the luxury yachts, complete with comfortable seating and top-notch service.

Sunset cruises starts at 95 USD for a 2 hours tour and runs everyday.

Enjoy Henveiru Artificial Beach

Don’t miss the chance to relax on Henveiru Beach, where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters.  Henveiru Beach is an artificial beach that has the most stunning vistas and a tranquil atmosphere in a chaotic Malé city.

This place has it all when it comes to beach activities. You can try your hand at some thrilling water sports like jet skiing or paddleboarding. And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not explore the local attractions by taking a snorkeling tour? Dive into the colorful world beneath the waves and discover the vibrant marine life.

And let’s not forget about the nightlife options! Henveiru Beach in Male is just a stone’s throw away from some of the best bars and clubs in the city. So go ahead, kick back, and let the good times roll!

Visit Tsunami Monument

While you’re exploring the capital of the Maldives, don’t forget to visit the Tsunami Monument to pay your respects to the victims of the devastating natural disaster.

In 2004, a tsunami hit all the Maldivian islands. 82 people were killed and 24 reported missing. MOst of Malé city was underwater.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – visiting a memorial doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to do on your vacation. But trust me, this is not your ordinary memorial. It’s a work of art, with local artists contributing their talent to create a monument that not only honors the victims but also showcases the cultural significance of the Maldives.

The architectural beauty of the monument is simply awe-inspiring. And let’s not forget about the historical significance – it serves as a stark reminder of the power of nature and the resilience of the Maldivian people.

Boat tours from Male Island

Hop on a boat tour and explore the stunning surrounding islands of the Maldives. Trust me, it’s the best way to experience the true beauty of this paradise.

We already talked about sunset cruises and Whale submarine from Male, Tour companies have more tours, like a South Ari exploration, where you could snorkel with whale sharks, sandbank picnic tours, big fish expeditions and Island hopping, to visit several islands in one single day.

History of Male city – Maldives

So, you’ve had your fair share of boat tours and places to visit around Male Island, huh? Well, now it’s time to guide you into the rich history of this vibrant capital of the Maldives. Trust me, it’s not just all about the crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches here!

The history of Male, the capital city of Maldives, dates back more than 2,000 years. Male has long been a major center of trade and commerce in the region. In the 12th century, it was ruled by a sultanate and experienced significant growth and development. Male was a strategic location for the ancient maritime Silk Road, which connected the East with the West.

Over the centuries, the city faced numerous challenges and was under the control of various colonial powers, including the Portuguese and the Dutch. In the late 19th century, the Maldives gained independence from colonial rule, and Male became the capital.

Today, Male is a modern and vibrant city, with tall skyscrapers, bustling markets, and a mix of traditional and contemporary architecture. It is also known for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, attracting tourists from around the world. The city’s rich history and diverse culture make it a fascinating destination for exploring the Maldivian heritage. 

Is Male safe to visit?

Visiting Male is a safe experience for tourists. Don’t worry, you won’t be chased by wild dolphins or attacked by rogue coconuts here! Male is actually quite tourist friendly, with plenty of attractions to keep you entertained.

Just like any other destination, it’s always a good idea to take some safety precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid walking alone at night, and be respectful of the local customs and traditions. It is probably safer than Europe, United States and Brazil.

What to wear in Maldives Male?

The history of the Maldives is deeply intertwined with the arrival of Buddhism and Islamism. Buddhism was the predominant religion in the region from the 3rd century BC until the 12th century AD. Numerous Buddhist archaeological sites and artifacts can still be found across the islands. However, in the 12th century, a Maldivian ruler named Islam introduced Islam to the Maldives, and it gradually became the dominant religion. Today, Islam plays a central role in the daily lives of the Maldivian people and is reflected in their culture and traditions. 

The Maldives is all about that beach life, so pack your best beach attire. Think flowy sundresses, shorts, and breezy shirts. Embrace the island vibes!

While there’s no strict dress code in Male, it’s always good to be respectful of the local culture. You might want to skip the super revealing outfits and opt for something more modest. Bikinis are not allowed in the beaches, but you can wear that long sleeve UV shirt and yoga pants. You will see whole families swimming at the sea like they just got of work.

And hey, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try out some traditional garments? Spice up your wardrobe with a sarong or a dhivehi libaas. You’ll fit right in with the locals and look fabulous while doing it!

Male Climate and Weather

So, now that you know what to wear in Maldives Male, let’s talk about the climate and weather in this little slice of paradise. Brace yourself because we’re about to dive into the wild world of rainfall patterns, temperature variations, and the oh-so-dramatic monsoon season.

First things first, expect some rain. I mean, we’re talking about islands here, and rain is just a part of the deal. The rainfall patterns can vary throughout the year, with the wettest months being from April to October. But don’t worry, it’s not like you’ll be swimming in puddles all day long. The rain usually comes in short bursts, so you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the sun and the beach.

Now, let’s talk temperature. It’s going to be hot, my friend. I’m talking about that sticky, sweaty kind of hot. The average temperature in Male hovers around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), so make sure to pack your sunscreen and stay hydrated.

And then there’s the monsoon season. From May to October, the southwest monsoon brings some serious rain and wind. It’s like the weather gods decided to have a little dance party and invited everyone to join. So, if you’re planning a trip during this time, make sure to pack an umbrella and a good book to keep you entertained during those rainy days.

Now, let’s talk about climate change. I know, I know, it’s a serious topic, but we can’t ignore the impact it has on the Maldives. Rising sea levels and increased temperatures are threatening this beautiful archipelago. So, while you’re enjoying your time in Male, remember to be mindful of your carbon footprint and do your part to protect this tropical paradise.

Male or Hulhumale?

If you’re trying to decide between Male and Hulhumale, keep in mind that both offer unique experiences and attractions for you to explore.

Male and Hulhumale are two different islands in the Maldives that exhibit distinct characteristics. Male, the capital city, is densely populated and buzzes with activity. It is the commercial and administrative center of the country, boasting tall buildings, busy markets, and cultural sites.

In contrast, Hulhumale is a newly reclaimed island that serves as a suburban area for Male. It offers modern infrastructure and a tranquil environment with wide roads, parks, and beaches. While Male is lively and packed with amenities, Hulhumale provides a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere for residents and visitors. We think Hulhumale has better hotels, and it is easier to go to and from the Male International Airport.

In Male, you can indulge in a variety of beach activities like snorkeling, diving, and even paddleboarding. The local transportation system is a mix of colorful taxis, motorbikes, and ferries, making it easy to get around and experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

Where to stay in Male or Hulhumale?

For a comfortable stay in either Male or Hulhumale, you can find a variety of hotels and guesthouses that cater to different budgets and preferences.

In Male, you’ll discover a range of options, from budget accommodations that won’t break the bank to luxurious resorts that will make you feel like royalty.

If you’re looking for a more local experience, Hulhumale offers charming guesthouses that allow you to immerse yourself in the island’s culture.

And don’t worry about getting around – local transportation options like taxis and ferries make it easy to explore both islands.

What to do in Male City at night?

So, you’ve settled into your accommodation in Male or Hulhumale, but now you’re wondering what to do in the city at night? Well, let me tell you, this vibrant capital has plenty to offer after dark!

First up, check out the nightlife activities in Male. Head to the local bars and sip on some refreshing cocktails while enjoying the lively atmosphere. If you’re in the mood for some cultural performances, catch a traditional Bodu Beru show or a Maldivian dance performance.

For those who love shopping, the night markets in Male are a must-visit. Stroll through the bustling stalls, browse local handicrafts, and indulge in delicious street food.

And if you want to see the city from a different perspective, hop on an evening boat tour. Cruise along the coast, admire the twinkling lights, and maybe even catch a breathtaking sunset.

Of course, night clubs and bars are alcoohol-free in Male. 

What to do in Male Airport Island?

Velana Airport (Male Maldives International Airtport) has three terminals, one international, one domestic and one seaplane terminal. In the international terminal you will find both Sim Card companies, one Bank of Maldives ATM machine, a pharmacy, a luggage storage and one VIP lounge. They have free wifi too.

When you arrive at Male Airport, make sure to check out the duty-free shops for some great deals on souvenirs and luxury items. These shops are like a treasure trove of goodies just waiting to be discovered. You can explore shops that offer everything from traditional Maldivian crafts to high-end fashion brands. It’s like a shopping paradise right there in the airport!

But hey, don’t forget to fuel up at the restaurants too. There are some incredible dining options available, serving up delicious local cuisine and international favorites. And if you’re feeling a bit fancy, why not treat yourself to one of the airport lounges? Relax, sip on a cocktail, and soak in the luxurious ambiance. The airport facilities here are top-notch, with all the amenities you could possibly need.

And when it’s time to head out, don’t worry about transportation options. If you are heading to a resort, someone will be waiting for you with a sign. There are taxis and shuttle services readily available to take you wherever you need to go. So, enjoy your time at Male Airport, because it’s more than just a transit hub – it’s an experience in itself!

Frequently Asked Questions – Places to Visit in Male

What Is the Best Time to Visit Male in Terms of Weather and Climate?

When it comes to weather and climate, you wanna aim for the ideal months. Avoid those pesky monsoons and go for the dry season, my friend. From November to April, you’ll find the sun shining, the temperatures just right, and minimal rainfall.

Can You Provide Some Information About the History of Male?

From its humble beginnings as a fishing village to becoming the bustling capital of the Maldives, Male has seen it all. It’s got some seriously cool historical landmarks that showcase its cultural significance. Plus, you can’t talk about Male’s history without mentioning the influence of colonial rule.

Is It Safe for tourists to Visit Male?

Safety concerns are always important when traveling, but let me put your mind at ease. Male is a popular tourist destination with plenty of attractions in Male and a vibrant local culture. Plus, transportation options are abundant, so getting around is a breeze. Just remember to stay vigilant, practice common sense, and follow any travel tips you come across.

Is Male Island the Same as Hulhumale?

Male Island and Hulhumale might sound similar, but they are not the same! Hulhumale is an entirely different island, totally artificial, made for residential apartment buildings, while Male Island is the capital of the Maldives. They are connected by a bridge and by ferry. There is a third island in the middle called Hulhulé island, the airport island.

Where Is the Best Place to Stay, in Male or Hulhumale?

Both islands have their perks. In Male, you’ll find the best accommodations, top-notch tourist attractions, and mouthwatering local cuisine. Plus, transportation options are a breeze! On the other hand, Hulhumale offers a more laid-back vibe with beautiful beaches and amazing shopping options.

Is Male Island worth a visit? What to do in Male island.

Male Island, the capital of the Maldives, is definitely worth a visit. Despite being a small island, it offers a unique experience with its vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and magnificent architecture. Explore the narrow streets of the city and discover colorful markets, local shops, top things to see and historical landmarks.

Visit the impressive Grand Friday Mosque and the bustling fish market. Indulge in delicious local cuisine and learn about the rich history and traditions of the Maldivian people. With its tropical charm and warm hospitality, Male Island guarantees a memorable and enjoyable vacation.  

Can tourists stay in Male? What to do in Male Island

Yes, tourists can stay in Male. While the capital city of the Maldives is primarily known for being a transit point for tourists heading to the luxurious resorts in the other islands, there are also accommodations available for tourism. There are various guesthouses, hotels, and even a couple of hostels where tourists can enjoy their stay and explore the bustling city life of Male. 

Can you walk around Malé Maldives?

Yes, you can walk around Malé Maldives. Malé is the capital city and largest city of the Maldives, and it is a small island with a population of about 150,000 people. The island is only about 2.2 square miles in size, making it easy to explore on foot. Walking around Malé allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, visit vibrant markets, and admire the gorgeous ocean views. 

Does Uber work in Malé Maldives?

Uber does not currently operate in Malé, Maldives. However, the city has a well-developed public transportation system and a range of taxi services available to residents and tourists. Visitors can easily hire a taxi from the airport or book a ride through tour operators or their accommodations. 

Conclusion – What to do in Male island

From exploring the majestic Grand Friday Mosque to diving into the history at the National Museum of Maldives, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t forget to satisfy your taste buds with some delicious traditional Maldivian cuisine and explore the vibrant markets.

Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or things to do at night, Male has got you covered.

And even in the Male Airport, the adventure continues.

So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable trip to this island paradise! ALso check our post Maldives

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