Male is the capital of the famed tropical islands of the Maldives. It neighbors an airport island (Velana International Airport), which has been built on the sea to facilitate international travel, and both are governed and maintained by the city's municipality.
Previously, Male was a walled city, and it was re-modified in 1968 after the Maldivian monarchy came to an end. Nowadays, the city is an urban hotspot, with tall buildings - many housing offices and hotels - all dotting its skyline.
Thanks to technological advances, the island has been expanded, with land reclaimed from the sea in order accommodate the city's growing population and increased tourist numbers.
As a key point of international trade, Male's commercial harbor is a hub of activity, where cruise ships dock and passengers disembark to explore the marvels of Male and soak up the laid-back island vibe.
Designed and built by the Chinese in the mid-twentieth century, the Maldives National Museum houses a gallery that includes examples of some of the earliest weaponry, ancient household wares, and religious paraphernalia.
Built in 1656, the architectural style of the Old Friday Mosque is unique, featuring coral stone ornamental designs that have been chiseled to incorporate the Quran scripts. There are also woodcarvings that date back centuries.
This island is situated west of Male, and it is a serene place to try out Flyboarding. Liquid Water Sports is a Zapata-certified Professional Flyboarding Partner, and the friendly, knowledgeable team will show you the ropes.
This reclaimed land mass was once covered by the sea, and it is presently a residential island and a lovely spot for daytrippers. The Mosque of Hulhumale is an unmissable attraction, with its gold-colored dome and marvelous structural design.
The coast of Male is adorned with white sandy beaches that overlook the spectacular blue Indian ocean. You can bathe in the sun or jump into the crystal clear waters for a refreshing swim.
The collection here focuses on rare art such as ancient Buddhist stone carvings and other relics that are associated with the history of the Maldives.
You can view the spectacular coral reef around Male in a submarine courtesy of the Whale Submarine tour company. The 2-hour submarine tour takes you deep and far enough to view sea creatures that are rarely spotted near the beach such as the Basking shark species.
Fish is a dietary staple here, and there is a thriving fish trade in Male. You can visit the Male Fish Market to buy or sample some of the local delicacies such as lobster for as little as MVR62, which would otherwise be more expensive in a hotel or resort. Here, they sell everything ranging from prawns to fried squid.
Book a half-day walking tour of Male with Secret Paradise Maldives where you will be allocated a guide who will take you around to all the points of interest of the island and provide insight into local culture and history.
This is a wonderful piece of art that is located on Boduthakurufaanu Magu. This outdoor stainless steel monument stands as a memorial to the local lives lost during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The periods between January and April are favorable because the region has a tropical monsoon climate that renders the place rainy throughout May to December. The climate is such that there is both a wet and a dry season. Temperatures on average during the early year range from highs of 95 to lows of 78.3.
A number of international flights land at Velana International Airport, which is 1.2 miles away from Male. Ferries transport passengers from the airport to Male every 10-30 minutes for MVR15 one way. A seaplane is currently the fastest way to get to your hotel or guesthouse within Male from the airport. It takes an average of 30 minutes if you wish to sightsee while circling the island and costs about MVR2325 for short one-way trips. The 0.86-mile China-Maldives Friendship Bridge is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, which will make Male accessible by road from the airport.
Speedboats are faster than ferries, and you can decide to either book one in advance, or pay for one as you would with a taxi, since they are lined up on the shores near Velana Airport. If you wish to book in advance, there are a couple of tour companies such as iCom tours offering this service at an average of MVR2300 per person for private transfers. Maldives Transport and Contracting Company also operates public ferries from Maafushi Island, Hulhumale, and Villingili to Male.
Once you land in Male, accommodation should be the least of your concerns, with many hotels and resorts such as Centara Ras Fushi Resort and Spa, Hotel Octave, Hotel Jen Male, and Hotelodge Aloevera Beach all offering comfortable rooms and amenities at competitive prices. Maafannu is a great place to spend some time in, as its packed with eateries and shops. Boduthakurufaanu Magu is a road that stretches along the northern half of the island and leads you past some divine beaches.
To ease congestion on the narrow roads of Male, the government has subsidized the cost of transport by commissioning public buses that ply routes all across the island on a schedule. They are cheap, with ticklet prices starting at MVR15. All you have to do is wait at a designated bus stop.
There are many taxis in Male, which are licensed by the municipality. They are effective and cheap, with an average ride costing about MVR15 halfway through the city. Suku Taxi also operates a motorcycle taxi service, with rides across town costing MVR10.
There are no car hire firms in Male, but if you wish to get yourself around on wheels, you can hire a bicycle from your hotel or resort (often offered as part of vacation packages). Prices vary depending on where you are staying. You don't have to worry about losing your bike, because there designated parking spots for bicycles and motorcycles that are manned by security personnel.
There are quite a few shopping locations scattered across Male, and one of the best is the Island Bazaar boutique, which is located near jetty number 3. Here, where you can scout out intricate homewares and locally crafted fashion accessories such as bags.
Male has quite a number of supermarkets and grocery shops. The Agora Express supermarket, Le Marché, and Ihsaan Fihaara are good options in Maafannu where you can find groceries and other essentials. As a guide, a bag of potatoes retails for MVR17.90, while 2.2 pounds of tomatoes goes for MVR90.
The Sala Thai restaurant specializes in Thai cuisine with sumptuous dishes such as green curry and satay tom yum soup, which retails at MVR31 per plate. Another good option is Pizza Mia, an Italian restaurant where you can feast on delicious pizzas and salads; a medium-sized pizza here will set you back MVR140.