10 hotels in this place
Malé , pronounced Mah-lay, is the capital of Maldives. The city occupies the entire islet of Malé and is located at the southern rim of North Male Atoll.
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Points of Interest in Male
- Friday Mosque (Hukuru Miskiiy). Built in 1656 during the reign of sultan Ibrahim Iskandar I, intricately carved with Arabic writings and ornamental patterns. Non-Muslims can ask nicely and get a tour for the upper balcony (depends on availability, tip expected). Free.
- Kalhu Vakaru Miskiy. Located on the Southeast corner of Sultan Park, it is one of the most historic mosques in the City.
- Independence Square (Jumhooree Maidhaan). Male's centerpoint is this little park on the north coast, marked by a flagpole with a giant Maldivian flag. Referred to as Ground Zero, this was the area where mutinying security forces and religious extremists brought about the resignation of the last President in February 2012. It's also the focal point of every political demonstration in the capital, and hence has a heavy security presence buttressed by the police HQ in the Shaheed Hussain Adam Building next door.
- Islamic Centre. Male's best-known architectural landmark, just south of Jumhooree Maidhaan. The complex contains the largest mosque in the Maldives, topped with a golden dome and capable of accommodating 5,000 people. Visitors are welcome inside outside prayer hours, but no interior photographs are allowed. Free.
- Maldives National Defense Force HQ (Bandaara Koshi, Bandeyrige), Ameer Ahmed Magu (off Independence Sq, opp Islamic Center). Emphatically not a tourist attraction, the sinister, windowless white bulk of the recently renamed National Security Service (the Maldivian secret police), topped with guard towers every few meters and strict admonitions not to photograph it, is an unmissable sight in central Male and a reminder of the iron fist that until recently had the country in a stranglehold and is yet to rear its ugly head again.
- Sultan Park and National Museum. Sat-Thu 9 AM-5 PM. The sole surviving building of what was once the Sultan's palace is now the Maldivian National Museum, housing a scruffy, haphazard collection of royal regalia and old photographs, including three moon rocks and a faded Maldivian flag that went to the moon. At least there's air-con and some semblance of English explanation. Park free, museum US$3 or RF 38.
- Ali Rasgefaanu Ziyaarai. Whoever is interested in a Mausoleum of a Sultan, or who wants to know how big the island of Male' was before its lagoon was filled up and reclaimed for more space above sea-level, this location close to the Vilimale Ferry Terminal is always in good shape and gives a nice landmark to take pictures off.
- Hulhumale Island is in short boatride away. Boats leave from their own terminal, next to airport ferries (upstairs of terminal building is good restaurant with great harbour views!). Hulhumale is an artificial island where new buildings are rising rapidly, but currently it's quite empty and a kind of a countryside for Male. There is also nice looking beach in the other end of the island from jetty. There are restaurants and cafes on the island.
- Vilimale is in short boatride away. Its the fifth ward of Male' (counts as part of the city) and was once a resort. When arriving by ferry, turn immediately left to come to the beach and some old bungalows. Beaches on the other side of the island feature strong currents, so beware, casualties are reported there every year. Compared to the bustle of Male', this ward is much more relaxed.
Popular events in Male in the near future
The island is 1.7 km long and 1.0 km wide, but with more than 116,000 people crammed onto it, Male is by some measures the world's densest city. The new island of Hulhumalé, built (as the name says) between Male and Hulhule, is being reclaimed from the sea to provide some much-needed extra space.
Male's main street Boduthakurufaanu Magu, home to banks and most government buildings, runs along the north shore. Roughly in the middle is the square of Jumhooree Maidhaan, a handy reference point since it has a giant flagpole visible from far away. From the flagpole extends a series of ten jetties running eastward, with jetty #1 (the Presidential Jetty) right in front of the square and jetties #9 and #10, used by the airport ferry, at the northeastern tip of the island.
- There is a small artificial beach on the east coast, about a ten-minute stroll from the airport ferry. It's not much compared to other beaches on the Maldives, especially as most locals bathe fully clothed, but there is some excellent surfing if you're experienced enough.
- Whale Submarine, H. Abadhahfehi Magu, ☎ +960 333 3939. You may not see whales, but this 30-40 minute submarine trip will expose you to the ocean life just off the coast of Male. Sit on the left hand side of the submarine for the best views and don't drink too much water before you leave-- there's no toilet on board!
Note: during Ramadan many cafes and restaurants are closed, or only open after sunset. The restaurant at the Nasandhura Palace Hotel (see Sleep) is open during the day.
- The Hive Cafe', Cypria building, Ground Floor, Boduthakurufaanu Magu (In front of Jetty no. 3), ☎ +960 334 6633. The hive Cafe' offers the best burgers in town, with a variety of other pastry items and drinks.
- The Hive Restaurant, M. Nalahiyaage, Majeedhee Magu, Male' 20274, ☎ +960 334 6633. Located on top of Beehive Nalahiya Hotel, a magnificent 360 view of Male’ in addition to delicious international cuisines at a relaxed environment.
- Cafe' Marine Drive. Enjoy great food at a reasonable price.
- Saffron Cafe', Boduthakurufaanu Magu (Near Hulhumale' ferry terminal.). A mix of wonderful international cuisines.
- Jade Bistro, In front of jetty #8. Air-conditioned, pleasant coffee shop with wi-fi. They serve croissants, pastries and basic meals. Cappuccino US$2.50, Rf. 20-30.
- Maarukeytu Hota (2nd floor of fish market). Local, busy and noisy Maldivian eatery full of fishermen from the market below. No English menu, but the staff are happy to help out. A serve of grilled fish, curry, rice and drinks won't cost more than Rf.30 or so. Rf.20-30.
- Olive Garden, Orchid de Magu St (walking distance from jetty 1). Pizza, pasta and the usual suspects, spiced up to Maldivian tastes — warn the waiter in advance if you don't like chili! US$5-15, Rf. 50.
- Pool Side, Hulhule Island Hotel (on the airport island). Popular among
locals and expats alike for steaks.
- Shell Beans. Popular sandwich shop. US$2, Rf. 20-30.
- Thai Wok, One block from Jetty 6-7-8. Tasty, authentic Thai food. US$5-8, Rf. 50.
- FoodBank, Orchid magu (opp;MHA supermart). 9am-12.30am. Some of the best seafood and local cuisine in town. European and Indian food also available. usd6-40.
No alcohol is available on Male, even at the hotels, with the solitary exception of the Hulhule Island Hotel.
- Hulhulhe Island Hotel (HIH) (Jetty 1). 06:00 to 00:45. Hulhule Island Hotel operates a ferry service free of charge from Jetty Nr. 1 to Hulhule Island Hotel and back.
The ride takes approx. 15 min. free. These are the departure timings of the ferry service:
- Head to the Male Market in the northern part of the city. Vendors energetically hawk their goods in this busy market. A must if you're spending a few days in Male.
- Fish Market. Just west of Independence Sq and with a cluster of fishing boats docked just opposite, this is where fish are brought, gutted and sold for local consumption. With pools of tuna blood running into the street, it's not exactly sanitary, but there's a good cafe upstairs serving the freshest fish around. Busiest in the afternoons.
- State Trading Organization, Orchid Magu. State-run supermarket retailing mostly generic imported goods from India, Singapore and the Middle East. Not particularly exciting, but vastly cheaper than the resorts, and a good place to pick up Maldivian tuna and local snacks.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Malé on Wikivoyage.