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Male is the capital and largest city of the Maldives Republic with about 90,000 people living in the city. It is located at the southern edge of North Male Kaafu Atoll and the island on which Male is situated is full with high rise buildings, a harbour and many other facilities you would expect in a city of this size. There simply is no more space to build here. The 2004 Christmas tsunami swamped two thirds of the city with water. Most travellers hardly spend any time in this city as they move onwards to one of the many beautiful islands and atolls the country has to offer. But if you want to experience some of the islamic culture the country has to offer a few days in Male will suffice.




Male's main street Boduthakurufaanu Magu, home to banks and most government buildings, runs across the coastline of the island. 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.



Sights and Activities

  • 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 9:00am-5:0pm. 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.



Events and Festivals


Being a totally Islamic country, the Maldives celebrates the Ramadan period every year. Muslims fast during daylight hours and offices and government workers end the working days earlier. The event is held in the months of August or September, which is otherwise known as the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

The National Day

The National Day is celebrated as the first day of Rabee-ul Awwal, which is held during the third month of the Islamic calendar. Falling sometime in February or March, you will see parades and marches across the Maldives.

Independence Day

One of the most important days on the calendar, Independence Day celebrates the freedom of the Maldives from Britain back in 1965. The islands are filled with parades, performances, food and festivities. It is held annually on July 26.

Republic Day

Although not as important as Independence Day, Republic Day is still an exciting event felt throughout the country. November 11 marks the day the Maldives became a republic for the second time in 1968. Male is the center of the celebrations, hosting parades throughout its streets and parks. Other towns and islands put on quite a good show.

Prophet’s Birthday

For an interesting cultural experience, visitors should head to Male during the Prophet’s Birthday. The event is held on the 12th day of Rabee-ul-Awwal, which falls in the third month of the Islamic calendar. The mosques in the capital and around the country are filled with worshippers and offices and shops close early.

Eid Festival

For the best feast of the year, the Eid Festival is the place to be. Held at the end of Ramadan in the month of September, Eid is a fantastic time to explore the cultural splendors of the Maldives’ religious faith. The event usually lasts for about three days, where grand meals are prepared across the country.




Male is hot and humid year round but the winds bring some relief. Temperatures are around 30 °C during the day and still above 20 °C at night. February to April are the driest months and from May to January onwards there is almost always a chance of some rain showers. The wettest months are from July to October when hurricanes can hit the island and city.

Avg Max30.3 °C30.7 °C31.4 °C31.6 °C31.2 °C30.6 °C30.5 °C30.4 °C30.2 °C30.2 °C30.1 °C30.1 °C
Avg Min25.7 °C25.9 °C26.4 °C26.8 °C26.3 °C26 °C25.8 °C25.5 °C25.3 °C25.4 °C25.2 °C25.4 °C
Rainfall114.2 mm38.1 mm73.9 mm122.5 mm218.9 mm167.3 mm149.9 mm175.5 mm199 mm194.2 mm231.1 mm216.8 mm
Rain Days63591513121315151312



Getting There

By Plane

Malé International Airport (MLE) is the main airport with direct flights from Rome, Milan, Prague, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, Paris, Moscow, Dubai, London, Munich, Manchester, Zürich and Frankfurt among others. In Asia there are connections from Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Shanghai. All these destinations are operated by foreign airlines. As of 2008, Island Aviation Services was the only Maldives based airlines to fly internationally with only one destination, Thiruvanathapuram in India.

By Boat

From the airport island, there is a frequent airport ferry to take you to Male. It costs about 10-25 rufiyah depending on the time that you take the ferry.



Getting Around

By Car

Increasingly, the richer Male residents are beginning to purchase cars. However, with hardly any place to use them, it is simply a sign of vanity more than practical usage.

By Public Transport

Male has taxis. To go to anywhere on the island will cost you 20 rufiyah, which is around US$2. With baggage in your taxi, there will be an additional 5 rufiyah per baggage item. Further, hiring a taxi for an hour to go around the island is around 70 rufiyah. All taxi drivers can speak some level of english so communication is not a problem and they have fixed prices so there is no need to haggle over prices or worry about safety. However, unless you have baggage you need to transport to the airport ferry terminal or your place of accommodation or you have sore feet, taxis are not really of use or advised for this tiny place.

By Foot

Walking is the best way of getting around tiny Male and experiencing the local atmosphere and to stop and observe interesting spots at your own leisure.

By Bike

The next best way to get around Male, besides walking, is using a bicycle. Environmentally friendly and healthy for you, it is the most advisable mode of transport around the island.

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There are increasing numbers of motorbikes on the road but with hardly any place to park, all motorbikes are parked on the road themselves due to which there is more congestion.




  • Seagull cafe is a lovely little cosy cafe serving nice breakfasts of pancakes, waffles, toasts as well as the Maldivian roshi and mashuni. The upstairs part of the cafe is lovelier with comfortable seating and a tree going right through the middle of the cafe. The cafe also serves lunch and dinner.
  • Holiday Inn rooftop cafe is a lovely place for enjoying the sunset and the evening breeze while sipping a fruit juice or mocktail.
  • Sea Breeze cafe above the Hulumale ferry terminal is ok for a brief lunch meeting.

There are several supermarkets in Male - S.T.O, Fantasy etc. which have packaged food from all around the world. If you are in the mood for cooking yourself, shopping at these supermarkets can be fun.




No alcohol is available on Male, even at the hotels, with the solitary exception of the Hulhule Island Hotel.




Many visitors to the Maldives end up spending a night on Male out of necessity, as transfers to more far-flung resorts are generally only available during daylight hours.

Male's guesthouses are targeted primarily at traveling locals and do not always offer air-conditioning. The price range is 150-400 ruffiya (close to 400, you should be getting a clean, though perhaps a bit rundown, room with air-conditioning). Walk in the streets looking for ROOMS or ROOMS FOR RENT signs, postings on the walls advertising the same (with contact phone numbers provided), or ask the locals if they know a place renting rooms.

The cheapest actual hotels in Male cost about US$50 for a single. If you are staying in Male for more than one night, consider one of the splurge options for accommodation as budget and mid-range hotels have been known to be somewhat loud and dirty.

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