Malé travel guide

Malé Tourism | Malé Guide

You're Going to Love Malé

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.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Malé

1. Ancient Wonders Waiting to be Discovered

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.

2. The Stunning Architecture of the Old Friday Mosque

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.

3. Water Sports on Neighboring Villingili

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.

4. Day Trips to Hulhumale

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.

5. Exquisite Sandy Beaches

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.

What to do in Malé

1. Stroll through the National Art Gallery

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.

2. Take a 2-hour Submarine Tour

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.

3. Head to the Male Fish Market

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.

4. Enjoy a Half-day Tour of Male

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.

5. Visit the Tsunami Monument

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.

1. Stroll through the National Art Gallery

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.

2. Take a 2-hour Submarine Tour

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.

3. Head to the Male Fish Market

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.

4. Enjoy a Half-day Tour of Male

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.

5. Visit the Tsunami Monument

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.

Top activities & attractions in Malé

Where to Eat in Malé

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.

When to visit Malé

Malé in July
Estimated hotel price
$89
1 night at 3-star hotel
Malé in July
Estimated hotel price
$89
1 night at 3-star hotel

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.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Malé

Plane

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.

Boat

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.

Airports near Malé

MLEMale

Airlines serving Malé

Lufthansa
Good (1,378 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,466 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,902 reviews)
KLM
Good (292 reviews)
Air France
Good (298 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,074 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,656 reviews)
British Airways
Good (939 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (357 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (932 reviews)
Iberia
Good (667 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (663 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (196 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (203 reviews)
Finnair
Good (450 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (155 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (630 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (36 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,136 reviews)
Malaysia Airlines
Good (24 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Malé

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.

Popular neighborhoods in Malé

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.

Most popular hotel in Malé by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Malé

Most booked hotels in Malé

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
Excellent (9.6, 95 reviews)
$1,434+
Velassaru Maldives
Excellent (9.3, 756 reviews)
$283+
Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Excellent (9.2, 2032 reviews)
$365+
Grand Park Kodhipparu
Excellent (9, 886 reviews)
$413+
Kurumba Maldives
Excellent (9, 769 reviews)
$248+
Sun Siyam Iru Fushi
Excellent (8.9, 546 reviews)
$487+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Malé

Public Transportation

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.

Taxis

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.

Bicycles

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.

The Cost of Living in Malé

Shopping

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.

Supermarkets and Food Stores

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.

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