37 things to do

All Places Maldives


The favourite location for locals and airport reps alike, this restaurant serves black tea for 1 Rufiyaa only, as well as Hedika for 2 Rf. a piece. Resembling more of a canteen, and plagued by long queues during the rush hours (07:00, 15:00) it is still the nicest place to enjoy the sunset or just to wait around. It features a lounge with a/c and free wifi, but confused staff and an even more confused menu (sorry, just sprite, no coke, ice-cream but only one type) don't justify the higher price (here you pay in dollars only. Since these things can be expected to be sorted out in the future, this is the prime address in the Airport to go to.

EAT   —  Map


The Mariyaad runs the Restaurant right next to the departure terminal, as well as the restaurant inside duty free. The prices range from 4 dollars for a drink to up to 12 dollars for a pizza. Since its located next to the main 'traffic lane' of the airport (guests departing with boats come through in loads) and had its total seating area reduced by renovation (now there are shop cubicles right next to it), try to have a look at the other restaurant just right outside the arrival hall. In case weather is bad you're still better off here thought.

EAT   —  Map

Independence Square

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.

SEE   —  Map

Maldives National Defense Force HQ

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.

SEE   —  Ameer Ahmed Magu

Departing from Male or Hulhumale you can book in advance day tour and activities such as snorkeling & sandbank cruises, full day trip to luxury resorts, sunset dolphins cruises, fishing cruises, etc ... You can also book a private safari boat and cruise among the Maldives for few days, book water sport activities and reserve budget private transfer to the resorts.

DO   —  +960 755 0772 —  Map

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.

BUY   —  Map

Sultan Park and National Museum

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.

SEE   —  Map

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.

SEE   —  Map

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.

SEE   —  Map

Whale Submarine

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!

Friday Mosque

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).

SEE   —  Map

State Trading Organization

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.

BUY   —  Orchid Magu

Maarukeytu Hota

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.

EAT   —  Map

Beehive Nalahiya Hotel

The hotels 42 rooms range from deluxe to suites and serviced apartments. Other facilities at the hotel include a lobby café, a conference hall, meeting room, a business centre and a roof top restaurant.

SLEEP   —  +960 334 6633 —  Shaheed Ali Hingun

Hulhule Island Hotel

Quite possibly the world's nicest transit hotel, this is located on the same island as the airport, with a swimming pool, its own strip of beach and complimentary transfers to Male. Not cheap though.

SLEEP   —  +960 333-0888 —  Airport Main Rd

Nasandhura Palace

Built in 1981 and starting to be a little scruffy around the edges. Primarily a business hotel, with no pool or other holiday facilities. 10 min from airport by boat.

SLEEP   —  Map

The Hive Restaurant

Located on top of Beehive Nalahiya Hotel, a magnificent 360 view of Male’ in addition to delicious international cuisines at a relaxed environment.

Hulhulhe Island Hotel (HIH)

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.

DRINK   —  Map

Bus lines

101, 401, 402 and 403. Services operate from 6.30am to 9.45pm. They all run in a circular route and the frequency is every 15 minutes.

OTHER   —  Map

Fuana Inn

This guesthouse was opened in 2007 in the new Hulhumale development. 20 min from Male by boat, but no direct access from the airport.

SLEEP   —  +960 3350610 —  Hulhumale

Olive Garden

Pizza, pasta and the usual suspects, spiced up to Maldivian tastes — warn the waiter in advance if you don't like chili!

EAT   —  Orchid de Magu St

Kalhu Vakaru Miskiy

Located on the Southeast corner of Sultan Park, it is one of the most historic mosques in the City.

SEE   —  Map

Jade Bistro

Air-conditioned, pleasant coffee shop with wi-fi. They serve croissants, pastries and basic meals.

EAT   —  In front of jetty #8


Clean rooms and internet in every room makes Candies a good choice for those in Male on business.

The Hive Café

The Hive Café offers the best burgers in town, with a variety of other pastry items and drinks.


Some of the best seafood and local cuisine in town. European and Indian food also available.

EAT   —  +960 777-5725 —  Orchid magu

Relax Inn

Probably the cheapest hotel in Male. One minute's walk from the ferry terminal.

SLEEP   —  +960 3314531 —  Map

Central Hotel

In the middle of Male, the central hotel is a passable mid-range option.

Mookai Hotel

Breakfast not included in the price. Nice swimming pool on rooftop.

Pool Side

Popular among locals and expats alike for steaks.

EAT   —  Hulhule Island Hotel

Saffron Café

A mix of wonderful international cuisines.

Café Marine Drive

Enjoy great food at a reasonable price.

EAT   —  Map

Thai Wok

Tasty, authentic Thai food.

Luckyhiya Hotel

Friendly budget option.

SLEEP   —  +960 3315856 —  Map

Shell Beans

Popular sandwich shop.

EAT   —  Map

About Malé

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 (the airport island), is being reclaimed from the sea to provide some much-needed extra space.

Male is occasionally dismissed by travellers as a mere transit destination with "nothing to do", and it is indeed not a party place. However, it does have a distinctive character of its own, with narrow streets, colorful houses, graffiti and a strong communal feel, and it may be interesting to stop a little longer and soak in the atmosphere if you've got time on your hands. The neighboring islands Hulhumale (artificial) and Vilingili are served by frequent and very cheap public ferries, and provide much quiter get-aways from the capital city. To see the "real" Maldives (i.e. the ones familiar from postcards) one needs to get further away, of course.