As anyone who has traveled to one of the gorgeous resorts on the atolls of the Maldives knows, you must first fly into mainland, Male. One of the smallest capitols in the world, I’d not heard much about the tiny Islamic island. Home to a 400 year old Mosque; I decided that a day spent discovering the island was in order. Here is my recommendations for 24 Hours in Male, Maldives.
24 Hours in Male, Maldives
Where To Stay
My first stop after collecting my baggage was where I would lay my head after my day of exploration. There are literally hundreds of places to stay and after some research and the need to stay away from touristy sections, I decided on Hotel78.
Located on the new reclaimed island a short 20-minute drive from Male, Hulhumale is one of the biggest projects of the Maldives. With low-rise hotels, restaurants, and beaches, Hotel78 is situated feet away from a gorgeous length of white sand, azure, clear waters and is the perfect base for exploring the island.
Walking to markets, shops, and retail therapy is easy from the hotel. For those who would rather ride, a taxi will cost you about $1.50 USD. There is also a bus, which has regular schedules for about $0.12 USD. The staff is also happy to organize shuttle service to and from their lobby.
Hotel78 offers 4 accommodation types that vary in price. Each is extremely reasonable, clean, comfortably and modernly decorated, with free WiFi, and inclusive of breakfast. The views from the sea view rooms are wonderful!
The onsite restaurant serves wonderful local and international food and the staff even went out of their way to cook me a local dish that I had heard of but wasn’t on the menu.
The staff was outstanding. Their genuine kindness and desire to help me in any way was refreshing. The manager went out of his way to schedule my trip to the airport the next morning. I would highly recommend a stay at this exceptional hotel.
Where To Eat
For a small island there are literally thousands of places to eat. From cafes to restaurants and coffee houses the choices are endless. Start off your day with a traditional breakfast of finely chopped tuna, onions, chili, and grated coconuts at places like The Sea House in the Northeast of the island.
Places like Raanbaa Restaurant serves local lunch and dinner dishes like Persian Shashlik, Nasi Goreng, or international favorites like Mexican Chimichangas.
What To DoAlthough the beaches off the resorts on the atolls of the Maldives are the ultimate location for those who love sun, sand, and sea, beaches off the mainland are nothing to shake a stick at! Ask the locals and they’ll say Villingili, a short 10 minute ferry ride from Male, is the an idyllic beach to visit. Snorkeling is free and, believe it or not, very few locals are actually crowding the beaches. Beware, to swim here you’ll need to remain fully clothed…which is fine, we would want foreigners to respect our culture as well!
Shopping for souvenirs is abundant throughout the island. Believe it or not the best souvenir shopping is located inside the airport. You’ll find textiles, woodwork, and art sold by local vendors. Agora is a mall built in the center of the city and offers electronics, household goods, and even fruits and vegetables.
Rich with culture and history and built in the 17th century, Huskuru Miskiiy better known as Friday Mosque served as Male’s main mosque for four centuries. In 1984 the Islamic Center and Grand Friday Mosque took over services. Built by a Sultan named Ibrahim Iskandhar in 1656, the mosque is a majestic creation of coral curving and traditional workmanship and is a must see when visiting the area.
The fish market is also a must do activity. It’s not unlike markets in the rest of the world but one that is filled with smiling, helpful people who are thrilled to chat you up.
I enjoyed my 24 hours in Male, Maldives and would recommend that, on a trip to your favorite over the water bungalow resort, you take the time to visit this friendly, history rich capitol.
Have you every been to Male? What did you think? Have you ever been to the Maldives? Share your experiences with us!