The Maldives is renowned the world over for its secluded resorts and glorious beaches that straddle the entire breadth of its beautiful islands. However, that is not to mean that all the islands are essentially the same, with one in particular being markedly different from the rest thus making it a must have on any visitor’s itinerary- Male.
A Guide to Male Atoll
Male serves as the Maldivian capital and it is an island that is sure to provide visitors with a real contrast to what they are likely to encounter anywhere else on the archipelago. Being home to the nation’s airport, chances are that it is here that you will first land as you arrive for your holiday. Therefore, instead of immediately hopping on a sea plane or boat and making a beeline for your resort (if you are not staying in Male), it is advisable to stick around for a while in order to take in the city’s sights and sounds. Alternatively, you could plan to take a day or two out of your holiday schedule and get back to the capital so as to check out the attractions on offer. If you’re after somewhere to stay, check out the One & Only Reethi Rah from Elegant resorts.
Unlike the rest of the islands in the Maldives, there is a lot of activity in Male. And while it is not totally beach free, the capital is not somewhere where you generally go and stretch out on the beach as there is a lot you could do. For instance, visitors come here to check out museums, historical buildings, fantastic restaurants etc. Below, we take a look at 4 attractions in Male as follows:
1. Sultan’s Park and National Museum
Situated in close proximity to each other, with the National Museum being perched in a corner of the park, these two attractions are a must-visit by visitors to the island as it is here that you get to learn more about the heritage of the Maldives. The National Museum is home to a wide array of artifacts, including clothing and armor belonging to the various sultans who have ruled over the islands in years gone by. Undoubtedly, the most interesting thing about the museum is that it is the only remaining section of what was once the Sultan’s Palace, with the park grounds having once formed part of the palace grounds. Today, Sultan’s Park is one of the loveliest spots in all of Male to relax and unwind.
2. Hukuru Miskiyy
Variously referred to as Friday Mosque, the Hukuru Miskyy is, arguably, one of the most historical sites across all of the Maldives. Not only is it the oldest mosque in the Maldives, but it also boasts of some pretty impressive features. Admittedly, the exterior is not as impressive as it tends to be covered in corrugated iron sheets in order to protect its façade, which means that visitors are unlikely to be impressed at first glance. But to fully appreciate the Hukuru Miskiyy, one needs to head inside where you stand to be awed by the interior, including its stunning black coral walls and intricate woodcarvings.
While Male is not the ideal place to soak in the sun, it does not mean that bathing spots are non-existent. Raalhugandu- an artificial beach and one of the nation’s top surfing destinations- is one of the most scenic spots in the capital. And it gets particularly lively in the late afternoon/evening when many people come out to spend time on the sand, check out the skills of local surfers, or just socialize.
4. Local cuisine
The Maldives is a haven for foodies, with the capital brimming with fantastic restaurants that offer various cuisines- the most popular being Thai fare and Italian. However, Maldivian fish is highly recommended for any visitor as the archipelago is an excellent place to sample tasty and fresh seafood. For those after a quick bite, you could head out to one of the many tea rooms or sai-hotaas where locals frequent for snacks (which are usually deep-fried). This is a great way of sampling some tasty local fare as well as interacting with the people.