Male', capital of Maldives
Male’ is definitely one of the smallest capitals in the world, as it was built on a 2 sqm island. One fourth of the country’s population, about 85.000, live in Male’
Different from any other island in the country, Male’ is a city with high buildings and paved roads. While the government offices are located in a specific area, the main streets host shops and offices. In the old bazaar area, dedicated to the wholesale and retail trade, the streets are so narrow that a vehicle could not pass through, especially when it is crowded.
There are no beaches, but seawalls around Male’. However in a new district an artificial beach with a nice landscape has been created and it is a nice itinerary for a walk or for jogging. This place is very crowded especially during the hot evenings.
Space for the citizens is very limited and a new island near Male’, called Hulhumale, has been created thanks to the drainage of the Hulhule airport reef. Works are in progress and Maldivian people already live in some of these buildings. The link to Male’ is granted by a small boat every 20 minutes.
The city is divided into 4 districts: Chandani Magu (commercial district), Henveiru (administration offices district), Galolhu (residential district) and Maafannu (shipyards and commercial harbour district).
In Chandani Magu there is the Singapore Bazar where you can buy local handicrafts, such as necklaces, T-shirts, bracelets, masks or batik from Sri Lanka.
Shops are open until 11.00 p.m., but are closed during the 15 minute prayers. In this district there are also the Fish and Fruit markets and the National Museum.
A walk around the shopping streets, a visit to the Fish or Fruit Market or the relax in one of the small parks allow you to know better the Maldivian people and to see how they live.
If you prefer, you can make a tour of the capital by taxi. There are many taxi centers and fares are fixed by the government.
The basic fare for a single journey for a maximum of four people, from one side of the island to the other, is Mrf. 12.75 (1 USD), each luggage costs MRF 5.00.
When you leave the airport, you can catch a taxi-dhoni for Male’ leaving every 15 minutes (every 30 minutes after midnight) from the pier on your right.
The trip lasts 15 minutes and the docking is at the wharf along the main seafront, near the Nasandhura Palace Hotel.
The cost for each journey is 1 USD per person (2 USD after midnight) or 10 Maldivian Rufias.
The return to Hulhule is from the same point, but the docking is on the left of the airport.