Top 10 Things To Do In Malé, The Maldives
Malé may not seem like somewhere worth visiting when you’re in The Maldives as it is commonly viewed as a chaotic, concrete jungle with loud motorbikes and polluted streets.
With a population of approximately 133,412 and an area of 5.8 square kilometres, Malé is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
However, if you know where to go and what to see, you might find that Malé actually provides a pleasant experience and that there are some things to do in Malé that you cannot do anywhere else in The Maldives.
Here are the top ten things to do if you’re in Malé for a few days - trust us, you won’t get bored no matter how small Malé is!
1. Explore the markets
From the fish market to the abundant fruit markets - shop for some of the local Maldivian produce. You will have a truly authentic experience here and understand more about The Maldives. In fact, fishing is the second largest industry in The Maldives after tourism and plays a vital part in the economy. At the Fish Market, you will find local fishermen reuniting and selling off their daily catch in this local fish market.
2. Souvenir shopping & supporting local businesses
For some of the best souvenir shopping in Malé, you can head to the main tourist shopping area known as Chaandhanee Magu and Majeedhee Magu road. You will find small, local, humble businesses here that sell authentic Maldivian items - artwork, postcards, jewellery, coral beads, clothing, food… The shopping here is not to be compared to a shopping centre with brands but is Maldivian and authentic. Any money spent here will go a long way and support local families.
3. Visit The Friday Mosque & The Islamic Centre
The most famous place of worship in Malé, the Friday Mosque sees locals gather at noon to pray. This mosque is the oldest and most sacred place in Malé - all foreign tourists wanting to visit the mosque must go outside of prayer times and must show respect to Islamic culture and wear conservative clothes. This is a very beautiful and unique mosque with traditional golden carvings and art - it is a cultural and religious must-see if in Malé.
4. Spend a day at CrossRoads Maldives
For a resort experience crammed into a day - definitely consider visiting CrossRoads Maldives. International shopping, alcoholic drinks, beaches and pools all at your disposal for a day of entertainment and fun. If you’re interested, we can book this for you - enquire now.
5. Visit the Tsunami Monument
Did you know that in 2004 there was a tsunami in The Maldives? In fact, all islands except for 9 were hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami resulting in 82 deaths and 24 people reported missing. The Tsunami Monument was built to remember the people that were taken away by this natural disaster on 26th December 2004. The tsunami affected the whole Maldives’ community, with damaged houses, shops and structures.
6. Visit Malé's beaches
Fancy cooling off from the humidity and heat of the city? With 30 degree heat year-round in The Maldives, it’s no surprise that Malé has some beaches to visit. If you go to the city beaches, please bare in mind that you cannot wear a swimsuit or bikini and that you must be covered up. As it’s a Muslim country, only on designated ‘bikini beaches’ can tourists wear swimwear.
7. Enjoy the local food and delicacies
Have you tried Mashuni? This is one of our favourite Maldivian dishes. A mix of tuna, coconut, lime, chilli and onion - you may not think it, but it tastes so good! Malé has some fantastic places to eat and a variety of restaurants and cafes. You can eat local and try some fresh fish or even visit a tea house for a taste of local delicacies. For some international food, we recommend Shell Beans, The Sea House Café, Belle Amie Bistro and the Seagull Cafe House.
8. Visit the Sultan’s Park
An oasis of greenery in Malé, Sultan’s Park is a public park located besides the demolished Royal Palace. Sultan Park, also known as the Rasrani Bageecha, was once a part of the site of the 17th century Maldivian Royal Palace compound. The impressive iron gate at the entrance of the park is the only piece of the Royal Palace remaining. This beautiful green space has ponds surrounded with white lilies and is a peaceful and calming atmosphere for visitors.
9. See a football game at the National Stadium
The National Football Stadium in Malé is also known as the Rasmee Dhandu Stadium. This stadium can hold around 11,000 spectators and is used mostly for football matches of the Dhivehi League, FAM Cup, and International matches. The stadium was renovated to upgrade certain facilities including a media box for 2014 AFC Challenge Cup and was re-branded as National Football Stadium. Definitely go and watch a game there - tickets are as cheap as $5!
10. Visit the National Museum
Established on the National Day of the Maldives, the first National Museum of the country was opened on 11 November 1952, by the Prime Minister at the time, Mohamed Amin Didi. Located in the Sultan Park, the three-story museum was established in the early 1950s with the purpose of preserving the culture and history of the country and instilling patriotism among the people of the Maldives. The museum is home to an extensive collection of historical artifacts, ranging from ancient stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities dating back to the Buddhist era and the rule of Islamic monarchs. Definitely worth a visit!
We hope this has inspired you to visit Malé next time you’re in The Maldives! From admiring the Islamic architectural sites to gazing at awe-inspiring modern monuments to shopping in the local markets, there are many things to do in Malé!
Let us know if you have any questions! We'd love to help you with your Maldives trip!