The island is 1.7 km long and 1.0 km wide, but with over 100,000 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, is being reclaimed from the sea to provide some much-needed extra space.
Male's main street Boduthakurufaanu Magu, home to banks and most government buildings, runs along the north shore. Roughly in the middle is the square of Jumhooree Maidhaan, a handy reference point since it has a giant flagpole visible from far away. From the flagpole extends a series of ten jetties running eastward, with jetty #1 (the Presidential Jetty) right in front of the square and jetties #9 and #10, used by the airport ferry, at the northeastern tip of the island.
Male International Airport (IATA: MLE)  is located on the neighboring island of Hulhule. The airport has a good set of facilities, including bank, ATM, pharmacy, internet point and a left luggage service ($3/bag/day) awkwardly located in the arrivals area; the guards will let you in if you tell them you're going there.
Most visitors to the Maldives are met by travel agent reps right outside Customs, who then whisk them away to their resorts by speedboat or plane. If your destination is the city itself, turn right and head for the public ferry dock. Ferries to the city take 10 min and leavy every 10-15 min during daytime (Rf.10 or $1), every 30 min after midnight ($2).
On the way back, note that you will not be allowed into the air-conditioned departures area until flight check-in opens, usually 2-3 hours before your flight. Facilities "outside" include free showers (bring soap and towel), a basic but cheap cafe, an overpriced but airconditioned restaurant and a Movenpick ice cream shop.
Male is small enough to walk around in an hour, and almost all sights are concentrated on the north shore, within a 15-min walk from airport ferry jetty (#9-10).
Public transportation in Male is limited to roving taxis, who charge a flat Rf.20 plus Rf.5 per bag. There are also ferries from the new terminal next to Jetty #10 to the new Hulhumale development every 20-30 minutes from 5 AM until 1 AM.
- Friday Mosque(Hukuru Miskiiy). Built in 1656 during the reign of sultan Ibrahim Iskandar I, intricately carved with Arabic writings and ornamental patterns. Unfortunately non-Muslims are not allowed inside without prior permission.Free.
- Independence Square(Jumhooree Maidan). Male's centerpoint is this little park on the north coast, marked by a flagpole with a giant Maldivian flag. 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.
- 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.Free.
- Maldives National Defence Force HQ(Bandaara Koshi, Bandeyrige), Ameer Ahmed Magu(off Independence Sq, opp Islamic Centre), . 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.
- Sultan Park and National Museum. Sat-Thu 9 AM-5 PM. 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.Park free, museum US$3.
- Hulhumale Island is in short boatride away. Boats leave from their own terminal, next to airport ferries (upstairs of terminal building is good restaurant with great harbour views!). Hulhumale is an artificial island where new buildings are rising rapidly, but currently (2008) it's quite empty and is kind of countryside of Male. there is also nice looking beach in the other end of the island from jetty. Some restaurants and cafes can be found, too.
There is a small artificial beach on the east coast, about a ten-minute stroll from the airport ferry. It's not much compared to other beaches on the Maldives, especially as most locals bathe fully clothed, but there is some excellent surfing if you're experienced enough.
- 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.
- State Trading Organization, Orchid Magu, . 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 eg. Maldivian tuna and local snacks.
- Haruge Cafe(this cafe is closed).
- Jade Bistro, In front of jetty #8. Air-conditioned, pleasant coffee shop with wifi, with croissants, pastries and basic meals.Cappucino US$2.50.
- Maarukeytu Hota, (2nd floor of fish market). 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.Rf.20-30.
- Olive garden(Best Pizza In town), Orchid de Magu St(walking distance from jetty 1). Pizza, pasta and the usual suspects, spiced up to Maldivian tastes — warn the waiter in advance if you don't like chili!("olive garden" is the name of this cafe)US$5-15.
- Pool Side, Hulhule Island Hotel(on the airport island). Popular among locals and expats alike for steaks.
- Shell Beans, . Popular sandwich shop.US$2.
- Thai Wok, One block from Jetty 6-7-8. Tasty, authentic Thai food.US$5-8.
No alcohol is available on Male, even at the hotels, with the solitary exception of the Hulhule Island Hotel.
- FoodBank, Orchid magu(opp;MHA supermart). 9am-12.30am. This is were you get one of the best seafood + localfood in town. choices of europian and indian food is also available in here.usd6-40.
Many visitors to the Maldives end up spending a night on Male out of necessity, as transfers to more far-flung resorts are generally only available during daylight hours.
Male's guesthouses are targeted primarily at traveling locals and generally do not offer air-conditioning. Cheapest hotels in Male costs about usd 50/single. If you are a tourist, tourist tax is added on top of the price. There are quite many budget (if word "budget" can be used in Maldives accomodation field) hotels in Male, too. It's good idea to book one before arriving to Maldives as immigration is very interested about your place to stay. they have difficulties to understand that foreign tourist like to stay in Male. Good and friendly place to stay is Luckyhiya Hotel, tel +9603315856, fax +9603340953, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fuana Inn, Hulhumale, ☎ +960-3350610, . Newly opened (2007) guesthouse in the new Hulhumale development. 20 min from Male by boat, but no direct access from the airport.US$50/75 single/twin.
- Candies, .
- Central Hotel, ☎ +960-317766, .
- Kam Hotel, .
- Mookai Hotel, .
- 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.US$120.
- Relax Inn, ☎ +960-3314531, . Probably the cheapest hotel in Male. One minute's walk from the ferry terminal.US$59/69 single/double.
- Hulhule Island Hotel, ☎ +960-333-0888, . 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.US$250.
Dress respectfully if visiting Male. Men should wear at least T-shirts and shorts below the knee, while women should keep shoulders and legs covered.
Anti-government protests broke out in 2003, 2004 and 2005, all turning into riots that were brutally suppressed by the government. Check ahead if any protests are planned and steer clear if any form. While foreigners have not been specifically targeted, a small bomb exploded in front of the National Museum in 2007, injuring several tourists.
Crime rates in Male are low, although some advise not walking around alone after dark.
NOTE:There are no more anti govt riots as before , as the earlier govt has been over turned. Things are back to near normal
This page was last edited at 07:04, on 11 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Jani Patokallio and Michele Ann Jenkins, Wikitravel user(s) Airin, Episteme, Huttite and Bijee and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.