Malé is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 153,379 and an area of 5.8 km2, it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world.The city is geographically located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll (Kaafu Atoll). Administratively, the city consists of a central island, an airport island, and two other islands governed by the Malé City Council.

Info Male


Malé is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 153,379 and an area of 5.8 km2, it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

The city is geographically located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll (Kaafu Atoll). Administratively, the city consists of a central island, an airport island, and two other islands governed by the Malé City Council.

Traditionally it was the King's Island, from where the ancient royal dynasties ruled and where the palace was located. The city was then called Mahal. Formerly it was a walled city surrounded by fortifications and gates. The Royal Palace was destroyed along with the picturesque forts and bastions, when the city was remodelled under President Ibrahim Nasir's rule in the aftermath of the abolition of the monarchy.However, the Malé Friday Mosque remains.

In recent years, the island has been considerably expanded through land-filling operations. Over the years, Malé has been the center of political protests and milestone events.


POPULATION : City: 153,379 
TIME ZONE : MVT (UTC+05:00) Summer: (UTC+8)
LANGUAGE : Maldivian Dhivehi , English ( widely spoken)
RELIGION : Sunni Muslim
AREA : 5.8 km2 (2.2 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 2.4 m (7.9 ft)
COORDINATES : 04°10′31″N 073°30′32″E
SEX RATIO : Male: 50.35%  
 Female: 49.65%
ETHNIC : South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
AREA CODE : 331, 332, 333, 334


The island is 1.7 km long and 1.0 km wide, but with more than 116,000 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 is occasionally dismissed by travellers as a mere transit destination with "nothing to do", and it is indeed not a party place. However, it does have a distinctive character of its own, with narrow streets, colorful houses, graffiti and a strong communal feel, and it may be interesting to stop a little longer and soak in the atmosphere if you've got time on your hands. The neighboring islands Hulhumale (artificial) and Vilingili are served by frequent and very cheap public ferries, and provide much quiter get-aways from the capital city. To see the "real" Maldives (i.e. the ones familiar from postcards) one needs to get further away, of course.


The whole island group, the Maldives, is named after its capital. The word "Maldives" means "The islands (dives) of Malé'"

The first settlers in the Maldivian islands were Dravidian people who arrived from the neighboring shores of the modern Indian Subcontinent and coastal Ceylon.

The modern-day city was founded as a trading post by the Portuguese in the 16th century.


Malé has a tropical monsoon climate.

The city features a mix of both wet and dry seasons, with the wet season lasting from May through December and the dry season covering the remaining four months.

Unlike a number of cities with this climate, Malé experiences relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year, with an average high of 30 degrees Celsius and an average low of 26.5 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to many equatorial cities' average year round daily mean.

The city averages slightly more than 1600 mm of precipitation annually.

Daily highs (°C)30.030.431.231.531.030.530.430.
Nightly lows (°C)25.425.625.826.426.225.825.625.525.125.225.325.1
Precipitation (mm)75.149.772.8131.6215.7171.9147.2187.7242.8222.0201.0231.7



Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding urban areas form the most industrialised and economically, the fastest growing region in Malaysia.Despite the relocation of federal government administration to Putrajaya, certain government institutions such as Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank of Malaysia), Companies Commission of Malaysia and Securities Commission as well as most embassies and diplomatic missions have remained in the city.

The city remains as the economic and business centre of the country. Kuala Lumpur is a centre for finance, insurance, real estate, media and the arts of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is rated as an alpha world city, and is the only global city in Malaysia, according to the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC).

The infrastructure development in the surrounding areas such as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang, the creation of the Multimedia Super Corridor and the expansion of Port Klang further reinforce the economic significance of the city.

The large service sector is evident in the number of local and foreign banks and insurance companies operating in the city. Kuala Lumpur is poised to become the global Islamic Financing hub with an increasing number of financial institutions providing Islamic Financing and the strong presence of Gulf's financial institutions such as the world's largest Islamic bank, Al-Rajhi Bank and Kuwait Finance House.

Other important economic activities in the city are education and health services. Kuala Lumpur also has advantages stemming from the high concentration of educational institutions that provide a wide-ranging of courses. Numerous public and private medical specialist centres and hospitals in the city offer general health services, and a wide range of specialist surgery and treatment that caters to locals and tourists.


The city is divided into six divisions, four of which are on Malé Island: Henveiru, Galolhu, Maafannu and Macchangolhi. The nearby island of Vilingili, formerly a tourist resort and prior to that a prison, is the fifth division (Vilimalé). The sixth division is Hulhumalé, an artificial island settled since 2004. In addition, the airport Island Hulhule is part of the city. Plans have been made to develop the Gulhi Falu reef, implementation began in 2008.

Prices in Male



Milk1 liter$ 1.90
Tomatoes1 kg$ 2.25
Cheese0.5 kg$ 10.00
Apples1 kg$ 3.20
Oranges1 kg$ 2.30
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$ 2.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$
Coca-Cola2 liters$ 2.65
Bread1 piece$ 1.40
Water1.5 l$0.55



Dinner (Low-range)for 2$ 17.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$ 27.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$ 40.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$ 7.50
Water0.33 l$ 0.35
Cappuccino1 cup$ 2.35
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$ 5.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$ 3.75
Coca-Cola0.33 l$ 1.05
Coctail drink1 drink$



Cinema2 tickets$ 12.00
Gym1 month$ 50.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$ 4.50
Theatar2 tickets$ 14.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$ 0.08
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$ 2.90



Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces$ 5.00
Deodorant50 ml.$ 4.30
Shampoo400 ml.$ 4.40
Toilet paper4 rolls
Toothpaste1 tube$ 1.55



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$ 80.00
Leather shoes1$ 95.00



Gasoline1 liter$ 0.95
Taxi1 km
Local Transport1 ticket$ 000

Tourist (Backpacker)  

55 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

160 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Male International Airport  is located on the neighboring island of Hulhule. The airport has a good set of facilities, including bank, ATM, pharmacy, internet cafe and a left luggage service ($5/bag/day) located just outside the arrivals area. For more information visit the friendly information kiosk at arrivals.

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 about 15-20 min and leave every 10-15 min during daytime (Rf.10 or US$1), every 30 min after midnight ($2).

Note that you will not be allowed into the airport's air-conditioned departures area until flight check-in opens, usually 2-3 hours before your flight (check the monitors hanging above, a number next to your flight indicates the boarding counter number). Facilities "outside" include free showers, nursing room, pharmacy, stationary shop, an Bank of Maldives ATM (accepts Visa, Master; gives Rf. only, no Dollars), a Help Desk and 2 Restaurants.

  • Mariyaad (Right next to Departure). The Mariyaad runs the Restaurant right next to the departure terminal, as well as the restaurant inside duty free. The prices range from 4 dollars for a drink to up to 12 dollars for a pizza. Since its located next to the main 'traffic lane' of the airport (guests departing with boats come through in loads) and had its total seating area reduced by renovation (now there are shop cubicles right next to it), try to have a look at the other restaurant just right outside the arrival hall. In case weather is bad you're still better off here thought. 5-20$ each item.
  • Aqua (From Arrival Gate turn right, just right outside rhs). The favourite location for locals and airport reps alike, this restaurant serves black tea for 1 Rufiyaa only, as well as Hedika for 2 Rf. a piece. Resembling more of a canteen, and plagued by long queues during the rush hours (07:00, 15:00) it is still the nicest place to enjoy the sunset or just to wait around.

It features a lounge with a/c and free wifi, but confused staff and an even more confused menu (sorry, just sprite, no coke, ice-cream but only one type) don't justify the higher price (here you pay in dollars only. Since these things can be expected to be sorted out in the future, this is the prime address in the Airport to go to. 1 Rf. and up.


Transportation - Get Around

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 available in taxis, which charge a flat Rf.20 plus Rf.10 for trunk usage. After 11 PM, the taxi fare rises to Rf.30.

  • Bus lines. 101, 401, 402 and 403. Services operate from 6.30am to 9.45pm. They all run in a circular route and the frequency is every 15 minutes.

Expect the buses to be crowded during rainy weather, and take the timings as a rough estimate, since traffic density weighs down heavily on them.

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.






  • Head to the Male Market in the northern part of the city. Vendors energetically hawk their goods in this busy market. A must if you're spending a few days in Male.
  • 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 OrganizationOrchid 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 Maldivian tuna and local snacks.


Note: during Ramadan many cafes and restaurants are closed, or only open after sunset. The restaurant at the Nasandhura Palace Hotel (see Sleep) is open during the day.

  • The Hive CaféCypria building, Ground Floor, Boduthakurufaanu Magu (In front of Jetty no. 3), +960 334 6633. The Hive Café offers the best burgers in town, with a variety of other pastry items and drinks.
  • The Hive RestaurantM. Nalahiyaage, Majeedhee Magu, Male' 20274+960 334 6633. Located on top of Beehive Nalahiya Hotel, a magnificent 360 view of Male’ in addition to delicious international cuisines at a relaxed environment.
  • Café Marine Drive. Enjoy great food at a reasonable price.
  • Saffron CaféBoduthakurufaanu Magu (Near Hulhumale' ferry terminal.). A mix of wonderful international cuisines.
  • Jade BistroIn front of jetty #8. Air-conditioned, pleasant coffee shop with wi-fi. They serve croissants, pastries and basic meals. Cappuccino US$2.50, Rf. 20-30.
  • 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 GardenOrchid 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! US$5-15, Rf. 50.
  • Pool SideHulhule Island Hotel (on the airport island). Popular among locals and expats alike for steaks.
  • Thai WokOne block from Jetty 6-7-8. Tasty, authentic Thai food. US$5-8, Rf. 50.
  • FoodBankOrchid magu (opp;MHA supermart),  +960 777-5725. 9am-12.30am. Some of the best seafood and local cuisine in town. European and Indian food also available. usd6-40.

Sights & Landmarks

  • Friday Mosque (Hukuru Miskiiy). Built in 1656 during the reign of sultan Ibrahim Iskandar I, intricately carved with Arabic writings and ornamental patterns. Non-Muslims can ask nicely and get a tour for the upper balcony (depends on availability, tip expected). Free.
  • Kalhu Vakaru Miskiy. Located on the Southeast corner of Sultan Park, it is one of the most historic mosques in the City.
  • Independence Square (Jumhooree Maidhaan). Male's centerpoint is this little park on the north coast, marked by a flagpole with a giant Maldivian flag. Referred to as Ground Zero, this was the area where mutinying security forces and religious extremists brought about the resignation of the last President in February 2012. 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 Defense Force HQ (Bandaara Koshi, Bandeyrige), Ameer Ahmed Magu (off Independence Sq, opp Islamic Center).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 and is yet to rear its ugly head again.
  • 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 or RF 38.
  • Ali Rasgefaanu Ziyaarai. Whoever is interested in a Mausoleum of a Sultan, or who wants to know how big the island of Male' was before its lagoon was filled up and reclaimed for more space above sea-level, this location close to the Vilimale Ferry Terminal is always in good shape and gives a nice landmark to take pictures off.
  • 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 it's quite empty and a kind of a countryside for Male. There is also nice looking beach in the other end of the island from jetty. There are restaurants and cafes on the island.
  • Vilimale is in short boatride away. Its the fifth ward of Male' (counts as part of the city) and was once a resort. When arriving by ferry, turn immediately left to come to the beach and some old bungalows. Beaches on the other side of the island feature strong currents, so beware, casualties are reported there every year. Compared to the bustle of Male', this ward is much more relaxed.

Things to do

  • 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.
  • Whale SubmarineH. Abadhahfehi Magu,  +960 333 3939. You may not see whales, but this 30-40 minute submarine trip will expose you to the ocean life just off the coast of Male. Sit on the left hand side of the submarine for the best views and don't drink too much water before you leave-- there's no toilet on board!
  • 755 0772, e-mail: . Departing from Male or Hulhumale you can book in advance day tour and activities such as snorkeling & sandbank cruises, full day trip to luxury resorts, sunset dolphins cruises, fishing cruises, etc ... You can also book a private safari boat and cruise among the Maldives for few days, book water sport activities and reserve budget private transfer to the resorts.

Things to know


Male's main street Boduthakurufaanu Magu, home to banks and most government buildings, runs across the coastline of the island. 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.

Safety in Male

Stay Safe

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, but things have been quiet since the elections and peaceful political transition of 2008.

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.

Mid. / 5.5

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Low / 2.9

Safety (Walking alone - night)

Maldives - Travel guide


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