Male Attractions

Shopping in Male the capital is the best place to be in the Maldives. There are a selection of shops which serve both the locals and tourists visiting from the surrounding island resorts. The Majeedhee Magu and Chaandhanee Magu are two of the main streets for shopping in Male. The shopping areas in Male are conveniently only a few minutes away from the jetty.

There will usually be tourist guides touts hanging around the jetty that offer to show you around and take you to all the best shops. Just bear in mind that often these guides make their money through commissions by taking tourists to specific shops rather than the best. If you do decide to do some shopping in Male, it’s a good idea to shop in the evening so as to avoid the heat.

Note: Customs forbid exporting of certain items such as turtle shell, black or red coral and pearl oyster so be careful what items you buy when shopping in Male, as you may not be able to take them back home with you.

Male Shopping trading hours are as follows:
  • Majority of the shops on the main roads are open from 10am and close at 11pm
  • Convenience stores are open from 7am to 11pm
  • All shops in the Maldives close for 15 minutes at prayer times
Majeedhee Magu is situated on the main road of the island and along the sides is where you will find all the shops. It is a place for shopping in Male if you wish to buy cosmetics, garments, shoes, jewellery, handbags, electronic gadgets and kitchenware.

Chaandhanee Magu (earlier known as Singapore Bazaar) is one of the busiest streets for shopping in Male and is the best places for souvenirs with some of the best picks including the wooden miniature Dhonis, wooden dolphin carvings and the ‘thudu kuna’ (Maldivian mat woven in natural fibres). When shopping in Male, Chaandhanee Magu has two diving gear shops, the Water World and the Dive Shop which are located next to each other -both supply a full range of equipment and are authorised dealers big name brands.

Duty Free Malé International Airport duty free shopping is available for passengers with a variety of items for sale such souvenirs, jewellery, perfumes and cosmetics, liquor, cigarettes, watches, cameras and electronic goods.

The Waterfront, Fish Market, Fruit and Vegetable Market and the Firewood Market can be found at the north of the island along the waterfront. Here several markets are a good place to shop in Male if you are after fresh produce which is brought by Dhoni from all the surrounding islands. It’s a great place to see traditional Maldivian farmers and fishermen bring in items such as rice, coconuts, swipes, mangoes, bananas and seafood of all kind. Prices for produce are on the high side because generally there isn’t much fertile land in the Maldives.

The Fish Market in Male Maldives is a hustle and bustle environment with all sorts of seafood on display such as tuna, bonito, wahoo, hammerhead, marlin and skipjack all spread out over a tiled floor. Be sure to arrive in the morning rather than later in the afternoon to enjoy this vibrant atmosphere and before produce is sold out. As you can imagine, prices would vary quite differently day to day depending on the catch conditions and its quite interesting listening to the Maldivian people bidding for fish and professionally scale a cut fish too. The Fish market in Male Maldives is only a small hall and the smell can be quite suffocating, but well worth the opportunity to mingle with the locals and take a few photos.

Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque) in Male Maldives is the oldest mosque in the republic and was established in 1656. It is magnificently building where the walls have been made from coral stone into which intricate decorative and Quaranic script has been carved. The roof however has been covered with iron sheets for protection but don’t be deterred as the interior has wonderful lacquer work and woodcarvings. In fact one of the wooden panels inside was carved in the 13th century when Islam was introduced to the Maldives. Tombs of nobles from the past and even the late president, Ibrahim Nasir can be found amongst a stunning garden with a water fountain and pond. The Hukura Miskiiy in Male Maldives is open 24 hours but its best to go in the morning before prayer in the afternoon – be sure to wear appropriately covered clothing. It may be best to go with an arranged tour guide as visitors are supposed to get permission from the ministry of Islamic affairs

National Museum in Male Maldives is a complex consisting of two large buildings separated by Sultans Park and was built and funded by the Chinese Government in 2010. Whilst the building itself is large the museum isn’t as big, however it is spilt over 2 levels. There is a charge for entry and if you wish to take photos, there is also a camera charge. You may also ask for a guide who will walk you through all the artefacts which also comes with an extra charge. Unfortunately many of the artefacts were destroyed in 2012 when Islamic extremists damaged Hindu and Buddhist object dating from the 6th to 12th centuries. However, the National Museum in Male Maldives still has items on display such as the first telephone, first typewriter and first computer as well as costumes, turbans and furniture from Muslim monarchs.

Muliaage in Male Maldives is a colonial building and the current Presidential residence that was finished being built in 1919. Muliaage is located in the historic centre of Male and close Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque). Visitors cannot go inside but it’s still a decent tourist attraction where some decent photos of the beautiful carvings on this stunning building can be taken.

Raalhugandu in Male Maldives is a surf point that is situated on an artificial beach on the south east side. Afternoons and evenings are buzzing with all the locals coming out to unwind and socialise. Raalhugandu also has a small concrete skate park and some surf huts that look out to the sea.

The National Art Gallery in Male Maldives was inaugurated in 2005 and is a small exhibition of important local art to develop and promote visual art practices to put on international display. Exhibits from painters past and present as well as photography and conceptual works are also in display. The National Art Gallery in Male Maldives is an attraction that is open Sunday through to Thursday where admission is free.

Sultans Park in Male Maldives is surrounding the National Museum and was built over the remains of Sultans Palace in the 1960s. Sultans Park in Male Maldives was the original gardens of the palace and is now open to the public. It’s one of the few parks in Male and a perfect place for visitors to escape the surrounding bustling environment. It’s open 7 days a week (but only from 4pm on Fridays) and admission is free.

See here for Where to Eat in Male