It may smell pretty funky – especially in the steamy temperatures of Male – but the city’s fish market is well worth visiting. The scenes in the mornings are fascinating – with fishermen displaying fish of all shapes and sizes while locals haggle hard for the best prices.
SEE & DO
Male Fish Market
National Football Stadium
The Maldives has a surprisingly active football scene, with eight teams making up the Dhivehi League. The national stadium is the main venue for local games and international matches. Pop by in the afternoons, when training sessions are in order, for a glimpse of the local sporting culture.
South West Harbour
Malé makes up for its compact size with its colourful streets and architecture. Bright spots of pink, blue and green adorn its walls and pavements; one such area is the space around the metallic Tsunami Monument, which commemorates the lives lost to the 2014 Boxing Day disaster. Head here for some quiet reflection by the sea, before heading towards the adjacent harbour area, where new eateries have steadily popped up.
EAT & DRINK
Located around the corner from the National Museum, this Indo-Asian restaurant gives off a stylish vibe with plenty of glass cabinets and dark wood furnishings. Try the award-winning Maldivian fish soup with steamed rice or the sweet, nutty Kanamadhu (Indian almond) cake. Their daily lunch buffets are also a crowd puller.
Civil Coffee Society
With its wood-framed frontage, this cosy two-storey café stands out on a street filled with souvenir shops and home appliance stores. It uses roasts by Singapore brand Papa Palheta, and a small selection of cakes and pastries are always on offer. Pick a window seat for a spot of people-watching.
Located opposite Hulhumale Ferry Terminal, the main landing point for visitors, this air-conditioned restaurant is the perfect stop for authentic local food. Try the Maldivian fish curry, which is made with yellowfin tuna and local spices. The bistro stays open on Fridays (prayer day) and offers complimentary WiFi.
Meraki Coffee Roasters
With its exposed brick walls, muted lighting and live music, this cosy café exudes a comfortable, laid-back vibe. The coffee beans are sourced from around the world, and there’s also a decent selection of freshly prepared cakes.
Kick back and enjoy a game of chess or Jenga within the punk-grunge interior. There’s a wide selection of coffees and teas, and you can even groove to your own music – simply check with the friendly baristas before plugging in your playlist.
Salt Café & Restaurant
Conveniently located within the Market Area, this casual eatery has an open terrace facing the ocean and a wide choice of international flavours, from Mexican enchiladas to Southeast Asian stir-fries – and of course, Maldivian seafood.
Classy without being pretentious, this design-centric boutique is a great place to find the finest quality handicrafts and locally designed pottery, furniture, jewellery and homeware produced by Maldivians. Artisans often cut their teeth here before moving on to work for regional fashion brands.
With a romantic infinity pool overlooking the ocean, this hotel is ideal for honeymooners. Their Japanese fusion restaurant Azur, located on the 14th floor, offers ocean views alongside top-notch cuisine.
Sala Boutique Hotel
Located a short hop from the island’s main attractions – including the National Museum and the Presidential Jetty – this well-appointed, six-room boutique hotel provides luxury, comfort, privacy and convenience. Its in-house restaurant serves up Thai cuisine prepared with ingredients imported from the Land of Smiles.