The Maldives is of course associated with its luxury resorts and top of the line paradise islands and while these are certainly the main attractions, life and citizenship for locals especially centers around the capital island of Male. For anyone with some downtime in transfer or a night on the way in or out of a far-flung resort, a stop in Male is well worthwhile.
Attractions on the main island will reveal lots of activity, stores, shops, mosques, businesses and markets all crammed onto an island about 2km around. There are simple apartments and bedrooms to stay, an excellent option when recovering from a lengthy flight from anywhere international.
Any time on the islands or spent in a grocery store, or the market will reveal that a majority of the diet here consists of Tuna. The fish are still caught using traditional methods and boats are arriving from all areas of the country to sell their catches. The market is just West of Independence Square and set on the Northern embankment of the island. It is a true show to watch the cleaning, buying and social component to this booming business.
Located just a block over from the fish market, the tented produce market boasts every type of fruit and vegetable that grows in this tropical paradise. There are many Asian staples as well as some local delicacies such as yams, nuts and other treats whose names we can’t even begin to recall. Coconuts and bananas are delicious and fresh.
The heart of national worship takes place at the centrally located Islamic Center. It is just off the main pedestrian and park area. The conservative Islamic society that populates these islands finds this as its center. The hall is massive and can hold 5000 persons at once. Huskuru Miskiiy is a nearby mosque with centuries of tradition and coral curving workmanship.
While the island can be explored in less than a day, to get one’s bearings it is necessary to simply remember Chaandhanee Magu (the main North-South street) and Majeedhee Magu (the main East-West street). Between these two one will be able to size up all the little shops, markets, main hotels and souvenir stands. Don’t forget the affordable cafes and restaurants with excellent seafood.