Malé is the capital city of Maldives. The word ‘Maldives’ actually means “the islands (dives) of Malé”. Interestingly enough, the city is an island on its own and the archipelago of Maldives is made up of over 1,190 islands grouped in a chain of 26 atolls. The city is about 2km long, and just 1km wide. Hence, you could easily explore the city by foot from one end to the other in a couple of minutes and perhaps around the whole island in an hour. Being hailed as one of the most densest city with approximately 100,000 people, Malé offers a glimpse into the lives of the local Maldivians away from the luxurious resorts and endless buffet spread.
I have always wanted to visit Maldives, especially after checking off Boracay in my bucketlist last December. Since I was en route to Singapore for Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dream” tour, the timing couldn’t be better as there was a direct flight from Singapore to Maldives via Tiger Airways. We were lucky in the sense that the hotel packages were giving away some decent discounts as May would be typically be the start of the tropical monsoon climate in the Maldives. That’s a win-win!
A trip to Maldives wouldn’t be complete without exploring the capital city, Malé. We arrived at Velana International Airport at 820pm local time and we were greeted by the hotel representatives. A night’s stay was more than sufficient and we spent the next morning exploring the pint-sized city right after breakfast. Somerset Inn is located just off Orchid Magu, which is one of the main streets in the city I reckoned. The room was clean and comfortable. I love that it had a coffee machine in-room, a plus point for a coffee addict like myself. It was definitely value for money and we were just walking distances from most of the tourist attractions. Get a map from the reception and you are good to go! Note: If you are departing to the airport on the next day, do inform the reception at least an hour beforehand as a gentle reminder. There was a slight miscommunication on our end, but we made it on time for our pick up to Club Med Kani.
There were several highlights and landmarks which in my opinion, were Instagram worthy. Given that we only had a maximum of 2 hours to explore, I was pretty selective and narrowed down to a few. It was nice and refreshing to walk among the locals. These people were going about their daily lives selling groceries at the marketplace, making their way for prayers at the mosque and some were just buying food for the family.
It was our only day in the city and we managed to get some souvenirs and postcards for our family and friends. It was definitely cheaper in the city compared to at the resorts. Do be mindful and bargain as well. One vendor tried to sell me a set of keychains for USD $24 and we managed to haggle it down to USD $9, and i still think it was absurd that much for the keychains. We also got 5 postcards for USD $1 and each stamp for international mail is USD $1. You could get stamps at the post office located at the airport just next to the premium lounge. They were so efficient, the postcards we sent arrived within 2 weeks after we got home.
Most of the landmarks were concentrated on the north shore. We made our way to the Republic Square, which was built in 1989. The locals called it ‘Jamhooree Maidhaan‘ and there was a nice Maldivian flag that sits right in front of the building. Good photo spot because that was the first and last time I noticed a Maldivian flag throughout my entire trip. Right at the corner of the square is the Islamic Centre. It was opened in November 1984 and deemed to be the largest in the country, capable of holding up to 5,000 people under it’s glistering golden dome.
We made a pit stop at Rasfannu to check out the artificial public beach before making our way back to the hotel. A glimpse of the public beach in Malé city was enough to give us a teaser of what’s about to come. The turquoise waters surrounding the city were already so inviting, we couldn’t wait to get to Club Med Kani ! We checked out of our hotel at 1pm and made our way back to Velana International Airport. The ferry taxi journey was about 20 minutes.
At the airport, there were designated booth for each resort and hotel. Our Club Med Kani representative greeted us upon arrival and we proceeded to booth 61 to wait for the other guests to arrive. This was just the beginning and trust me, it got better and better. Next up, 4 days 3 nights at Club Med Kani !
Points of Interest
- Republic Square
- Islamic Centre
- The November 3rd Memorial
- Local Fish Market
- Rasfannu Beach
Food and Drinks List
- Gourmet or “Baywatch” Restaurant for dinner at Fareedhee Magu – decent price, great variety
- Flights Singapore/Maldives (Tiger Airways) – SGD $216 / USD $155 / MYR 673
- Flights Maldives/Malaysia (Air Asia) – SGD $370 / USD $265 / MYR 1150
- Accommodation with breakfast and airport transfer – Somerset Inn USD $91 / MYR 395
- Dinner – Gourmet Restaurant USD $13 / MYR 57
- Sourvenirs – USD $20 / MYR 87
- *Subject to daily conversion rates
Total Expenditure with flights and 25 kgs baggage : USD $544 / MYR 2,362
Total Expenditure in Malé City excluding flights : USD $124 / MYR 540