Wednesday, March 9, 2016

10 Things I Love About Living in Male'

If you ask anyone from Male' or who's been here, they are all going to have A LOT of negative things to say about Male' and while that is the case, there are some things that are great about Male'. Here are 10 of my favourite things about Male', in no particular order. (All images by local artists, check links in the caption!)

1. Sultan Park
This is my second favourite park in the city and while it's not nearly as grand as Hyde Park, it's cozy filled with trees and any Maldivian would have childhood memories of going to this park. The recent LED garden made for Minivan 50 adds a bit of artificial trees to the already amazing scene making it a children's light up dream. 

2. Republic Square
Image by Joozeen
Several changes happened to republic square in the past 5-10 years but it remains to this day one of the many modern tourist stops in the country as well as a cornucopia of pigeon feeders, skaters, running children and fountain climbers, thanks to the musical fountain. It's a great spot to go out and have a picnic in (if you're okay with everyone staring at you while you nibble on some bajiyaa and kalhusai)

3. Coffee Houses/Cafe's
The recent influx of speciality coffee houses has made Male' a great place for coffee lovers. You can find little coffee shops where they serve great brews along with delicacies. Coffee Culture is Maldives' national pastime, so you can often find young people going to coffees, chain smoking and talking about local politics. I haven't yet been to Meraki or Civil Coffee Society, but my favourite place to get an iced latte is Cafe'ier.

4. National Library
While the collection can't compare anywhere to most national libraries, it does justice to the country. The national collection has all the editions of Faiythoora and the most prominent Dhivehi novels as well as a nice collection of fiction and non-fiction for all ages. The Children's Multimedia Library has all of your faovurite classic children's books as well as learning materials. You can often find students, tourists, young couples reading or doing their homework. Plus, the staff and guards are super duper nice. 

5. National Museum and Cultural Places
Image by Izaja
The national Museum (Dhaarul Aasaaru) is filled with reminders of our ancestors and artifacts that tell the story of who we are and where we come from. The new building is beautiful and sparse making it very easy to tour the place in your own time. There are also so many great little spots of cultural importance such as Munnaaru and Medhu Ziyaaraiy which are always nice reminders that despite all the chaos, there are still places that stand still, a testament to time and history. 

6. Art Gallery and Art Gatherings
Image by Mahin Fayaz
Male' is filled to the brim with so much talent you can't contain it. From cool street graffiti to photographers lurking in every corner, you are bound to find inspiration even in this concrete jungle we call home. Art Gallery is a great place to visit, especially during art showcases to see Maldivian talent and whenever there are music festivals and art gatherings, you will find yourself immersed in great company, fascinating stories and an air of content which is what life's all about. Fannu Ge Dharin is one of my favourite consistent art gatherings where you can find cool new talent and enjoy great music. 

7. Food
Image by Nattu Adnan
Maldivians are known for our spicy food and our fish paste. While there are specific islands that specialize in the best kinds of food, you can find a mixture of all kinds of great food in Male'. From hotels and cafes selling Bodumasroshi to harbour cafes serving strong black tea, you can fill your gastronomic desire. I love Olive Garden's Maldivian breakfast and Zeeba's brownies, as well as Nashee Cakes Butter Cake. You can also find a mixture of Indian, Thai and Chinese Cuisines as well as Western food in most of the cafe's around. Nothing beats mum's homemade theluli rihaakuru and bashi mashuni tho. 

8. Walks around the City
Once you are able to maneuver the crowded roads, you will often find that Male' has some nice city walks. The beyru magu (outer road) is great for walking with your friends or going out on a date. You can see boats coming in and going out, hear the hustle bustle of the city and buy a kurumba from one of the gaadiyas (get two straws!) and make a day out of it. While the swimming spots aren't nearly as great, the hedhi bileiy and kulhi majaa will make you forget for a little while about how completely untidy and noisy this place is. 

9. Shopping Scene
Image by Masrahphotography
Male' is filled with boutiques and corner shops. Everywhere you turn, there is a shop which makes shopping experiences a workout. You start from our home, and head to the north and to the south, then west and east and by the time the shops close, you have an idea of what is available and then the next day you can go and buy the things you saw, it's really a workout for both the find and the body. I love going to places like Revenge, Closet and Finesse they have really cool clothes and shoes. Shopping on feet is definitely better than driving around because you will hardly find parking space. 

10. All the Urban-ness
image by Ashwa Faheem
Yes Male' is pretty shitty (for the lack of a more sophisticated word) and there are so many problems. It's over crowded, pollution levels are off the roof, there's nothing to do and it's dirty! It's the most densely populated capital city and also probably the smallest. It's extremely urban and you will find good phone network, you can get wi-fi and 3G almost everywhere and there are things to do for those of you who are interested in more than just coffees and shopping. Inside this little place you will find people whose dreams are bigger than the thousand plus islands, who are all trying to make a better life for themselves and if that's not every urban city's dream, then I don't know what is. When you are out with your friends, sipping your third vanilla tea cup, or out on a date with a nice girl at Salt, looking over at the beautiful harbour area you will see that despite how terrible it all is, Male' is still home and it's where you have so many memories. You'll come to appreciate the Male' life but still hope that it was better than this; that is the beauty of Male'.

Okay, after writing and reading through this several times I've realized that all this sounds great for tourists but for actual people living in Male' it might not. Sigh. 


  1. Male's shopping scene is in colombo :p

  2. Never thought it that way. Always focused on what's missing rather than what's been there. Thanks so much for this great article. I would like to mention the artificial beach. Just sitting on one of those benches and letting the mind wander. 😊❤️

    1. Yes, we tend to take whats available for granted mostly eh.
      Thank you :) Yes, artificial beach is rather nice to sit and people watch.


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