Visiting Malé

Male would certainly count as one of the smallest capitals in the world in terms of its physical size. A third of the countrys population, about 75,000 live in Male. Different from any other island in the country, Male is a city of high-rise buildings and paved roads. While the government offices are located in one area, the main streets are lined with shops and offices. In the old bazaar area which still houses the countrys hub of wholesale and retail trade, the lanes are so narrow that a single vehicle would find it difficult to navigate through, especially with its throngs of busy people.

There are no beaches on Male; instead seawalls surround all its sides. However, a newly landscaped artificial beach area and adjoining breakwater stretching all the way round to the harbour in the southwest of the island provide a pleasant jogging route, especially popular in the evenings when it is cooler.

Male is still relatively green and pleasant. The streets in the residential areas are shaded with trees, at places forming an arch overhead. A fair number of main streets are lined with big trees providing shade on both sides. Even a stroll around it would offer interesting sites and shots for the memories; the fish market and the local market at the northern waterfront, the new harbour in the south-west corner and the 400-year old Friday Mosque, to name a few. A stroll around the residential areas or shopping streets would provide an insight into the life and livelihood of the residents of the capital. Or simply sit down and relax at one of the small parks dotted around the capital and just observe the pace of life.

You may be surprised at the large number of motorised vehicles in Male. If you prefer, you could make a tour of the capital by taxi. Many taxi centres operate a number of comfortable, well-maintained taxis. The maximum rates that can be charged are set by the government; the basic fare for a single journey for four persons or less, from one point to another is MRf.20.00, luggage carried in the trunk is charged at the rate of MRf.5.00 per item, the basic charge increases to MRf.25.00, from 12.00 midnight to 06.00 in the morning and charters cost MRf.85.00 per hour

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