We are visiting the island as a port stop for 1.5 days next Jan. 2014. Is the island and nearby surrounding doable on your own? If not, is public transit reliable and avail? Thank you for all input/suggestions
Hello and welcome to VT........d:o)
Well, yes, the island of Male is only one kilometre by one point seven kilometre, so you can stroll the entire island. You may however be in for a bit of a surprise, as Male is the capital of the Republic of Maldives, and is literally a city island, as the city is basically a concrete mishmash, with a 100K people crammed in what many consider the most dense city in the world.
There simply is no more space, although I know, that they are trying to add space with enormous landfills.
Yes, you can vivis some of the nearby islands, and if you stay in the Maldives for any time, it is difficult not to avail oneself of the services of the everpresent dhoni sail boats.
Be aware that the Maldives are a muslim country, so it is essential for you to dress conservatively, and respect the culture.
Be real careful in the ocean as swimming in the shallows can cause some serious cuts by the coral reef, and also not a good idea to walk barefoot in the sand due to small pieces of coral, (mainly due to storms and tsunamis), that can cut you.....and watch out for the Trigger fish amongst other things.
Drink only bottled water and bring bugspray, - lots of bugspray..........
You may be surprised to hear, that the Maldives are one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world, but you won't see that reflected in Male. The opulent resorts are all on private atolls scattered around the archipelago, with rooms often costing several thousand dollars per night.
Hope this helps a bit............d:o)
I forgot to add, - do not ask anyone where you can get a drink, or where the bars are. As a muslim country, alcohol is prohibited. (Except in the private enclaves on the private islands at the resorts, where of course no locals can afford to stay.......
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The previous post is an excellent response to your question.
In addition, may I add that the Airport island (Hulhule ?sp) has a 'free' dhoni service for it's hotel guests - the trick here, of course, is that there is nothing produced to show you are a guest, it is simply 'assumed'. This gives an excellent opportunity to get some photos from over the short causeway that the dhoni plies. It also offers some alternative dining options at the hotel, should you be interested.
The fish market is worthy of a visit (turn right from the main dhoni 'port' and walk along the main street - it's on your left) to gain insight into the lifestyle of a Maldivian and see the plethora of fish on offer.
The Grand Mosque is well worth a visit - more information on my Maldives page.
There are a number of interesting buildings within easy walking distance of the main 'port' for the island - again, more information on my Male Island page.
Enjoy your visit - I love the Maldives.