Enjoy your stay in Malé, Maldives the Singaporean way

So we all know that Maldives is famous for its beaches and resorts, but what else is there to do there? Here in Singapore, a normal day out with friends may consist of having a meal together (possibly via café-hopping), shopping, watching a movie or sports.

Well, you can do all that in Malé, Maldives too! If you’re a beginner explorer that doesn’t want to step completely out of their comfort zone just yet, or if you’re just planning a relaxing holiday, here are some places you could go.

It’s all about the food

1) Local cuisineMaldives Stuff 1A bowl of Mas Huni
Source: The Restaurant Fairy

If you’re in a whole other country, of course you have to try the local specialties! Mas Huni – a mixture of tuna, coconut, onion and chili bits – is a Maldivian staple. The dish is served in every meal and consists of the freshest ingredients you can find in the islands of Maldives.

Also to those with a sweet tooth, it’s a good time to try coconut ice cream!

2) International Cuisines

Maldives Stuff 3

Source: Google+

Maldives Stuff 2

Source: Irhal

Sick from eating one too many Mas Huni or need some comfort food? Male has many restaurants from Indian to Italian that will satisfy your different food cravings. One of our favourites is the Palace Sichuan Chinese Restaurant. Founded in 2011, this oriental-style building can sit over 80 people. Being the only Chinese restaurant in Malé, this is where you can get your taste of the Sichuan cuisine! Definitely worth a try.

Then there is Thai Wok which serves a thrice-weekly buffet for Rf140 (SGD 11.70) per person! We hear the tom yum soup comes highly recommended. If you’re planning on giving this place a visit, be sure to reserve the tables on the balcony for a great view.

3) Café ‘IerMaldives Stuff 4Source: Facebook

Have you ever had a Biscotti Cookie ice cream? How about an Espresso Ice Bianco? This place is a heaven-on-earth for all you café enthusiasts. They sell gelato of all sorts of unique flavours, like Panna Cotta (Italian dessert of thick cream, egg white and honey), Gianduja (Italian hazelnut chocolate) and Kashikeyo (a Maldivian fruit). You can always request to sample the taste if you’re unsure!

If you’re really keen, they even have their menu up on their Facebook page. How cool is that?

4) Cafés, cafés everywhere
Maldives Stuff 5There are cafés and coffee shops hidden in every corner of Malé. It’s up to you to embrace your inner explorer and discover them for yourselves! If you really are unsure however, here are some to get you started.

Don’t stop, gotta shop

1) SupermarketsMaldives Stuff 6Source: Foursquare

Are you pro-NTUC or pro-Cold Storage? Well it doesn’t matter – Malé has a variation of both! Agora, which is similar to NTUC, will surprise you with familiar brands of household necessities like Sunsilk and Lifebuoy, and groceries like Kellogg’s and Toblerone.

Meanwhile, Malé’s version of Cold Storage, Fantasy Store, is a premium store that sells a range of international locales such as ham, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruits and vegetables. Do note that items are priced slightly higher as compared to other stores, though!

2) Wet MarketsMaldives Stuff 7

For those who prefer wet markets, you’ll be sure to find them in Malé. With all sorts of fresh produce available, trying out the coconuts would be a good start. Ask the stall tender to chop the coconut up for its tender meat as you drink the juice on the spot. When you’re done, you’ll have to return the coconut husk to them for recycling purposes. Thirst-quenching and environmentally-friendly!

3) Souvenir ShopsMaldives Stuff 8Source: mindblur.wordpress.com

Along the streets of Chandhanee Magu are colourful stores with great souvenirs on display. This area is known as “Singapore Bazaar” (yup, that’s right!) and is named after the shops that used to be there, which had Singapore-imported goods in the 1960s and 1970s. Currently, the shops offer a variety of items, such as sarongs, accessories, postcards, and even locally-woven mats from dried coconut leaves and reeds.

Feast your eyes on this

1) Schwack CinemaMaldives Stuff 9Source: joedshares

Feel like watching a movie? You better book your tickets here fast because they sell out at an unbelievable speed.

Since 2012, Schwack Cinemas has been providing Maldivians with a world-class movie-going experience. They not only offer Hollywood and 3D movies, but even Bollywood movies as well which are really popular amongst Maldivians.

2) National Soccer StadiumMaldives Stuff 10Source: worldmapz.com

Once known simply as the “National Stadium”, this arena has been re-branded and renovated. With a capacity of about 13,000 spectators, it is mostly used for football matches of the local Dhivehi League, the Maldives FA Cup and international matches, though it may sometimes be used for cricket matches as well. Tickets cost anywhere from Rf 15-50 (SGD 1.25- 4.20).

Casual games can be seen any evening so pay the stadium a visit if you want to watch a match!

Tips on enhancing your stay

1) Try to bring some postcards and Singapore souvenirs! If you make new foreign friends, these small gifts may come in handy as a nice gift.

2) Keep your shoulders and knees covered when visiting local islands! Although you may dress more liberally in resorts, it is advised to maintain a certain level of conservativeness elsewhere.

3) Take note that on Fridays, some shops and government offices are closed. As Maldives is a Muslim country, at certain timings, some shops are also closed due to prayers.

Every small step counts and we hope this guide will allow you to mix the norm with the unfamiliar. Soon enough, maybe you’ll even be bungee jumping around the world.

Have you been to the Maldives before? How did you spend your trip? Let us know in the comments!

Special thanks to Yi Shin for some of the tips! She is a Singaporean who interned in Maldives.