(Male) Atoll – North
Male, the capital of the Maldives, is located near the airport
on the southern edge of the North Male Atoll. Although accommodation
is available, not many foreign travellers stay in the capital; even
those conducting business usually stay in 1 of the neighbouring resort
islands and commute to Male by boat.
The capital boasts many shops selling examples of locally made handicrafts
and imported products. Additional attractive sights are the Mulee-aage (a former palace), National Museum (situated in the Sultan’s
Park with an excellent collection of artifacts as well as Sultanese
thrones and palanquins), the vegetable and fish markets, the beautiful
17th-century Hukuru (Friday Mosque) and the Islamic
Centre with its fabulous golden dome. There are more than 20 other
mosques spread throughout Male.
Set on an area of 60,680 sq metres (653,160 sq feet) and with a 1,024 metre (3360 feet) long beach, this oval-shaped island is
about an hour boat ride from the airport. There are a variety of corals on one side of the
island within 3-6 metres or 10-20 feet of the shallow beach which are superb for snorkeling and diving lessons, whilst the other side
is great for swimming and water-skiing.
East of Baros lies the island of Bandos, a large resort that provides nicely-decorated beach bungalows with
views of the beach. Here, there is an especially good diving school;
among the attractions is a dive down to the appropriately named
East of North Male Atoll is Hudhuveli. Similar to Bandos and Vaadhu, it is operated by Deen’s Orchid Agency.
This modern beach resort has straw-roofed, individually located bungalows
with freshwater showers.
This cosy island is stunningly beautiful and extremely photographed.
The accommodation available on this island comprises simply furnished bungalows.
A very small half square mile island, Kurumba is a 15 minute boat ride from the airport and only 10 minutes from Male. There are
conference facilities, swimming pools, jacuzzis, gymnasiums and
5 restaurants. Most water sports are available as well as scuba
diving; the colourful fish in the lagoon will eat from your hands.
Nakatchafushi is one of the most photographed of all the islands, containing
the country’s largest lagoon. Located west of North Male Atoll, it is 24 kilometres or 15 miles from the airport,
with a travel time of about 90 minutes. The lagoon is outstanding for
water sports and a long strip of sand at the island's western edge
is a paradise for beach lovers. A swimming pool is also available.
Full Moon (Furana)
20 minutes from the airport, the resort with its
deep lagoon makes it a superb location for visiting yachts. It also
provides 5 restaurants, a gymnasium and a business centre.
Giraavaru Island sits 11 kilometres or 7 miles west of the airport.
Travel time is about 15 minutes by speed-boat or 45 minutes by normal
transfer boat. The nicely-furnished guestrooms offers either sea or garden views.
Reethi Rah, an unspoiled and gorgeous island northwest of the North
Male Atoll, has thatched bungalows and ten water bungalows built
on stilts above the lagoon, designed by local architectural styles
without leaving out any of the modern comforts.
Makunudhoo, one of
the most expensive resorts with a good reputation for its food, is 2 hours from the airport. The
Maldivian-run island offers the best anchorage of all the resorts
and normally has yachts available for hire. It is sheltered on
all sides by a wonderful lagoon. The accommodation available comprises thatched bungalows, individually located in coconut plantation leading
down to the beach.
Kanifinolhu (Kani) sits on the eastern tip
of the North Male Atoll. The seas around the island contain some
of the best inside reefs in the country, and the shelter provided
by the external reef makes for excellent diving even in the roughest
conditions. The accommodation style is influenced by local
and oriental design and many rooms are air-conditioned. There
is a desalination plant for fresh water.
The resorts of Farukolhufushi (Club Med) and Thulhaagiri
pools and outstanding facilities for water sports. Thulhaagiri provides one windsurfing board for each twin-bedded
Club Med has an experienced team organizing
sport and leisure activities throughout the day and in the evening.
Summer Island Village provides 93 air-conditioned guestrooms in
a lovely tropical setting.
Additional highly recommended North Male resorts are Boduhithi
and the nearby Kudahithi and, closer to the airport,
Lhohifushi, which features a stunning lagoon and lots of watersport
facilities. Kudahithi, one of the most expensive resorts
in the country, with only 6 units – perfect for small,