Male is capital of the Maldives - a country encompassing a chain of more than 1000 small, low lying islands protected from the ocean by a barrier of reefs. Not one of the islands rises any higher than 3 metres. There are no hills or rivers, just lagoons and beaches of fine white sand.
Why come here? It's flat, it's small, it's crowded and exciting. Being close to India and Asia, and having been Portuguese, Dutch and British, it has a fascinating history too.
Male is the gateway to luxury resorts, honeymoon bliss and scuba paradise. Who knows how long it's going to be here? It is feared that the entire archipelago will be under water within 30 years.
There's plenty to see and do in Male before meandering to one of the plethora of resorts. If day to day living in a tight spot is of interest, then you'll see it all here. All infrastructure must be located in the city itself. Water comes from desalinated ground water; which is pumped from wells under the city. Electric power comes from diesel generators. Sewage and solid waste are amazingly well dealt with too.
You'll see it all here: mosques and government buildings, schools, kindergartens, police headquarters, airlines, offices and banks, and the bustling port where trading boats and island-hopping tourists pass through. Don't miss the fishmarket or the driving school where learners drive around in circles in an area the size of a football field! Office buildings are cheek by cheek with fruit markets and grocery stores.
Explore on foot if you have time. Otherwise, negotiate with an English-speaking taxi driver. For $US20.00 we were guided for more than one hour around the 1.3 km island which somehow manages to accommodate a population of around 63,000, plus passing tourists!
Then, make sure you stay on one of the many resort islands. Whether it's luxury and rubbing shoulders with the world's wealthy, or scuba diving in crystal clear atolls, the choices are limitless.