Putting the poor weather in good use with a tour of Maldives’ capital city, Male in a day.
We started our 2nd day at Kurumba with a champagne breakfast at the Ocean Grill. The storm from yesterday did not yet pass so we enjoyed the view of the turbulent sea and darkened morning sky.
After our meal, we were given a “Sun on Holiday” schedule of activities during the rain and reviewed the options. We decided it would be a perfect day to get some culture and see the capital of the Maldives, Male.
I called Myla to see if there were any options for a trip to the island as we already missed the morning tour boat. She later confirmed that we could hitch a ride with the staff boat to Male and arranged a tour guide to meet us and show us around. Wow, talk about meeting guests needs!
We went back to the room to get our things ready for the day trip. Then at 1:40 pm, we headed to the lobby where a staff member lead us to the boat.
On arrival we had a guide, Sharif, greet us with an umbrella and a smile. He works at the Ministry of Tourism and has a lot of experience with daily tours of the city.
From the drop off point, we could see one of the Coast Guard’s bases. One of the main branches of Maldives military, the Coast Guard is in charge of security for a country that is 99% water, so they have quite a daunting task. Our guide mentioned that Somali pirates sometimes get lost and end up in the Maldives too.
Our first stop was the office of the President of the Maldives which is were the president gets his work done.
We walked over to the Official Residence of the President. Built 1914-1919 on the site of the home of the Sultan Shamsuddeen. It is right next to the tomb, Medhu Ziyaari. Buried here is Abul Barakat Yousef Alberberi, who brought Islam to the Maldives in 1153.
Male’ Hukuru Miskiy
Across the President’s residence, is the oldest mosque of the Maldives also known as the Old Friday Mosque. Built in 1658 AD, the construction is mostly made of coral shipped over from around the Maldives. It was cut into bricks and each piece is meticulously carved. The teak roof is covered by a corrugated iron roof to protect the entire structure.
We stopped by the Bank of Maldives to get some Maldivian rufiyaa from the ATM. Then we walked over to Sultan Park, the main public park of Male. Adjacent to the park is the country’s museum.
The museum wasn’t very impressive, besides some turbans, ancient Maldivian artifacts, and a small Maldivian flag taken by Apollo 11 on the first trip to the moon. This could be due to the destruction of the pre-Islamic artifacts in February this year by extremists.
We then walked by some other landmarks before browsing the fruit and fish markets.
When then went for a snack at a local café with our guide. We were getting hungry at this point but didn’t want to eat too much as we had a nice dinner planned at Kurumba.
We then went back to the pier to get a ride to Kurumba. We bumped into Leah on the yacht who also happened to be in Male. We briefly caught up a bit before arriving at the resort. Christina and I were both a bit tired from all the walking, but glad we finished the main sites of Male in an afternoon!
Dinner at Al Qasr, La Cucina, and Ocean Grill
For dinner, Kurumba arranged a really special and unique experience, a three course meal at three different restaurants! We met with Leah at reception at 8 pm and headed to our appetizer.
Al Qasr is the middle eastern restaurant with a fitting curtain-draped interior. We conversed over different types of hummus, falafel, vegetables and some excellent red wine.
Though the appetizer was ample enough to be a meal, we headed to our main course at La Cucina. The candle lit Italian restaurant was very romantic and filled with many couples. I enjoyed a succulent tuna steak paired with red wine.
We concluded our dinner at the Ocean Grill with a dessert sampler of white chocolate mousse, strawberry topped cake, chocolate fudge cake and a fruit compote. Dessert of course was served with rose champagne.
We continued to Beach Bar next door to watch the show of the traditional Maldivian dance. The exuberance of the performance spread into the audience and we enjoyed the show with champagne and a hookah.
We spent the remainder of the night lounging and immersed in interesting conversation. Both the dinner and company were perfect. The best part of traveling is meeting interesting people like Leah.
Getting back to our bungalow, we decided to make the best of the warm night and take a midnight swim. Our bodies in the lagoon water glowed with the phosphorescence of the plankton.
I can’t believe we are leaving tomorrow, but I’m sure we’ll make the best of the last day!