After breakfast, we head towards Hulhumale port from where we will board a local boat for Male city. The local boats at Hulhumale leave every half an hour. We will take one of the local boats and reach Male. Today, you will be visiting the capital of Maldives, accompanied by a guide. We will wander around the beautiful streets of Male, then visit the largest mosque of the city, the Grand Friday Mosque. We will also visit the National Museum and the Artificial Beach.
Grand Friday Mosque
This impressive mosque dominates the skyline of Male and is now one of the grandest landmarks of Male. Built with the aid of the Gulf States, Pakistan, Brunei, and Malaysia, in 1984, this mosque stands out in its plainness with its white marble build and virtually free from decoration. The main prayer hall inside the mosque has superbly carved wooden side panels and doors, a specially woven carpet, and impressive chandeliers and can accommodate up to 5000 worshippers.
Tourists can enter the mosque only between 9 am to 5 pm, and outside of prayer times. The mosque restricts entrance to all non-Muslims 15 minutes before prayers and for the following hour. The best time to visit this mosque is between 2 pm and 3 pm. You have to follow a certain dress code while entering the mosque, so it's not like you can enter casually. If you are interested, then dress suitably; men must wear long trousers and women a long skirt or dress. If you are properly dressed, a staff member, hanging out by the entrance, will welcome you.
Maldives' National Museum may seem extremely ugly, but it still has a fine collection of historical artifacts that tells the tale of a unique history of these isolated islands. Unfortunately, doting the protests against former president Nasheed in 2012, the mob of religious extremists broke into the museum and destroyed its most precious items, about thirty ancient Buddhist coral stone carvings from the country's pre-Islamic period.
The display of the museum starts downstairs with galleries of the ancient and medieval periods of Maldivian history. Here, you will see weaponry, religious paraphernalia, and household wares, and magnificently carved Arabic and Thana engraved pieces of wood for the memorial of the conversion of Maldives to Islam in 1153.
Upstairs, you will see displays representing the modern period and some excellent examples of the lacquer-work boxes for which the Maldives is famous for, and some antique technologies like the country's first gramophone, telephone, and a massive computer. The museum also contains minutes of the famous underwater cabinet meeting, and a fascinating marine collection, the major one is the 6m-long skeleton of the very rare Longman's Beaked Whale, which has never been seen alive in the ocean.
There is a beach in Male made for locals so that they can swim and enjoy a day on the beach. The beach is a small crescent sand beach built from the breakwater tetrapod. Nearby, there is a wide range of fast food cafes; however, the beach is not as popular no due to the construction of the enormous new China-Maldives Friendship Bridge.
After finishing the sightseeing tour of Male, we head towards the VIllingili Ferry Terminal for our onward journey to Maafushi. We will reach VIllingili fort in the afternoon and take the 3 pm boat that departs for Maafushi. Before the boat, you may have some free time; during this time, you can relax at the VIllingili Beach that is within walking distance from the port.
From VIllingili fort, we reach Maafushi within a couple of hours, and along the way, you will get some stunning views. Maafushi is one of the biggest islands in the Maldives and lies in distance of about 27km from Male.