Life in Malé

For you who doesn’t know, Malé is the capital city of Maldives. Mid year 2014, the Randomtravelers did another random travel. This time we traveled to Maldives. People said that it is an expensive travel destination and guess what, people were right. Haha. This time, there were 9 of us who traveled together.

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Waiting for the boat to take us to Male from the airport (yes, they are located in separate island)

We stayed at a hotel in Malé the first day we arrived. I knew that Maldives was an expensive holiday destination but I never anticipated that the prices of food there were also high. Because we didn’t get any complimentary food in the plane, I got hungry after we landed. While the others were buying a local sim card for their cell phone, I saw Isan in the Burger King restaurant buying some food. I went there to buy some food for myself but later backed away when I realized how expensive the burger was compared to the one in my country. 20 USD for a set of burger, cola and fries. Man, this place sure was expensive! Isan next bought a scoop of ice cream, and it costed him 10 USD. So expensive!

However, the horror (for me) didn’t end here. I came to this country bringing only 200 Singapore Dollar and realized that I couldn’t use my ATM card in Male! *gasp I was worried about how my life will be for the next 4 days in this country. I bring my credit card though and I already paid for the accomodation in advance (we’ll be living on board). So my spending will mainly be food and drinks and a little amount of souvenirs while in Male.

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Welcome to Male!
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To cut our spending, we hire a pick up car to take us to our hotel (which was not to far from the harbour)
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The currency of Maldives, Rufiya. But USD were also widely used in the country. In fact I got the feeling that the local people prefer USD of Rufiya.

The first time I stepped my feet on this city, I recognized that the ground was made of bricks probably due to the fact that the city was built on a small island (probably the biggest island in Maldives), and building asphalt roads might not be a good idea. The streets were also narrow, fit only for one car so there were many one way roads. The buildings were moderately tall. There were a big mosque, city squares, dump place, shopping area, schools, restaurants, and a university.

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A monument in Male

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The dump place of the island

We strolled half of the city while doing a morning run.

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The Presidential Palace

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The city feels a bit crowded due to its small area and big number of population, buildings, andvehicles. I was wondering how the locals live with the high prices of goods sold there. We went to one of the local restaurants and shocked that we had to pay 30 USD for a plate of fried rice. We also checked the local grocery and found that they do not stock much and the prices were moderately high. Our tour officer told us that Maldives imported 95% of its domestic needs from abroad. Be it food or other goods. This is the reason why everything was so expensive in Maldives. Their only incomes were from the tourism sector and fishery which they have quite abundantly.

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The expensive fried rice
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Rotten fruit was still on sale for 5 Rufiya

Also, the image of rich people couldn’t be seen in the local people of Maldives. Most of the expensive resorts in Maldives were owned by foreign investment and the local people were only hired to run the bussinesses. As we explore more of the city, we finally found stores that sell goods with cheaper prices.

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Scoop ice cream store
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The ice cream were only 40 Rufiya (around 4 USD)

Turns out, the local people shop there. So our tips is, go find a store where local people shops. You’ll get goods with a significant difference in prices compare to the stores attended by tourists. Not that we found many tourists in Malé anyway. (npa)

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