The Opening of the Sinamale Bridge and What It Means to Tourists Visiting Male
The Sinamalé Bridge officially opened at the end of August 2018 with fanfare and fireworks! The bridge links the capital of the Maldives, Malé with Hulhulé and Hulhumale. The 1.39 km long bridge has two car lanes and separate lanes for motorcycles, and pedestrians. It was originally called the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge due to funding having been received from the Chinese government. Accessing the bridge from Male you pass through the main entrance which depicts Islam, unity and nationalism of Maldives.
Prior to the bridge being built, local island residents and tourists would have to take a local ferry or speed boat to commute between the two islands which are only 10km apart. With the opening of the bridge the daily commute for residents of Hulhumale working in Male and been cut dramatically. Whilst for the residents of Male it has allowed ease of access to Hulhumale and the beach front cafes and watersports.
For tourists it makes an interesting photo opportunity in a country where there has been no such structure previously.
What does this mean for tourists visiting the Maldives?
Besides the photographic opportunities the bridge provides it also allows greater ease of access between the airport, Male and Hulhumale.
More Choice for Airport Transportation
Whilst speedboats and ferries will still continue their service between the airport and Male and the public bus service will operate between the airport and Hulhumale; like most international airports there will be for the first time the opportunity for tourists to make use of a taxi service.
It is now possible to take a private taxi to Hulhumale and Male from the taxi rank directly outside the airport arrival area. Previously only designated licensed vehicles could journey to and from the airport. Note that vehicles are currently not allowed to wait but from our experience there appears to be a steady stream of vehicles so you should not have to wait long. Charges are likely to fluctuate as this new airport services settles down. The current charge is 65MVR to reach Hulhumale or Male, which also entails crossing the bridge!
Need to know!
Hulhumale to Male by taxi – currently there is a standard charge fixed by the government, the charge is 75MVR. Luggage will be charged in addition to the fare.
Whilst there is a taxi call centre in both Male and Hulhumale, you can hail a taxi on the road in both Male and Hulhumale. Look out for the green lights on the roof of the cab.
The bridge bus terminus in Hulhumale is at the very end of the main road to the airport – Nirolhumagu. However you can get on the bus at the main bus stop in Hulhumale at the T junction of Nirolhumagu and Huvandhumaa Hingun. The cost os 20MVR one way. The bridge buses are pink, where as the standard buses are red!
In Male the bridge bus stop is near to Mary Brown restaurant on the south west side of Male.
It is possible to walk onto the bridge with access being easier from Male side.
The best place to view the bridge if you want to take photographs is from Male artificial Beach or near the previous surf point (Raalhugandu).
If you have booked with a tour company like Secret Paradise or with a hotel, guesthouse or resort it is likely that you will have provided them with your flight arrival details. If this is the case then it is usual for them to send a representative to meet with you at the arrival gate. They will then take care of your onward transfer meaning less hassle for you!
If you are travelling independently you can find more information on transportation from the airport as well as other important pieces of information to assist you travelling through the Maldives in our previous blog 10 Things you should know if you are travelling to the Maldives on a budget