Did the full day walking tour and had a lovely day with Shark. Definitely recommend this if you are going to spend a few days on the island – I’ve learnt quite abit about the history of the island, the prospective and the day to day life of the locals. Things I wouldn’t and couldn’t understand just by reading up or going around by myself. Loved the local lunch which was included in the package as well! I was alone as my husband was working and felt comfortable and safe throughout the tour too – thank you Shark and the SP team 😊
Culture & History Tour
Experience the Hustle & Bustle of the City Alongside Villimalé Island Tranquility
Experience life as a local in Malé, sip refreshing black tea, learn about key aspects of everyday life such as education and religion, and see how the Maldives is looking ahead to the future with conservation in Villimalé. Picture all of this against the backdrop of white-sand beaches, clear blue ocean, and the colorful, tropical aesthetic of this island nation.
- From USD 110 per person
- Daily 10:00 – 17:00
- Jetty 5, Male ( opposite Bank of Ceylon).
- Collection from the airport, hotels in Malé, Hulhumale or the cruise tender jetty available upon request and is offered free of charge.
We are only able to collect from private resort islands in North and South Male Atolls. Permission must be gained from the resort to enable us to use their private jetty. Not all resorts will allow this service so please do confirm with the resort prior to booking. Charges for return transfer will be based on the distance the resort is located from Male.
- 7 hours
- Maximum 8 persons
- We request female guests to dress with modesty when visiting Male (shorts/skirts/dresses should cover the upper thigh and shoulders/chests should be fully covered).
- Long trousers or a sarong to cover legs is required by both male and female guests when visiting mosques.
- Maldivian cuisine is based upon key ingredients of fish, coconut and chili, along with either roshi (flat bread) or rice. Please be sure to advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
- All return transfers to/from Malé jetty
- Entrance to Sultan Park (subject to opening times)
- Maldivian lunch at a local cafe
- Hedhika experience
- Island tours
- Services of a Secret Paradise guide
- Donation to NGO Save the Beach,
- Local tax (10% service charge and 16% GST)
- Personal expenditure eg souvenirs and snacks
What to bring
- Face mask, Hand Sanitizer, Refillable water bottle, sun glasses, sun hat, insect repellent, camera, snacks, money for personal expenditure.
About your guide
One of our experienced and professionally trained Maldivian tour guides will accompany you for the duration of the activity. All our guides hold First Aid and Lifeguard qualifications and have completed COVID-19 safety awareness training.
Discover the Maldivian capital with a professional and experienced guide.
Get an insider’s view of the history and culture of the Maldives.
Visit key sites as well as off-the-beaten-track points of interest.
Visit Villimalé and learn about the unique Maldivian ecosystem and the conservation challenges faced.
Enjoy traditional evening tea.
What to Expect
Your tour starts with an overview of Malé and the harbor area, a very important aspect of any island nation. Passing by the oldest school in the city, learn about the education system and why the Maldives has a 98% literacy rate. Visit Hukuru Miskiiy – Old Friday Mosque and the tomb of Abu-al- Barakaath and learn why the Maldives converted to Islam and how the Islamic faith underpins everyday life.
Stop for a refreshing cup of traditional black tea at a local cafe, a popular spot for locals. Find out the importance of betal nuts and try them for yourself! Stopping at the November 3rd Memorial, hear the story of how 8 brave military servicemen died in the protection of their country from a terrorist attack in 1988. Wander through Sultan Park, a reference to the time the Maldives was governed by a sultanate (entrance fee included) now developed into a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.
Walking back towards the harbor area, pass by the Grand Friday Mosque and the Islamic Center, Malé’s famous architectural landmark, and onto Jumhooree Maiden – Independence Square. From here, learn the meaning of the Maldives national flag and pick out key government buildings.
Heading west along the harbor, visit the bustling fish market and the local market, where the sights, sounds, and smells will fill your senses. Chat with the local stallholders and taste tropical produce and homemade sweets.
Your guide will provide a selection of lunchtime restaurant options based on your tastes. Following lunch, jump into a taxi with your guide in order to reach the terminal where your ferry departs to Villimalé from.
The island, once a resort and also a prison, was ‘developed’ to assist with the ever-growing population of Malé. It offers the ideal escape from the ever-busy capital city. Wide, open streets, an abundance of greenery so unlike Malé, two local beaches, and a peaceful atmosphere.
Stepping off the ferry in Villimalé, you may not be stepping back in time but you will be able to understand and visualize how the city islands would have been prior to urban modernization. A 60-minute walking tour of the island will allow you to understand and appreciate the local way of city life, as well as learning how the local community together with NGO Save the Beach work to protect both their island and ocean environment.
Sample hedhika local savory snacks served with black tea and allow your taste buds to discover Maldivian flavors. Before returning to the ‘big city,’ we take time to sit back and relax in true Maldivian style and observe the hustle and bustle of the capital from afar.
Hear From Our Previous Guests
I was very happy with my Malé and Villimale tour with Secret Paradise. Both Ruth and our guide Mash were incredibly helpful and friendly. Mash was extremely knowledgeable and took us on quite the adventure of the city of Malé and then of the small eco-island of Villimale where we got introduced to the Save the Beach project. We got picked up and dropped off at the airport. It certainly beats sitting in the airport the whole day. I couldn’t have spent a better last lay in the Maldives!
What a great day and adventure I had during my walking tour of Male with Secret Paradise.
My tour guide (Zaff) was engaging and provided all sorts of anecdotes as we traversed the busy city. So many sites and stories behind those places.
I really loved the way the tour flowed, pausing when needed and taking time to take in the beautiful sights and moving quickly when traversing the busy roads.
Secret Paradise were very accommodating – changing my meeting times at the last minute.
I highly recommend the tour with Secret Paradise, indeed, I recommend them for all your Maldives travels!
Zaff, my tour guide was excellent. He was very flexible to make best use of our time and the weather conditions and went out of his way to make the day as enjoyable and educational as possible
Great way to see this very small but very busy city. Guides were knowledgeable and we got far more out of the day than if we had explored on our own.
They helped create some context about the country beyond the resorts and snorkeling. Lunch was at a restaurant set in a lovely old Maldivian home. We then went to Villimale and met Bébé from Save the Beach, a Maldivian eco group that works to effect change
Archie joined us in Male proper, had a coffee and time flew by till the Friday prayer time. We soon ended up visiting Save the Beach NGO in Villimale. Bebe is very passionate about the initiative and very knowledgeable about the corals.