Thilafushi is undoubtedly the controversial flip side of Maldives' paradisiacal image – a horror show of rubbish piled upon rubbish taking up almost all the space there is here. While the truly ghastly part is the south side of the island, the north part is a small township of migrant workers tending various industrial plants, and so it's possible to visit; simply take a ferry from the New Harbour (Rf11, 20 minutes, every one to two hours).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Male attractions

1. Produce Market

4.03 MILES

The busy produce market gives you an enjoyable taste of Maldives – people from all over the country gather here to sell home-grown and imported vegetables…

2. Fish Market


Although the squeamish may well object to the buckets of entrails or the very public gutting of fish going on all around, the Fish Market should not be…

3. National Museum

4.14 MILES

Maldives' National Museum may be a ferociously ugly building gifted by China, but it nevertheless contains a well-labelled collection of historic…

4. Grand Friday Mosque

4.17 MILES

The golden dome of this impressive modern mosque dominates the skyline of Male and has become something of a symbol for the city. Opened in 1984 and built…

5. Tomb of Mohammed Thakurufaanu

4.19 MILES

In the backstreets in the middle of town, in the grounds of a small mosque, is the tomb of Mohammed Thakurufaanu, Maldives’ national hero who liberated…

6. Rasrani Bageecha

4.19 MILES

Previously known as Sultan's Park and once part of the grounds of the now-demolished sultan’s palace, this former green lung of Male was redeveloped and…

7. National Art Gallery

4.22 MILES

Under one roof you'll find the National Library, various cultural centres from countries around the world and this exhibition space, which has temporary…

8. Old Friday Mosque


This is the oldest mosque in the country, dating from 1656. It’s a beautiful structure made from coral stone into which intricate decoration and Quranic…