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The Maldives’ capital is a surreal place. Over one hundred thousand people live crammed into its grid of colourfully painted apartment blocks, which rise incongruously against the surrounding mantle of turquoise seawater. Most arrivals bypass the town, but it’s fun after so many days marooned on your island to ring the changes and mingle with the locals in the fresh produce markets. The Grand Friday Mosque and National Museum (housed in the former Sultan’s Palace) are the main sights here. You can also stretch your legs by circumnavigating Malé island on foot, which takes only a couple of hours. On the way, look out for the chunky concrete chain of tetrapods which saved the capital from devastation during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
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