Most people don’t visit the Maldives in order to shop, although there are some unique shopping opportunities here. Luxury goods are duty free, which makes jewellery, watches and cosmetics competitively priced.
However it is the local goods that are of particular interest and local handicrafts are well worth a look.
The local market on Malé is bursting with local produce, including yams, fruit and vegetables. There are also homemade sweets and pickles to be found and bunches of bananas hanging down from the ceiling beams. Handicrafts are also to be found here, brought in from all around the islands. The local market is just a block away from the famous Fish Market, on the northern waterfront.
The Majeedhee Magu, situated on the main road on Malé is the main shopping drag. Shops here sell everything from handbags to electronic goods. They are open until 11pm, but remember that shops will close for 15 minutes during prayer times, which occur five times per day.
For local souvenirs, Chaandanee Magu is the place to head for. Here you will find thudu kuna, the traditional woven mats, as well as perfectly crafted miniature dhonis (local boats).
A word of warning: export of turtle shell, coral, pearl oyster and crocodile skin is strictly prohibited. Do not buy any souvenirs you think might contain these items, as they will be confiscated.