Best Places for Shopping in the Maldives
1. Majeedhee Magu
Majeedhee Magu is the main road in Male, covering the entire length of the island from east to west. Although primarily famous for clothing, plenty of other items, including electronics, cosmetics, bags, accessories, perfumes, watches, shoes, etc., and some restaurants, make it extremely popular for shopping in Maldives. It caters to all kinds of shoppers - those on the lookout for international brands and those preferring locally produced merchandise.
Timings: 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
2. Male Local Market
Situated on the island's northern side, Male Local Market is ideal for buying fresh local vegetables and fruits, pickles, dry fruits, local snacks, coconut milk, and desserts. In addition, there are some souvenir shops selling Maldivian handicrafts - seashell items, lacquer work, wooden crafts including dhonis, and some unique items like brooms and slippers made of coconut leaves.
Timings: 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM
3. Chaandhanee Magu
Also termed Singapore Bazaar, this is another famous street market in Male, running north to south in the island's centre. You can find Thundu Kunaa mats, dhonis, t-shirts, scarves and sarongs with Maldivian symbols, and all other handicrafts. Both local and imported goods, mainly from Singapore (hence the name), are available at Chaandhanee Magu, making it a quirky spot for shopping in Maldives.
Timings: 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
4. The Marina @ CROSSROADS Maldives
The Marina @ CROSSROADS Maldives is a well-known shopping destination at CROSSROADS, a multi-island luxury destination. The Marina houses many exclusive boutiques and brands that sell clothes, footwear, accessories, beauty products, souvenirs, etc. Many of the products feature island or tropical designs. Some of the stores here include Compass, Hums, Candy Shop and Raidha.
Timings: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
LeCute is a beauty retail outlet in Malé, Maldives, famous for selling products from well-known global brands. They sell makeup, including eyeliners, mascaras, highlighters, lip balms, blush, lipsticks etc., from brands like Benefit, MAC, and Maybelline. Fragrances for men and women are also available here with skincare products like moisturisers, lotions, body scrubs and soaps. Moreover, body care items and accessories are sold here too.
Timings: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
6. Redwave Mega Mall
Redwave Mega Mall is situated on the island of Hulhumalé and is the biggest shopping mall in the Maldives. It is known for several brands that sell various items, including groceries, furniture, household items, electronics and much more. Most of the items sold here are available at reasonable prices.
Timings: 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM (Saturday to Thursday), 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM, 2:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Friday)
7. Arena Souvenirs
Located on the Maafushi island in the Maldives, Arena Souvenirs is predominantly a tourist gift shop that sells greeting cards, stamps, gifts, souvenirs, accessories, art supplies, etc. Some of the items sold here include key chains, seashells, t-shirts, wooden bowls, bags, fridge magnets, etc. The products are sold at reasonable prices.
Timings: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
8. Golden Gate
Golden Gate, previously known as Golden Lane, is a shopping centre found across a few locations in the Maldives. It sells a wide range of household items such as furniture, kitchenware, and home decors like kettles, ovens, tables, glass bowls, shelves and bicycles. Clothing, footwear, watches, luggage and bags, and perfumes are also sold here. These items are all reasonably priced, and Golden Gate also offers deliveries.
Timings: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
9. Malls and Supermarkets
The Maldives does not have many large and luxurious malls. Centro Mall in Hulhumale island is an excellent place to go for international brands, games and food and bite options, all under the same roof. There are some supermarkets, however, which are frequented by locals for their daily needs. These are the S.T.O Trade Centre, Red Wave and Agora in Male, and a few others on other islands. Some of these have souvenir shops also, so you can drop by for some shopping in Maldives.
10. Male International Airport
Since travelling to these shops is not very convenient if you are not staying in Male, you can shop for souvenirs and gifts at the Male International Airport. There are several small stalls at the airport after the customs clearance counter. You can buy items like Thundu Kunaa, Lacquer products, Dhonis, Maldivian Sarongs, Coconut items, and traditional jewellery here. The prices for these items might be more than what you get on the main island.
Souvenirs & Things to Buy in Maldives
1. Thundu Kunaa
Traditional Maldivian mats are made from natural fibres, handwoven by the Islander women. They come in various shapes and mostly have geometrical prints. In the olden days, these had multiple functions - for sleeping, praying, sitting, and the more expensive ones with gold or silver laces were presented by the sultans of Maldives to the royals and dignitaries of other countries. Nowadays, these are used by resorts for decorations. You can enjoy shopping in Maldives for one or two of these mats to decorate the walls of your house or use them as floor mats and table mats. Beautiful as well as useful.
Where to buy: Shops in the northern side of Chaandhanee Magu
Price: Varies from MVR 800 to 15,000 depending on the size and design
2. Maldivian Sarongs
Maldives, a beach destination, has many places where you can buy stylish sarongs. These come in vibrant hues and floral and other prints. A particularly unique item to add to your shopping in Maldives would be the traditional Maldivian sarong known as 'Feyli'. These come in stripes of black and white and were worn by both men and women initially, but now they are mostly worn during special occasions and dance performances.
Where to buy: Chaandhanee Magu and Majeedhee Magu
Price: MVR 80 to 150
3. Lacquer Work
Lacquer products constitute another form of traditional Maldivian handicrafts. These include various goods such as vases, boxes, plates, baskets and even pens, mostly made of wood. They are painted in colours of red, black and yellow derived from the juice of certain trees to make them durable. These products look sophisticated and are a must-buy in the Maldives.
Where to buy: Chaandhanee Magu
Price: MVR 300 to 5000
When in Maldives, you might use the public ferry system for island hopping. These boats are called Dhonis. Originally made of wood with sails, these have been used as fishing boats by the Islanders for a long time. Eventually, these boats became mechanised and are now used for various purposes. Of course, we are not suggesting that you carry an entire boat with you! But miniature versions of these boats are available in multiple places and make for exciting souvenirs to add to your shopping in Maldives.
Where to buy: Chandhanee Magu
Price: MVR 500 to 7000
You can pick up a few pieces of pretty handmade jewellery when shopping in Maldives- necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc., made of seashells, stones, ceramic, seeds and coconut shells or the more expensive ones made of pearls. Just remember to stay away from the ones made of shark teeth and black and red corals because the export of these items is prohibited and because coral products can be fake unless you can perfectly distinguish between authentic and fake ones.
Where to buy: Majeedhee Magu, Island Bazaar in Fareedhee Magu, Male
6. Coconut Products
The tropical island nation undoubtedly has plenty of coconut trees, which are put to good use. Apart from consuming the fruit, many items are made from different parts of the coconut trees. Think of statues, vases, baskets, lampshades, coir ropes, household utensils, etc., made from coconut palm wood, shells, and leaves. Many of these items are popular among tourists for shopping in Maldives.
Where to buy: Male Local Market and STO Trade Centre
Price: Prices can be anything between MVR 20 to 4000 depending on the product.
7. Fish Products
Being surrounded by ocean on all four sides, it's redundant to state that freshly caught fish and fish products are abundant in Maldives. While you can feast on the fish delicacies in the cafes and restaurants, carry home some packaged and canned fish products like vacuum-packed smoked fish and chipped dried fish to consume yourself or gift your foodie friends and relatives.
Where to buy: Male Local Market and Majeedhee Magu
Price: MVR 100 to 500 for 1kg
If you like pampering yourself, then buy some beauty products made with guess what? Coconuts again! Virgin coconut oil, full of nutrients, is used to prepare hair oils, body oils, cooking oils and moisturisers. You can opt for beauty shopping in Maldives for brands like Kaashi Theyo, the first local brand to produce these, Frella and Faan are some other brands.
Price: MVR 200 to 770 for a single bottle
Maldivian artworks mainly depict the scenic seascapes, the life of the islanders, and the myriad underwater creatures - created to perfection by the local artists. Appreciate them, buy them and decorate your houses as a fond memory of the happy days you spent in the tropical paradise. Fridge magnets, bowls and phone covers with such artworks are also available. Photographs might always be there, but a piece of art has its incomparable value.
Where to buy: Oevaali Art Shop (inside Toddy Inc, STO Trade Centre) and Huvan Art (online)
Tips for Shopping in Maldives
When shopping in Maldives street markets, remember to haggle to avoid getting ripped off.
You may find souvenirs and various other items offered for sale in your resort itself and at the duty-free shops at the airport, but prices are likely to be much higher.
Markets in Male are the most vibrant of all in the Maldives. So, it is worth taking a day off to Male for a shopping spree. Also, markets are the best way to explore the local culture.
Almost all the shops remain closed entirely on Friday. On other days, you may find them closed for a short while during prayer times.
Apart from items made of red and black corals and sharks, the export of turtle shells and pearl oyster shell items is also illegal.