The Maldives is well known for its shopping opportunities. There are different types of shops in the Maldives and a few must-buy items you need to take back home.
Pro-Tip: Shops across the Maldives open till late. However, shopkeepers close for 15 to 30 minutes multiple times a day for prayers. So, if you find a particular shop closed during the day, wait around, and the shopkeeper will come back soon.
There are four different types of places where you can shop in the Maldives. Each one has its advantages and presents you with a selection that differentiates between quality, quantity, and price.
Resort Shops – Almost all private island resorts in the Maldives have in-house shops. Products sold in the shops are of good quality, originals, and carry some exclusivity. The variety, though, might be less, and the prices are usually on the higher side.
Island Shops – Shops on inhabited islands cater to both locals as well as tourists. You will find a more comprehensive collection at a Maldives souvenir shop in Malé specifically. Moreover, the prices are low, and you can bargain with the shopkeeper. However, the quality ranges as many items are now mass-produced overseas and imported to the Maldives.
Island Markets – The fish and vegetable markets in Malé are excellent places to watch how locals shop in the region. The food here is fresh and pocket-friendly. Also, in Malé, Majeedhee Magu and Chaandhanee Magu are the two main streets lined with various shops. You can purchase everything from electronics and mopeds to souvenirs and clothes here. In fact, Chaandhanee Magu is famously known as “Singapore Bazaar” locally.
Artisanal Shops – The ideal way to help Maldives’ economy is to buy products from artisans directly. Resorts offer tours to nearby workshops where you can watch local artists make beautiful paintings, wooden goods, and lacquered items.
Shopping in Maldives is different from other tourist places in the world. There are must-buy Maldives souvenirs, of course, but they too include a unique selection of possibilities.
For example, a miniature dhoni, the traditional Maldivian boat, is easy to carry home and looks great on the mantelpiece. Similarly, don’t leave without buying a thundu kunaa, the multi-purpose handwoven mat that you will find in every Maldivian home.
A few other exotic things to buy in the Maldives include dried fish, which allows you to experiment with Maldivian food once you are home. Coconut products are equally exceptional, from the tropical yet straightforward coir rope to organic cosmetics and oils manufactured using coconut.
Now, everyone buys magnets and bags as gifts, no matter where they are holidaying in the world. To be different, why not pick up feyli, the black and white striped sarongs worn by both men and women of Maldives.
If you want something genuinely inimitable, contact local artists like Mariyam Shany Ahmed, aka Manje, or Eagan Badeeu and buy one of their paintings. You can also plan a trip to Rinbudhoo. Known as “jewelers island,” residents here are famous for making beautiful silver and gold jewelry.
Malé, the capital of the Maldives is also its main commercial and economic center. So, if you are thinking about where to shop in Maldives, Malé is the most obvious answer. Most tourists land in Malé, only to leave it behind as they scurry off to private islands. However, those who spend time here discover a whole new side of the Maldives and its people.
STO Trade Center (https://sto.mv/estore) – Situated near the ferry terminal in Malé, STO Trade Center is the city’s biggest supermarket. They stock everything from toiletries and household items to food and snacks. It is worth stopping by and picking up a few necessities before taking the ferry to another island.
Banoon Surf Shop – The opening of surf shops in Malé is another indication that surfing in the Maldives is on the rise. Banoon is the authorized seller for brands like O’Neill, Carver Skateboards, Rainbow Sandals, and Costa Del Mar. Even if you are not interested in surfing, stop by the shop to pick up some cool and hipster beach clothing.
Island Bazaar – When wondering where to shop in Maldives for exclusive gifts, head straight to Island Bazaar. A passion project by two locals, the shop sells a variety of commodities, from journals and paintings to cushions, jewelry, pouches, and more. Most importantly, the designs you see here are novel and typically not available anywhere else.
Oevaali Art Shop – The brainchild of two Maldivian sisters, Oevaali redefines island art by presenting it in a sophisticated avatar. Oevaali is no ordinary Maldives souvenir shop as it sells only 100% local products. Here, you’ll find the most gorgeous manta ray pendants, paintings by local artists, and even customized candles.
Surf Shop Maldives – As one of the best apparel stores in the Maldives, Surf Shop offers vibrant yet causal options for all ages. You can also pick up some island jewelry, flip flops, hats, and snorkeling accessories here.
Cactus – Cactus flower shop Maldives is among the best florists on the island of Malé. With so many people visiting the Maldives to celebrate a special occasion, having access to beautiful arrangements is necessary. Cactus flower shop Maldives eases off this hassle as they take pre-orders for bespoke bouquets.
Best shops in Hulhumalé
Hulhumalé is the best destination for modern-day shopaholics. Having a contemporary feel about it, Hulhumalé has a mix of new and classic shopping options.
Brandloom by Enmak – Weirdly enough, it is while holidaying that we often think about buying new luggage. Well, Brandloom has you covered as it offers a good range of bags, pouches, backpacks, and suitcases by brands such as Victorinox and Wenger.
RedWave City Square – Hulhumalé’s supermarket has everything to make your vacation extra comfortable. Frozen goods, birthday party decorations, spices, canned stuff, cold drinks, bathroom accessories, you name it, and they have it.
Add-on Store – Although you will undoubtedly get your own mobile to the Maldives, there is always a chance you might need some accessories at the last minute. Besides selling new tablets and phones, Add-on also has phone covers, chargers, and data banks on sale.
Centro Mall (https://properties.hdc.com.mv/property/centro) – The first mall of Maldives is like a mini destination in itself. Popular with locals and tourists, the open courtyard building houses different commercial establishments. Among them are a bank, restaurants, clothing shops, pharmacy, and even a dentist.
Nala Boutique – There are many Maldives souvenir shops across the island country. However, an excellent one near Hulhumalé, on the island of Vihamanaafushi, is Nala Boutique. The shop sells an independent collection of items, such as a wine bottle holder in the shape of a lobster. The quality of the articles here is good whether you are buying jewelry, clothes, or a miniature wooden dhoni.
When planning a budget holiday in the Maldives, most people prefer to stay in Maafushi or the nearby island of Gulhi. Maafushi is particularly famous with a high number of guesthouses. Gulhi, on the other hand, is quieter with a secluded atmosphere.
Arum – It is hard to miss the bright green exteriors of Arum when walking around Maafushi. One of the ways to save money in the Maldives is by cooking your own food. Arum is a local supermarket, the oldest on the island. It carries all the necessary supplies, including packaged merchandise and fresh produce.
Angolo Shop – Offering good discounts without having to bargain much makes Angolo a much-preferred Maldives souvenir shop. The showroom has every possible item you can think of. They have Maldivian-themed beach towels, mugs, picture frames, clothes, wooden plates, and even wind chimes.
Coral Shop – A well-known Maldives souvenir shop, Coral is the place to buy all the knick-knacks to take home. The showroom isn’t big but still jampacked with colorful items such as flip-flops, fridge magnets, bags, wooden bowls, and postcards. Best of all, Coral Shop offers enormous discounts on all their items every Friday.
Bricklane – Wondering where to shop in Maldives’ Gulhi island? Bricklane is as good as it gets. The family-run grocery store has dairy products and other cooking items.
Thiyaramaa Store – Being a small island, there aren’t many shopping occasions on Gulhi. But you won’t go hungry for sure. Thiyaramaa Store is an old-fashioned shop selling chips, cup noodles, sunscreen, milk powder, chocolates, and the likes.
Best shops in Thoddoo
Thoddoo is slowly gaining popularity among the backpacking crowd visiting the Maldives. The island still maintains its authentic charm, and there are only a limited number of shops here.
Unique Zone – For a relatively small grocery store in Thoddoo, Unique Zone has many different products. There is a small section of hardware items, but mostly they sell packed and fresh food items.
Souvenir Ufaa – Ufaa is a Maldives souvenir shop, the only one on the island. Usually, the shop opens up around 16:00. However, you can call the owner at any time, and he will especially come over to open it. Inside, you will find summer dresses, keyrings, shell necklaces, and wooden artifacts, perfect as gifts for loved ones.
Bright Store – Having a slightly more western look, Bright Store is another supermarket with an array of commodities stacked up in rows. From household cleaning goods and kitchen pans to diapers, perfumes, and fresh vegetables, you’ll find it all here. Best of all, the prices are very economical.
Since the Maldives is a top wedding destination, with many travelers using their holiday as an excuse to renew their marriage vows, planning a celebratory event is easy on the islands.
Resorts have packages that include everything from a location for your party and food to music, photoshoots, and a honeymoon. While the wedding package in the Maldives may or may not include a dress, it is always best to select your own, to make this moment all the more special.
Here are in Malé:
Bridal Maldives – Positioned on Chaandhanee Magu, Bridal Maldives is a specialized company offering complete wedding packages in the Maldives. Working closely with resorts and safari boats, their primary clients tend to be Japanese. Providing immaculate service, their showroom has a variety of wedding dresses in different styles and sizes.
Blissful Bride – Those in need of something bespoke and have time on their hands should look into working with Blissful Bride. Their showroom is just off Ameenee Magu and has a curated collection of dresses. However, upon receiving the design idea, photo, and measurements, Blissful Bride can also create your perfect dress or suit as per your needs. It is one of the best wedding dress shops in Maldives, where you can get both western and traditional styled clothes made to order.
The Wedding Boutique – The Wedding Boutique in Malé is a wedding dress shop in Maldives that offers both ready-made and tailor-made options. Typically, they require a month’s advance notice for a new design with a 50% advance. The showroom also provides accessories like wedding jewelry, veils, and suits and shirts for grooms.