Shopping for local souvenirs in the Maldives can be a delightful experience, as you’ll find a variety of unique items that reflect the culture, craftsmanship, and natural beauty of the islands. Here are some popular local souvenirs and shopping tips to consider during your visit:
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Lacquerware: Maldivian lacquerware, known as “Thudu kuna,” is made from coconut shells and is traditionally used for serving food and beverages. Look for intricately designed lacquerware bowls and trays.
Coconut Shell Products: Besides lacquerware, artisans also craft other items from coconut shells, such as jewelry, bowls, and decorative pieces.
Mat Weaving: Local women often weave beautiful mats called “Thundu Kunaa” using natural fibers. These mats can serve as functional pieces or decorative wall hangings.
The dhoni is a traditional Maldivian fishing boat. You can find miniature wooden models of dhonis, which make for excellent souvenirs and decorations.
Libaas: Libaas is the traditional Maldivian dress, typically made from cotton and adorned with intricate embroidery. You can buy Libaas dresses and shirts as souvenirs or for special occasions.
Sarongs: Sarongs are widely worn in the Maldives, and you can find them in various colors and patterns. They make versatile and stylish accessories.
Look for handwoven textiles made from local materials, such as cotton or palm leaves. These textiles are often used for making bags, pouches, and clothing.
Black Coral Jewelry: The Maldives is known for its black coral, which is used to create unique and beautiful jewelry pieces. Rings, necklaces, and earrings are popular choices.
Cowrie Shell Jewelry: Cowrie shells are incorporated into various jewelry items, reflecting the Maldivian marine influence.
Spice blends and herbs are popular souvenirs. Maldivian cuisine often includes spices like curry leaves, cinnamon, and cardamom. These can be found in local markets.
Hand-carved wooden items, such as figurines, sculptures, and decorative pieces, showcase the craftsmanship of local artisans.
Manta Ray and Shark Merchandise:
Dive shops and souvenir stores often offer manta ray and shark-themed merchandise, including T-shirts, prints, and sculptures, inspired by the marine life of the Maldives.
Tuna is a staple food in the Maldives, and you can find various tuna-based products, including smoked tuna, dried fish, and canned tuna, ideal for bringing a taste of Maldivian cuisine back home.
Traditional Musical Instruments:
You can find traditional Maldivian musical instruments like the “BoduBeru” drums and “Odi” drumsticks, which are used in cultural performances.
Bargaining is not a common practice in the Maldives, especially in formal shops. However, it’s acceptable to negotiate prices in local markets.
Be mindful of wildlife conservation laws. Do not buy souvenirs made from endangered or protected species like coral, turtle shells, or black pearls.
Shop at local markets, like the Malé Local Market or souvenir shops on inhabited islands, to support local artisans and businesses.
Check the export regulations of your home country to ensure you can legally bring certain items, such as coral or shells, back with you.
Exploring the local markets and boutiques in the Maldives allows you to discover authentic treasures and bring home a piece of this enchanting destination.
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