Shopping in Male
Seven Holidays - Your Guide to Maldives Resorts & Holidays

A word on touts

As you come off your boat, or start your walk along the front, you will probably be accosted by a Maldivian man who will offer to guide you around town. There is no training or accreditation yet for this so it is impossible to say if the person will be useful or a pain in the backside.

The key thing to bear in mind is that he earns his money by commission from tourist shops, so his overriding aim is to get you to a particular shop or two, rushing you past other places in which you might want to browse.

What should you do? Take control. A firm dismissal is okay. If you find somebody good, you’re lucky. Hopefully, in time, trained young men will wear certificates of accreditation.


Souvenir shops

Not so long ago, the goods that came into Male were stacked up in small stores in the bazaar behind the harbour. They were standard items on the whole, basic foodstuffs and necessary hardware. From there they filtered into the households.

Today those basic household items come in ten varieties or more and are available in small shops at every street corner. Meanwhile, the two main roads, the east/west Majeedi Magu and the north/south Chandani Magu, are lined with shops of every description, and standard items are not to the fore. This is a town that buys the best wherever it can; the top ranges and the famous brands become more and more prominent.

Most of the tourist souvenir shops are conveniently located on Chandani Magu, leading due south from Republic Square (the green with the flagpole adjacent to where most tourists disembark). As many of the shops sell the same items it is worth checking out a number of them to be sure of a competitive price. Najah Art Palace and Souvenirs (above the shops on Chandani Magu) have good variety and are well run. For modern crafts made by Maldivians make your way along the front to The Craft Shop – the touts won’t guide you there.


Buying big brands

Strolling around, you will come across famous brands in fashion, consumer electronics and beauty products, but a word of caution: as in many other Asian cities, there are plenty of fakes, copies and rip-offs around.


The big four shops that deal in genuine articles only are Reefside, Evince, Le Cute and Sonee Sports. Reefside is prominently located at the top end of Chandani Magu and Evince is down towards the end of the road. Evince and Le Cute (just around the corner from Chandani Magu, on Majeedi Magu) are impressive set-ups. It will come as a pleasant surprise to most visitors, even a shock, that Male has such state-of-the-art shops with such classy products.

Male has gone from being the capital of an isolated sultanate, closed in on itself, to being a vibrant city open to the world, as modern-minded and as market-oriented as any great city in the region. If you get the chance to spend half a day here, or even just a couple of hours, do go for it.

Shops are open from 9am until 10pm and often don’t close until they are legally required to do so an hour after that.

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About the Author

Adrian Neville - Seven Holidays : Your Guide to the MaldivesAdrian Neville lived in the Maldives and writes the definitive guide book: "Resorts of Maldives", now in its fifth edition. Having tirelessly reviewed every single resort, he is now continually asked ‘which is the best Maldives Hotel for my holidayholiday or vacationvacation?’ Enter – his comprehensive independent guide to Maldives holidaysholidays and how to book your perfect holiday. We cover everything from the cheap island resorts through to the luxury five star Maldives resortshow to book your perfect holiday. We cover everything from the cheap island resorts through to the luxury five star Maldives resorts