A Shopping Experience In The Maldives
Shopping is not the first activity to come to mind when you come to the Maldives, but it can be one of the most fun. Even if you didn’t plan on buying any souvenirs to take home for your friends, or even for yourself, you will find yourself drawn to the colourful local shops and all they have to offer. As beautiful and breathtaking as the beaches of the Maldives are, the souvenir items in the many shops definitely live up to the standard.
The most popular item from the souvenir shops and the bustling local markets are the hand carved masks and statues from traditional Maldivian culture. Another pride of the Maldives is their lacquered boxes, which are also handmade. You will also find beautiful reed mats, which are woven into eye-catching and colourful patterns and available in different sizes.
The Maldives is perhaps one of the best places to buy exquisitely gorgeous pearls at surprisingly low prices. Other gems are available as well, but make sure not to fall for fake jewellery, which can be found in smaller stores. The gem stores that are almost a standard in most resorts are the most reliable stores to find authentic gems and pearls, as well as precious and semi-precious stones, which come straight from Sri Lanka. All resorts also have stores for your personal needs, as well as casual outfits you can wear around the resort and even disposable underwater cameras.
If you are looking for top brands like Gucci and Prada, you won’t see these in any local shop in the Maldives, but you can find them, and an array of electronic gadgets, perfumes, cosmetics and other toiletries, in the duty-free shop at the Male International Airport. There are souvenir shops here as well, but you’ll find better bargains in the shops near the resorts. There is also fine dining at the airport, and, alternately, a grocery for snacks to take with you on your flight home.
The local currency in the Maldives is the Rufiyaa. One British pound is equivalent to 25.5 Maldivian rufiyaas while one US dollar converts to 12.8 rufiyaas. In local currency, one rufiyaa is equal to 100 laari, although you probably won’t need this information as you actually won’t need to convert your cash to local money while on vacation in the Maldives.
Local shops actually prefer accepting US dollars to rufiyaas, although they do accept the local money as well. US dollars are accepted in many establishments and it is actually advisable for you to bring US dollars to the Maldives instead of converting your dollars to the local currency. Exchange other currencies, including Euros and UK pounds, to US dollars before arriving at the Maldives.
Not all shops accept credit cards, so it is best to ask first before making any purchases. Usually, the more progressive stores accept Visa and MasterCard. American Express and Diners Cards are not popular in the Maldives, so leave those at home. Leave at home also your debit and ATM cards.
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