The Maldives

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Shopping in Malé

Malé is the best island in the country for shopping, given the choice and variety of goods available in this centre of commercial activity. Local and imported handicrafts and souvenirs, cigarettes and electronic items are sold The main shopping area, a cluster of stores along and around the top end of Chaandhanee Magu, is nicknamed the Singapore Bazaar because the majority of goods are imported from Singapore.. The prices in Male' have now become highly competitive, with minimum or no duty levied on most items.

Most of the souvenir shops are in the main business area which is only a five-minute walk from the jetty where most tourists usually arrive. It is always better to browse through a few shops before choosing what to buy. The shops recommended by guides or shop assistants volunteering to be guides are not necessarily the best places for shopping.

North of the island centre along the waterfront stand the fish market, the indoor fruit and vegetables market and the firewood market. The fish market is relatively empty, until the fish is landed in the busy hours of late afternoon when fisher folk begin to arrive with the day's catch. The crews of the dhonis (local boats) , having worked hard under the remorseless tropical sun since dawn, carry the catch mainly bonito, swordfish and tuna to the market to be processed. The fishermen cutting and cleaning the fish have developed the process into a skilful art that can easily impress anyone watching fish being processed. The market is a well-maintained area that generates much interest from visitors and provides a glimpse into the life of typical Maldivian fisher-folk..

Neighbouring the fish market are the indoor fruit and vegetable market and the firewood market. These markets are busy and colourful places where islanders from outer atolls trade their goods These markets display the staples of Maldivian life rice, coconuts, eggs, oil, spices, sweet potatoes, onions, chillies, watermelons, mangoes, bananas, papayas, pomegranates, limes and non-alcoholic toddy made from coconut sap. Because there is so little fertile land, the vegetables are rare and expensive.

Malé International Airport on the island of Hulhule’ offers high quality electrical and electronic goods, cameras, hi-fi stereo equipment, watches and cosmetics along with cigarettes and other merchandise at competitive prices.

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