On Buying Souvenirs (Expat’s Only!)


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Two things had put me off buying souvenirs in Maldives: a) I’m not leaving for another 5 months so can buy them then and b) The price (Oh and c- practically everything is imported from Thailand which kind of ruins the sentiment…)


However, a little birdie told me that even souvenir shops offer expat rates. A very cheap cute necklace or bag from Thailand is better than no cute necklace or bag! And I haven’t gone shopping for myself since I was in England (unless buying myself gelato’s and short-eats counts).


I’ve been in and out of several different tourist shops in Male’ and always get chatting with the local owners. Of course they assume I’m a tourist, and there’s something inside of me that cannot RESIST telling them that I work in a small language school here in Maldives. They’re always so delighted to interact with me and it’s a pleasure to get to know the community a little bit at a time. The shop opposite Sea House Cafe’ in Male’ has particularly friendly owners and on my way home from work at the same time each day they’d be outside having a cigarette and greet me with a handshake, and we’d chat for a while about this and that. I love it!   But today I was on a mission in search of suitable “modest” swimming gear (a t-shirt and a pair of bloke’s knee-length swimming trunks) but since it’s Friday all the clothing shops were shut. So walking along Hulhumale’s main road, Nirolhu Magu, I stumbled across this cosy little shop called Velima Souvenirs:

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Inside, a sweet guy called Zaffan showed me the clothing but unfortunately he had no frumpy swimming shorts. But my eyes quickly landed on a beautiful blue sarong and Zaffan showed me all kinds of ways I could wear it.

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This lovely piece had a tag on it for 350 MVR (about $23) but he sold it to me for 200 less – saving me about $13!


I can’t wait to wear it on the beach at the resort tomorrow!

All souvenir shops in the local islands of Maldives will offer you a discount but you may have to show your work permit as proof- or just get into delightful conversations about yourself! I was talking with Zaffan almost half an hour 🙂 He had a lot of questions about life in England and why I would leave it to come here. Grass is always greener on the other side… (or in my case, bluer).



Hi! I’m Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I’m an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I’m using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

What do you think? Let me know!

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