Being an island and South Asian country, Maldivians regularly wear sarongs on the local islands. Though you can find sarongs in various colours and designs, one garment that's truly Maldivian is the "feyli". It's has a black body with white stripes at the bottom, and gold accents at the border. It's similar to the "dhoti" or "vesti" worn in India and Sri Lanka except the colours. The feyli is now mostly worn during special occasions and traditional performances
A dhoni is a traditional sailboat widely used in the archipelago since the first settlers arrived here. It's typically very slender and has a long curved "horn" at its bow. A dhoni traditionally uses lateen sails but modern ones are engine powered. You can buy handcrafted miniature dhonis with intricate details, complete with a sail and fully painted, or get it in a smaller scale built in a glass bottle. Lookout for one when you shop in Malé, especially in Chaandhanee Magu.
The coconut tree is the national tree of the country and Maldivians use the plant in almost every aspect of their lives. Besides consuming the fruit and constructing large structures with the trunk, the locals can produce ornamental masks, baskets, lampshades, statues, bags, kitchen utensils like bowls, and so much more from various parts of the plants. Maldivian handmade coconut souvenirs are gorgeous items often with vibrant colours, so don't miss them on your Maldives holiday.
If you want to bring home some of the mouthwatering food that offers Maldives offers, why not get some processed fish. Fish like tuna are a staple in this island nation and you can find various fish products you can get back home. Besides canned tuna, you should look out for smoked fish, traditional fish pickle, and dried fish. At the local fish market in Malé you can find vendors selling vacuum-packed smoked fish and more.
Lacquer work is a prominent craft in the Maldives and you can find it on various Maldivian handcrafted products such as boxes, plates, bowls, vases, toys, and pens. Most of these items are carved out of wood before being painted on. The traditional method uses pigments from juices of certain trees which give Maldivian lacquered products their signature red, yellow, and black colour. The lacquer is very durable, making these items suitable to be used as gifts and decorations in your home.
Thundu Kunaa is a traditional Maldivian mat made out of natural fibres. It's one of the most prominent form of craftsmanship on the island and is one item you should get on your holidays in the Maldives. These mats are traditionally used for sitting on, sleeping, or praying. In the past, thundu kunaa mats were often given as gifts to royalty and other dignitaries, showing their significance in the local culture. You can also find them trimmed with gold lacework.
The Maldives has a large offering of gorgeous handmade jewellery including bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more. These can be made of stones, coconut shells, seashells, seeds, and ceramic in all kinds of colours and designs. You can also find more expensive options made of pearls. While you might see jewellery made of shark teeth, and red or black corals, avoid them as they are not allowed to be exported.
With this list of uniquely Maldivian souvenirs, you should be well equipped to look out for the best items when on holiday in the Maldives. If you're looking for a hassle-free accommodation with everything you need from dining to activities, check out our resorts in the Maldives at Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas. Stay with us for the white, soft beaches, clear waters, and unforgettable memories that you'll make here.