The touts are still on the prowl in Male, though perhaps none more unsavoury (in Male or anywhere for that matter) than the rapacious individual who claims to run the Antique & Style Souvenir Mart mentioned by globetrott.
This man harrassed us throughout our day in Male, accosting us every time we dared set foot in the main square area of town. The last of these encounters he proceeded to follow us half way across island, not just trying to coax us into visiting his shop but also trying to instruct us on where to go for dinner (undeniably where he would get a commission) and pointing out immigrants telling us to stay clear of them. We had a get in a taxi to get him to leave us alone.
This individual claims to be called Mr HB and is easily identifiable by his bald appearance. He left us with a very sour taste of what seems to be a wonderful little city. We made a point of staying well clear of his shop. There are plenty of other souvenir shops on Chaandhanee Magu. Best not to give Mr HB any encouragement at all.
Antique & Style Souvenir Mart is the name of a shop next to the fish-market. I did not buy anything there, but had a look around. Buying corals and certain sea-shells might be no problem in the Maledives, BUT taking them into your homecountry might be illegal and quite expensive when they catch you.
I also would NOT trust any of the "certificates" that allow exportation of these things, for your local authorities at home these papers dont mean anything !
What to buy: I should have bought one of these masks, but my luggage was too stuffed already from souvenirs at the end of a cruise of 60 days through Asia and Africa...
As soon as you get off the boat, you will be approached by touts. Telling you of their store and asking you to come and see. Maybe even giving you a business card. We went with one, only because we wanted to go to a local coffee house. We felt uncomfortable doing this, since there are very little women there. We went into his shop and thought everything was very overpriced. They don't make any of the stuff he was selling in the Maldives. It was all from Thailand, India or Sri Lanka. From living near Thailand. I saw some of the stuff he was selling from there and how many times over he was trying to sell things. A real rip off. I know these people need to make a living, but don't also be scam artists.
There are a few nice shops near the Grand Mosque, which had some nice clothes, toys and housewares for sale.
You'll find a lot of shops selling souvenirs, you'll be tempted to buy and walk in all of them. Always bargain! To the lowest you can. Having spent 3 weeks there, here's a tip. Go to the distributor themself and you'll get a better price. Wholesaler sorta shop. There's a plaza in Male' that had a supermarket downstairs. It's a sleepy plaza but you do get shops in there. Look for those big shops that has souvenirs. They supply to resorts and there, you can still bargain. Usually, you will get a better price than outside.
What to buy: Wooden carvings of dolphins? That's my favourite.
What to pay: Depending on how much you like souvenirs. and how many people you need to buy for.