The main tourist centres of Nadi, the Coral Coast and Suva have lots of handicraft shops. Savusavu (on Vanua Levu) and Lautoka also have lots of handicraft shops, which are quieter and where the salespeople are less pushy. Also, you can often buy interesting handicrafts direct from villages, particularly woven goods and carvings.
Look out for the 'Made in Fiji' label, a government-run initiative to support Fijian crafts and industries. For more information see www.fijianmade.gov.fj.
Popular souvenir items include:
- Traditional artefacts such as war clubs, spears and chieftain cannibal forks, as well as kava bowls of various sizes, woven pandanus mats, baskets from Kioa, sandalwood or coconut soap, and masi (bark cloth) sold in the form of wall hangings, covered books and postcards.
- Pottery can be a good buy – if you can get it home in one piece.
- Clothing shops in Suva and Nadi have bula shirts (a masi- or floral-design shirt) and fashion items by local designers. There are also vibrant saris and Indian jewellery on sale.
- Stuffed, masi-patterned teddies called Bula Bears are Taveuni specialities and are quite cute.
Be cautious about buying wooden artefacts. A label reading ‘treated wood’ doesn’t guarantee an absence of borers. Inspect items closely for holes or other marks, or you may end up paying more for quarantine in your own country than you did for the actual piece.
Indigenous Fijians generally do not like to bargain; however, it’s customary in Indo-Fijian stores, especially in Nadi and Suva. Indo-Fijian shop owners and taxi drivers consider it bad luck to lose their first customer of the day, so you can expect an especially hard sales pitch in the morning.