A guide to purchasing traditional souvenirs in Sri Lanka

by | Jan 11, 2021

One of the many things that Sri Lanka is known for is its rich culture and heritage – which is why you must take some of it back home with you. You will be spoilt for choices when you visit souvenir shops and browse through the range of high-quality traditional souvenirs produced by local artisans with a touch of modern variations into it. You can keep these as an added ornament in your memory wall at home, reminding you of the wonderful moments you had in Sri Lanka, or you could use these as a gift to loved ones while you tell them about your exciting trip to Sri Lanka.

Let us talk about what Blue Lanka Tours believes to be some of the best traditional souvenirs in Sri Lanka and where you can purchase these.

Seven must-buy souvenirs in Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea

Ceylon is world renowned for its premium tea production and exports. You can purchase a variety of Ceylon Tea flavors to enjoy a cuppa back home or to introduce this refreshing brew to your loved ones. Some of the popular flavors include Ginger, English Breakfast, Vanilla, Lemon, Raspberry, Earl Grey, Jasmine, Mint, Cinnamon, and Green Tea. If you are not into flavors of tea, the original tea leaves are just as good, and also available in tea bag packeting so you can simply dip these into hot water and your tea is ready in just a few seconds!

Spices in Sri Lanka

Another one of those edible souvenirs that you must take back home are the spices in Sri Lanka. During your tour in Sri Lanka, you must have noticed a unique taste in authentic dishes such as the staple rice and curry. So why not use these spices in your day-to-day cooking and be reminded of the deliciously flavored food you indulged in when you were in Sri Lanka! Cardamom, Ceylon cinnamon powder, cinnamon sticks, turmeric, ginger, tamarind, curry powder, and nutmeg are a few spices that are worth taking back home.

Traditional masks in Sri Lanka

As you drive around Sri Lanka, you will notice many roadside shops displaying vibrant masks – these are an integral element of the island’s cultural identity. Ambalangoda in the southern coast is where local craftsmen come up with these exotic masks featuring intricate details painted by hand using cat hair as a paint brush. Also known as Raksha masks (devil masks), these wooden masks have been used in folk dances across the country for centuries and have gradually evolved into a great piece of decorative art.

Batik wear in Sri Lanka

Batik wear is a clothing item that reflects the vibrant nature of the island. Originated from Java, this local craft has been handed down for generations. In all parts of the island, local men wear batik sarongs and women wear batik sarees in vibrant rainbow shades. Made in pure cotton or silk fabric, from waxing to dying, each batik garment is handcrafted, resulting in uniqueness with every design that is produced., making it Sri Lanka’s very own haute couture! Batik decorative items such as wall hangings and paintings are also a memorable souvenir to keep in your home.

Gemstones in Sri Lanka

Did You Know: Kate Middleton’s engagement ring is a 12 carat oval shaped Blue Sapphire that came from Sri Lanka!

Ratnapura is known as the ‘City of Gems’, where a plethora of precious gemstones are yielded, attracting the eyes of many! From amethyst to garnet, ruby, sapphires, topaz, and more, invest in a semi-precious stone and turn it into a beautiful piece of jewelry, thereby freezing your island memories into something valuable. Many guests are keen on buying gems of different colors as a gift to their friends at home. Of all the gemstones in Sri Lanka, the Ceylon Blue Sapphire reigns in popularity and preference. Some of the world’s largest blue sapphires are mined from Sri Lanka, so if you’re up for it, these dazzling blue stones are a worthy investment indeed!

Elephant figurines in Sri Lanka

Elephants are often times considered as the national animal of Sri Lanka, and elephant figurines are often used as a graceful symbol of the island. Elephants are seen at almost every National Park in Sri Lanka, and are also used in religious processions. Pick yourself a fabulous elephant memento from the wide range of wood carved figurines sold in souvenir shops. From simple fridge magnets, to soft toys to small wooden figurines to large gem studded tusker figurines, the range and prices of elephant mementos are varied to suit your preferences.

Ayurveda products in Sri Lanka

Ayurveda medicine is being practiced for centuries in Sri Lanka and an Ayurveda massage is seen today as one of the best treatments for relaxing and rejuvenating oneself. As a souvenir, you can take home some luxury Ayurveda products to soothe your mind, body and soul with refreshing fragrances. These are also a much-appreciated gift option for friends and colleagues back home.

Where to buy souvenirs in Sri Lanka?

  • Laksala – a government owned department store with branches located at popular tourist destinations across the island. Shopping is based on fixed prices and offers a large variety of Sri Lankan souvenirs.
  • Odel LuvSL – this is a sub-brand, part of the Odel department store, that caters only to souvenir items including clothing, footwear, accessories, ornaments and much more.
  • Lakpahana – a private boutique marketing a wide range of souvenir jewelry, ceramics and clothing handcrafted by local artisans.
  • Spa Ceylon – combining old Ceylon with ancient Ayurveda wisdom, Spa Ceylon provides a range of luxury Ayurveda beauty products made with the finest natural ingredients.

Apart from these popular brands, every high-end hotel has its own souvenir shop which guests can visit in the comfort of their own accommodation premises. In addition to that, Sri Lankan towns such as Galle Fort, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Ella, and Colombo, which are often visited by tourists, have random souvenir boutiques that visitors can drop in to see if they like anything there. And of course, if you’ve missed souvenir shopping during your trip to Sri Lanka, the airport is always the last resort to make sure you’ve got your souvenirs before you leave.

How Blue Lanka Tours can help with traditional souvenirs in Sri Lanka?

Blue Lanka Tours is committed at making your tour something beyond the conventional kind and ensuring that you walk away with a rich and wholesome experience. Of course, that would not be possible without including souvenirs as part of your tour itinerary. All you have to do is discuss with your chauffeur as to what your preferences are for souvenirs and he will take you to a suitable boutique or two where you can shop away!