Sri Lanka dubbed “the pearl of the Indian Ocean”, the island nation of Sri Lanka not only attracts tourists by its impressive wild natural scenery, tropical paradise with balmy, clear blue beaches, vast tea plantations but also the land has a long history with the early Sinhalese civilization, the center of Buddhism since ancient times. After enjoying the tropical climate, picturesque beaches and delicious food, your trip will be more complete when bringing back some lovely gifts from this beautiful country. A visit to the Barefoot store or one of the state-owned Laksala souvenir shops will fulfill all your shopping needs. So, what is Sri Lanka famous for shopping, what souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka and what to buy in Sri Lanka? Let’s check out our guide to Sri Lanka shopping with top +15 must buy in Sri Lanka including best gifts from Sri Lanka, best souvenirs from Sri Lanka, cheap and best things to buy in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka famous things to buy to help you choose the meaningful Sri Lanka gift items as well as where to find them to bring back!
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Sri Lanka is famous for its souvenirs that range from traditional wooden masks, silk sarees, fabrics, textiles, rough gemstones and signature spices like vanilla to wooden carvings (statues, household items, decorations) as well quite sophisticated… These are the best handicrafts of this country you can refer to buy as gifts for relatives and friends.
What to buy in Sri Lanka: Saris and sarongs
What is Sri Lanka famous for shopping? Traditional Sri Lankan costumes including saris for women and sarongs for men. Some women will also wear sarongs, but into a complete clothing set with a matching top. There are plenty of places to find sarongs in Colombo and the rest of Sri Lanka, but the best is Barefoot (it is a textile design company based in Sri Lanka, which exports its clothing and soft furnishings globally), a brand that mainly selling clothing designs by founder Barbara Sansoni. Barefoot has two retail stores in Colombo (Address: 704 Colombo – Galle Main Rd, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka/Hours: 10AM–6PM) and one store in Galle (Address: 41 Pedlar St, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka/Hours: 10AM–7PM). Barefoot also sells saris and sarongs, as does Selyn Fair Trade (Address: 102 Fife Rd, Colombo 00500, Sri Lanka/Hours: 10AM–7PM), whose founder Sandra Wanduragala started her career in her garage in 1991.
The handloom is a traditional craft tool that has been used by Sri Lankan women since ancient times. The common fibers used to weave traditional clothing products are cotton and natural silk. The women on the island mainly make their livelihood largely rely on this craft. In addition traditional costumes, Barefoot and Selyn also sell hand-woven items like tablecloths, pillows, scarves, shawls and napkins… with hight quality.
Best things to buy in Sri Lanka: Jewelry and gemstones
Jade and moonstone or jewelry made from them are very popular items purchased in Sri Lanka – to the point where a trip there seems incomplete without bring back these signature items. Some are mined in Ratnapura, in the southeastern part of the country, while others are imported. The small town of Galle Fort is famous for its gem and jewelry shops. There are also plenty of contemporary jewelry makers, including Two Dots Jewellery, for sale at Barefoot stores or through the online store.
Sri Lanka is famous for its jade and moonstone. The mines in Ratnapura are a source of precious gems, and the island’s gem traders know where to import the best gems in Ratnapura. Shops for gems and jewelry can be found in the small town of Galle Fort, but be aware that you have to bargain before buying. You can choose various jewelry from bracelets, earrings, rings, chains attached precious gems, metals… in various shapes, designs.
Jade and moonstones are mined, cut, polished and bonded with precious metals such as gold, silver to create delicate jewelry. You can buy gems or gem jewelry anywhere in this country. In addition, do not miss the opportunity to learn about the mining process as well as basic information about gems.
What is Sri Lanka famous for shopping: Moonstone carvings
Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, especially those at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, have carved stone pedestals in the shape of a half-moon at their entrance. These are called moonstone carvings and they have been used as religious images for centuries. Usually, they are carved with different images to represent different stages of life. Half lotuses are common, as are various animals such as swans, elephants, lions, horses, and bulls. Small moonstone carvings are now souvenirs for tourists and can be found in various sizes, designs, patterns also.
Sri Lanka famous things to buy: Tea
Sri Lanka is the cradle of Ceylon tea. Ceylon is also the old name of the country Sri Lanka, when this “country” was still a British colony. The number of tea plantations here is numerous and favorite and popular teas include Dilmah, Mackwoods and Teaeli. Sri Lanka’s traditional tea is black tea, which comes in several varieties, depending on the altitude at which it is grown. In addition to black tea, other classic teas are also available such as English Breakfast, Earl Grey and some specialty teas such as chocolate mint or peach and mint.
The hilly countryside of Sri Lanka is often covered with tea plantations. Favorite teas include Dilmah, Mackwoods, and Teaeli. Sri Lanka’s traditional tea is black tea, which comes in different varieties depending on the altitude at which it is grown.
Tea is a famous and specialty gift that you should buy after your trip to Sri Lanka. Visit tea plantations and factories to learn about the tea production process is also a great experience. Here or anywhere else across Sri Lanka, you can choose your favorite flavor and bring home pretty little tea bags or boxes.
What to buy in Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan Cinnamon
Sri Lanka is known as a country that grows a lot of different spices. In particular, this is one of the largest cinnamon exporters in the world. Therefore, do not miss the cinnamon sticks that are rolled like flimsy sheets and brought back as gifts for the family, cooking as a spices. Besides cinnamon sticks, you can also buy prepackaged cinnamon powder.
Cheap and best things to buy in Sri Lanka: Buddha and elephant statues
Throughout Sri Lanka are state-owned souvenir shops called Laksala, where visitors can purchase figurines of Buddha, elephants, peacocks and leopards. Laksala (Address: 215 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka/Hours: 8:30AM–5:30PM) is the best shop for traditional handicrafts, and has several branches in Colombo as well as in other major cities on the island. Their size can vary greatly, with smaller versions serving as popular souvenirs. Paradise Road (Address: 213 Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka/Hours: 10AM–7PM) also sells handcrafted figurines and figurines, along with a number of other handcrafted items. Most souvenir shops sell wooden Buddha statues and colorful painted elephants.
Sri Lanka is full of vintage souvenir shops called Laksala, where visitors can find figurines of Buddhas, elephants, peacocks and leopards. Paradise Road also has a number of hand-made figurines and statues of better quality and price, along with some other beautiful crafts. Most souvenir shops sell wooden and elephant Buddha statues made from a variety of materials.
Every souvenir shop you go to in Sri Lanka will have Raksha masks on display, from microscopic magnets to giant wall art. They are used in traditional Sri Lankan dances and as decorative pieces, depicting the ancient Raksha people who established the court of King Ravana in the Ramayana legend. There are several types of Raksha, mainly nagas (cobra head) and garuda (demon).
Raksha masks are available in almost every souvenir shop in Sri Lanka, from small magnets and keychains to giant wall hangings. Raksha masks are part of traditional Sri Lankan dance but not all of them are used as often. They were mainly used as decorations and depictions of the ancient Raksha people.
Colorful and delicate wooden masks with different meanings will be a special souvenir for everyone. Usually, red masks represent protection, yellow brings wealth and blue helps in career.
Cheap and best things to buy in Sri Lanka: Books by Sri Lankan Authors
Sri Lankan literature may not be globally well-known, but there is a great collection of wonderful books from local writers waiting to spark your imagination. Plus, reading from the place you’re about to visit is a great way to gain local knowledge, the culture before you hit the road. Notable books include Running in the Family (2009), a fictional memoir by Booker Prize-winning poet and filmmaker Michael Ondaatje. It was followed by Ashok Ferrey’s Serendipity (2009) – a comedy thriller about a London lawyer who inherits Sri Lankan land and Nayomi Munaweera’s Island of a Thousand Mirrors (2014), set during the Sri Lankan Civil War.
Sri Lankan literature may not be as famous but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any works worth reading. Many visitors believe that reading novels and books about the places they are visiting will give a deeper insight into that place.
Best souvenirs from Sri Lanka: Ayurvedic beauty products and treatments
Natural medicine of Ayurveda is popular throughout Sri Lanka. You can get special Ayurvedic treatments on the island, as well as shop for Ayurvedic beauty products such as massage oils, shower gels, shampoos and hair and scalp treatments. Local favorites include Spa Ceylon and Siddhalepa. Kemara also has natural Ayurvedic products for sensitive skin. Don’t forget to try Iris Garden’s Fuller’s Earth mask.
Ayurvedic natural medicines are still studyng and developing quite well in Sri Lanka. In addition to experiencing special Ayurvedic treatments on the island, visitors can also purchase Ayurvedic beauty products such as massage oils, cleansers, shampoos, and more. Popular places for traditional Ayurvedic treatments include the Ceylon Spa, which has a modern feel, and Siddhalepa, which has a classic look. Kemara also offers natural Ayurvedic products for visitors with sensitive skin.
Best gifts from Sri Lanka: Spices
Spices can be found in all Sri Lankan dishes, to the point that a delicious rice and curry can have more than eight spices in it. The best places to buy these flavors are at local markets, such as Pettah or Kandy. Try grab some Sri Lankan cinnamon while you’re there, which is famous for its quality.
Spices, an everyday item, can be found in all the food markets in Sri Lanka. Even the tea and sweets are spiced. A Sri Lankan rice and curry dish will have more than five or eight spices. The best place to buy spices is at local markets, like Pettah or Kandy. If you visiting Fort Galle, then you must visit Aflal’s spice shop and don’t forget the world famous Ceylon cinnamon.
Anise, pepper, and cinnamon are known as characteristic spices and good quality because Sri Lanka is a land with favorable climate and soil for growing and producing spice crops. So when traveling in Sri Lanka, you should buy these typical spices as gifts.
What souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka: Other souvenirs
In addition to the above gifts, you can also find other souvenirs to bring back such as key chains, fridge stickers, paintings, T-shirts with pictures of famous Sri Lankan landmarks and attractions…
Sri Lanka shopping guide: Where to buy in Sri Lanka?
In addition to the above shopping places, below we introduce more the best shopping malls, shops and markets in Sri Lanka for you refer to.
- Colombo National Museum (CPP Building, Prince Street, Colombo 01100, Sri Lanka):
- Colombo’s colonial history (it’s been a British, Dutch, and Portuguese colony at different times) contributes so much to its current culture.
- Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct (Hospital St, Colombo 00100, Sri Lanka)
- Colombo City Centre
- Spa Ceylon Luxury Ayurveda (WR8X+R7H, Colombo, Sri Lanka): Apart from the luxurious treatment options they offer, you can even purchase some of their very own branded personal care supplies.
- Crescat Boulevard – Local Brands And More
- Arpico Super Centre (2, 69 Hyde Park Corner, Colombo 00200, Sri Lanka): Arpico supercentre is a great place to shop for your daily essentials and a host of other goods that you might need during your stay.
- Franciscan Sister’s Jam Room – For A Delightful Shopping
- TeaEli (457/6 Negombo Rd, Wattala, Sri Lanka): TeaEli offers innovative blends such as
- Almond Truffle and After Dinner Mint.
- Dutch Gallery – For Antiques
- Galle Fort – For Spices
- Kemara (14 Reid Ave, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka): Ayurveda is embedded deep in Sri Lankan culture, and there is no dearth in finding ayurvedic products in the country.
- Mlesna Tea Centre – Variety Of Teas
- Pettah Floating Market (W E Bastian Mawatha, Colombo 01000, Sri Lanka): the floating market is now not just a tourist attraction, but also a platform for locals to sell their produce and handicrafts.
- Olanda Furnitures – Decor Items And More
- House of Fashions (101 D. S. Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 00800, Sri Lanka): Sri Lanka is one of those countries that produces wholesale garments, but with much better working conditions than in places like China or Bangladesh.
- Orchid House – From Handicrafts To Therapeutic Items
- Jewel Arena (16 Flower Terrace Rd, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka)There are hundreds of gem shops in Colombo and Jewel Arena is one of the best.
- angala House Art Gallery – Awaken The Artist In You
- Selyn – Accessories Worth Buying (Fife Rd, Colombo 00500, Sri Lanka): Selyn is the only company in Sri Lanka offering fair-trade products. The store is known for offering unique designs and high quality products. It features a broad selection of soft toys, bed linen, fabrics and textiles.
- Barefoot Garden Cafe (704 Galle Rd, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka): Barefoot’s main production consists of handwoven silk and cotton clothing made in classic Sri Lankan styles with some interesting twists.
- Arcade Independence Square (Independence Square, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka): You can buy Levis, Rebook, Nike and many other international labels for similar prices as in Western countries.
- Jayamali Batiks Studio – Skillfully Printed Textiles
- Saturday Good Market Event (Nuga Tree Car Park, Colombo Racecourse Colombo, 00700, Sri Lanka): a street market featuring close to 90 pre-approved vendors selling everything from fresh vegetables to clothes, garden equipment, toys, and whatnot.
- ODEL (No.5 Alexandra Pl, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka)
- Paradise Road – Minimalistic Gift Items (213 Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka)
- Ratnapura – For Precious Jewels
- Colombo City Centre Mall and Residences (137 Sir James Pieris Mawatha, Colombo 00200, Sri Lanka): Upscale shopping center featuring high-end shops, an international food court & a multiplex cinema.
- Laksala – For The Best Souvenirs (Laksala is a state-owned boutique store that sells a wide variety of handicraft products and souvenirs).
- Majestic City – For Luxurious Shopping
- Barefoot – Office (14 Philip Gunewardena Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka): Head over here for classic souvenir gifts like cute little painted elephants, demon masks and batik sarongs.
- Odel (No.5 Alexandra Pl, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka): The colonial building architecture adds to the wonder of the store where you can find both local brands as well as top brands from around the world in addition to Odel’s own line of products.
- Ceylon Tea Supermarket (Fountain House Complex, 326 Deans Road, Colombo 01000, Sri Lanka): Sri Lanka’s top tea brand has its own posh shops, including this outlet in glitzy Odel. A second branch is located in Crescat Boulevard.
- Plâté Limited (580 Galle Rd, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka): n engrossing treasure of a store selling antiques, old photos, art, books and more in a genteel, wood-panelled setting. Also has a busy photo studio.
- Gandhara Crafts (28 Stratford Ave, Colombo, Sri Lanka): Gift items pegged to the season are displayed in profusion and there is a good selection of books…
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Sri Lanka you can refer to
- Private City Transfers for Colombo and Surrounding Areas
- Private Bandaranaike International Airport Transfers (CMB) for Colombo.
- 4G SIM Card (CMB Airport Pick Up) for Sri Lanka
- Galle and Surrounding Areas Day Tour from Colombo
- Whale and Dolphin Watching in Mirissa
- Colombo City Half Day Tour
- Sigiriya Lion’s Rock Fortress Day Tour And Village Experience from Colombo
- Galle and Surrounding Areas Day Tour from Colombo
- Kandy Day Tour from Colombo
- Kandy Cultural Show Ticket
- Yala National Park Safari Experience from Mirissa