When you’re visiting a new country on holiday, your number one priority is to take in as much of the culture, the attractions and adventure that is available in that country. Of course you will try and document your holiday with as many pictures as you can get (or just a few special ones). But once the holiday is done and you’re about to come back home, you realize that your friends and loved ones may not be satisfied with all the Facebook, Instagram or Twitter posts about your trip… they’ll be waiting for a souvenir from this new exotic place you visited! Or YOU might feel like the pictures are not enough and you need something a bit more tangible to hold on to the memories of your fabulous holiday.
Don’t fret, we have put together the 10 best souvenirs you can take home to remind you of the wonders of Sri Lanka, the paradise island.
Although this list is not in any order, Tea is definite the number one souvenir you can take back from Sri Lanka. Ceylon, as it was called in the colonial times is world renowned for its tea. There’s various different varieties and flavours to choose from. To make it even more special, you can try to find a tea from a place you may have visited, like for example, Nuwara Eliya.
Where to find it: you can find tea pretty much everywhere in Sri Lanka. I personally tend to buy my tea (even for gifting) from the supermarket. But if you want to buy from professionals, I would suggest places like the Dilma Tea Lounge or the Sri Lanka Tea Board shop.
One of the reasons the Europeans and British came to Sri Lanka was in search of the elusive, expensive and very exclusive Ceylon Cinnamon. Spices were therefore a very big deal in this small island and they still are. You will never forget Sri Lankan spices after you have tasted some Sri Lankan food! So how ideal would it to be take some of that flavor back home.
Where to find it: again I would suggest the supermarket, the spice section gives you a wide array of spices you can choose from (ex. Turmeric, Pepper, Chilie, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves etc.). Many of the souvenir shops also carry spices in cute packaging in case all you want is to display the spices. You could also try some of the bigger stores like Laksala or Odel.
- Elephant souvenirs
It would be impossible to not have seen an elephant in Sri Lanka, whether in the wild or tamely being walked on the road by its mahout.
Where to find it: pretty much everywhere. I would suggest Paradise Road shop for funky elephant gifts.
Sri Lanka may not be world famous for its ceramics but there are some really classy ceramics that are made in Sri Lanka with some interesting designs, incorporating local culture.
- Devil masks
The devil mask is a traditional wooden mask used in rituals in the south of Sri Lanka (mainly Ambalangoda). There rituals are meant to ward off evil spirits, which might be a good reason to take one home.
Where to find it: again, these are pretty popular and you can find it in many places. I would suggest Laksala which has a wide choice of designs.
- Gem stones
Sri Lanka is known for the blue sapphire, one which is found on the engagement ring of the Duchess of Cambridge and on the crown of Queen Elisabeth II. More recently the world biggest blue sapphire the size of a man’s palm was also found in Sri Lanka.
Where to find it: there are many places in tourist towns like Galle or Kandy where you can find gems, but in Colombo, I would suggest Bullion Exchange and Colombo Jewelry Stores for those willing to spend extra for quality and design.
Handloom fabric has such vibrant exotic colours that are a perfect representations of life in Sri Lanka.
Batik fabric is made by a dying technique involving applying wax to a whole or part of a fabric. Although not unique to Sri Lanka, there are many beautiful batik designs and designers in Sri Lanka.
Whether it’s the farmer working in the paddy fields or the man making you tea in the morning you would have seen people wearing sarongs all over Sri Lanka. Although it is mainly worn by Sri Lankan men, the sarong can be a unisex garment ideal for beach wear!
- Ayurvedic beauty products
Ayurveda is the traditional medicine practiced in Sri Lanka by Ayurveda doctors who had the craft passed on to them through the generations. Lately there are more and more local brands selling beauty products using these age old Ayurveda remedies which may be a perfect gift for the health conscious friend or loved on.
N.B: the author does not claim any copyright to the images used in this article which have been sourced from Google Images.
This post is written by Anu Dias.