Wooden Crafts - Best Souvenirs from Sri Lanka
Wooden Crafts – Best Souvenirs from Sri Lanka

There are many reasons that attract travelers to Sri Lanka. Its charming beaches, alluring greenery, vast tea plantations, and proud history as well as its rich culture and traditions are key reasons among them. Of course, all these amusements surely fulfill the travelers’ dreams of a perfect holiday. Still, how can that holiday be complete without some amazing souvenirs from this magical paradise? And believe us, shopping in Sri Lanka will be a unique experience. Besides, shopping for souvenirs in Sri Lanka is more interesting because it is a perfect destination to buy quality, handmade, authentic, tasteful, and affordable things. That is simply the reason why you should buy something as a souvenir when you are returning from Sri Lanka.

Best Souvenirs to Buy from Sri Lanka

However, if you are wondering about the best souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka, let us highlight to you that there is a wide variety of a selection catering to all your interests.

The following list will prove it to you at a glance!

  1. Sri Lankan Tea
  2. Batik Dresses
  3. Handlooms
  4. Sri Lankan Spices
  5. Ayurvedic Beauty Products
  6. Books by Sri Lankan Authors
  7. Gems and Jewelry
  8. Traditional Masks
  9. Wooden Carvings
  10. Paintings by Sri Lankan Artists
  11. Porcelain Tableware
  12. Cane Products
  13. Stone Arts
  14. Coconut Products
  15. Sri Lankan Sweets
  16. Antiques

Continue reading to know more about the significance of these souvenirs.

1. Sri Lankan Tea

Sri Lanka or Ceylon is one of the world’s famous tea-producing countries. The secret behind its popularity is simply the high-quality tea that it produces. So, if you are planning to get something that tastes good from Sri Lanka, tea is surely going to be a perfect choice.

Sri Lanka’s traditional tea is black tea. It is popular because it has a mild taste and a long-lasting fragrance. In addition to the traditional black tea, Sri Lankan also produces Ceylon Green tea, Ceylon White tea, and a range of tea, infused with dried fruits, mints, cinnamon, herbal varieties, and local spices. They are available in many souvenir shops as well as in supermarkets and certain small stores.

However, if you are visiting a tea plantation or a tea factory while you are in Sri Lanka, that would be the best place for you to get some tea products. In such places, you get a nice chance to taste the different types of tea to select the best tea to bring home.

After all, sharing the refreshing tastes of the Ceylon tea with loved ones would be a better way to show your love in a more meaningful way. Hence, tea products are surely one of the best souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka!

2. Batik Dresses

The Batik Industry is related to textile fabric art that creates wonderful dresses with unique designs. Its origin is in Indonesia, and as per history, Sri Lankan began practising this art at the end of the 19th century. And guess what? By now, this traditional art culture has become an important part of the vibrant and beautiful fashion industry of the present world. Hence, many tourists choose to buy some Batik dresses when they visit this beautiful island.

Sri Lanka men are easily spotted in batik sarongs and women in colorful batik saris, especially during the traditional Sri Lankan festive seasons. The specialty of the batik designs is that the two are not the same. They are always unique in designs from one to another. In addition, the batik-makers create distinctive dresses, shirts, pants, and beachwear as well as tablecloths, wall hangings, bed covers, and cushion covers using their talent and creativity. Thus, you have a good collection of Batik products and they are indeed one type of the best souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, many tourists get surprised about how these Batik designs are done. Hence, Sri Lanka creates opportunities for travelers to observe this process as well. Batik is a technique of dyeing fabrics using wax and ink. So, all batik dresses are handcrafted from waxing to dyeing. Anyone who visits a Batick factory, can not only purchase Batik clothing but also observe how the artists design them.

3. Handlooms

As same as in many other Asian countries, the Handloom has been a traditional artisanal tool that has been mostly used by Sri Lankan women since ancient times. People have a high demand for handlooms due to their uniqueness and high quality.

When it comes to the traditional clothing of Sri Lanka, many choose to wear handlooms. To be specific, women wear handloom saris and men wear handloom sarongs on many occasions. Besides, handloom saris have become a new trend among Sri Lankan women in the present. For instance, they wear normal handloom saris when they go to work and expensive and exquisite handloom sarees for ceremonial functions such as weddings and parties. So, the demand for handloom products is indeed high among Sri Lankans, and surprisingly, the demand for handlooms among tourists is not any less.

The most commonly used materials to weave handloom products such as saris, sarongs, tablecloths, scarves, pillows, bags, shawls, and napkins are cotton and silk fibers. Besides, the modern majestical look that this industry gives to its products while preserving the traditional culture is indeed special. That is the simple reason that makes many tourists fall in love with these handloom products. However, most foreigners choose to buy handloom scarves, shawls, and pillowcases since they are not that used to wearing sarees. Nevertheless, any of these handloom products are surely wonderful souvenirs to buy from this beautiful island of Sri Lanka.

4. Sri Lankan Spices

Sri Lanka is well known for its exquisite variety of spices. Moreover, it has been famous as a country with spicy eating habits for centuries. Besides, Sri Lankan spices are the main secret behind the mouth-watering flavors of Sri Lankan cuisines from rice to curries, salads, pickles, and desserts. So, if you fell in love with these spices with amazing health benefits while you are traveling in Sri Lanka, don’t forget to get some of them as souvenirs as well.

The list of spices is endless in Sri Lanka. Some of the main spices in Sri Lanka are as follows.

  • Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Mace
  • Chilies
  • Ceylon Cloves
  • Ceylon Pepper
  • Curry leaves
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin
  • Ceylon Cardamom
  • Ceylon Nutmeg
  • Tamarind
  • Turmeric

Among them, Cinnamon is the largest export of Sri Lanka not only because it is a spice, but also because it is alternative medicine. Besides, cinnamon is a popular ingredient in the perfume and cosmetic industry too. Therefore, Cinnamon is well-known as the ‘King of Sri Lankan Spices’. Owing to all these reasons, many choose Cinnamon, among other spices, as one of the best souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka. You can pick up cinnamon in sticks or in powder according to your preferences.

5. Ayurvedic Beauty Products

Sri Lanka has its own trustworthy and glorified Ayurvedic medicine system. Its history runs back more than 3000 years, and it is strong with successful results over these centuries. However, there are not only Ayurvedic medicines but also beauty products. The specialty is that they use only natural ingredients in their making. Hence, many foreigners tend to love using these natural beauty products.

A variety of products are available when considering Ayurvedic Beauty Products. Some of them are as follows.

  • Herbal Hair Oils
  • Massage Oils
  • Shower Gels
  • Cleansers
  • Shampoos
  • Hair and Scalp Treatments
  • Face Packs
  • Face Mask

As mentioned earlier, Ayurveda in Sri Lanka is not just one part of the beauty treatments, but also a part of curing medical conditions. Therefore, the Ayurveda and Herbal Cosmetics industry in Sri Lanka gives plenty of fair trade practices and timeless beauty secrets. So, Ayurvedic beauty products are beautified and faithful souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka for your loved ones.

6. Books by Sri Lankan Authors

Sri Lankan literature is a reflection of this island’s heritage, family identity, belief system, and simply everything of Sri Lankan life as it is woven around Sri Lankan culture. So, it is one of the best ways to have a deeper insight into Sri Lanka and its people.

So, does anyone that you know love getting to know about different cultures? If so, English books written by Sri Lankan authors are surely wonderful souvenirs for them to buy in Sri Lanka. Besides, does anyone that you know plan to visit Sri Lanka any sooner? Reading novels and other books will help them know about the places that they are about to visit. So, take some books as souvenirs from Sri Lanka. And does one of your loved ones enjoy reading? Then, still, you can give them some books by Sri Lankan authors as souvenirs from Sri Lanka.

After all, even though Sri Lankan literature may not be popular globally, there is a great collection of marvelous books from local writers. As a result, reading Sri Lankan literature may undoubtedly give the readers a novel experience.

Some of the notable books by Sri Lankan authors are as follows.

  • Serendipity (2009) by Ashok Ferrey
  • Running in the Family (2009) by Michael Ondaatje
  • The Road from Elephant Pass which won the 2003 Gratiaen Prize for English creative writing by the author named Nihal De Silva

A book by Sri Lankan authors can be added to the collection of souvenirs to bring back as a more insightful gift. So, make it one of the first choices when you are shopping for souvenirs in Sri Lanka.

7. Gems and Jewelry

Sri Lanka is well-known as ‘the gem island’ because it has a high variety of gemstones. In fact, this splendid island is home to a number of gemstone mines as well. So, gems and jewelry are hugely famous purchases in this wonderful land. Simply, a trip to Sri Lanka seems to be incomplete without one of them. Thus, gems and jewelry are indeed perfect choices for souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka.

Ratnapura is famous as “the city of gems” because the soil of that area is rich with precious gemstones. Still, you don’t specifically have to travel to Ratnapura to get gems and jewelry. You can purchase truly high-quality gems anywhere in Sri Lanka. Besides, this island produces many choices of jewelry such as chains, bracelets, earrings, and rings with the use of colorful gems. Further, there are different types of gems that are specially categorized for this jewelry. So, if you are looking for gems and jewelry as souvenirs, you can make your choice in a way that your heart desires.

You can even visit one of the moonstone mines to observe how the gem industry is done in Sri Lanka as well. Such a visit will create opportunities to get an idea about how the gems are first mined, then sorted, cut, polished, and finally fitted into the metal to make attractive jewelry. It would be a fascinating experience indeed. And why not? You can share that fascination with your loved ones if you buy gems and jewelry for them from Sri Lanka. Thus, they are perfect souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka.

8. Traditional Masks

Traditional masks are the most representative souvenirs of Sri Lanka. Each and every mask is engulfed with a meaning related to the Sri Lankan tradition and culture. Also, there are different types of masks serving an insightful meaning. Besides, there are many stories woven around these traditional masks.

The traditional devil masks are very common and famous and are used in traditional Sri Lankan dances but they have now become a great decorative artwork. Some locals believe that these masks have the great function of exorcism and protection. Also, there are beliefs that some of the colors indicate several other meanings. Accordingly, the red color symbolizes protection, the yellow color brings wealth and the blue color can help the career. So, owing to all these reasons, it is a common sight to see traditional masks in front of the traditional houses, especially in rural villages.

Besides, the traditional masks are a prominent as well as an interesting element of the cultural identity. Hence, many locals, as well as foreigners, purchase these traditional masks and use them as decorative ornaments in their houses and hotels. Some people even have collections of traditional masks. Accordingly, they have now become some of the best souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka.

Traditional masks are available for purchase literally in almost every souvenir shop in Sri Lanka. Among them, the coastal town of Ambalangoda has a long tradition in the mask-making industry. So, don’t forget to visit a Traditional Mask Shop, if you are visiting Southern Sri Lanka. After all, these colorful and delicate traditional masks will be a unique souvenir for everyone.

9. Wooden Carvings

Sri Lanka has a very exquisite handicraft industry. Indeed, its skillful craftsmen add another kind of fame to this beautiful island. However, among the most attractive arts and crafts on this island, wooden carvings hold a significant place. In fact, the fine combination of rustic wood and the creativity, innovation, and skill of the craftsmen create unique and thriving wood artworks. They include unique furniture, beams on the ceiling and rafters, wall murals, sculptures, colorful paintings, masks, mugs, and many other wooden decorative ornaments.

Many foreigners get to see the elegance of the Sri Lankan traditional wood carvings as they explore this island. In fact, the fine wooden carvings at the Temple of the Tooth Relic, Embekke Temple, and the cultural and religious attractions at the ancient cities like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy amuse the visitors with their majestic charms. Hence, there is nothing surprising if any of the travelers fall in love with the wooden carving traditions of this country.

Owing to these reasons, several foreigners tend to buy wooden carvings as souvenirs when they do shopping in Sri Lanka. That is indeed a great choice since these decorative ornaments add a different color and shade to a living room, workspace, or any other place. Wooden animal souvenirs are especially famous in Sri Lanka.

Further, wooden elephants are really common among decorative ornaments in souvenir shops since it is a unique symbol of the country as well as a part of Sri Lanka’s amazing heritage. These elephant figurines come in striking designs, poses, and various sizes and colors. Some are decorated with beautiful beads and ornaments. Some are colorfully painted too. Apart from that, wooden carvings of various statues, dishes, and paperweights can also be fine choices among wooden souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka.

10. Paintings by Sri Lankan Artists

Paintings by Sri Lankan artists are obviously a famous and special souvenir to buy after a trip to Sri Lanka. It would be a meaningful and insightful gift to everyone because a great history with regard to the paintings is woven around this pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan traditional art industry commenced in the ancient temple paintings with the beautiful arts of Lord Buddha and Buddhist religious stories. Thus, paintings by Sri Lankan artists certainly carry out the pride in the heritage and culture of this country. In fact, it is a picturesque way of portraying the Sri Lankan uniqueness, historical values, sentimental morals, glorious identities, and cultural beliefs.

Owing to all these reasons, paintings by Sri Lankan artists are indeed wonderful, and valuable at the same time. Thus, they would be perfect souvenirs for anyone who loves admiring the unique values of the paintings. So, consider this wonderful choice when you are shopping to buy souvenirs in Sri Lanka.

11. Porcelain Tableware

Sri Lanka was capable of delivering high-quality, creative, elegant, traditional, and contemporary porcelain tableware to the world for a long time. Besides, Sri Lankan porcelain ware has the finest looks and a great quality including a high level of translucency, high level of whiteness, high thermal shock, and high scratch resistance. The decoration techniques in this tableware are also very unique to Sri Lankan culture with traditional designs. Owing to these specialties, Sri Lankan porcelain has been long celebrated for its fine product quality and its characteristics of uniqueness, elegance, and durability, both locally and globally.

By now, this artistic porcelain tableware all are now combined with international partnerships which maintain the position of Sri Lankan porcelain tableware in the global market. Yes, accordingly, it is a leading global brand by now. Still, tourists can find out this elegant porcelain tableware at a very reasonable price at both showrooms and factory outlets easily in Sri Lanka. 

It would be a lovely surprise for someone to receive such unique porcelain tableware as a souvenir from someone who’s returning from Sri Lanka. They need not only to keep them as a wonderful souvenir but also use them on special occasions to add a unique elegance to their dining table. Thus, porcelain tableware from this island would be a wonderful choice when you are hunting for the best souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka.

12. Cane Products

It is such a common thing to see hand-woven items in Sri Lanka. Among them, cane products are indeed significant.

As you may already know, creative and skillful artisans use cane plant bark to create wonderful handicrafts, and they are famous as cane products. This tradition of craft is highly significant in Sri Lanka and has a history of centuries on this splendid island. Most importantly, anyone can see those marvelous products literally everywhere in this country.

Some of the most common cane products with high sales as of now are hampering baskets, woven chairs, bins, flower vases, buckets, sofas, and beds. Apart from that, several kinds of homewares, lifestyle products, hotel furniture, and basketry for hotels are also common among these cane products’ shops. Also, these local craftsmen maintain the traditional crafts through modern and elegant designs to the customers’ preferences. 

The most interesting fact is that the cane products in Sri Lanka are eco-friendly. They are quality and affordable alternatives to plastic products. So, purchasing cane products protects us and the environment. Also, it is a kind of true appreciation for the effort of the poor skillful craftsmen at the same time. So, cane products are certainly one of the most fascinating souvenirs in Sri Lanka not only because they are significant to the Sri Lankan tradition and culture, but also because they add more value to your decision of choosing them.

13. Stone Arts

Stone carvings or stone arts are one of the most significant arts and crafts that comes from the past of Sri Lanka. They are simply amazing, and they have the power of amusing anyone who stares at them. In fact, it is fascinating to observe how a stone becomes a smooth creative art at the end of its creation.

Among the stone arts that are widely available in Sri Lanka, statues of Buddha, Hindu deities, and different other religious figures become highlights. Buddhist temples, mostly in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Yapahuwa have monumental and religious sculptures as such. It is from them that the artists have taken the concepts for their stone arts. Besides, small figures of animals and memorial plaques are also popular stone art types in Sri Lanka.

Stone carves have a great demand from both locals and foreigners. Besides, purchasing these stone arts is one of the best methods to appreciate the artisans’ efforts, talents, and creativity. So, don’t forget to check for these amazing stone arts, when you are hunting for souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka.

14. Coconut Products

Coconut products are cheap yet impressive and gorgeous. It is probably a better way to bring home your wonderful experience in Sri Lanka.

Coconut, or ‘Kapruka’ in Sinhala is a type of palm tree that can be seen on this tropical paradise island. Simply, owing to the geographical and climatic conditions in this country, it is a common sight to see coconut plantations in any corner of this country.

Each and every part of the coconut tree including the trunk, roots, leaves, fruits, husks, and shells is really useful for the people. Besides, organic coconut-based food and beverages are healthy as well as popular among both locals and tourists now.

When it comes to decorative items made using coconut products, they are 100% eco-friendly decorations with a simple, yet charming elegance. They are creative and beautiful indeed. It is kind of a surprise to see how the hard shell inside the nuts turns into an amazing decorative item. However, the shape of the coconut nut and its color make it easier for the craftsmen to make a variety of beautiful items. Owing to these reasons, these ornaments have a never-ending demand.

The most popular coconut products that are ideal for souvenirs are pots, flower pots, flower pot statues, bowls, vases, floral ornaments, lamps, spoons, forks, food containers, and carvings. All of them have a uniqueness of their own and suit varying requirements as well. So, these coconut products are the best choice for a souvenir to purchase in Sri Lanka.

15. Sri Lankan Sweets

Sri Lanka is popular for its sweets originating from there throughout South Asia. In fact, both sweets and desserts in Sri Lanka have a unique taste mainly because of the ingredients used. You can experience it when you come to the Sri Lankan sweet shop.

Most of the traditional sweets in Sri Lanka are made of rice flour, local spices, jaggery, and ‘kitul’. These sweets are famous during cultural festivals.

Some of the traditional Sri Lankan sweets prepared during festival seasons are as follows.

  • Aasmi
  • Aluwa
  • Wattalapam
  • Kalu Dodol
  • Kithul Treacle
  • Athirasa
  • Peni/Undu Walalu
  • Konda Kavum
  • Bibikkan
  • Kokis
  • Helapa
  • Aggala
  • Lavariya
  • Kesari
  • Aggala
  • Sowboro

These are traditional sweets coming from generation to generation. So, taking these local sweets back home and enjoying them with family and friends while narrating Sri Lanka’s stories would be a nice experience. Hence, sweets are indeed the best choice if you are thinking of the best souvenirs to buy in Sri Lanka!

16. Antiques

Shopping in Sri Lanka is more interesting than you think as Sri Lanka will always make you check out the amazing things that this splendid paradise offers to its tourists. However, as a result of the rich cultural heritage that Sri Lanka owns, it has wonderful collections of antiques. Samples of such antiques can be easily spotted at many of the hotels. They keep them to add a sense of elegant charm to those places.

Antiques not only attract locals but also foreigners. Besides, this island creates many antiques with awesome colonial shades, especially ornaments of British, Portuguese, and Dutch. And the specialty is that they are rich with the touches of Sri Lankan traditional arts and crafts. Hence, such antiques easily catch the eye of foreigners at large. Besides, antiques such as sculptures, statues, carvings, paintings, writings, coins, gems, jewelry, tools, utensils, clocks, gramophones, and stone paintings also add more choices for the ones who are looking for antiques.

Galle Fort, Colombo, and Ambalangoda house the best antique shops. Yet, you can easily find ample shops selling all types of antiques all around the country. So, don’t forget to look for these antiques when you are shopping for souvenirs, since they not only delight you but also any of your loved ones if you give them any.

The Bottom Line

Sri Lanka is a beautiful travel destination. In fact, you might fall in love with this country with all of these unique and marvelous experiences that you enjoy. Perhaps you may feel nostalgic when you go back to your country. Still, if you have something to keep with you, or to give to your loved ones, you will feel great. Yes, one of the best ways to bring back memories from Sri Lanka is to buy the best souvenirs from here. That is the best way to remember all of these memories you had from this cherished destination.

So, don’t forget to shop for souvenirs as you roam around this island. By now, you already know the best souvenirs to buy here in Sri Lanka. And believe us, most of the souvenirs here are worth more than their price because of the effort put to create these marvelous creations. The branches of the Sri Lankan Handicraft Board would help you get the finest souvenirs. Besides, souvenirs in Sri Lanka can be chosen in all price ranges which suit all kinds of budgets. So, Sri Lanka can be a shopper’s paradise for anyone who is hunting for souvenirs before they return back to their country. Get the best souvenirs and make your trip the most memorable. Happy and safe traveling!