I’m sure as you visit this beautiful country you will be looking for something to take back with you that will remind you of your time in paradise. There are a myriad of things you can take back with you and we’re here to get you started, from Tea, to the porcelain you’re going to drink it in!
Tea for her, tea for him, tea for all of them! Almost every traveler who has come to Sri Lanka buys mountains of tea to take back to share with their friends and family, if not to keep it to themselves. Ceylon tea is like no other and there are so many great brands to choose from; on your travels around Sri Lanka, if you get the chance to buy some tea directly from a tea factory, do it! There’s nothing quite like seeing the whole process that goes into the box you buy.
What kind of tea do I buy? Loose leaf tea is great as it is higher quality whereas tea bags do not have as clean of a taste (not that they’re bad). It’s great if you get tea that stems from different regions as this allows you to taste the variety that occurs due to different elevation levels, soil conditions, and strains of tea. Also, some brands do have flavored tea that is amazing as it is or can be used as a base to make other fun concoctions with!
Sari’s and Sarongs are traditional local clothing for women and men (in that order); Traditionally the Sari is a formal piece of clothing akin to wearing a beautiful dress, it takes time to adorn but the end result is a beautiful and fashionable garb. In contrast, the men’s sarong can be both a very casual (home) piece of clothing or a formal kind, there are different types of sarongs, based on it’s textures and cloth that allow it to be a more flexible item of clothing, typically in the Sri Lankan home, a father would wear a sarong and a sleeveless undershirt (inner-vest) and in a formal setting he would wear it with a Kurta Shirt, so if you’re buying it, make sure you get a pair!
Jewelry & Gems
Sri Lanka was and is known to be a rich provider of gems and jewelry. Do you know that the majority of star sapphires and rubies adorned by royalty are said to have come out of Sri Lanka? Buying stones can be much more affordable in Sri Lanka, and you have the option to buy quality handmade items that are custom designed for your taste. The Ratnapura region has boasted some of the greatest variety of gems, with a harvest that has consistently yielded superior quality. Colombo and Kandy jewellers have the best reputation so we advice to buy them while there.
NOTE: There are a few places where they do not sell authentic gems. Make sure the places you buy from are verified by our guide or feel free to call our hotline and we will check it out for you. We advise you avoid buying gems in Negombo and Galle due to the high turnover of unreliable shops.
Handloom items are Sri Lanka’s #1 export, and for good reason. They are beautiful. Utilizing natural cotton and silk fibers, there are hard working women that skillfully weave them together into a beautiful tapestry; often Saris and Sarongs are made on the handloom. It is worthy cause while you are here to support these women by purchasing an item or two giving support to their family. These ladies are normally very good natured and up for a negotiation when you need to bring down the cost. The fact that these are handloomed does mean that they can get a little steep in price, so try not to devalue it and quote too low! Think what you would be willing to pay back in your home country for the item and use that to gauge your offer. Why not make an offer that you can both be happy with? Other than clothing uses, you could also make it into a tapestry that you hang on your wall or as a decorative table cloth for use when serving your friends back home that wonderful Sri Lankan food you learned to cook. If you’re in a shop, the prices will be clearly marked and probably not negotiable.
All entrances to Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka are adorned with beautiful and intricate carvings in the shape of a half-moon. It is generally sold as scaled down version that could be kept as a mantle-piece. The carvings are generally made from limestone or wood and can make for great conversation starters due to their history.
There are so many rich and wonderful spices that can be easily found across this country referred by many as the “spice island.” These colorful and visually appealing spices could make great gifts and as a perk, they don’t take up much of the weight or space in your luggage. One thing you definitely don’t want to miss hauling back is some good old cinnamon. Sri Lanka has been a leading exporter of cinnamon since ancient times and is world renowned for being the best there is.
While cashews are available in most places, you can buy bulk amounts of great cashews to take back home with you. There are big packs of cashews that you can get as plain/salted/spiced to take back home to share with your family or even throw into your cooking, cashews have been used in a variety of eastern cuisine to give food a fun twist. There a few specialty Royal Cashew Shops around Colombo that have a variety of flavors you could try before purchasing.
P.S. Try the salted and spicy one, it’s not too hot and has great flavor to it!
If you had the pleasure of experiencing an Ayurvedic massage, you also know that there is something unique about the products they use. Ayurvedic treatment utilizes all-natural oils and products that enhance your health and nutrition. Many of these Ayurveda clinics, do more than just massage, claiming to successfully treat a vast array of medical conditions.
Not just a fad but a great way to tweak your mood and keep you and your house smelling great. Essential oils are great to diffuse in your home or can be mixed in oils to be applied to your skin; you can get a variety of great essential oils from places such as Janet/Cliara/The Good Market Shop.
Beautiful Porcelain that is hand crafted and artisan designed is very hard to find but Sri Lanka has some of the best porcelain that isn’t too expensive. There are two big manufacturers that are internationally known, Dankotuwa and Noritake, they are great places to get handcrafted porcelain that is both unique and beautiful.