Best Souvenirs To Buy From Sri Lanka
Besides being extremely beautiful, Sri Lanka is full of life, sound, colours, traditions and delicious food. After your travels here, you’ll definitely want to take a piece of it back home with you, whether it be as a gift for someone else, or for yourself, here are the top 8 souvenirs you should buy from Sri Lanka.
As early as 1500 BC, even before the inception of the spice trade that we know today, Sri Lanka has been a hub for spices. The island has a wide variety of endemic spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, turmeric, and of course the world-renowned Ceylon Cinnamon. Wander through the streets of Pettah, which is where one of Colombo’s biggest markets is situated, and buy some local spices. Even though you’re leaving the warmth of the island, you’ll be able to add Sri Lankan heat to your food!
Tea is a big part of the Sri Lankan way of life, however, this plant that has become synonymous with the country is not actually indigenous to Sri Lanka and was first grown by the British during their rule over the island. In spite of this, buying a few boxes of Sri Lankan tea before you leave is non-negotiable. Often deemed as the best tea in the world, you should definitely take Ceylon’s finest brew back with you. When you’re touring the highlands like Nuwara Eliya or Kandy, pop into a local tea factory to get the best and most fresh packs of tea.
Saris & Sarongs
Saris and sarongs are the country’s traditional garms for women and men. Recently, stores like Barefoot in Colombo have made them more casual; now brightly coloured and cotton-based, it’s become a great outfit to even wear to the beach! Also, no longer are sarongs exclusively for men, loads of women opt for wearing sarongs with crop tops or blouses for casual events.
Sri Lanka is a country that has a long tradition of handicrafts, and one such craft is wood carving. Souvenir stores throughout the island all have different wooden figures from carvings of the Buddha to an outline of Sri Lanka, elephants, leopards and even tuk-tuks. This is a great souvenir to buy that captures different aspects of the country.
As you’ll realise after your trip around the country, food is the spirit of Sri Lanka. Despite being relatively small in size, each region has its own palate of flavours and traditional dishes, which takes you on a great gastronomical adventure. One of the best things about road trips around the island are the snacks you’ll stop and have along the way. Why don’t you take back some manioc chips with you? In Sri Lanka, they’re fried till crispy and then served with a generous serving of chilli powder and salt. It’s delicious and once you try it, you’ll definitely want to take some back with you!
Ayurveda is an all-natural medicinal and holistic practice that dates back to the 3rd century BC. There are many spas around the island who offer ayurvedic spa treatments like Spa Ceylon who have given traditional treatments a modern twist. You can also buy various beauty products like creams, soaps, body oils and lip balms from them made using exotic plants.
Mainly used during festivals, Raksha masks, commonly referred to as devil masks, are used to perform a special dance known as a Kolam. Legend has it that Sri Lanka was ruled by a race of Rakshas (devils) during the reign of the demon king, Ravana, from the epic Ramayana. These masks are colourfully painted that depict different devils and have now become popular souvenirs. You can get these masks printed on a T-shirt, or as a magnet and even a key chain.
One thing you’ll wish you can take back is the mouth-watering food you’ll try during your journey. You’re in luck though, almost all Sri Lankan supermarkets sell curry mixes that you can take home to recreate your favourite Sri Lankan dishes with ease. Try getting a yellow rice mix and a chicken curry mix, they’re the most popular!