Top 15 Sri Lanka Souvenirs To Pick – Shopping In Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka is a shopper’s paradise. Once upon a time, it was famous with Indians for garment shopping. Odel was a must-visit destination that had to be a part of the island nation itinerary. However, during my two visits to the island nation, I discovered so many Souvenirs that you can pick up in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Souvenirs

Souvenirs Shopping in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Souvenirs come in all price ranges to suit all kinds of budgets. Plan shopping for them in the island nation during your visit.

Gems & Jewelry

Gemstones - Most popular Sri Lankan Souvenirs
Gemstones most popular souvenirs

Let me begin with the most attractive one & potentially the most expensive one. Sri Lanka is home to many gemstone mines, specially moonstone mines. I visited one moonstone mine and it was fascinating to see the gems being mined, sorted, cut, polished, and fitted into the metal to make lovely jewelry. There was no way I could have come back without picking up some moonstones from there.

You can buy gems anywhere in Sri Lanka. Most tourist areas like Unawatuna and Kandy are full of big and small gem stores. There are many museums where they showcase the mining process, through a film and give you basic information about gems. You are then spoilt for choices to choose from.

Bargain hard even at high-end showrooms.

Ceylon Tea

Ceylon Tea as Souvenir
Ceylon Tea as Souvenir

This Tea has always been famous. It is an easy Sri Lanka Souvenir to pick for those who do not appreciate some fine tea. You can visit the tea gardens in central Sri Lanka, visit the tea factories and choose your tea flavor.

Every time I go to a tea-growing region, I pick up my supply for the next 2 months. In Sri Lanka, you can find nicely packed tea from all souvenir shops or anywhere in the market.

Dilmah is the most popular tea brand from Sri Lanka.

Porcelain Tableware

Fine Porcelain from Sri Lanka
Fine Porcelain from Sri Lanka, Image – Shutterstock

Do you know that Noritake – the world-famous Japanese porcelain product is made in Sri Lanka? You can get them at a very reasonable price either at their factory outlet or at their huge showroom in Colombo. You can also find their products at multi-brand showrooms like Odel.

My kitchen still has the dinner set that I picked up in Sri Lanka during my last visit good 12 years back. Legend is that Mrs. Ambani also visited Sri Lanka to pick up her tableware when she was furnishing her new home in Mumbai.

Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon Sticks - Gourmet Souvenir from Sri Lanka
Cinnamon Sticks, Image – Shutterstock

Sri Lanka grows almost all spices that South India does – for the weather is similar. However, do you know that Sri Lanka is the biggest exporter of Cinnamon? So, my pick of all the spices here is Cinnamon. This time I picked up cinnamon sticks the one that looks like delicate scrolls.

You can pick up lovely packs of multiple spices or just the cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon powder is available too, but I prefer the sticks.

Wooden Masks

Colorful Wooden Masks
Colorful Wooden Masks

Wood carving is a widely practiced skill in Sri Lanka. In fact, when you see the assembly hall at Kandy Tooth Relic Temple, you would see finely carved pillar tops. Wood-carved masks are quintessential Sri Lanka Souvenirs. You can find colorful wooden masks to put at home – each with a meaning. The Red one protects and yellow one brings wealth and the Blue one helps in the career.

Sri Lankan Fishermen in Wood as Souvenir
Sri Lankan Fishermen in Wood as Souvenir

My favorite masks are the wood-carved faces without any color. A famous sculpture to pick is that of a sitting fisherman holding a fishing rod in hand. I picked up the mask of Ravana – I thought that was very relevant to our connection with Sri Lanka. It is still my favorite piece in my museum collection.

Dumbara Mats & Cane Boxes – Sri Lanka Souvenirs

Cane Curios as Sri Lanka Souvenirs
Cane Curios as souvenirs

Dumbara is a hand-woven coarse fabric that comes from villages around Kandy. They are typically woven in geometric patterns. I saw a lot of them in white and black colors with red making an occasional entry. At Cinnamon Citadel Hotel in Kandy, I saw the front office walls covered in this weave. At souvenir shops, I saw the table linen in Dumbara Mats. And at designer shops, I saw small baskets and bags made of Dumbara.

If you like handwoven stuff, take your pick.

You can also pick the small cane baskets and boxes.

Sri Lankan Sari

Sri Lankan Bride in Sri Lankan Sari
Sri Lankan Bride in Sri Lankan Sari

The Sri Lankan Sari is a bit different from Indian Sari. It is a 3 piece Sari, much like Kerala Saris. However, unlike Kerala Saris which are primarily white, Sri Lankan Saris come in bright colors. Every time I saw a Sri Lankan Lady wearing the elegant Sari with pleats at the waist and woven Pallus in front, I wondered how they tie the Sari. Well, I had assumed that it is one single piece of unstitched cloth. I was wrong.

Sri Lankan Sari comes in 3 pieces – a piece to make the blouse, a wraparound with the frill at the top, and an unstitched piece like a dupatta or stole.

When my curiosity got the better of me, I asked a lady to show me how they wear it. It is much simpler to wear a Sri Lankan Sari than our 6-yard one.

Sri Lankan Sari is actually like the Assamese Mekhala. I think it is a lovely souvenir to pick.


Antique Shops at Galle, Sri Lanka
Antique Shops at Galle

If you like to pick old stuff – culturally known as antiques – head to Galle. This is where you would find ample shops selling all kinds of antiques. In fact, when I visited Galle, it was raining heavily, so I ended up spending time in the shops there. Two shops dominated the city markets – gemstones and antiques.

You find all kinds of old utensils, clocks, gramophones, and whatnot. Let me warn you, you need lots of patience to sift through all the stuff in these shops. It can be like a treasure hunt.

Maps & Posters & Paper Products

Old Posters and Maps of Sri Lanka at Galle
Old Posters and Maps of Sri Lanka at Galle

At Galle Fort, I discovered another interesting set of shops selling old Ceylon posters and maps.

There were lovely maps of Sri Lanka and of Galle Fort City. There were posters from yesteryears, well maintained, and well presented. If you like to collect such old posters, the streets of Galle are the best place to explore.

Basket made of Recycled Newspapers
Basket made of Recycled Newspapers

Then, there are recycled paper baskets that are so colorful and pleasing that you cannot say no to them. When I looked at them in a store, I wanted to bring them back to India, only to replicate their fine quality – what a great eco-nazi souvenir to pick from the island nation trip.

Sri Lankan Stone Art – Sri Lanka Souvenirs

Stone Art as Sri Lanka Souvenir
Stone Art souvenir

You have probably seen painted stones, but you may not have seen the rough surfaces of stones painted with elephants or dancers.

If like me, you fell in love with rock paintings at Dambulla or Sigiriya, these rock paintings are perfect souvenirs to take back home. Styles have evolved but the ethos of the paint of raw rock remains the same.

Carved & Painted Wooden Furniture

Traditional & Colorful Painted Chests
Traditional & Colorful Painted Chests

Workshops in Kandy have lovely wooden furniture and sculptures. At the workshop, I visited there were lovely chests with colorful paintings on them. Most of these workshops ship across the world, so it should not be too difficult to get them home.

Sri Lankan Paintings – Sri Lanka Souvenirs

Paintings from the island nation
Paintings from the island nation

You can also buy colorful paintings that have a very bright color and yet clean look. Most of them depict mythological scenes including royal processions and epic characters.

These paintings reminded me of Tambekar Wada Walls.

Cinnamon Tree Bowls

Bowls made of Cinnamon Tree Dust
Bowls made of Cinnamon Tree Dust

You can buy a lot of wooden bowls, but these white and cinnamon-colored bowls with very fine polish look beautiful and unique. The shopkeeper told me that it is made with just a cinnamon tree – basically the inner part of the tree after removing the bark that we use as a spice.

I think the presence of Cinnamon makes these bowls an interesting souvenir.


Pay your mandatory visit to Odel and other Sri Lankan stores for the world-famous garments of the island nation. I picked up a lot of them last visit but this visit there was not enough time for garment shopping.

Elephant Art – Sri Lanka Souvenirs

Elephants carved out of Elephant Bone
Elephants carved out of Elephant Bone

The elephant is the most popular motif in the island nation. It should be for the country is full of elephants. You can find animals in all kinds of materials to carry back. Across the country, you can meet elephants in the jungles, so they obviously find their way into souvenir shops.

  • Soft toys in cotton – great souvenirs for small kids
  • Elephants in Gem Stones – for the connoisseurs
  • Elephants in Elephant Bone – Yes, you can have elephants sculpted from the bones of an elephant
  • Wood-Carved Elephants – elephant motif is common in the wood carving
  • Elephant Fridge Magnets – There is one sitting proudly on my fridge
  • Elephant poo paper is also very commonly available in souvenir shops

Shopping Tips

  • Always remember to bargain hard in this island nation. Rates quoted are a manifold of the actual rate. There is no way to know the best rate but try your best.
  • Laksala – a government emporium with branches all over the country and specifically at tourist locations is a fixed-price shop offering a wide range of souvenirs.
  • There are stores like Barefoot where you can get lovely designer souvenirs to pick from – I found them a bit pricey though.

Most of these souvenirs mentioned in this post can be bought at Colombo Airport Departure Lounge as well. Of course, they are priced a bit higher & bargaining is a bit difficult here though do not rule that out.

Recommend you read the following Places to visit in the island nation.

Anuradhapura – Things to see in the ancient capital of Sri Lanka

Ramayana Places to See in Sri Lanka – Adventure Travel Tales


  1. I loved shopping in Galle; that charming town has several boutique stores. I bought some lovely, but not-too-expensive jewellery from a govt. store (just so that that I am sure about the price and dont have to haggle). And lots of tea when we were passing through Nuwara eliya.

  2. wat about most use currency other than usd for some entrance for side seeing?
    can i use sri lanka rupees to shop in galle and odel?

  3. Loved reading this post ! I always buy too many souvenirs on my trip haha. I’m a huge tea drinker and I always buy a piece of jewelry from places I go so I’ll definitely keep this in mind when I travel to Sri Lanka.

  4. Thanks Kim for the info. It is helpful when you have an advanced knowledge of where you are going and on what to expect.

  5. I would spend my money on the baskets, that’s one, and on a lot of posters. I am kind of collecting old posters or old ads painted. I like to decorate my house with these things. I have some in Europe and here in Goa too but most are either French inspired or British. I don’t have one from Ceylon. Ironically I didn’t see these things on my short trip to Sri Lanka 10 years ago.

    • Helene, I saw a lot of Bollywood inspired posters in Goa somewhere – can’t recall where. If I knew, you like posters, I would have got you one from Ceylon. Baskets I assume you can use in your food photography.

    • Sinhala Sari is so much like Assamese Mekhala – a three-piece one, but they have the extra frill at the waist. I think I would also pick up one if I go there another time. Read the other Sri Lanka posts for ideas to travel in Sri Lanka.

  6. Really enjoyed reading this post. As a srilankan it’s always nice to see what others love about our country! However what you have written about the srilankan saree (we call it the kandian saree as it was originated in kandy). The kandian saree is worn with the same 6 yards of saree as you indians do. I’m surprised nobody showed you how to do it. The 3 piece one was invented as a easy way to wear it, and it’s popular with the younger generations. 🙂

    • Thank you for correcting Sammanie. Good to know that it is Kandian Sari – I did see a lot of brides wearing it for their wedding shoots all over Sri Lanka – even in Galle. So, I assumed it is Sri Lankan. Also, when you see the things from outside the country sometimes regional things take national perspectives. Next time, I am in Sri Lanka, I would look for someone to show me how you wear the 6 yard Sari.

      3 Piece Sari is worn in many parts of India too – like Kerala and Northeast India – as a tradition.

  7. What a great find this article is just before our travels, thanks Anuradha for sharing. Since we are staying in weligama, could you suggest any souvenir shops near that area ?

  8. Loved this article! As a Canadian,leaving for SL in 5 days,and,being a shopper,gave me lots of hints as to what to buy!Many thanks!

  9. What an amazing and a fascinating place to visit. I really didn’t know much about Sri Lanka but after reading this post I will surely visit one day. Thanks for sharing such an amazing post.

  10. I’m so happy to come across your article! My son and I will be traveling from the US to spend a month in Sri Lanka February 2020. If you remember, can you please tell me where you found the “cinnamon” bowl and also the painted wooden chests? Thank you,


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