Shopping in Sri Lanka – What to buy in Sri Lanka and Where?

Sri Lanka, Travel

Shopping in Sri Lanka is one of the top things to enjoy on this Island paradise. From Sri Lankan masks to trendy clothing, the country is famous for quality products at cheap prices. Moreover, tourists can enjoy cheap shopping in Sri Lanka knowing that the country has strict rules for ethical labour and minimum wages.These rules, unlike many other Asian countries including India, are implemented and followed. You will never see child labour in Sri Lankan factories or cottage industry setups. It is mandatory for kids to go to school till 12th standard.

Shopping in Sri Lanka

What to Buy in Sri Lanka

There is a wide variety of products to choose from, in Sri Lanka – for souvenirs, personal consumption or import and wholesale.

where to buy sri lankan masks at the best price

Sri Lankan Masks

Sri Lankan masks are very popular for their intricate wood carving and natural paints. You can pick up a wide variety of sizes in these. The most popular Sri Lankan masks designs are Peacock, Garud (Eagle or Kite), Cobra and Fire. Sri Lankan masks were traditionally used in folk dances of Sri Lanka. They now sell in the form of fridge magnets and wall decorations. Different designs depict different things. For example, locals suggest hanging the cobra mask outside the house for it stands for ‘protection’ and wards off evil. You can read in detail about Sri Lankan masks, their designs, craft and colour here to choose the best for yourself. There are many cheaper variety of masks available as well, that use cheap wood and laquer paints. Know how to distinguish these two varieties in this blogpost.

Where: You can buy good quality masks from many shops across Kandy, Colombo and Ella. You can also pick them up at the Duty Free shops in the Airport.

Best Prices: You can get best prices for Sri Lankan masks in Colombo, Ella, some shops in Galle and surprisingly, at the Colombo airport Duty Free shop.

ALSO READ: Which currency to use in Sri Lanka { Sri Lanka currency advice }

gems jewellery shopping in Sri Lanka

Gemstones

Sri Lanka is very popular for Gemstones but again, you have be aware of real gems vs imitation. You can buy loose gems as well as gem encrusted silver jewellery all over Sri Lanka.

Where: Ratnapuri district is where most gems originate from and you will find maximum dealers and manufacturers. You can also buy select jewellery pieces in shops at Galle, Colombo and Kandy. In Colombo, the best place to get your Gem fix is Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Exchange, Level 4 and 5 , East Low Block, World Trade Centre, Echelon Square.

porcelain shopping in sri lanka - Noritake, Matale

Porcelain

With they country’s rich artistic and cultural heritage, Sri Lankan pottery and craft dates back to the 5th century before the Common Era. This expertise is born of a composite tradition of centuries. The perfect blend of a technological giants in the ceramic production world like Noritake, with superior manpower distilled from a strong artistic tradition and craftsmanship brought about the birth of a hybrid to the industry of porcelain ware in Sri Lanka.

Where: There are two Japanese factories in Sri Lanka that manufacture porcelain and export them all over the world. The more famous of them is Noritake. The other is Dankotuwa. Both of them have shops in Colombo but you can go to the Noritake factory in Matale near Kandy to get the best deals and shop for discounted items. They have yearly sales around 15th Nov – 15th Dec, so if you’re in Sri Lanka around this time, don’t miss adding some porcelain to your tableware collection.

ALSO READ: ETA for Sri Lanka { A step by step guide }

Odel Fashion shopping in Colombo

Fashion

Sri Lanka manufactures clothes, footwear and accessories for many International brands and is home to a lot of good quality local brands as well. You can find many export surplus shops in Colombo.

Where: One of the most popular destination for shopping is Odel in Colombo. It is a multi brand outlet like Shoppers’ Stop and Lifestyle in India. The only difference is that Odel houses mostly in-house brands namely, Odel and Luv SL. You can also find interesting fridge magnets for souvenirs and other gifts as well.

shopping in sri lanka batik

Batik

Sri Lanka is famous for manufacturing clothes and Batik handicraft – a method of design dyeing used in many Asian countries including India. ‘Batik’ is the art of decorating fabric with molten wax and then dipping it in dye, which does not penetrate the wax and so leaves behind intricate patterns, often in many colours.

Where: Jayamali Batiks Studio, Kandy. You can also buy the choicest batik sarees, right here in India from Hobogobo’s new venture – Travel Trunk.

Wooden Toys for Kids

Wooden handicrafts is a huge industry in Sri Lanka. One of the modern twist to that is the manufacturing of wooden puzzles and educational toys for kids. I picked up some Elephant puzzles from street vendors in Sri Lanka. You will find many street vendors selling these animal puzzles outside most tourist places like Polloraruwa etc. You will also find them in shops inside the Galle Fort.

Where: We got the best deal on wooden puzzles for kids at one of the local souvenir shop opposite the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

Tea

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest exporters of tea with a roaring tea industry that dominates the island’s central highlands. Introduced to the country by British tea planter James Taylor in 1867, tea irreversibly changed the topography, and even the demography of the country. In the wake of Sri Lanka’s coffee blight, British planters were quick to discover that tea was a more lucrative industry. Visit one of these Tea factories in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya or Ella to experience how tea is grown and manufactured. Pick up freshly packaged, locally grown tea from here. You can shop for tea in most malls in Colombo. In case, you don’t have the time to visit plantations, you can also pick up tins from the Noritake factory shop.

Where: Visit the Kurugama Tea Factory in Kandy. If driving to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy, you can visit the Blue Tea factory or the Glenloch Tea Factory.

Recommended Reads:

Sri Lanka Currency Advice { INR – LKR }

Sri Lanka ETA for Visa on Arrival { A step by step Guide }

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