Each country on the list of places for tourist trips is remembered not only thanks to interesting excursions and local dishes, but also thanks to its purchases. And what to bring from Sri Lanka, what is this exotic state famous for?
From this island lost in the Indian Ocean, tea, spices, local alcoholic drinks and sweets are brought. But you need to consider that tea and spices will end, the bottles will be empty, and clothes, precious stones, and art objects will be able to remind you of a visit to Sri Lanka for a long time.
Where is the best place to shop and what do tourists need to know so that acquisitions evoke only pleasant memories of their stay in this country?
Tea – Sri Lanka Business Card
The first in the list of gifts that should be taken from Sri Lanka is Ceylon tea – it is grown on this island and it does not require additional advertising. However, questions may arise about where and what kind of tea to buy in Sri Lanka.
It can be bought at factories operating in tea plantations. It is generally accepted that the products sold here are better, but this is a mistake, and the prices are too high.
Specialty shops and supermarkets offer a good selection of tea at a much more affordable cost. For example, a pack of good Mlesna tea (200 g) can be bought for 245 rupees, a simpler Maskeliya tea (200 g) costs 190 rupees, the same price for the common Dilmah in our country is 190 rupees (200 gr) ) There is also tea, packed in souvenir boxes, but only for these beautiful boxes you need to pay extra. Please note that the original good product must have a quality mark on the packaging – “lion with a sword”.
The best Ceylon tea is considered alpine, which was grown on the south side of the island (Nuwara Eliya, Dimbulla, Uda Poussellava). Tea, which was grown on a medium elevated territory (Uva, Kandy) and in the flat terrain (Ruhuna), differs quite a bit from the previous ones.
Sri Lak produces tea, both green and black, with and without additives. But the most popular, after all, is black. The rarest and most expensive is white tea, for the preparation of which only 2 top leaves are collected. Such tea can only be bought at specialized retail outlets.
By the way, you need to think not only about what tea to bring from Sri Lanka, but also in what quantity. The fact is that only 6 kg of tea is allowed to be exported from Sri Lanka.
National drinks such as coconut arak and red rum “Сalypso” are especially loved among Sri Lankan citizens and tourists resting here.
For the preparation of Arak coconut palm juice is used, and various herbs are added to it. Arak can be drunk as an independent drink with ice, you can use it to make cocktails with cola or soda – in any case, it does not cause a hangover. The price of a bottle of Arak (0.7 L) is from $ 8 (about 1000 rupees) and higher.
Red rum “Сalypso”, which has a pronounced caramel flavor, is made from cane sugar and caramel. To give a beautiful shade, juice of red banana is added to it, which is considered a very useful and even healing product. They drink red rum as an independent drink, mix it with lemon juice and soda, and also pour a little into coffee. A bottle of Сalypso (0.7 L) costs from $ 12.
There is another more interesting, but also more expensive version of this drink – white “Silver Calypso”.
Exotic fruits, nuts
The most common product in Sri Lanka can be considered cashew nuts – among the local population they have the same popularity as seeds among our people. They are really very tasty here: large and not at all dry, as in our stores. It is best to buy them in supermarkets – the quality of nuts is guaranteed, and how much are indicated on the packaging. Estimated cost per 100 g – $ 0.5-1.
Fresh exotic fruits without chemicals – this is what you can bring from Sri Lanka, and throughout the year. Pineapples, mangoes, papaya, passion fruit won huge popularity among vacationing foreigners. Each fruit has its own seasonality, and in the off-season fruits from China and Indonesia are brought to Sri Lanka – not only are they expensive, they are also crammed with chemistry. In principle, every type of fruit ripen on the island every month, but the peak of diversity and the lowest prices are from October to March.
It is advisable to make purchases in the market, and at the same time you can and should bargain, because for foreigners in most cases they ask for money for 1 piece as for 1 kg (overpayment will happen every 5).
In order to bring the fruits home in good condition, it is recommended to purchase them green or just starting to ripen. And since they ripen too quickly, you need to buy them no earlier than 1-2 days before leaving the country.
Sri Lankan law prohibits the export of fruits packed in hand luggage, they must be packed in a bag and taken to the luggage compartment.
Spices that are grown on the island
It is thanks to the spices that the local cuisine acquires a huge variety and diversity.
If the question arose, “What should I bring from Sri Lanka to feel the southern warmth on a frosty winter evening?”, The most correct answer is “Spices!”
Natural vanilla and cinnamon, cardamom, chili peppers, saffron, curry, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, ginger – all these spices are offered in large quantities in supermarkets and on the malls of food markets. Depending on the specific seasoning, it can cost from 1.5 to 3 $ per 300 grams. And 1 kg of cinnamon sticks can be bought for $ 12.
You can buy spices in the gardens where they are grown, but, as a rule, you will have to pay much more there.
Ayurveda is an Indian alternative medicine that has become widespread in Sri Lanka and has become no less popular than traditional medicine. In 1961, the State Department of Ayurveda was even organized here.
The most common trademarks are Dabur, Natures Secrets, Himalaya, SmithNatural. They produce a variety of cosmetics: cream, tonic, balm, shampoo.
Coconut and sandalwood oils deserve special attention – they have healing properties and have a powerful anti-aging effect. The quality of these products is really excellent, because the raw materials for their manufacture in Sri Lanka are enough.
Noteworthy are toothpastes, which contain natural components of plant origin. For example, a paste with red pepper, which has a burning taste of pepper and the smell of cinnamon, perfectly cleans teeth and makes the gums healthier.
You can also buy Ayurvedic medicines, for example:
- tincture of cinnamon, which removes head and toothache, relieves itching in places of mosquito bites;
- preparations for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases prepared from shell extracts;
- red oil from extracts of medicinal plants, intended for the treatment of joints.
It should be noted that even those cosmetics that do not position themselves as Ayurvedic are of excellent quality. So, you can buy funds for depilation – in terms of effectiveness, they are no worse than their European counterparts, but their cost is many times lower.
It is advisable to choose any cosmetic products in state pharmacies – the prices there are quite affordable, and the quality is checked. Do not confuse pharmacies and Ayurvedic shops in which the price tag for a similar product will be several times higher.
In Sri Lanka, you can find 85 varieties of gems that are known to geologists. Ruby, topaz, cat’s eye, pomegranate, amethyst, quartz, alexandrite, and blue moonstone are mined on the territory of the state.
But Ceylon sapphires are most valued – they have long been known for their large size, purity and a very rich variety of shades. Particularly popular was the blue sapphire, recognized as the king of all gems and is the national symbol of Sri Lanka. Next on the price scale are pink and blue sapphires, and the rarest sapphires are red and purple.
There are also star or star sapphires. Although they belong to ordinary blue gems, they are not found so often, respectively, are more expensive. When such a stone is illuminated, the rays are refracted and a radiance is formed in it, having the shape of a 6th or 12th final star – this effect is “asterism”.
The main sapphire center in Sri Lanka is Ratnapura. And in response to the question “Where to buy sapphires in Sri Lanka?” The answer will sound quite reasonably: “In Ratnapur”. There, in the center of extraction of this luxurious stone, a special market is opened. But throughout the country there are many jewelry stores and small factories in which they issue quality certificates necessary for the export of jewelry outside the country.
You can buy jewelry in Sri Lanka, but gold and silver items here are not only very expensive, but also not very attractive. Therefore, it is much more profitable to purchase precious stones separately, bring them home and order the manufacture of a product in a jewelry workshop.
Variety of fabrics
Sri Lanka is famous for the production of quality natural silk. A piece of fabric with a unique ethnic ornament is what to bring from Sri Lanka as a gift for a woman! Although you can immediately choose a finished silk product, because they are in a very wide range: scarves, scarves, dresses, blouses, tunics. Correspondence “price-quality” is optimal here.
Sri Lanka national clothes made using the batik technique are very popular among tourists. Such clothes are sewn only by hand and only from natural fabrics, which are also painted by hand. In most cases, cotton fabrics are painted, but silk can also be found.
You can buy such things from $ 10, and they are worth it.
Souvenirs made of wood
In Sri Lanka they make very beautiful, unique things from wood. Wooden souvenirs from Sri Lanka will be a good gift!
Here they make figures of fishermen, animals, people – everything that the master’s imagination tells you. And the most common are the figures of elephants – these animals are considered sacred on the island, and all the locals keep their images in their homes.
For the manufacture of figures a tree of different breeds is used, but most of all valuables are made of ebony (black wood) and royal ebony (mixed yellow and black wood) figurines. Ebony wood is very dense, so the figures from it differ in considerable weight. To verify the authenticity, the figurine must be thoroughly rubbed: paint and varnish should not be erased.
It is advisable to purchase wood crafts in souvenir shops, for example, in Colombo it is Lakpahana Handicrafts and Laksala – the products are presented in a huge assortment and at affordable prices. The cost of such souvenirs – from $ 3, and then it all depends on the wood used and the size of the finished product.
You can buy wooden souvenirs both in the markets and in the places of excursions, but only if there is an opportunity to bargain. As a rule, the initial price for tourists is called 3-4 higher, so you should bargain to the last.
Separately, it should be said about masks made of wood, which are very common in Sri Lanka. Each of the masks has its own purpose: a talisman for attracting wealth or good luck, a talisman of family happiness, a charm from evil spirits or troubles.
For their manufacture, the wood of a tropical caduru tree is used. The master paints the finished product manually, using special paints from the shavings of rainbow wood and other natural components. If you rub the surface of the mask, then its coating should remain intact – this indicates the excellent quality of the product.
The city of Ambalangoda is well known for the best masters in the country. In this city there are several Museums of Masks, where you can get acquainted with the history of their origin, as well as buy your favorite samples. The prices of such products start from $ 8.
What is forbidden to export from the territory of Sri Lanka
The following restrictions apply to the export of goods outside Sri Lanka:
- Sri Lankan rupees in an amount of more than 5000;
- Durian fruit with a strong specific odor;
- rare plants, wild animals, corals;
- precious gems that have not been processed;
- Antiques and historical values over the age of 100;
- ivory crafts without accompanying documents.
When planning what to bring from Sri Lanka, study this list. This will help to avoid misunderstandings at the customs!