Bathik items are some of the most popular buys in Sri Lanka, its cheap, its lightweight, easy to pack and carry and most of all its beautiful. Batik items comes in various forms like shirts, sarongs, wall hangings, table clothes and as ladies wraps and dresses. These are really colorful items perfect for wearing in tropical countries which is why you will find many tourists wearing those. Batik wall hangings are also popular because the capture some of the things most unique to Sri Lanka. Wall hangings of the Kandy Perahera, Kandyan dancers, Elephants and Sigiriya wall paintings are some of the top picks when it comes to Batik wall hangings. These are made out of cotton, washable and durable making it a wise investment.
Handicraft, Silverware, Sculptures and Local crafts (Masks)
Handicraft and silverware are another two items popular with tourists. When it comes to handicraft wooden masks ( devil masks ), wooden carving of Elephants, artwork done using tree roots ( “Ruk Kala” ), wooden wall hangings, carved jewelery boxes are some of the most popular items. Elephants are like a symbol of Sri Lanka so you will find many tourists buying those and you will find various beautifully carved Elephant statues. These items can be found in almost any tourist attraction site and in major cities like Colombo, Kandy, Dambulla and Galle. Usually it is much cheaper to buy them near tourists attraction rather than buying them in shops in Colombo and other major cities. There are cities and towns specialized for different kind of handicrafts ( eg :- wooden masks -> Ambalangoda ), so if you can visit one of those cities or villages then you can buy it much cheaper. When it comes to silverware and brass items brass elephants, wall hangings and jewelery boxes are considered top buys. Kandy is the best place to visit if you want to buy silverware and you can get them for a much cheaper price too. Although not as common as wooden and straw handicrafts you can find them near major tourist attractions too.
Traditional arts & crafts are produced in different parts of the island as home based cottage industries where intricate skills are passed down in generations. These crafts are best purchased from the villages where you can observe how they are produced. You can also purchase these crafts from the government run Laksala outlets in Colombo and Kandy or Lakpahana in Colombo.
Antiques and Furniture
Most popular furniture among the tourists is the Dutch and British era reproductions.
Sri Lanka’s rich heritage with a blend of Asian and European influences extends to furniture and object d’art. There are several antique shops where antique Colonial period furniture to ornaments, Moorish porcelain, brass lamps and pottery can be purchased. Ambalangoda and Galle Fort are the most famous for antiques. There are several shops in Colombo as well where prices are somewhat higher than along the west coast.