Photo Credit: kwan kwan

Local markets are great places to find local crafts and cash in on bargains in Sri Lanka. Haggling is expected but travelers should keep in mind that most vendors are not out to rip customers off. Haggling should thus be done politely and, even better, in the spirit of fun.

The country also boasts its fair share of handicrafts which make for great souvenirs to take back home. Some of the more popular local crafts include ceramic dishes, wooden statues and masks, cane and straw baskets, reed mats, silver jewelry, batik fabrics, fine lace garments, and brass ornaments.

By far the most sought-after product is the world-famous Sri Lankan tea. The tea industry is one of the largest in the country, the spoils of which contribute heavily to the Sri Lankan economy. Not only is the industry large, but it produces high quality tea. While most teas can be purchased from local markets and stores, the best way to purchase this fine product is to visit a tea plantation. Here, visitors can sample the tea and learn about the growing process before buying it.

Sri Lanka is also famous for its array of precious stones. The region of Ratnapura is the best place to find these gem stones, which include everything from blue sapphires to rubies and many other amazing finds. It is best to purchase only from reputable outlets as market traders may sell fakes.

Those travelers looking for something a little more refined will be happy to know that the big cities are home to several large, modern, and well-equipped shopping malls. Many of the more luxurious hotels have their own shopping centers which are open for public use. Here, travelers will find name brand favorites as well as useful travel sundries.

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