Southern Comfort

The southern coast of Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the most revered tourist destinations in the island. As visitors flock to these beautiful shores, they find the coastline to be a treasure trove of trinkets to take home – and a trip to paradise isn’t complete without a fair share of shopping adventure.

With many items sold by small-time vendors alongside the road, the southern coast is a melting pot of various products that are available for sale. It could be something special for you or a gift to carry home to your loved ones to showcase the sunny tropical isle that you’ve visited.

You will find a smorgasbord of knickknacks and other more touristy products even in Colombo’s glitzy shopping malls. So here’s a roundup of items that you need to keep an eye out for when visiting Sri Lanka’s southern coast.

Galle is first on the list and most popular for its gems, jewellery, lace and Dutch antiques. It’s also home to a number of designer boutiques by various foreign and local designers.If you’re an art lover who likes a quirky poster or illustrated artwork, be sure to stop by the Stick No Bills poster gallery in Galle. Here, you can get a pack of illustrated postcards or an old store poster from the good old days of Ceylon.

Be sure to check out the many handloom stores found in this part of the island. Sooriya Weaving Mills is one of the largest handloom factories with outlets in the Southern Province. You will find exclusive clothes, shawls, table runners and mats, bed linen, cushion covers, souvenirs and many more gift items at these outlets.

Another must-see spot when visiting Galle is the Old Dutch Hospital shopping precinct. This is one of the oldest buildings in the island, and is now a bazaar with both local and foreign stores catering to a variety of different styles and prices. Take a walk along cobblestone roads and check out the stores with vintage style windows.

The best thing about this precinct is that you can shop and also take a breather at one of its many restaurants. Take in the view of the famous Galle Harbour while you enjoy lunch.
If you’re interested in Picasso style batik pieces that have been exhibited in galleries overseas, visit Ambalangoda for the best hand-crafted batik clothes.
The town of Weligama is also famous for its handwoven lace. Each delicate piece is made with care and exhibits intricate designs.

Unawatuna too has a wide range of local crafts ranging from handbags and dream catchers, to traditional masks, accessories and ornaments that are unique to Sri Lanka.


Compiled by Ashwini Vethakan

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