Souvenirs are great memories and would be a good gift idea too. Each of them has a story to tell and when given as a gift, can be a great conversation starter! Not just that, it makes you proud to pick up a work of art done by some artisan in the other side of the world only to look back and get reminded of the awesome time you have had. Most often, people pick up key chains, fridge magnets, and t-shirts as giveaways. While these are common souvenirs, it need not have too much of thought put to it. Pick up souvenirs that would make your friends or family feel that you have really thought about them even when you were away.

Being a responsible traveler and tour provider who is currently promoting local experiences in Sri Lanka, my recommendation are these two options.

Notebooks made out of elephant dung paper Sri Lanka has few orphanages that take care of abandoned and injured elephants. An adult elephant produces on an average of 100 kgs dung a day. In order to take care of them, the orphanage gives elephant’s dung to local factories that make paper out of it. There are quite a few places in Sri Lanka that sell notebooks that have paper made out of elephant dung. The production of the paper directly contributes to the villager’s income. These papers are then put together in the form of pretty looking notebooks. A great gift with an exciting story. Makes you a responsible traveler as well.

Handmade souvenirs made by destitute women in Negombo While buying a gift is a great idea, why not help the ones in real need as well? Thimble is a store in Negombo run by Indira Tibblin. For generations, fishermen have made a living on Negombo lagoon by using traditional methods. But times are rapidly changing, and many are now facing growing financial hardship and an uncertain future. Indira provides opportunities for fishermen’s wives to learn new skills and therefore this handmade store. The quality of the products here is great too. You can shop for bookmarks, mobile pouches, handbags, purses and more!

This post was written by Bavani Srinu, Founder of Ichiqoo, a travel website that promotes local and curated experiences in Sri Lanka. Ichiqoo helps travelers plan their holiday to Sri Lanka like a pro


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