This place is totally demolished
Lanka Hands is a great place to buy gifts and souvenirs from. It may not be quite as classy as Barefoot or Paradise Road, or have it's own trademark range, but it sells plenty of nice Sri Lankan craft items and at a better price than its competitors.
The shop, spread over 7 or 8 rooms each filled with something different, sells a range of stuff. While lots of it’s aimed towards tourists, there are a fair few things geared towards people that live here as well. There’s music (mostly Sri Lankan, World Music, and older stuff like Soul & Country); jewellery; handloom clothes, toys and home-wares; wood-carved household items, statues and masks; brass-ware; books and postcards; and other assorted odds and ends such as elephant key-rings, door-stops, bookmarks, notebooks, candles, and tea.
Price-wise, Lanka Hands has it spot on. I often feel a bit cheated when I go to Barefoot or Paradise Road looking for gifts for my nieces and nephews back home and end up spending over the odds for something small, but at Lanka Hands the prices seem fairer and things are much more affordable. A couple of examples just to give you an idea (sorry, lots of lists in this review, I won’t do it again I promise): their key-rings, notebooks, and other assorted souvenirs were all between 50-150Rs, masks started at around 2000Rs, hand-loom bags ranged from 1700Rs to 4000Rs, small lacquer boxes were about 1000Rs, and small brass items were around the 2000Rs mark. This doesn't give the full picture but, trust me, the prices all seem pretty reasonable.
The only downside to Lanka Hands that I can see is the overly complex payment system, which is similar to other places that Shru has mentioned elsewhere on this site (see Sen Saal
). You get the bill for your purchase from the relevant department. Then, the person who works in that department has to bring whatever it is to the front desk while you take the bill down. At the front of the shop you give your bill and payment to the cashier and your items go to a guy sat at another desk by the door. When you’ve paid for your things you take your bill to the guy by the door and he gives you your stuff back. It’s all pretty mind-boggling to be honest.
Despite this minor annoyance, Lanka Hands still gets my vote for the best craft and souvenir shop in this part of town. If it's home-wares you're after, then maybe best to stick to Barefoot or Paradise Road, but otherwise it’s definitely worth paying this place a visit.
A great place for souvenirs; but prepare yourself mentally for the payment process as it’s fairly bewildering.