Famed for its rich culture, stunning natural landscapes and architectural delights, Sri Lanka is a tourist haven. But not many know that the bustling markets of this tear-drop shaped island hold a very special charm of their own. These are the places that offer best insights into the culture and local way of living in the country. Here are top five places in Sri Lanka if shopping is on your mind:


Pettah Market

The bustling Pettah neighbourhood of Colombo is the best place to take in sights, sounds and smells of the city. Equipped with all major and minor knick-knacks that sustain life in the country, the market is a local favourite. It’s possible to buy everything from fresh vegetables and meats to clothing, electronics, gold and jewellery. The open-air market is especially famous for a wide array of freshly ground spices. Visit early in the morning if you don’t do well with crowds.

Paradise Road

A popular address in the neighbourhood of Viharamahadevi Park, Paradise Road is charming shop selling an exclusive range of products focusing on native art and culture. These include multiple home decor items, antiques and unique gifts. Their house linen, hand-painted mugs and plates as well as canvas bags draw attention of visitors. The store also hosts a cafe on its upper floor where you can gorge on good coffee and cake.


If you are looking to find the essence of the country at one place, this is it. Lakarcade is a shopping mall that has an enviable collection of local products as well as arts and crafts. You can find a variety of flavourful and fragrant teas and spices, shop for traditional jewellery as well as take home innovative art and handloom pieces as souvenirs. There’s a whole range of echo products on offer as well.

Dutch Hospital

As confusing as the name sounds, the Dutch Hospital is now a shopping and dining complex. A 7th century colonial-era hospital, the building is a great place to hang out, get a snack and check out well-preserved 17th century colonial architecture. Some of the most popular stores to check out here include Colombo Jewellery Stores, Harpo’s Colombo Fort Café, Ikoi Tei by WIP, Luv SL, Ministry of Crab, Semondu and Spa Ceylon.

Jaffna Market

A maze of shops selling apparel, fresh produce, clothing, utensils and even gold make the Jaffna Market of Sri Lanka famous. Some of the rare products that you can find here include Jaffna curry powder made from red chilli, fennel, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek and pepper as well as some locally popular sweet treats. These include peanut biscuits, odiyal and jaggery as well as bottles of nelli fruit cordial and grape wine.

For the latest travel advice from the Foriegn & Commonwealth Office including security and
local laws, plus passprt and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foriegn-travel-advice

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