Those on the lookout for some serious shopping will definitely enjoy the groovy, vibrant Colombo. Indisputably the best shopping in Sri Lanka, Colombo offers everything from bustling outdoor markets to chic shopping malls and from colourful street vendors to specialty boutiques. But that’s not just it- you will find the prices almost as good as the diversity of items on sale.
Hunting for some bargains? Colombo is literally a bargain hunter’s haven; they can be found everywhere, but your best bet is to go straight in to the plethora of outdoor markets dotted around. A perfect spot is the Pettah Bazaar as well as across the Fort Railway Station. The cobble-stoned streets are fringed with shops and stalls that sell everything from fabrics, clothing and shoes to electronics, books and household items at really great prices. The goods are pretty much set aside in categories. For instance, you will find mirrors and glass showcased around Prince Street, music-related items collected around Malwatte Avenue and the household goods around Keyzer Street. Most shops normally close on Sundays in Pettah, but the Main Street doubles up as an open air bazaar. Another such lively bazaar opens well on Olcott Street, close to Fort Railway Station.
If you are looking for handicrafts and collectibles, there is no better place than the Laksala Emporium. The goods here are top-notch but slightly expensive. Located at York Street, you can drop at the shop anytime between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays and pick up lovely handcrafted lacquerware and painted wooden masks, batiks and handloom cloth.
If you want more options, you can check the shops around Cinnamon Gardens or Barefoot Gallery at Colombo 3 which has quality, charming and tasteful handicrafts, linens and handlooms at higher rates. If you’re hunting for antiques and top-quality home furnishings, check out Paradise Road, a posh boutique which doubles as a restaurant and has some branches too.
The quality of some items at street vendors and outdoor markets can be a bit a doubtful, so be sure to inspect any item closely before paying. If money isn’t an issue and you are only looking for quality, then you are better off shopping in the myriad of luxury department stores and stylish boutiques gracing Colombo. Odel is, of course, the one stop shop for everything you need. Up scale shoppers will love it here and it is by far the trendiest department store in Colombo. It is evident in their extensive collection of fashion wear to formal wear that Odel is fast becoming Sri Lanka’s premier lifestyle product destination. Locally produced clothing here is generally cheap and of excellent quality too.
Cotton Collection, House of Fashion, RomaFour and Beverly Street are some other similar excellent spots to pick up some clothes that are comfy and chic. Pre teenage clothing can be found at Kids at Kynsey Road Colombo 7 and Toys For U is a kiddie’s paradise of toys in De Mel Mawatta.
Large scale shopping can be done at Majestic City in Bambalpitiya. Most shoppers seek refuge from the heat in this spacious air-conditioned shopping mall. With a cinema at the top floor, a food court in the basement and a variety of interesting shops in between, make Majestic City a well liked shopping location.
Crescat Boulevard is another fine up market shopping mall in Colombo. The retail shops here are high-end and offer some of the best choices in the market. With its exceptional location adjacent to the contemporary Cinnamon Grand and in the heart of Colombo and one of the best places in Colombo to pick up designer brands, Crescat is an exciting place to shop.
Liberty Plaza is another mall that is worth mentioning. A multi-storied shopping complex, Liberty Plaza attracts huge crowds of ardent shoppers because of their varied range of merchandise that usually comes with an affordable price tag. From music to jewelry, Liberty Plaza is a satisfying shopping location with a small number of dining options available too.