Practical Life in Colombo

Shopping in Colombo

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Cost of Living in Sri Lanka

The cost of living in Sri Lanka is quite reasonable; especially if you are look at groceries. Supermarkets are priced at rates far lower than in Europe or UK. Local eateries are also relatively inexpensive and provide basic, fresh food. The more expensive items are imported, such as international brands of alcohol, cosmetics and toiletries.

Rental prices for accommodation and eating out are costlier than in places like India, but still very reasonable by Western standards.

If you are earning foreign currency, you should be able to live very well.

Milk (1 liter) – 190 Rs
Rice (1 kilo) – 95 Rs
Eggs (dozen) – 198 Rs
Chicken Breast (1 kilo) – 650 Rs
Casual Meal – 250 RSs
Local Beer – 350 Rs
Imported Beer – 450 Rs
Coke – 85 Rs
Bottled water – 45 Rs

Rent for a 1-bedroom in city – 40,000 Rs
Real estate price per square meter - 270,000 Rs
Monthly utilities – 7,850 Rs
Internet - 2,500 Rs

Childcare (month) – 6,300 Rs

What to Buy in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan specialities include: Ceylonese leaf tea, precious gems and jewellery, wood masks, Dumbara mats, and spices like cinnamon. The cinnamons stick is especially popular, and you can get wood bowls carved out of cinnamon tree. The Sri Lankan sari also makes for a beautiful souvenir. Handwoven garments are another must have. A motif to look for is anything elephant as they adorn everything from clothing to jewellery to gem trinkets.

Shopping Areas in Sri Lanka

There are many shopping centers and malls in Sri Lanka, with he highest concentration in the capitol of Colombo.

Once just a department store, this is now over 30,00 an integral part of the city's shopping scene. Boasting 30,000 square feet of shops. Its beautiful colonial-inspired architecture covers everything from garments to perfume to books to jewellery.

Majestic City
Known as MC, this is one of oldest malls in Sri Lanka. There are seven-stories of shopping with almost 100 stores. There is a play area for children, and a food court so you can just keep shopping. Attached is a cineplex.

House of Fashions
This is the place to shop and be seen. Brand names abound for men, women, and children. There is a lobby, information centre, and goods to fit any want.

Arcade Independence Square
This is a complex of colonial-themed outlet shops. It is a great place to shop or meet up as there is plenty of outdoor seating, as well as gardens and fountains. International dining options are available, as well as a cineplex.

Dutch Hospital Shopping
Not just a historical attraction, this area is great for its many distinct shops.

Liberty Plaza
Liberty Plaza is a classic dating back to the 1980s. It offers great discount outlets but is closed on Sunday.

Markets in Colombo

A true feel of the country will come when you visit a local flea market! These are vibrant, colourful and an unforgettable cultural experience. Markets are common in every city of Sri Lanka and a guided tour is a great way to understand their unique history.

Best markets in Colombo:

  • Pettah Market – Also listed in our attractions, this is the largest and most famous market in Colombo
  • Kala Pola Art Market – A roadside market showing unique collections of Sri Lankan art
  • Good Market – This store is open every day, but Saturday mornings it also takes over the racecourse parking lot with organic goods
  • Galle Face Green Night Market – This is the place for street food and it is best after dark.

Always feel free to bargain in Sri Lanka, particularly at the markets.

Supermarkets in Colombo

There are small local shops as well as big supermarket chains in Sri Lanka. Both can be used for getting daily groceries and household needs. Big chains include: Keells Super, Cargills Food City, Laughs Supermarket, and Manin Supermarkets. Online shopping like is another good option.

Update 22/07/2018


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