Pettah
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Shoppers will find plenty of bargains in this area of street merchants.
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  • Markadlz
    Ashby de la Zouch, United Kingdom298 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    An average market!
    To be honest, this may be the biggest market in Colombo but it doesn’t have that much to recommend it. Lively enough but most of the good are generic and low quality. The fruit and vegetable area was probably the most interesting.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 11, 2024
  • marie j
    200 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Huge and cheap
    This is an outdoor market selling pretty much everything from phone cases to clothes. It’s like a maze with streets leading to streets and it seemed to be divided into sections with a clothing section, jewellery section etc. Pettah is massive, absolutely jam packed with people and stalls, there are places to pick up a drink but we didn’t find anywhere we could sit to drink it. We went early morning and it wasn’t too bad but by midday it was very very busy and exceptionally hot.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 14, 2024
  • Lonely Laowai
    174 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Actual market, interesting but not set up for tourists
    An actual street market, so expect entire streets selling single items or genres of item (we walked silks and ribbons street). Heads up this is not a touristy market like in southern Thailand, but an actual functioning market that people just go to in order to buy bulk necessities and materials for their businesses. It is crowded and smells of exhaust, and will not be for everyone, but if you want to see a real market this compares with some of the better ones, including even the famous bazaars at Kashgar or Istanbul.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 20, 2024
  • LolaGo1
    Washington DC, District of Columbia6,628 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Had my cheap dinners here plus some shopping
    I visited this market several times while I was in Colombo. I had cheap dinners at two restaurants here, also bought some fresh fruits and baked goods. There are lots to buy here: Jewelries, particularly gold, clothings, shoes, household items, items. Along the way from my hotel to this market are wholesalers selling spices, rice, cooking oil, etc. Very chaotic here, but after my first day visiting, I became more proficientt crossing the very busy streets and bargaining with locals.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written March 7, 2024
  • laczkozsu
    Debrecen, Hungary2,132 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Busy street market
    We arrived by train and went to this street market from the railway station. It was a bit shocking for me at first. Noise, heavy traffic, hot (35 degrees) and lots of different things. It was chaotic, but later we found a calmer part. I think it’s an interesting local experience and everything is cheaper than the hotel shops.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 21, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

3.5
3.5 of 5 bubbles314 reviews
Excellent
64
Very good
108
Average
99
Poor
23
Terrible
20

Jepro
Vantaa, Finland185 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
English below
Halusimme päästä perinteisen basaarin tunnelmaan ja ostamaan tuliaisia. Sen sijaan jouduimme keskelle kaaosta, jossa väkisin yritetään myydä ja sanaa ei ei ymmärretä. Turistit ovat kadonneet ja asiakkaista pulaa, joten tavara on pölyistä ja likaista ja hinnat taivaissa. Samoja tuotteita saa esim. pikkukylistä edullisemmin ja mukavammalla tavalla ostettuna.
Very crowded dirty place, where sellers are trying their best and don't listening word no at all. Products are dirty and old because turists are away. Go small villages and buy same products from there in same price but much nicer people.
Written February 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kate R
Windsor, UK746 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
An amazing place, everything you could possibly need to buy is available in this market, a brilliant few hours spent exploring on foot.
The range of fruits and vegetables available was awesome. We saw piles of Wood apples which smell like blue cheese, but taste like sour tamarind pulp. if you are brave enough sample them - Made into a wood apple fruit shake, they can be excellent.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sweekruth BP
Bengaluru, India114 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022 • Family
Offcourse it's heaven for Cheap stuff. You should go there especially if you love street shopping be it clothes, electronics, sweets, eateries etc. You don't have to buy, just walk around and your eyes will glitter automatically seeing all the stuff.

Btw click pics at the very famous Red Mosque. It's beautiful. Have a sweet or two at Mumbai Sweets ( no idea why they named stores after Mumbai)
Written January 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lonely Laowai
174 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
An actual street market, so expect entire streets selling single items or genres of item (we walked silks and ribbons street). Heads up this is not a touristy market like in southern Thailand, but an actual functioning market that people just go to in order to buy bulk necessities and materials for their businesses.

It is crowded and smells of exhaust, and will not be for everyone, but if you want to see a real market this compares with some of the better ones, including even the famous bazaars at Kashgar or Istanbul.
Written February 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LolaGo1
Washington DC, DC6,628 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
I visited this market several times while I was in Colombo. I had cheap dinners at two restaurants here, also bought some fresh fruits and baked goods.

There are lots to buy here: Jewelries, particularly gold, clothings, shoes, household items, items. Along the way from my hotel to this market are wholesalers selling spices, rice, cooking oil, etc.

Very chaotic here, but after my first day visiting, I became more proficientt crossing the very busy streets and bargaining with locals.
Written March 7, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Markadlz
Ashby de la Zouch, UK298 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
To be honest, this may be the biggest market in Colombo but it doesn’t have that much to recommend it. Lively enough but most of the good are generic and low quality. The fruit and vegetable area was probably the most interesting.
Written February 11, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

laczkozsu
Debrecen, Hungary2,132 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
We arrived by train and went to this street market from the railway station. It was a bit shocking for me at first. Noise, heavy traffic, hot (35 degrees) and lots of different things. It was chaotic, but later we found a calmer part. I think it’s an interesting local experience and everything is cheaper than the hotel shops.
Written April 21, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dani C
Bequia162 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
We got up early and took a tuktuk to the Pettah Market, as we are always intrigued by these local shopping experiences. Pettah is spread out over several blocks and is very busy with anything you could possibly ever want for sale. There is an open air vegetable and fruit section, which was cool, but we struggled to find food vendors and ended up eating in one of the small deceptively named “hotel” restaurants, which was fine, but nothing special. A fine morning spent, nosing around, but wouldn’t have missed it.
Written February 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

toopoortogo
UK3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Pettah market is easy to locate near the business centre area of the city (down the end past the "Inn on the Green" (amazing pub if you give it a try...bizarre to find attached to the gorgeous Galle Face Hotel (great for a massage and a wander around....lovely surroundings) you may want to brave it and hop on a 3 wheeler to get to the middle quickly.

Pettah market is a very busy, smelly, hot, crowded, sticky place to be. BUT ITS AMAZING :-) its great fun, you can find some great bargains amoungst the best tack you have ever seen!! great for gifts, material, and necklaces etc. The shops are close together and in front of them there are stalls selling...well you name it :-) When you walk amoungst the stalls and shops you will be chatted to in the normal Lankan street vendor stylee... just smile and say no thank you, they will leave you alone. If they dont, just duck into the nearest shop where they would never dare to enter.

It is normal in Sri Lanka for tourists to pay more than locals, you will find this often clearly displayed on the price boards of tourist hot spots such as the elephant orphange or other popular sites. this is deliberate, to enable more local people to use the attractions. Seeing as most Lankans live on very little, dont go overboard on the haggling but do ensure you get a bargain :-) if you buy from a street vendor. shops should have prices labelled but if in doubt ask. If you have a native speaker with you its handy, as not all shops will speak english. Often your hotel will be able to arrange for a young man to accompany you for a small cost (and a tip for the guy on the day) if you ask nicely. Hotels in Sri Lanka normally cannot do enough for you if you ask nicely and smile!!

So head down to Pettah and get in the hustle and bustle, breathe in the scents and experience the sights and bargains!! But follow these rules:

1. Keep your possesions tucked away... you have only yourself to blame if you get your pockets raided here...
2. Ladies, in Sri Lanka try to not go everywhere in hot pants and a vest top... most women there are quite modest and most never reveal cleavage... you stand out as a tourist there anyway and in a place like this you dont want to draw attention to yourself even more or you will be hassled by the street vendors more.
3. that said, keep your clothing cool and it will of course be hot and sticky and take some water with you as standard
4. try to take a guide if you can, but dont worry if you cant! you will manage!
5. enjoy!

Hmmm... and if you have some extra pennies left over try the businessmans lunch at the Hilton...not as expensive as you would imagine!
Written May 19, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HINA W
Islamabad, Pakistan7,297 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2010
Just east of Fort lies Pettah, the low end shopping district if Colombo. You will find everything from fruits to flowers, from gold to trinkets; from saris to t-shirts, from pots and pans to - simply think of it and its there. The overcrowded labyrinth of lanes and alleys is truly fascinating. Goods are stacked on the roadsides in heaps so the best way to move around is either on foot or on a rickshaw. If you want to find bargains like antiques and vibrant textile products this is the place. Just do not forget to haggle and bring the prices down. You can easily do your designer shopping of expensive ceramics and branded clothes in the posh areas of Colombo but this where you go to feel the pulse of the city and to witness its flurry and mayhem The only warnings are- beware of the pickpockets and the creeps who pinch ladies’ behinds, never eat from the food carts and avoid gemstone peddlers like plague.
Written August 17, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Pettah - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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