Sri Lanka is an island that is still in the younger stages of development. Thus, when you travel out of Colombo towards the lesser developed, and more rural areas you will invariably come across markets. Especially in areas that are considered “touristy”, these street markets are common.

There are two types of markets in Sri Lanka. One, where you get fruits, vegetables, and of course raw seafood. The other type is where you get little trinkets, key tags, t-shirts, masks, and other little items that depict the Sri Lankan culture. In both these places, there is one common rule: bargain. It is expected that the visitors bargain for every item they purchase, and the prices of each item is thus marked up. It does not matter if you are purchasing fresh fruits or a t-shirt, you need to bargain. However, remember that for most of these people this business is their way of earning the day’s bread and butter. So, when you are bargaining, make sure that your demand is not unreasonable. This issue of striking a deal can be addressed to a certain extent if your shopping experience is a part of your tour package or is organized by the hotel. There is many a Kalutara resort who organize such expeditions.

Marketing in the streets of coastal Sri Lanka becomes much easier if you are familiar with the local language. Of course, most of the vendors know enough English to make a sale, but that does not mean they are skilled in the finer points of language. You could, of course, hire a translator. There is helpful staff at the coastal hotels, especially at international chains like AVANI Kalutara Resort, who would be able to direct you in the direction of a proper interpreter.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life.