your guide or driver will try to take you to a handicraft or gem shops where he will receive a commission.Wether your alone on a tuktuk or if you are part of a tour group from a reputable tour company ex. jetwing walkers you would be invariably be taken to a shop, factory spice garden where you would be expected to purchase goods at a very high price.The commissions vary from 20% in clothes shops and spice gardens to 50% in gem and handicraft shops. Commissions in Colombo and along the south coast are invariably lower than in other parts of the country.Kandy and Pollanaruwa have the highest commissions.
Unique Suggestions: Only shop when you are alone. Always send your driver away.If your in a tour group it is best to wait till you get a day at leisure. Catch a tuktuk and send the driver away. All shops outside colombo offer commision. So it is better to do your shopping in colombo. shops down the coast offer low commisions and therefore low prices. The exception being masks shops in ambalangoda. Book will not talk about this racket because the writers would have been taken to these shops by their drivers. Shops which are notorious for offering tour guide commissions are Kandy:-Oakray woodcarvings, lakruka woodcarvings, jayamali batiks,all gem shops especially prasanna ,senani silks and gems, zam, hemachandra,amith,ishani the list is endless.any shop in kandy, pinnawala,kandy road and dambulla road should be avoided.In Pollanaruwa Nishantha,Premadasa, New Gamini and Dhammika wood carvings are notorious. In Colombo Lakmedura, Origins,Lanka Hands for handicrafts and Premadasa, Wijaya Gems and any so called Gem Bureau offer commisions. As of November 2011 government run shops Laksala,Kandyan Arts and crafts association and the craft village(janakala kendraya) offer 10% commissions a measure to get tourists as tourists flock to such notorious places
Fun Alternatives: Your best alternative is to buy at the airport,hotel shops ect.The following shops do not offer commisions. They are in Colombo.Barefoot, Paradise Road, Odel.These hardly have cheap handicrafts or souveniers so its best to go to this quirky little shop called Lakpahana run by an NGO.Unbelievably cheap for obvious reasons. It is situated on reed avenue just past the cinamon gardens police station. For gems it is best to buy them in your own country.
Your walking down the sidewalk when a friendly man approaches you and says something like "Nice day for a walk" etc, small talk, and then he will say your staying at such and such hotel, and maybe you are, maybe your not, either way he works for the hotel, see's you there etc etc.
"I am on my way to the elephant festival, today is the only day, special festival" your thinking, wow cool, he then tells you that he'll take you and show you and grabs a tuk tuk, your thinking this will be cool. He takes you to the Buddhist temple (Name escapes me), there is no festival, but an elephant. He has a reason, you believe him and takes you back, then it's time to pay the tuk tuk driver, who is in on the scam. Depending on how greedy they are they can ask as little as 1800 Rupees (You can go anywhere in Colombo and back for 500 Rupees) to apparently as much as 20,000 Rupees.
A tuk tuk driver who didn't know I had fallen prey to this explained the scam to me just as it happened to me, to even say where it happened which was on my way to the Galle Face Hotel. I knew it was a scam as soon as we arrived at the temple and gee, no elephants and crowds. Oh well, if they wanted some outrageous amount I would have walked away.
This is the uncommon place in the Colombo city area, this is build by the British people to secure and proved information to the people who are visit to see the history of the Dutch who ruled the sri lanka during the 16th centaury, The old `Dutch House' on Prince Street, Pettah (Colombo 11) this was originally the residence of Count August Carl Van Ranzow along with five other houses of the influential.
This museum was opened to the communal in 1982 by the sri Lankan government . This construction embodies the exclusive architectural facial appearance of a colonial Dutch town house.
This is the main auditorium and reception edifice ( the prime conference hall) which located in the Colombo city Area, This impressive octagonal building was a gift from the Chinese government in memory of S.W.R.D Bandaranaike ( the former Prime minister) .
it was build in mid of 70’s , in front of this fabulous man made architecture you can see beautiful l Buddha Image, it is the replica of the aukana Budda Statue,
Please do not pay the snake charmers or stop to look at them. snake charmers remove the venom of the snakes thus causing them to starve to death over a very short period. It is incredibly cruel and only continues because tourists pay money to see it. Please help this awful practice stop - do not pay snake charmers.
The old trick to get money from tourists... the snake charmer... this one had not one King cobra but two. he must have been waiting for us: my other half is a snake freak and couldn't resist...
Unique Suggestions: take loads of photos - it's the only reason why you'll pay the money.
The 9th edition of the Lonely Planet Sri Lanka guide book has a review of a cafe in Cinnamon Gardens called The Commons. The review states that "it's a perfect spot to take a break or settle in to read the Sunday papers." Now, while the cafe is lovely-big comfy chairs, chilled out music, interesting menu-unfortunately it's not open on Sundays so unless you've got back copies of newspapers, it just aint gonna happen.
Fun Alternatives: The Paradise Road Cafe, 1km down the same road, has the same vibe as The Commons, with fantastic views of the Town Hall, but is open on Sundays
Change all your money at the Colombo airport itself. The Bank of Ceylon offers decent rates too. You don't have to change your euro, Yen or Sing$ into US$ first and the rate is much better than back home.
If you must try coral watching at Hikkaduwa try to get a full boatload of at least 6 people to share the cost. Each boat trip for half an hour cost about US$22 and the Lonely Planet warnings were right, it ain't worth it. No harm swimming though in the turquoise clear water. Forget about the corals.