Shop Till You Drop
Hand-made crafts to antiques, clothes to handloom, lifestyle, consumables, souvenirs – and tiaras: a day’s shopping in and around Kandy.
Distance: Round trip = 46 miles
Car costs (1-3 people) $85. 1-3 people.
Van costs (1-6 people) $110.
A day of strict retail therapy begins at Kandy Brassware Village to see craftsmen at work creating everything from oil lights to elephants, bowls to panels, before moving into Kandy city proper to visit outlets of two of Sri Lanka’s most popular retail brands, selling a wide range of memorabilia.
Odel sells a good range of men’s and women’s wear plus home and lifestyle products.
At the multilevel Kandy City Centre shopping mall are shops selling everything from cashew nuts and lingerie, toiletries, fashion, banks, electronics, books, spa & Ayurveda products, watches, perfume, flowers, sportswear, teas, jewels, shoes and food.
A pause for refreshments can be had here – or at the Queen’s Hotel.
Located directly opposite the Temple of the Tooth, this once grandest of grand hotels, was built by the last King of Kandy before being grabbed as a home-for-home by a British Governor. By 1869 the Governors had moved on and the building opened as The Queens Hotel attracting the great, the good and the wickedly wealthy. Its cool old fashioned bar served Lord Mountbatten of Burma and every luminary before with rounds of cocktails, peppery gins, juices and beer. It remains a decent and charming place to catch ones breath and revive over a cool drink and snack.
Suitably refreshed, its time to move onto to Peradeniya, the Kensington of Kandy.
Here you will find Sthree, a women’s social enterprise homeware shop, the famous jewellers, Premadasa & Co and their equally impressive rivals, Hemachandras, jewellers since 1942, and Gamini Gems.
Here too is Prema Brothers Antique Store – and Waruna’s Antique Shop, one of the country’s best antique shops.
Sometimes defined as anything older than PlayStation 2, antique hunting is an edgy sport on the island. If you wish to be sure that what you are looking at has real provenance and history behind it, then Waruna’s cavernous Aladdin’s Cave of discoveries, is the place for you to discover ancient flags and wood carvings, to paintings, furniture, jewellery and curios.