Pettah: The Federation of Self Employees Market


The FoSE market place is like Pettah condensed. Not for the weak of heart, haggle for anything from clothes to fairy lights.

While Pettah would take over a day to explore on its own, it's home to a plethora of little sub-market places — like the Manning Market, the Floating Market, and the FoSE Market, the latter which is what we're walking through here.

First Impressions

You get a massive takaran ceiling constructed over a metal frame holding it up, wedged between the main road and a bus stop — so if you're getting a 'Colombo' bound bus from the Kandy/ Negombo side, for instance, you're going to end up here as you try making your way to the next half of your commute. Of course, you can just avoid this if you take a different route... but bussing around isn't as easy as that. Your first impression of it is that it's a huge tent-like space with fabrics, plastics, and electronics all thrown in helter-skelter. It's like a garage sale... of sorts. It's also like you're walking through a tunnel of goods.

What To Expect

If you're a woman, plenty of catcalls. The pathway that cuts across the FoSE to the main road is literally surrounded on both sides with wares, be they bras, boxers, denim, disco lights, dolls, and goodness knows what else. Overlooking these wares and stalls are plenty of men of all ages, who are quite generous with their greetings. That aside, you can get the most unexpected things here.

From Batman sweatpants to meme-able t-shirts and jazzy denim that I've never seen anyone wear in real life. This is a place I'd recommend if you want to pick up something at the last minute, for relatively cheap. I say 'relatively' because Pettah once used to be the place where you could get nice things with your podi-salli (this might be a slight exaggeration) but now you'd need a solid Rs 600 or above for some clothing items.

It's also where you can pick up stuff for a costume party/Halloween/any themed party or just get new fairy or disco lights to re-decorate your room. Or even SL flags, if you're feeling extra patriotic.


Once you walk out of that commercial jungle, you're going to find yourself smack dab in the middle of Pettah (which part isn't the middle of Pettah though, really?), between the Bastian Mawatha bus stand and the train station. Cross over and take a left for the former, and a right for the latter.

For more on Pettah's markets, watch our video. 





On Olcott Mawatha, this is almost next to the huge Bo Gaha where the Vesak pandal is erected.