Pakistan’s shopping scene offers the variety and affordability of India but without the crowds and the hassle. There are certain products which are quintessentially Pakistani and should not be missed. Everything from hand-crafted wooden tables, pottery and camel-skin lamps to silver jewelry, hand-embroidered shawls and hand-woven rugs can be found here and with enough searching, for the right price. Many markets also specialize in certain goods, including Chinese electronics, medicinal goods, leather clothing, local art and delicious Pakistani food.
Some of the best goods can be found in the traditional bazaars in the major towns and cities. Not only is the produce great but the atmosphere provides an interesting shopping experience. The best bazaars in all of Pakistan are to be found in the Old City in Peshawar. These boast everything from authentic Afghan carpets, and ornately decorated women’s wear to quaint handicrafts which would make for great souvenirs to take back home. The Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore, which is touted as the oldest bazaar in all of Southeast Asia, is also worth a visit.
Bazaars are great places to find bargains and haggling is definitely expected, but travelers should keep in mind that most traders are not intent on ripping buyers off. Haggling should be done politely and in the spirit of fun.
Travelers looking for something a bit more refined should not despair as more frequently large shopping malls are popping up around Pakistan. Housing everything from designer stores with the latest brands and vast food courts, these malls are the perfect place for a bout of retail therapy. Popular air-conditioned malls include The Forum, Dolmen Mall and Park Towers, all in Karachi.