In Pakistan the major towns have craft centres where handicrafts from different regions are sold. Special purchases include carved wooden tables, trays, onyx ware, silver trinkets, pottery, camel-skin lamps, woodwork, brassware, glass bangles, gold ornaments, hand-embroidered shawls, rugs and carpets, silk, cashmere shawls and saleem shahi slippers with upturned toes.
However, bazaars often provide the most interesting shopping. Peshawar (Old City) is home to some of the best bazaars in the country; they specialise in rugs, woollen hats (topis), leather chappals (shoes) and chadors (a type of light woollen blanket). In Peshawar and Karachi visit the Meena Bazaar (ladies only). It is a maze of shops mainly selling women’s wear.
It is expected that the customer should bargain for goods and as a tourist you will be asked to stop and look, or to pause for chai. The Saddar district of Karachi is good for souvenir style shopping and this is where the famous Zainab Market can be found. In Lahore try the Anarkali Bazar, which is believed to be the oldest bazaar in South Asia.
Air-conditioned shopping malls with food courts and shops are popping up all across the country, especially in Karachi. Malls can be a great way to beat the heat and offer a wide-range of international cuisine. Popular malls in Karachi include The Forum, Park Towers and Dolmen Mall. In Lahore, for a modern experience, try the Pace shopping centre.