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Pakistan Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Pakistan

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.

Shopping Note

There are restrictions on what you can bring out of the country. If you are in doubt about antiques, it is safest to ask a museum curator. If you are carrying pieces of furniture of any description, at the airport you will be asked to produce receipts. Jewellery must be worth less than $500 (US) if bought in Pakistan, again keep receipts. Most foreigners at the airport are subject to baggage inspection upon departure.

Shopping hours

Sat-Thurs 0930-1300 and 1500-1830. Bazaars stay open longer.

Nightlife in Pakistan

With alcohol consumption prohibited in Pakistan, there is little Western-style nightlife. A night out is likely to involve visiting a cinema or restaurant, many of which show international as well as Pakistani films.

Lahore has the liveliest nightlife thanks to the Al Hamra Art Centre, which puts on popular theatre performances and musical events throughout the year. After the show, patrons head to the fantastic Gawalmandi Food Street, which is a one-stop shop for delicious Pakistani food. Others choose to stroll around Racecourse Park or go for a coffee at the Fortress Stadium.

Karachi's nightlife tends to centre round shopping on Tariq Road or the beach promenade at Clifton. Well-heeled diners can be found tucking into buffet dinners at one of the city's many top end hotels. Others head to the culinary Mecca that is Burns Road, which serves gorgeous street food in chaotic surrounds.

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