The Top Markets and Bazaars to Shop in Pakistan

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The Top Markets and Bazaars to Shop in Pakistan

Pakistan is a country filled with vibrant cultures, traditions, and bustling bazaars that give visitors a glimpse into the heart of the country. From

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Pakistan is a country filled with vibrant cultures, traditions, and bustling bazaars that give visitors a glimpse into the heart of the country. From sprawling open-air markets to ancient covered bazaars, Pakistan has no shortage of places for visitors to experience authentic shopping while mingling with locals. Whether you’re arriving on a Pakistan International Airlines flight or travelling overland, here are the top markets and bazaars in Pakistan that you should shop at when visiting Pakistan:

  • Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore

One of the oldest surviving bazaars of the Indian subcontinent, Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore has stood the test of time since the Mughal era. Named after Anarkali, a legendary slave girl, this lively market stretching across several blocks is the go-to place to pick up traditional Salwar Kameez suits, embroidered fabrics, handmade jewellery and footwear. Shop owners loudly beckon customers into a maze of tiny stores filled to the brim with traditional wear, making for an intense yet quintessentially Pakistani shopping experience.

  • Raja Bazaar, Rawalpindi

Chaotic yet charismatic, Raja Bazaar in the garrison city of Rawalpindi is over 200 years old. One of Asia’s longest bazaars spanning over 1 kilometre, it houses everything you can imagine, from glittery wedding outfits to everyday homewares and electronics. Skillfully navigate your way through its cramped bylanes bustling with shopkeepers selling goods in bulk or single pieces. Remember to haggle for the best deals as you take in the electrifying sights, sounds and smells.

  • Zainab Market, Karachi

This historic open-air bazaar dating back to the British Raj is situated in Saddar Town, Karachi’s lively downtown quarter. In one of Karachi’s most iconic and affordable shopping spots, you’ll find rows of small stalls selling fashionable clothing like embroidered kurtas, dupattas, unstitched fabrics, and bespoke styles. Accessories like bangles, purses, traditional footwear and costume jewellery are also popular buys. Open 24/7, it’s a shopper’s paradise.

  • Qissa Khawani Bazaar, Peshawar

Immerse yourself in Peshawar’s rich storytelling heritage at Qissa Khawani Bazaar or ‘Storytellers’ Market’. By day, this atmospheric 200-year-old covered marketplace sells everything from fresh produce, and copper utensils to traditional handicrafts. By night, it transforms into an enchanting heritage site where locals gather around campfires, sipping tea and sharing captivating stories passed down generations, just as their ancestors did centuries ago.

  • Kalam Bazaar, Swat Valley

Nestled amidst the remote mountain terrain of Swat Valley, Kalam Bazaar is famed for its local gems and minerals, wood carvings and traditional garments. Marvel at the craftsmanship of the region’s ‘falak sher’ ruby rings and ‘sang-e-maha’ tourmaline gemstones sold at family-owned miners’ stalls. Intricately carved walking sticks made from indigenous walnut wood and ‘pakol’ wool hats are also popular buys.

  • Liberty Market, Lahore

Catering to the city’s elite and upper middle class, Liberty Market is Lahore’s famous high-end retail district housing local and international brands. The buildings feature Mughal-inspired architecture with striking domes and arches housing name-brand stores, trendy cafes and high-fashion boutiques along the bustling main street. Find gorgeous designer wear and luxury wedding collections amongst international cosmetics and accessories in this modern shopping area.

  • Tench Bhatta, Rawalpindi

Stretching over 5 kilometres, Tench Bhatta Bazaar situated near Faizabad is reputedly the longest bazaar in Asia. Primarily catering to middle and lower-middle-income locals, it’s the perfect place to experience budget shopping like a local and pick up great bargains. From dazzling imitation jewellery and everyday homewares to electronics and handicrafts, the variety is unparalleled given the scale. Bargaining is expected so bring your best haggling skills.

  • Ichhra Bazaar, Lahore

Established in the 1880s during the British Raj, Ichhra was once a thriving Hindu merchant district which continues to preserve its historical charm. The labyrinth of lively alleys is lined with over 400 closely huddled shops selling vibrantly coloured textiles, traditional garments, handicraft supplies and accessories being made, sold and exported across Punjab. Prices are economical while bargaining is practically mandatory in this no-frills bazaar.

With their captivating history and culture on display, Pakistan’s lively bazaars double up as attractions that let you experience authentic local shopping while discovering what makes the country truly unique. Which of these famous marketplaces pique your interest for your next visit? The vibrant sights, sounds and smells are sure to provide lasting memories no matter where your travels take you across Pakistan.