Discovering Pakistan's Local Shopping Retreats - a Tourist's Take

Discovering Pakistan's Local Shopping Retreats - a Tourist's Take

Jun 27, 2019, 10:03:24 AM Life and Styles

Despite what mainstream media has led you to believe, Pakistan is a country that deserves exploration. With its wide variety of tourist attractions, the country is an experience on its own. Pakistan is one of the lucky few regions of the world that feature all kinds of terrains, along with a coastal area. Combine the beauty of all four seasons, there is always something to see in this country. From majestic snow-covered peaks to modern-day infrastructure, and everything in between, you don’t want to miss out on a trip to Pakistan.

Once you visit the country, you will come across not only incredibly compassionate and hospitable people but their colourful and rich culture too. 

While there is an amazing variety of ways to discover Pakistan, one way to experience it is through shopping. The country features a number of famous (and low-priced) street markets, along with contemporary shopping malls in different cities – the best of both worlds. 

While the modern shopping centres in Pakistan have their own unique charm, the street markets offer the true traditional essence of the region. The markets are home to a vast variety of consumer products, which tourists can take home as souvenirs or trinkets to remember their journey by. 

Following are a few street markets to try in major cities of the country:


Famous as the walled city, Lahore will offer tourists an unforgettable old-world charm if they travel to its outskirts. Given its rapid development over the past years, Lahore now hosts a number of grand shopping malls, but the locals will still tell you that nothing beats its street shopping experience.

One of the most famous of such markets is Anarkali Bazaar. It is the oldest market in Lahore and is a common attraction for both locals and tourists. Divided into old and new sections, Anarkali Bazaar is located along the Mall Road, which is one of the central roads in the city. 

The streets are lined with shops that sell various items such as jewellery, clothes, shoes, and even books. People with an affinity for local street food will also enjoy this experience.

Even within the old walled city, where one can also tour the ancient gates, there are a number of street markets. These include the popular Azam Cloth Market and Shah Alam Market.

For those seeking the more contemporary shopping experience, the Emporium Mall and Packages Mall are definitely worth visiting.


Despite being the federal capital of Pakistan, Islamabad does not disappoint in terms of street shopping. To mention one of the oldest and most visited such markets of the city, we have Aabpara Market. 

The market is located in Sector G-6 and often crowded with locals. People love coming here because they can find a variety of consumer products available at affordable prices. You will find shops selling clothes, kitchen items, sports goods, and even delicious dry fruit. 

To experience the upscale side of shopping in Islamabad, tourists should visit the Centaurus Mall.


Situated in the heart of Rawalpindi – adjacent to Islamabad; both collectively known as ‘twin cities’ – is the Raja Bazaar. It is the oldest market in the city and home to both retail and wholesale shops. There also happens to be an adjacent market for vegetables and grains. 

Within the same area, you can visit the Mughal Sarai, which is a wholesale market for torches, eyeglasses, cells, and calculators, and Narankari Bazaar, where one can buy general store products at much lower prices. For a sight-seeing purpose, tourists will enjoy the collection of British-era residential and commercial buildings. 

The market is quite crowded most of the time. Locals recommend that one visit before 11 am and use public transport. However, there is a three-storey car parking available nearby.


The city is home to a number of street markets that are almost always crowded with locals and tourists. Starting from the oldest, Boulton Market is famous for wholesale products. Many of the products found here are also supplied all over the country. The market is not too popular for clothing, but one can find shoes, eyewear, watches, and home accessories at affordable rates. 

Zainab Market is also quite popular among the locals; mostly because it sells export-quality items but at low prices. Many of the famous brands have their factory outlets in this area too. Another reason to like this market is the many street food joints; especially the local delicacy called ‘Ande Wala Burger’ (burger with patty and fried egg). 


No tour of Peshawar would be complete without visiting the Qissa Khawani Bazaar. In the olden times, people used to tell and sing stories to the incoming merchants in this area. Today, it is a hub for shopping, where one can find clothes, electronics, food, and more.

For women tourists, a trip to the Meena Bazaar is also highly recommended. In other street markets, Peshawar is famous for Chitrali Bazaar, Khyber Bazaar, and Andershehr Bazaar

One of the highlights of going to many of the street markets in this city is the abundantly consumed Qehwa. It is a sweet green tea that is quite popular locally. Shopkeepers may offer it to tourists as a hospitality gift.


Quetta, which is the metropolitan city in the Balochistan province, is popular for three traditional markets. These include the Kandahari Bazaar, Suraj Gang Bazaar, and Liaqat Bazaar. Tourists will find shops for local handicrafts in these markets. And these make for excellent souvenirs. 

One of the specialities is the Balochi mirror embroidery worked upon clothes and carpets. Many shops also sell shoes (sandals) and jewellery, along with fur coats, jackets, and vests.

Quetta’s Mari Abad area is also popular for shopping among the locals. This area is home to a variety of shopping centres; selling a whole lot of different items at affordable rates. 

Shopping in Pakistan’s different cities is definitely going to give you a positive perspective on its people and culture. Also, you are bound to take away some amazing memories and souvenirs to keep. 

For visiting these markets, most tourists find accommodations nearby. It is easy to find one with listings on websites such as You can also hire a local guide so you can have a more informed and hassle-free experience. 

Hopefully, this write-up has inspired you to take a trip to Pakistan. 


Published by Mohaned Gadnne

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