Pakistan’s rich history traces back to the very beginnings of human life in South Asia. The Indus Valley civilization, among the oldest in the world, makes its home here. The country is a treasure store of handcrafted goods made with care by people who grew up learning their craft.
Pakistan’s national currency is the rupee or PKR. Coins are in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 rupees. Banknotes are in values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 rupees. ATMs are available in most areas and accept major credit cards.
Bring an extra suitcase when you travel to Pakistan. Garments, bedding, shirts, and T-shirts can be purchased very cheaply. You’ll find brands such as Adidas and Levis prepared in Faisalabad, one of the largest textile areas in the world. You’ll find these brands in local stores. Pick up a pair of Levis for 1400-2500 PKR.
For something with a little more ethnic feel and something you just can’t buy at home, look for pashminas, wool shawls, and wraps. You’ll find simple to extravagant – bargains to luxury items.
Leather goods including shoes, jackets, and bags, can be purchased here. You’ll also find books, home accessories, and food. Try Swat honey and Mitchell’s chocolate.
When it comes to sporting goods you’ll not find such high quality at such low prices anywhere else. Stock up on supplies like cricket bats, balls, footballs, sportswear, and more. Sialkot produces 90% of the world’s sporting goods and is the largest equipment provider of FIFA’s World Cup.
Other goods to look for are surgical instruments, computer accessories, and musical instruments. You might find an acoustic guitar for 2000 PKR. Chinese goods, especially electronics, are re-exported from Pakistan and can be found much cheaper than in other parts of the world.
If you’re hoping to find art, a real souvenir of the Middle East, or jewelry, you’re in the right place. Pakistan is the place to find beautiful Arabian, Afghan, Iranian, and Pakistani carpets. Look for decorative wood carvings in everything from wooden bowls, utensils, furniture, and artistic pieces. Jewelry and gems are very inexpensive in Pakistan, too.
Other handicrafts you’ll want to bring home are Ajrak from Sindh, blue pottery from Multan, and clay pottery from Karachi. Pottery is a living history in Pakistan. The traditional craft became an art. The origins go as far back as 3000 B.C. Today you’ll find sturdy terracotta and paper thin ceramics. The vivid colors range from mustard yellow to deep green, from brick red to sky blue.
Browse glassware, brassware, marble products, crystal ware, antiques, and more. Take in a few art galleries on your trip to Pakistan. You’ll enjoy strolling through galleries in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. The range of artwork varies in style and price. You’re sure to find a piece that will catch your eye.
Business transactions move at a slower pace here. Be prepared to socialize and meet lots of people. Rushing someone is considered rude. Always give and receive with the right hand (this includes money).
Be sure to barter in the markets, but expect Pakistanis to be hospitable. The residents pride themselves on a tradition of warmth and generosity. If offered tea, sweets, or gifts upon entering a home, don’t refuse them; this is considered ungrateful behavior. Take your time and enjoy all that Pakistan has to offer.