You don’t get hassled to buy things here, mainly because there isn’t very much produced with the tourist market in mind. Even quality postcards are hard to come by.
Things not to buy are products made from wild animals, reptiles, seashells and coral, all of which are under pressure to survive in this crowded country. There is also a trade in the country’s artistic treasures, which are often plundered from Hindu temples.
Souvenirs include jewellery, garments, brasswork, leatherwork, ceramics, jute products, artwork, woodcarvings and clay or metal sculptural work. Unique items include jamdani (loom-embroidered muslin or silk) saris, jute doormats, wall pieces, glass bangles and reed mats. Quality is generally high and the prices generally low.
Jute carpets, if you have the room, are a real deal. The better ones are similar to Oriental wool carpets, although they don’t last as long; perhaps five or more years.
The best place to buy handicrafts is Dhaka where you can get almost anything that’s sold elsewhere, though you may be able to find more unusual Adivasi handicrafts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and in the villages around Srimangal.
The Bangladeshi garment industry is one of the biggest producers of Western clothing, which you can either buy from high-street fashion-label stores around Gulshan or at the enormous Banga Bazar in the form of cheap seconds and overruns. There’s also a good range at New Market.
Many visitors choose to buy traditional Bangladeshi clothing, either to wear here (it’s much more suited to the hot conditions) or to take home as a gift or souvenir. Again, Dhaka is the best place to look.