Aarong has a series of outlets in Bangladesh (7 at the last count), and an export branch at the head office in Dhaka.
Aarong carries a range of textiles and local craft, and most of it would come under the unbrella "gifts".
Aarong is run by the world's largest NGO, BRAC, and their outlets feature production from their various projects in the country. No kidding, this is serious stuff! Beautiful clothing, jewellry, wood craft, local embroidery and the like. Of the shops I visited, I liked the boig one in Dhaka's Gulshan Tejgaon Link Road best.
What to buy: I bought a silk and cotton kurta, and some small gifts for them stranded at home.
What to pay: Very reasonable for a tourist's wallet, expensive by local standards, but then the surplus goes back to the development fiancing of BRAC.
Jamdani sarees of Bangladesh are famous. They are beautiful, generally light coloured fine sarees with single or multi coloured geometric or floral designs. When we went to Bangladesh, I remember, all the ladies of our 23 members team were busy doing lots of shopping of Jamdani sarees.
In this shop in the foyer of the Sonargaon Hotel downtown Dhaka there is a decent range of books and also quite a few maps.
What to buy: Good maps are hard to come by in Bangladesh. The best is to bring in the Nelles' North-East India map and supplement with local and regional maps that you can get in this shop. At the Elephant Road markets I also found some good books and maps.
For the intrepid and very eager traveller I can recommend a home-made Bangladeshi atlas, mainly made for educational purposes. It's called Graphosman World Atlas, published by Graphosman, 3/3-C Purana Paltan, Dhaka-100.
The interesting thing about this Atlas is its thematic section on Bangladdesh that goes over 29 pages. Very useful if you want to learn more about the country.
What to pay: Tk 100,-
What to buy:
The men's most used attire in Bangladesh is the longyi. The longyi is a rectangular piece of woven cloth sewn together at the short end to form a tube. It is long enough to reach from the waist down to the ancles, and wide enough to go around the waist 1 1/2 times. A twisted knot is then tucked in in front to keep it from falling off.
When travelling in Bangladesh this thing comes in very handy when going to the bathroom, changing clothes in a public space, as an emergency bed sheet, a cover against mosquitos, a cover when you sleep on buses, trains; milling about in the evening or morning, or on the beach.
The longyi probably won't fit you well Bengali style if you're a faraway-foreigner, so for other less informal purposes use lightweight pants and other tropical gear (save the shorts).
Longyis come in a variety of materials and vowen patterns - rarely printed. Mainly they are made from cotton, from coarse to the finest of the fine, but also silk and polyester. Except for those used among the Chittagong Hill Tracts people the patterns do not define background, ethnicity, belonging and status. You cannot read off the longyi exactly what person this is. Only personal taste.
What defines a good longyi is the quality of the thread and the evenness of the weave and harmony of the pattern. It's like a tie - it's a man's only chance to express personality and style.
As a traveller and visitor, go for it and buy two: one for that public bath task, the other for informal evening wear among friends.
What to pay: For a longyi you will come off with a stack for very few Taka, if you don't mind going for lesser quality it's hardly a budget consideration at all.
Several stalls in the New market in Dhaka are devoted to ready-made and by-the-bead jewlery. You can look for something that you can wear immediately, but also compile yourself and have them string it up for you according to your wish.
What to buy: I bought some bangles and things for putting in the hair for my niece. Many colorful things and goodies for children here.
What to buy:
Lengths of cotton and silk are available at very good prices in Bangladesh. The best places to buy are in Dhaka's main markets and department stores.
You can have your clothes made, too.
Other good ready-mades are shawls scarves etc.
What to pay: According to quality and quality - in any case, modest, local prices.
Along busy streets and on street corners itinerant and established cobblers or shoe makers set up shop.
If you need to fix your shoes, Dhaka's cobblers will do a good job cheaply and quickly.
If you are struck in traffic you can have a quick shoe polish while you wait in your rickshaw for the jams to clear.
Given the huge textile production in Bangladesh, there is a significant surplus production over and beyond the order from abroad and B-sorting that remain in Bangladesh.
This is sold through quality shops (Westecs ) and the fake stuff and B-sorting ends up in less formal textile markets in town, such as in the Banga Bazaar.
What to buy: You will find some genuinely good clothes here, of well-known brands. I buy my shirts here if I can - last time a whole stack of them of which I still have some unopened three years after.
What to pay: Very little compared to the price for the same back home if you live in the brand-name home country or thereabouts. Maybe as much as 10% of the price.
This large, one-block market has absolutely everything you may or may not need. It is a fairly modern middle class consumers' market.
Just a walk here is interesting.
What to buy: Nice jewelry
Music CDs, tapes
You name it, they have it.
What to pay: Very cheap, except for such things as imported Samsonite suitcases (such as I was looking for...) and other high-end imported consumer goods.
Aarong Handicrafts has three locations in Dhaka, and one in Chittagong.
They have a wide variety of gift and clothing items, run by what seems to be a consortium of home producers and NGO procudtion initiatives with a pro-poor purpose.
What to buy: For men, the thing to buy, use in Bangladesh and to bring home, too, are silk kurtas of different cuts and patterns, needlework and colors. They are very good and look very nice. You will never use a Hawaii shirt after this.
You also get Gandhi-style cotton homespuns and raw silk ones that are simpler, yet warmer.
What to pay: Cheap it isn't for Bangladesh, but if you are on a holiday in Bangladesh paid by yourself, you can afford this. It will not be beyond 40 dollars for the finest shirt/kurta you can imagine. And all the rest would be much cheaper.
Several places offer colorful and beautiful jute carpets for sale. They tend to come in the prayer rug size as the standard, and then as larger floor covers, runners etc.
Jute carpets do not survive very long, they get worn and frayed after some time of use as floor rugs. OK for wall decorations and as prayer mats, though.
For the floor, you better look outside Bangladesh to find South Asian and Central Asian silk carpets (plenty of cash at hand is a must) or cotton or wool carpets from India or Tibetan style wool carpets from Nepal.
What to buy: Jute carpets.
What to pay: 20 dollars and up, depending on size.
Several shops and jewelries in Bangladesh have a good selection of the indigenous pink pearls. The pinkyness is caused by the river silt that actually pollute the river and brackish-water pearls.
What to buy: Pink pearls come in a variety of qualities and price categories, set or unset in gold or other metal jewelry.
Personally I find the pink pearls matched with the dark yellow gold (22-24k) of Bangladesh' goldsmiths very attractive. Also mixed with red rubies they do a good job.
Compared to India's and especially Nepal's rather bulky and standard indigenous investment jewelry, Bangladesh seems to have a finer, more delicate and artistic flavour to its jewelry.
What to pay: You will find something you like at the cost you can afford. All options are there. But basically, you pay very little for the actual art work done by the jeweler.
The pearls are priced according to color, lustre, size and roundness. Be smart and check the normal asking prices before you head out to buy.
For handycraft you can visit some shope in Dhaka, thoese are special for handycrafts,
For pearls you may visit ARONG, which is famous for it and guaranted for pureness.
What to buy: handycrafts are good to buy, there are differents type of handycrafts to buy, Visit the shope and choose yourself what to buy.
Bangladesh is femouse for pink pearl around the world, You will find the natural pearls in here, if you are interested in pearls then you must try with the femous PINK PEARLS of Bangladesh.
What to pay: Prices depends on the size and shape of the pearls.
After a bad experience with the Sheraton last time this place is excellent. Great location...more
Kalatoli Beach Road, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
Good for: Couples
House-02, Road-10, Sector-01, 1230