What a lot of visitors don't get to know about Dhaka is one magical area where everything is less than half the price of anything you will find in the richer areas such as Gulshan. The best part is that they are all in the same location, so grab an energy drink, and lots of spare change and dedicate a day where you head to the following treasure troves!
Be warned, though, that this endeavour is not for the faint hearted. You will have to tackle large crowds, high humidity levels and hours of bargain hunting. But any proper Dhakaiite will tell you that it's all worth it in the end.
For cheap shoes, bags, belts and questionable watches. Shoes of every shape, size and colour can be found on Elephant Road. Big names such as Bata and Gallerie Apex stand alongside small family-owned shoe stores that have been around for years.
Ladies, make sure you check out the famous Rakhee Shoes while you're there. When it comes to belts and watches, though, proceed with caution as something that catches your eye might be of dubious origin, but the prices are so low that no one can be bothered to care.
Bongobazaar/Badruddoza Market (opposite Dhaka College)
For cheap clothes for men, women and children. We take pride in our ready made garments export industry, and a lot of items that don't get exported end up in these two places. You will find the latest fashions and prices that are quite simply unbelievable. Although the statement “too good to be true” is accurate at times, if you ensure that you have checked your chosen garment thoroughly then everyone's a winner.
For cheap, secondhand books. Nilkhet is a popular haunt amongst everyone who has ever been a student in Dhaka. Although the dirt cheap prices are the main reason we love Nilkhet, it is also because of all the options we get there. You are more likely to find a book in one of the hawker stores at Nilkhet than in a fancy bookshop in Gulshan.
For cheap ... everything else, really! Household items, fashion accessories, stationery ... and also all the things that you will find in the other places mentioned above, but of less variety maybe. All roads lead to New Market, and you will never come back home empty-handed.