First time in Dubai? No problem - this post has all the shopping information you need!
Shopping is one of the most popular activities in Dubai, for both locals and tourists alike. Before you head to the first shopping mall, here's a lowdown on what to buy and where to go.
What to Buy?
Before you dive into the one of the most spectacular shopping experiences of a lifetime, here are some tips on which goods you should focus on if you want to get more value for your money and bring something authentic home.
Middle Eastern spices at one of the souks are a must, especially if you're a tourist. Zaatar and sumak are definitely not something you can find at your local store, but need to try if you want to take a little bit of the Middle East home with you.
Dates are another specialty and can be found in just about any form, shape or size, but we recommend buying dates dipped into chocolate or the extremely delicious date fizzy drink.
Carpets and Kilims
Here, you can find high-quality covers, carpets, and kilims from Pakistan, Iran, Morocco, and Turkey. Whether you're buying it as a gift for a friend or to decorate your own home, the intricate pattern-work will surely be a conversation starter.
Arabian attars are a special kind of Arabian oil, which are usually within gem-encrusted silver and gold bottles. The enchanting aroma will leave you remembering your visit to the Middle East long after you've gone home.
When strolling down a souk, look for fashion pieces from local designers. Each fashion creation of local designers is a statement on its own, often combining a mix of traditional and contemporary dress.
Once you visit their gold souks, you'll probably never look at gold the same way. Their most famous gold market is filled with rows and rows of shops hawking gold in various shapes and forms. Best of all, it comes at a pretty affordable price.
Where to go?
Dubai is teeming with traditional markets that are not only extremely fun, but packed with authentic goodies as well. At the souk, you can get everything from wedding bouquets to traditional footwear. Great for walking around and shopping throughout both day and night, especially if you like to play a little game of haggling.
Also known as Little India, Meena Bazaar is a market where you can find everything from dates, chocolates and perfumes, to Indian clothes, gold, and electronics. It's a busy little place, open day and night, and makes for a great shopping experience. Shop during the day, and come back during the night, because the beautifully decorated market will make your stroll under night lights unforgettable.
The gold souk is as legendary as you might have heard. Take a couple of steps through this souk and you'll feel like you've stepped into Disney's fairy-tale Aladdin. The quality of gold is magnificent, and there is all kinds of gold to be purchased here. Besides purchasing gold, you're also able to purchase a variety of jewellery here.
Dubai Spice Souk
Located in Al Ras, this is a small souk that carries some of the most amazing spices of the Middle East. It's quite near the Gold Souk, so you can take a quick stroll from one to the other. It's a real foodies' dream, because it has just about any spice you can think of. The locals often recommend grabbing a six-pack to get the best value - that is, if you're able to even choose! Sometimes the sheer quantity of spices, coupled with the sights and smells can be quite a heady experience.
It's not exactly as immaculate as the glistening and luxurious shopping malls in Dubai, but it is an authentic space where you can walk for miles and miles, enchanted by the aroma of burning oak, without getting bored. It's great for wandering around and looking for your next best bargain.
The Dubai Fish Souk located in Deira is the place to be if you're looking for fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables. Come after 4pm, and you will be able to get your hands on fresh fish being unloaded from the boats onto the market. Popular for providing fresh goods, the largest seafood market in Dubai is also known for its friendly sellers, who'll do anything to impress you and sell their goods. It might even involve a show, you never know.
This place is teeming with tourists at all times, and no wonder. Not only is it crowded with stalls selling everything from carpets, furniture, and gold, it also has plenty of places to grab a bite.
Whether you're a shopaholic or not, Dubai malls are definitely worth visiting, if not for the spending, but for the sightseeing.
If you're looking for one of the comfiest places to shop, this mall is known as one of the best places to shop in Dubai. It's not the typical glamorous shopping mall you'd expect, but its unique European-inspired interiors make this a memorable place to visit. Here you'll get your usual American chain restaurants like Starbucks as well as local favourites like Papabubble and Azkadneya.
Mirdif City Center
Those who are looking for brand name stores, but don't like the hustle and bustle of bigger malls should visit this place. It's both relaxing and full of shopping destinations. You can shop for traditional Arabian clothing, decor, and furniture, while at the same time get your hands on designer bags and jewellery.
Dubai Marina Mall
This upscale mall is a haven for both locals and tourists - it's never over-crowded and it even offers free parking! Even if you don't buy anything, it's worth a visit for the relaxed ambience.
Ibn Battuta Mall
Some regard it as the most authentic place to visit, because it's a busy shopping centre and a museum all in one. Not only does it have a large variety of high-end and affordable shops, restaurants, and bars, it has truly unique interiors. If not for the shopping, you should definitely visit for the mesmerising architecture and design.
And finally, the Dubai Mall is one of the most visited shopping malls in the area. It's beautiful, also referred to as women's paradise simply because of the vast selection of shops and the amazing interior design. It can be very crowded, but don't worry - the entire place is very well-managed.
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