Shopping in Dubai
When you are in Dubai, you should go shopping. No questions, no hesitations, just go shopping. You may not find a bargain in the malls - items in Dubai are similarly priced to those in the UK, but the souks are a great place to haggle.
The scale of the malls and the added pizazz will blow you away, even if the shops available might be similar to a good UK shopping centre, you'll still be impressed.
I loved shopping in Dubai and the diversity of it. If you are spending a couple of days here, you should try and experience the different shopping options available –
We were staying near the creek, just off Al Fahidi, so we only needed to wander down and hop on a boat to explore the souks. Don’t be afraid to do the same, most of the little boats are there to transport people across the creek and you just hop on and give the chap that comes round one dirham and it’s as simple as that.
Spice Souk, Deira
First of all we visited the spice souk. This is located in Deira and consists of lots of little shop selling a variety of spices, herbs and more. We enjoyed wandering through the souk, but did feel a little pressured to go in to one of two of the shops and smell and taste some of their offerings. It was all part of the fun though and we ended up buying some camel milk chocolate in one of the shops. The man who worked there was really friendly and showed us lots of his wares and explained how they could be used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. The souk smelled lovely as you walked through it.
Gold Souk, Deira
We visited the gold souk next. This is a real sight to behold. The whole souk glistens with the amount of gold displayed in the windows and I should imagine a bargain is to be had. We weren’t there to buy jewellery, so we just wandered through having a look at what was on offer, but not really committing ourselves to going into any shops. There was less pressure to go into the shops in the gold souk, so felt a little more relaxed than the spice souk.
Perfume Souk, Deira
After wandering through the gold souk, we headed onto the perfume souk. This was an area I was most interested in purchasing something. We headed into a small apothecary style shop and were greeted by a really helpful man who had lots of glass jar filled with perfumes of all different smells and colours. We took our time working through different scents that were on offer and settled on the very first one we smelled. That’s typical isn’t it? We bought a 25ml vial of this lovely smelling perfume and an ornate old fashioned perfume bottle with a dabber attached to the glass stopper. The perfume didn’t have a name, just a code. I still love the scent of it and it’s even more special to me, knowing that it’s very unlikely I would be able to buy more.
The Textile and Fabric Souk, Bur Dubai
Back on the Al Fahidi street side, in Bur Dubai we visited the fabric souk. The offering was amazing, so many colours and textures. I bought a beautiful pair of bright pink silk and camel leather slip on shoes. They are decorated with ornate beading and sparkly faux jewels. These really appealed to my inner magpie. I had to barter hard for these. The seller wanted 225 dirham (almost £40) for these shoes. I knew we were being stung because we were tourists. After some fierce haggling, I got him down to around £20, which was probably still way over the odds, but I was happy to pay that. I sometimes wear these shoes to work on a Friday as they are so pretty and perfectly compliment my jeans on ‘dress down Friday’.
The Dubai Mall is huge and when I say huge, I mean huge - 440,000 square feet to be exact. The Mall is home to nearly every major fashion brand in the world. It is the largest collection of fashion brands under one roof anywhere in the world. I felt very at home here. It wasn’t all expensive brands either, there were a large number of affordable lines. I was happy adding to my shoe collection in New Look, Dubai.
When you’ve had enough of the shops in the Dubai Mall, you can take some time out and grab a bite to eat. There are over 150 places to get a bite. There’s also an ice rink and an aquarium.
We spent a lot of time in the mall. I bought a beautiful dress for a friend’s wedding the following week. I also fell in love with a gorgeous Fendi watch, but at over £3,000 we had to leave it in Dubai.
We also came back in the evening to see the fountain show. The fountain show is the largest in the world (they don’t do things by half in Dubai) and it’s set to music. I thought it was great. It runs every half an hour in the evening and is framed by the backdrop of the lit up Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building). If you like, you can buy a ticket to go on a boat ride past the fountains during the show. Tickets are priced at 65 dirham (about £11.50).
There are lots of other malls in Dubai which I hear are worth a trip to. We were only there for two days, so didn't get around them all, but there's more to see if you wish.
I would highly recommend Dubai as a shopping destination for a short break. The customer service was a bit hit and miss, but we came back to the UK with some lovely items from our travels and some fond memories.
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