Dubai’s souks are old Arabian markets, selling everything from gold to spices, and textiles to trinkets. Head to Bur Dubai and Deira for the Emirate’s main souks. These undercover markets are currently being restored to better showcase their ancestry and display Dubai’s history.
Whatever you could possibly want will be found in these souks, and even if you don’t plan on spending any money, simply exploring the markets, the stalls and chatting to the vendors will make for an exciting, lively day out.
Marvel at the intricate, shimmering jewellery, and the rich tapestries, rugs and textiles on sale. Spices, herbs, meats and fresh food make the air thick, and the noise of hagglers and tradesmen will be your soundtrack.
If you do decide to buy – don’t forget to bargain! Vendors will expect you to make them drop the price, and will enjoy watching your efforts. In most cases, you’ll be able to knock a fair amount off the final price, especially if you’re paying in cash, and you’re parting with a lot!
The most famous souks to visit on any trip are the Bur Dubai Textile Souk, and the Gold Souk. The Bur Dubai souks are located less than five minutes from the Dubai Museum, and will set you up for a wonderful evening. Try to go later in the day, when the temperatures have cooled. You’ll be able to watch locals expertly bargaining for lower prices, with dhows draped in fairy-lights floating along the nearby Creek. Shindagha, just down from the souk, is the best place to try sweet sheesha and an Arabian mezze.
For the ramshackle, hectic Deira souks, where the Gold Souk is located, take an abra from Bastakiya, and wind through narrow lanes filled with souvenirs and charms, until you reach the Gold Souk. Gold is getting more expensive in Dubai now, but there’s still a lot to be said for browsing through the gleaming rails of jewellery, marvelling at the delicate links and decorative pieces.