Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shopping in Dubai

Among the many charms of Dubai is shopping. Whether it's haggling over Persian carpets in the centuries-old souks or shopping for French perfumes in the air-conditioned hush of the most modern department store, Dubai offers every shopper a great experience. And as an open port with low import duties, prices are very attractive. Trade is at the heart of Middle-eastern culture, so the variety of products is staggering.

So if you're moving to Dubai to live or just spending a few weeks vacation, shopping will be one of the highlights of your visit. Here's the lowdown on the shopping scene in Dubai which offers literally thousands of shopping outlets across the city. First, let's look at where to go. We'll refer to locations relative to the Dubai Creek, the waterway that splits the city into the two halves of Deira and Bur Dubai.

For sheer comfort, you can't beat Dubai's many fantastic shopping plazas. These multi-storey emporia sell everything from designer fashions to the latest in Eastern technology. They also house restaurants, cafes and movie theaters for the total day out, so finding something to do, and doing it for the whole day, is an easy task in Dubai. Among the most prestigious in Bur Dubai is the centrally-located Bur Juman Center, enormous shopping mall with hundreds prestigious stores adorning the latest in fashion and design, as well as restaurants, textiles and various other attention grabbing shopping outlets.

Leading malls in the Deira district include Al Mulla Plaza, the Intercontinental Plaza, Abu Hail Shopping Centre, The Galleria, and Al Ghurair Centre Bur Dubai features the Wafi Mall and Holiday Centre Plus there are a host of top class department stores and boutiques spread throughout the city.

Not to be missed is the famed and fashionable Emirates mall located at the end of Sheik Ziad Road and which boasts its own indoor ski mountain for those who wish to comfort themselves from the hot summer months after a day of overworking the credit cards. Dubai's modern malls not only offer the most convenient and comfortable way to shop, but they also offer the latest the design world has to offer.

However, to uncover the exotic past of this futuristic city, and to savor the sights and smells of the authentic Arab world, you need to head to one of Dubai's souks. These are the traditional markets of Dubai and you'll find them on both sides of the creek.

Souks are usually organized into areas selling similar items and are often named after a product. Thus the Gold Souk is the place to pick up gold ornaments. Here you can browse earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants in a stunning variety of designs. A specialty of the local gold craftsmen is creating items in shades of pink, white, yellow or green by varying the alloys.

The nearby Spice Souk is filled with baskets piled with cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, incense, dried fruit and nuts. Browsing here is an aromatic adventure which you can continue in the Perfume Souk. And there's even a Fish Souk to sell the morning's catch of fish from the Arabian Sea.

If you're looking for authentic local souvenirs you have many choices. You can't go wrong with Arabic coffee pots or sheeshas to remind you of the aromatic local brew. Then there are silver and brass sword and daggers, prayer beads, frankincense, Arabian perfumes, rugs and Persian carpets. Pearls, handwork, leather items and various other authentic and rustic items.

Bargaining at Souks
Bargaining is a traditional part of shopping in Dubai, but please not that modern outlets have fixed prices, so save the embarrassment of trying to haggle a hundred dirhams off that new Armani Jacket at Emirates Mall. Bargaining is for family businesses and markets, negotiation is a key component of the buying process. One good tip is to check out prices at the fixed-priced outlets before heading to the souks. This will give you an idea of a fair price before you start haggling.

Of course, if you've exhausted your options, and your feet, you can always take a rest in front of the computer, get online and do some online shopping at Dubai's first choice for classifieds by searching on for used furniture, cars, property and more. You can find great deals on great items that need to be moved quickly by the outbound expat. You can find ZOOZi by following the link to

The important thing about shopping in Dubai is to enjoy yourself. There are bargains to be found and you can acquire rare and exotic items that will grace your life for many years to come.

Some notable Shopping addresses and operating hours:

Mall of the Emirates,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tel: 04 340 3392
Mall Hours: Sunday-Wednesday:10:00am-10:00 pm,Thursday- Saturday:10am-12:00midnight,Carrefour 10:00 am-midnight

Magrudy's Jumeirah,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tel: 04 344 4192
Mall Hours: 9am-9pm. Fridays 4.30pm-9pm

Deira City Center,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tel: 2954545
Fax: 2955252
Mall Hours: Sat-Thurs - 10am-10pm and Fri - 2pm-10pm
Burjuman Mall
Bur Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tel: 3520222
Fax: 3510824
Mall Hours: Sat-Thurs - 10am-10pm, Fri - 2pm-10pm

By: Roberto Bell

About the Author:
Zarene Claire writes articles about Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. You can find other useful information on