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Shopping

5 tips for your next souk shopping trip

Mon, July 4, 2022

Follow our advice for the best deals at Dubai's traditional marketplaces.

Follow our advice for the best deals at Dubai's traditional marketplaces.

1

Always carry cash

Spice Souk

For a traditional Arab marketplace experience, look no further than the Spice Souk in Deira. You'll feel like you've travelled back in time wandering through narrow alleyways and breathing in the rich aromas of rose petals, saffron and frankincense. Pick up a few tasty souvenirs for friends and family while posing alongside towering mounds of herbs, spices and incense. To score the best prices, engage in some friendly bartering but keep in mind that shops often charge extra for credit cards, so always offer to pay in cash.

2

Disguise your interest

Al Shindagha in Dubai

Head to the historic Bur Dubai neighbourhood and discover a number of colourful fabrics in the Textile Souk. You can skim through an endless selection of raw silk, cotton and embroidered goods at this market to find your dream swathes, but don’t show much enthusiasm when you do. If the shopkeeper can tell you are eager to buy, they will be less likely to offer you a better deal. Nonchalance is key, or even better, pretend to walk away if you're into theatrics.

3

Ask for half-price

Naif Souk Bazaar in Dubai
Looking for traditional trinkets at a reasonable price? Head straight to the Naif Souk, one of Dubai’s oldest bazaars and a former camel market. Today, it's home to more than 100 shops and stalls brimming with clothes, textiles, electronics, perfumes and leather goods. While here, flex your negotiation muscles and prepare to bargain hard. Take whatever price a seller originally offers and reduce it by half as a starting point, before working your way up. You might just walk away with some incredible savings.
4

Shop for gold in-store

Gold Souk in Dubai

Souk shopping in the city of gold isn’t complete without a visit to Dubai's famous Gold Souk. Enter this labyrinth of gold, silver and precious gemstones to buy the perfect gift for yourself, or a loved one. Always remember to purchase your souvenirs directly from stores within the souk, and not from street vendors that may pop up nearby. Every jewellery store at the Gold Souk has to adhere to strict government regulations, guaranteeing quality and fair prices to all. For more tips, read our essential guide to gold shopping.

5

Shop around at Perfume Souk

Perfume Souk in Dubai

Located near the Gold Souk, the Perfume Souk presents a unique Dubai shopping experience by allowing visitors to find their new signature scent, whether it's a traditional Arabian oud, or a more mainstream floral fragrance. Take the time to explore all that's on offer among the different vendors, and remember to play it cool. Once they find out you've visited more than a few shops and are getting a better price elsewhere, they might even give you a complimentary treat to seal the deal, like a few incense sticks or travel-sized sample of sweet rose perfume.

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