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Your ultimate guide to Dubai's souks

Mon, August 24, 2020

Lavish gold jewellery, handwoven fabrics, traditional perfumes and special souvenirs – you'll find it all at Dubai’s souks.

Lavish gold jewellery, handwoven fabrics, traditional perfumes and special souvenirs – you'll find it all at Dubai’s souks.


Hidden gems at Gold Souk

Gold Souk in Dubai
Fittingly for Dubai, 'the city of gold', the Gold Souk is a must-see for couples looking for a statement jewellery piece, or visitors hunting for that special memento from their time in Dubai. The wide passageways are alive with tradesmen and artists trained in the craft of designing jewellery, from bespoke pieces to alluring Arabic designs, with prices that aren’t set in stone.

Food for thought at Spice Souk

Spice Souk in Dubai
A close neighbour to the Gold Souk, follow your nose to the Spice Souk to be instantly transported to the hustle of a vibrant trading floor. Here you'll find top chefs, home cooks and savvy expats all swearing by their personal picks among the colourful sacks of spices, herbs, rice and fruits. Score high-quality saffron strands at local prices, taste fresh organic dates and stock up on spices, dried fruits, candied nuts and locally-blended teas. You're sure to discover an exotic new flavour – and yes, you can even sample before you buy.

Scents of tradition at Perfume Souk

Perfume Souk in Dubai
Follow the road up from the Gold and Spice Souks, and you'll find yourself in Deira’s Perfume Souk on Sikkat Al Khali Street. Dealing in everything scented, from pure perfume to essential oils, incense sticks and the exotic traditional oud, this trading spot has beautifully-fragranced options for all. Buy rich oils in bulk, stored in wholesale-sized flagons, or opt for the more portable ornate vials designed for those who like to dab perfume on their pulse points. It's also the perfect place to have a personal fragrance created and bottled by experienced perfumers.

Fine silks at Textile Souk

Textile Souk in Dubai
On the Bur Dubai side of the Creek you’ll discover the colourful Textile Souk. A favourite haunt of the city's in-demand tailors and emerging fashion designers, the souk's vast array of shops are crowded with rolls of fabric, including fine silks, airy cottons, exotic weaves, and dazzling sari fabrics. Choose from your favourite materials and pop into one of the surrounding tailors to be measured for a dress, abaya (traditional womenswear), kandora (traditional menswear) or suit made to your design. Most can turn around orders in days.

Boutique buys at Souk Madinat

Souk Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai
Nestled between the five-star Mina A'Salam and Al Qasr hotels, Souk Madinat Jumeirah is for those who want to skip the haggling, but enjoy the thrill of souk-style shopping. Wander the labyrinth of narrow lanes in search of fun souvenirs, fine art and sculptures. Pop into the many local and international design houses or enjoy a meal by the waterside. Complete your visit with a traditional abra ride and drink in the views of the beautiful Burj Al Arab in the distance.

Modern jewels at The Dubai Mall

Jewels in The Dubai Mall

Around the corner from rows of European jewellery stores is The Dubai Mall's take on an Arabian-style souk, with more than 40 boutiques boasting fine jewellery, precious metals and jaw-dropping gemstones. Modernised and on par with international standards, this is a vivacious shopping experience with the local craftsmen passionate about their art and Emirati heritage reflected in their intricate designs.


Shopping with a view at Souk Al Bahar

Souk Al Bahar in Dubai
Just a short and scenic stroll over the footbridge that arches across Burj Lake at the base of Burj Khalifa, Souk Al Bahar is a modern take on a traditional Arabian marketplace. Here, you can stock up on dates, incense cones, jewellery, abayas, brass lamps, souvenirs and even fresh Arabic pastries. Upstairs, with its wide-slung windows, is one of the best vantage points from which to enjoy a meal while watching the evening shows of The Dubai Fountain.

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