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On the ground floor of duty free there are a few cars and motorbikes for raffle, so if you have a few spare dollars left in your pocket try a shot at it, after all someone has to win. Prices of tickets are displayed and the number of tickets for sale are limited.
Written Feb 8, 2013
At Dubai airport the shops will rival any shopping mall in the world and you can easily spend a few hours searching for the latest electronic gadgets, fashion and alcohol, cigs etc.
There are many books for sale about Dubai and it is an excellent place to pick up an Arabic Coffee Set or A Hookah Pipe.
Updated Feb 8, 2013
Inaugurated in Nov 2008, the Dubai Mall stands at the foot of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. It could not be outdone, of course, so it was built purposefully as the world's largest shopping centre, by area. Since its opening, it has become one of the city's most popular and most luxurious shopping address. Locals and visitors come here not only to shop, but also to access the top of Burj Khalifa, as well as to see the impressive aquarium (it supposedly receives tens of millions of visitors per year!).
Updated Dec 12, 2012
Address: Dubai Mall
So big that each sector may be treated differently, we passed along China, India, Egypt, Russia, I don't know what else, always inside the same shopping mall.
Wafi Center is really big, has all the common shops of western malls and reinforces the sensation that shopping is always the same, either in your street or in Dubai.
The only real difference is decoration, and the money spent to make you believe that the place where you are IS the right place to leave your money.
Updated Sep 7, 2012
As you are surely aware, Muslims do not eat pork and do not drink alcohol. (Well, at least they're not supposed to... but that's a different story...;-)
Therefore, I've noticed quite some confusion from first-time UAE visitors in regards to what is allowed, what is not, and where to purchase it legally.
Alcohol is *not* sold in supermarkets in the UAE. Even products containing any kind of alcohol (i.e. chocolates) are sold in designated liquor stores:
MMI Maritime Mercantile International
A&E (African & Eastern) are the 2 licenced suppliers of alcohol.
They are often adjacent to a supermarket, but with a separate entrance and no windows.
What to buy: To purchase alcohol you must hold a liquor licence. Any non-Muslim UAE resident who wishes to drink alcoholic beverages, buy alcohol from an officially approved retailer, transport the legally purchased alcoholic beverages or store them at their residence for their family and guests can apply for a licence. Based on your income, the Dubai Police-CID decides the appropriate monthly budget you are allowed to spend on your licence.
Tourists can only buy alcohol in the airport's Duty Free upon arrival.
--> Alcohol is served in restaurants & bars that are located in hotels. Indepenent eateries (e.g. in shopping malls) do *not* have a license to serve alcholic beverages. (you will see that in all of my restaurant tips I indicate at the beginning whether the venue is licensed or not)
Pork is sold in the more "Western-oriented" supermarket chains, such as
Spinney's (various locations),
Choithram's (various locations),
Carrefour Hypermarket (Deira City Centre, Bur Dubai near Shindagha Tunnel),
Park 'n' Shop (near Safa Park, Jumeirah).
There is a desperate section (click on picture) in the butchery reserved for pork & any food items containing pork (i.e. bacon flavoured potato chips, canned soup, pork gelatine, etc.) Pork is about 3 to 4 times more expensive than in Europe. As you can see in the photo, a packet of bacon that should cost 1.50 Pounds costs 23,50 Dirhams here... that's more than 4 Pounds!
What to pay: Both Alcohol & Pork items are generally more expensive than they would be in Europe, America, United Kingdom, etc.
Although Dubai is in the desert it is possible to purchase pretty much everything you know in your home country. You can buy Vegemite, Peanut Butter, Haribo, Beef Jerky, Thai products, Japanese products, South African biltong, German bread, Swiss cheese, French yoghurt...
NOTE: Although Dubai prides itself on having "everything" available for its huge expatriate community, be aware that most European imports can be extremely expensive. For example: A large yoghurt that costs 50 cents in Germany costs 18 Dirhams (4 Euros!) here.
Updated Jun 19, 2012
Nothing makes National Jewellery special. I feel absolutley disappointed and to be honest, ripped off for want of a better expression. My husband bought me a gift of a diamond ring here and I was delighted. We returned home from Dubai to Ireland and withing 8 days one of the diamonds was missing. We immediately rang National Jewellery and basically found them to be very unhelpful. They suddenly could't understand a word we were saying, passed us from one person to the next, repeatedly asked a us to call them back and then finally, when we mentioned our friends would be in Dubai within a week they suddenly said they would fix the ring but that the ring was very delicate and could not be worn all the time. I wanted a ring to wear every day (they new this when we purchased the ring) so I asked if we could get another ring that might be more suitable and they said they wanted to take 200 euros from us in order to change the ring. We felt this was outrangeous - the missing diamond was not our fault, it was only 10 days worn. I have worn a diamond ring for 14 years and no problem! To cut a long story short in the end after much haggling (it does get very boring after a while) they agreed to let us buy another ring. We then spent another 550 euro. Our friends collected the ring and presented it to me on their return a week later. I put the new ring on, wore it for one 8 days and yes, another diamond went missing. This cannot be me but something to do with the setting. I rang them to let them know and yet again the whole game of words began. I could not be bothered to pursue this further. I certainly do not trust them to re-set the ring properly when they have failed to do twice. I will now have to get the ring re-set in Ireland and this will cost me at least 500 euros. I wish we had bought aring in Ireland in the first place. What could have been a lovely experience......very disappointing.
Written Apr 14, 2012
Address: National Jewellery (Clio)
Phone: 971 4 3399367
Alcohol Licence - obtaining one and why you should have one
An Alcohol Licence (or License) gives expats in Dubai and the UAE permission to drink alcohol - they need a residence visa before applying for an alcohol license. It is shown at off-licences or liquor stores in Dubai when making purchases. In theory it could be asked for at a bar or club but in practice it almost never is. Apparently the law says that only hotel guests may drink at hotel bars but it's unheard of for that to be enforced.
14 Nov 2006 news. A court case acquitted a resident for drinking in a bar because he did have an alcohol license, although the police arrested him because they claimed the license only allowed residents to drink alcohol at home.
Tourists do not need an alcohol licence since they are not in Dubai on a resident's visa.
Muslims are not permitted to have an alcohol licence (the application form asks what religion the applicant is).
Alcohol licenses are a legal requirement when buying alcohol from bottle shops like MMI, and A&E, and Spinneys in Abu Dhabi. How often it is asked for varies depending on emirate. Almost always in Dubai, sometimes not in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, and rarely, if ever, in Umm Al Quwain and Ajman.
Alcohol purchases can be made without a licence (illegally) at several establishments in Ajman and Umm Al Quwain. Or you can present your license and buy alcohol legally. Where you're likely to get into trouble is if you have an accident between shop and home, and the alcohol is found in your car. Sharjah especially would be more risky as it is a dry emirate. Checkpoints with car searches are a possibility but very rare. If you do have a license then you are permitted to transport alcohol for personal use between shop and home. However, for those living in Dubai, you would be expected to buy alcohol in Dubai.
On 03 July 2006 there was a report in the Gulf News of alcohol purchasers being followed from Ajman into Sharjah by conmen, made to pull over and threatened with being reported to the police unless a ransom was paid. Figures were reported as being 2000 dhs to 10,000 dhs. An Ajman police official apparently told the reporter that non-Muslims were allowed to transport legally purchased alcohol through any emirate to their home. Note that you need to present your alcohol license in these 'hole-in-the-wall' establishments in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, etc to become a legal alcohol purchaser.
The licence shows a monthly limit for purchases which depends on the applicants salary. Usually the limit is somewhere between 500 dhs and 1500 dhs per month.
Tax on Alcohol
There is a 30% tax added to all alcohol purchases made when presenting an alcohol licence (last confirmed June 2006).
Your company obtains one for you. There'll be fees of around 200 dhs per year to pay, and you'll need the usual paperwork (passport with residence visa, photos).
You apply for one yourself. The easiest way to do this is through one of the alcohol shops in Dubai - A & E or MMI. They have the forms and will obtain the license for you (about 200 dhs per year).
What to buy: Alcohol Licence - obtain
On 03 July 2006 there was a report in the Gulf News of alcohol purchasers being followed from
Written Jan 25, 2012
One of the recommended goods to buy in Dubai is… gold.
If you know what you want, and are sure about how to choose, the gold souk will be your universe.
I can’t recommend one shop: they stand door after door, and you will end loosing yourself in the golden maze, searching for your precious ornament.
The prices seem to be good, but… it’s gold, you know?
Updated Nov 25, 2011
Address: Deira center
This was my only victory: twice we passed in front of Mercatto, and twice I escaped!
Please don’t tell anything to Fernanda, otherwise I may be asked to start immediately planning a second visit.
I was kidding, of course!
Honestly, I have problems in my conscience:
Does it have a Zara and an H&M or not?
And Mango? Is it big or small? And…
Oh my God! How am I going to sleep?
Updated Nov 25, 2011
One of the top "monuments" of Dubai is the Burjuman Center.
Yes, it is big! Yes, it is modern!
I came out with the feeling that I had already seen it before, but can't remember exactly where. Luis Vuiton, Zara, H&M and other, are names that sound to me as something that I knew from... from... Forgive me, but I swear I have seen them somewhere else!
Updated Nov 12, 2011
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