Souqs, Dubai

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  • Drain cover in Gold Souq
    Drain cover in Gold Souq
    by sue_stone
  • Souqs, Dubai, UAE
    Souqs, Dubai, UAE
    by TrendsetterME
  • Souqs, Dubai, UAE
    Souqs, Dubai, UAE
    by TrendsetterME
  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Old Souqs (Markets)

    by sue_stone Written Jan 7, 2008

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gold souq window display
    4 more images

    Although most people head to Dubai to shop in the modern malls, make sure you take the time to explore some of the souqs (markets) in the older parts of town. On the Deira side of the Creek we visited the Spice Souq and the Gold Souq. When then crossed the Creek and checked out the Bur Dubai Souq.

    The Gold Souq is a must see. Dubai has one of the largest retail gold markets in the world, and the Gold Souq has more than 300 outlets. Even if you don't want to buy anything it is well worth a browse as the window displays need to be seen to be believed. Window after window of gaudy displays of bright yellow gold bracelets and amazing necklaces worn by brides in Bollywood movies. There are also some more tasteful shops with lots of diamond rings and more 'normal' stuff. One other cool thing about the Gold Souq was the drain covers with a diamond on them.

    The Spice Souq consists of some very narrow lanes, lined with small shops with displays of things like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, incense, dried fruit and nuts. The spices are apparently imported from all over the Middle East, and are sold here straight out of large sacks. I must confess to have been disappointed in the Spice Souq, compared to the ones I had visited earlier in the year in Marrakech. The colours here were much more subdued and I was less inclined to chat to the shop keepers and learn about the spices.

    The Bar Dubai Souq is located on the western side of Dubai Creek. Under beautifully restored wooden arches, you can browse in the numerous textile shops, and the occasional souvenir shop. Apparently the market is geared towards the large community of Pakistanis and Indians who live and work in Dubai. This market was very quiet when we visited and lacked that hectic 'market vibe'.

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    "1001 Nights" got a face lift... MADINAT JUMEIRAH

    by JessH Updated May 24, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My photo of Souk Madinat roof top, Dubai
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    Complete with artificial Venician canals & fake cobble stones, I must admit: even though it's pretentious beyond all belief - at least the Souk Madinat is a nice area to sit outside & enjoy the sunshine

    This is basically the "up-market Version" of the original Dubai souks. It's like some foreign architect got his hands on the ancient bazaar-concept & forced it go undergo plastic surgery = it's pretty, but it's simply not the "real thing". The Madinat has become extremely popular with Dubai's "ladies that lunch" as well as party animals that enjoy the various bars & clubs.

    To reach various restaurants along the artificial waterway, the hotel offers complimentary boat rides on "Abras" (traditional water taxi). I much prefer the "real thing" on Dubai Creek, click here if you're interested: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/14d9ee.

    For the *least* amount of "Disneyland-feeling" I recommend visiting Souk Madinat after the sun has set: this is when the lights come on, the shadows & reflections distort from what is merely a copy of true Arabian heritage, and the whole architectural brilliance of the area is no longer merely bearable; its mystic beauty really shines under the camouflage of night.

    Paths lead visitors through a bazaar-like atmosphere with 75 open fronted shops.
    TOURIST TRAP WARNING: You'll see plenty of souvenirs, pashmina shawls, posters & drawings, etc. for sale here. DON'T BUY! You can buy the exact same things for about 40% of the price in the Gold & Spice Souk, Textile Souk or Karama Shopping Strip. The ONLY shop that I would recommend for purchases is "Gallery One", a store selling regional art and beautiful black&white photographs of Dubai.
    This place is wonderful for taking memorable photographs & having a meal, but not for shopping.

    Some of the restaurants are licensed (= serve alcoholic beverages) and some are not. For a full list of the various eateries & all the stores, click here.

    I have also reviewed some of the resort's eateries in my "Restaurant Tips".

    Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 10:00am - 11:00pm

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    Travelling with children... (& keeping them happy)

    by JessH Updated Apr 27, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At the entrance of Dubai Creek Park - Gate 1
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    (On their website, click the top left for the English version)

    When visiting or moving to Dubai with children, the choices to keep them interested, busy and happy can be quite limited. We all know that kids aren't that interested in visiting Souks or Museums, and Desert Safaris can be too strenuous or dangerous for smaller children. When my nieces from the UK visited us in April 2003, we visited Children's City for the first time and were extremely pleasantly surprised.

    Children's City is a big hit with both Local and International youngsters. Children's City is the first educational city in the UAE devoted to children between 2 - 15 years old where they can investigate, explore, play, discover, and learn about the world in which we live. Children's City was opened in March 5th 2002.

    Nowadays, various events such as the Dubai Cat Show, educational days and various fund raisers take place at Children's City as well.

    The 7700 square metre (82,882sq-ft) fun park takes the children on a journey through the human body, science and space with the help of different "zones". There are plenty of hands-on-action that promote learning whilst playing, to keep even the most demanding children occupied. All the exhibits are in English and Arabic.

    The unique 3-storey complex is located in the green surroundings of the large Dubai Creek Park and offers various admission schemes for individual children, families and school groups.
    This is a great way to keep your kids occupied for a day, especially during the extremely hot summer months when it's necessary to stay indoors!

    Opening Hours (for year 2009): Open 7 days a week.
    Sat-Thu 09:00am - 08:30pm / Fridays 03:00pm - 08:30pm.
    During Ramadan: everyday from 09:00am-04:00pm, except Friday from 03:00pm-06:30pm.

    Entrance Fees (for year 2009):
    Children 2yrs - 15yrs: 10 Dirhams.
    Adults (16 yrs +): 15 Dirhams.
    Family (2 adults + 2 children): 40 Dirhams.
    (1 US$ = 3.67 Dirhams.)

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    An easy & quick way to see the city: Big Bus

    by JessH Updated Jan 10, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Standing in traffic behind the Big Bus, Dubai

    If you don't have the time for a full-day city tour, or if you have wisely decided that your suicidal tendencies aren't sufficiently strong to evoke the need to hire a car & drive in Dubai's crazy traffic, the Big Bus Tour is a convenient & safe alternative to see the city. I know plenty of VT-members that have spent a few interesting transit-hours in our city on this bus.

    You can hop-on & off at your leisure (tickets are valid for 24 hours or 48 hours). Tours operate daily between 09:00am-05:00pm. Since the year 2010 there are now even Night tours! The tour has recorded commentary in 8 different languages.

    PRICES (year 2011) for 24 hours:
    Adults: AED 220.-
    Children (aged 5-15): AED 100.-
    Family (2 adults & 2 children): AED 540.-

    PRICES (yer 2011) for 48 hours:
    Adults: AED 290.-
    Children (aged 5-15): AED 130.-
    Family (2 adults & 2 children): AED 700.-

    PRICES (year 2011) for Night Tour:
    Adults: AED 125.-
    Children (aged 5-15): AED 75.-
    Family (2 adults & 2 children): AED 330.-
    (1 US $ = 3.67 AED / Dirhams)

    One ticket covers 2 routes:
    If you want to see the "real Dubai" & best sights, I recommend the Red Route, which includes the Dubai Creek, Al Fahidi Fort & Dubai Museum, the Souqs (bazaars) and a few shopping malls.

    The Blue Route covers mostly the 5-star hotels & fanciest shopping malls. I guess this tour is useful if you want to take a lot of pictures for "showing off" later ;-)

    Free Walking Tour: (October - April only!)
    STARTS: Al Fahidi Fort (Dubai Museum) Stop 3.
    FINISHES: Dubai Gold Souk stop 6 (where you rejoin your tour).

    Free Dhow Creek Cruise:
    Daily from Abra Station (stop 7) at 11:30am, 01:30pm, 03:30pm and 05:30pm.

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    The pulsing heart of old Dubai - The Textile Souq

    by JessH Updated Oct 17, 2010

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    Full of fabulous goodies (Textile Souq, Dubai)
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    Souq is the Arabic word for Market.
    The city's famous souqs have attracted merchants from as far as India, Iran, Africa and beyond since the late 19th century. With Dubai being a trading hub for gorgeous materials from the subcontinent, it makes perfect sense to buy by the yard & tailor the style of your favourite garment. From cotton to silk, chequered lumberjack to beautiful Indian Sari, lace & netting, Pashmina Shawls, it's all here. This is the Textile Souq, where you can see exquisite fabrics to suit every taste and wander around the small winding alleys enjoying the historic sights & sounds. After all: "Bur Dubai" means "old Dubai".

    --> (Also see my *Tourist Trap Tip* on Pashmina Shawls!)

    More than shopping, I enjoy walking around the souq because it's one of the simpler, more "basic" & traditional parts of the city. And even though the Textile Souq recently received a major overhaul & restoration, it's still a lot more traditional & down-to-earth than shiny, cold & modern malls (and a lot cheaper, too). I have bought curtain material, fashion jewellery & also an Indian Saree here (see photo).
    I just love ending a busy day of shopping with a Mint Tea and a Sheesha in one of the small restaurants, watching the creek and the city's life pulsating around it.

    TIP: Don't forget to bargain; don't accept the 1st price & be sure to compare prices. If you find that you need more cash (very possible) there are ATM machines and a Thomas Cook exchange bureau.

    TIP: Women should please make sure their legs & shoulders are covered. The Souqs are male-dominated areas where every bit of female skin is gawked at. Some men will even follow "indecently" dressed women around.c*

    The heart of every shopper & every photographer will gasp with joy when entering the souk along the historic creek. Don't miss it!

    Opening Hours: Saturdays - Thursdays 09:30am-01:00pm & 04:30-10:00pm.
    Fridays 05:00pm-10:00pm.

    NOTE: The main walkway is open to the elements, only the individual shops have air-conditioning. Therefore, only visit the souqs after sunset during the summer.

    --> Update 2010: The nearest Metro Station is at Bur Juman Mall (Khalid bin Al Waleed Station.) Some nearby places to park are: Seef Street, by the British Consulate. Parking lot of HSBC bank, Al Fahidi Street. Parking lot of Carrefour Supermarket, Al Shindagha.

    (Cross the creek & explore the Gold Souq on the opposite shore as well!)

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Women's Travel
    • Historical Travel

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    "Follow your nose" to the Spice/Perfume Souq

    by JessH Updated Apr 11, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Heading towards the spice souq (March 2012)
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    Souq is the Arabic word for Market.
    Just adjacent to the Gold Souq, the Spice/Perfume Souq offers a multitude of Arabic fragrances & seasonings, with exotic aromas from cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla pods & incense, imported from all over the region. The Spice Souq is also known as the "Perfume Souq" or simply "Deira Old Souq".

    You've probably had certain ideas about what an exotic Middle-Eastern bazaar ought to look like - Dubai's very own Spice Souq does not disappoint this expectation.

    Even after all these years, I still LOVE walking through the narrow passages, sampling with my nose & eyes, vibrant colours, hectic merchants, running delivery men... yes, this truly is one of the few places where time seems to have stood still...

    TIP: If you pass by a bakery/restaurant, try a "Zaatar Manakish" - a hot, cheesy bread sprinkled with thyme; delicious! Most of the herbs & spices you find here are far cheaper than in Europe & possess far stronger flavour, such as cinnamon sticks, saffron, vanilla pods & cloves.
    --> UPDATE March 2012: I went to the Spice Souk to purchase some ingredients for my cooking & baking... a fair price for 3 vanilla pods (make sure they're moist) is max Dhs 15.-

    There are hundreds of shops offering a profusion of heavy, oily scents in the adjacent "Perfume Souq". A little goes a long way! Frankincense and "Buchhur or Oud", the traditional incense that is sprinkled over glowing coals, is widely used by Gulf Arabs in their homes & on their clothes.

    TIP: Don't forget to bargain; don't accept the first price & be sure to compare prices in the numerous shops.

    Many shops sell small "incense sets" consisting of a miniature Persian carpet, and a small wooden & golden chest containing myrrh and frankincense - the famous gifts the 3 Wise Men brought the Christ Child.

    TIP: Women visiting the Souqs should please make sure their legs & shoulders are covered. Dubai is very safe, but the Souks are male-dominated areas where every bit of female skin is gawked at. You may even find that some men will follow "indecently" dressed women around, in the belief that they are prostitutes.

    Opening Hours: Sat. to Thur. 10:00am-01:00pm & 05:00pm-10:00pm.
    Fridays: 05:00pm-10:00pm.

    NOTE: The main walkway is open to the elements, only the individual shops have air-conditioning. Therefore, only visit the souks after sunset during the summer.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Luxury Travel
    • Family Travel

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    Souq Madinat

    by chizz Updated Feb 8, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sand souvenir stall - Souq Madinat

    Visit the Souq Madinat to have a nice meal in one of the many restaurants and watch the old water taxis or abras cruise by or browse through the maze of shops to find that perfect souvenir. Get a nice view of the Burj Al Arab, especially at night. There are:
    * 75 boutique shops
    * 23 waterfront cafes, bars and restaurants
    * Open plazas
    * Air conditioned walkways
    * 442 seat Madinat Theatre

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    Shopping in the souks

    by SWFC_Fan Written Dec 13, 2003

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Old Souk, Bur Dubai
    4 more images

    Dubai has a number of traditional souks, each one specialising in certain products.

    For example, there are souks dedicated to the sale of gold, spices, perfume, fruit and vegetables, fish, electronics and even a moneychangers souk.

    It is a pleasure to stroll through the souks in Dubai, to shop for a bargain or simply to watch the locals haggle. Unlike in some other countries, there is little, if any, hassle and hard-sell tactics from the sellers, so it is a much more relaxing experience.

    Pictured here is the Old Souk in Bur Dubai, which, amongst other items, sells a vast array of clothing and fabrics.

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    Dancing fountains at Dubai Mall

    by chizz Written Apr 14, 2010

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    Dancing fountains at Dubai Mall
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    Daily at 6pm the dancing fountains at Dubai Mall start. You can watch them every 20 minutes up until 10pm Sunday - Wednesday and until 11pm from Thursday - Saturday. Stand and watch or have a meal in the adjacent restaurants as different fountain displays are programmed with accompanying songs in English and Arabic. The Burj Khalifa (formally Burj Dubai) also towers above the water displays to add to the atmosphere.
    Free to watch outside Dubai Mall and opposite Souq Al Bahar.

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    Stroll through a traditional souk

    by Quero Written Nov 15, 2004

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    The souk is where locals do their shopping. You can buy anything from a tee-shirt to superfine persian carpet made of silk. At the souk called Al Kabeer I bought: a pashmina, a pair of "aladdin" shoes, and an alarm clock in the shape of a mosque that issues a call to prayer instead of the usual buzz.

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    Dubai Highlights

    by JohnniOmani Written May 10, 2006

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    I have been to Dubai more than 10 times and this is a list of the best things the city has to offer (only my opinion) and in no order: Dubai Museum, Majlis Gallery, Basta Art Cafe, Dubai Souq, Jumeirah Beach, the Creek, Vus Bar in the Emirates Tower for the view, Jumeira Mosque, Wild Wadi Waterpark plus countless bars and cafes!! Have fun!!

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    List of Shopping Centers in Dubai and details,

    by 37SingleMaleInDubai1 Written Feb 21, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    Following is a list of the main shopping centres in Dubai. Please note that most shopping centres have different opening times on a Friday.

    Jumeirah Plaza
    Tel +971 4 349 7111
    Taxi Directions Jumeirah Beach Road



    Karama Shopping Centre
    Tel +971 4 337 4499
    Taxi Directions Karama Area
    Open 9.30am?1pm & 4.30pm?11pm. Fridays 4.30pm?11pm



    Lamcy Plaza
    Tel +971 4 335 9999
    Taxi Directions Close to the American Hospital
    Open 10am?11 pm
    www.lamcyplaza.com

    Lulu Centre
    Tel +971 4 298 8880
    Taxi Directions Near to Al Ahli Club, Al Ghusais
    Open 8am?12pm. Fridays 8am?12pm & 2.30pm?12am



    LuLu Village
    Tel +971 4 254 4404
    Taxi Directions Near to Dubai Transport Hub
    Open 8am?12pm. Fridays 8am?12pm & 2.30pm?12am



    Magrudys Shopping Mall
    Tel +971 4 344 4192
    Taxi Directions Jumeirah Beach Road
    Open 9am?9pm. Fridays 4.30pm?9pm


    Mall of the Emirates
    Tel +971 4 409 9000
    Taxi Directions Interchange 4, Sheikh Zayed Road
    Open 10am-10pm



    Mazaya Centre
    Tel +971 4 343 1092
    Taxi Directions Sheikh Zayed Road, Interchange 1
    Open 10am?10pm. Fridays 4.30pm?10pm



    Mercato

    Tel +971 4 344 4161
    Taxi Directions Jumeriah Beach Road, close to Dubai Zoo
    Open 10am?10pm. Fridays 2pm?10pm
    www.mercatoshoppingmall.com



    Mussalla Tower Mall
    Tel +971 4 397 4424
    Taxi Directions Bank Street, Bur Dubai
    Open 10am?10pm. Fridays 2pm?10pm


    Oasis Centre (Closed for now)
    Tel +971 4 339 5111
    Taxi Directions Sheikh Zayed Road
    Open 10am?10pm. Fridays 2pm?10pm

    Palm Strip
    Tel +971 4 346 1462
    Taxi Directions Jumeirah Beach Road



    Souk Madinat Jumeirah

    Tel +971 4 366 8888
    Taxi Directions Madinat Jumeirah, close to Burj Al Arab



    Town Centre
    Tel +971 4 344 4161 / 344 0111
    Taxi Directions Jumeirah Beach Road
    Open 10am?10pm. Fridays 2pm?10pm



    Twin Towers
    Tel +971 4 224 9222
    Taxi Directions Beniyas Road, next to Intercontinental Hotel



    Villa Moda
    Tel +971 4 330 4555
    Taxi Directions Emirates Towers Hotel
    Open 10am?10pm. Fridays 4pm?10pm

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    Souks

    by IreneMcKay Written Jul 20, 2010

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    Dazzling gold souk shop
    3 more images

    Souks - most of the souks are near the Gold Souk Bus Station. We visited the gold souk, perfume souk and spice souk. The souks are open air so very very hot during the day. Many shops close for a long lunch so it's not good to visit in the middle of the day. Vendors will approach you frequently to try and sell you copy watches, designer hand bags and tailored clothes. While it was a bit hassley, the vendors were not particulary persistant. Or maybe I just look poor. The area was certainly worth a look but very very hot when we were there.

    The spice souk is just across the road from an abra station. You can take an abra across the creek for 1 diarahm. It only takes around 5 minutes to cross, but it is fun and gives a good oportunity for taking photos. The old souk, the grand mosque, Iranian Mosque and Dubai Museum are walking distance from the abra station on the Bur Dubai side.

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    The Deira souks (markets)

    by xuessium Written Feb 7, 2008

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    DeiraSpiceSouk
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    After spending 2.5 weeks in Morocco, I was done with souks. But staying in Deira meant close proximity to both The Spice Souk and the Gold Souk and so....I might as well! The walking would do me some good anyway!

    Frankly, if you are visiting Dubai for the first time, experiencing the romance of the souks can actually be quite fun!

    Deira is the "old area" of Dubai as it lies very close to the mouth of the Dubai Creek. Souks thus sprung out around the Creek mouth, taking advantage of its location. Some of these souks go way back so history is rich.

    The Gold Souk is so named as the entirely covered street is devoted to all things glittery! If you are into jewelry and loves spending money, this is one orgasmic heaven you wouldn't want to miss.

    The Spice Souk is just a couple of streets away. Befittingly so, since spice was once as expensive as gold. I came here, sniffing for Sumac ("Arabian paprika") and Zaatar ("Arabian thyme"), 2 spices commonly used in Arabian cooking. Sections of the souk are covered as well, and you wouldn't really miss the place since the aroma of spices permeate the air as soon as you wander close. You would soon be persuaded to enter the shops, and offers of saffron, cardamon, pepper, mryhh etc would soon come your way to entice you to part money.

    Related to:
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    • Food and Dining
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Souks, Abbra's, Desert day trips.

    by wacked Written Jul 3, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Souks are fab, very fun, you have to be in the mood to bargain. Politness will get you everywhere, don't be obnoxiouse, and don't admit your a tourist always say you live here, so you don't get stung on prices.
    Abbra rides, really cool, only last for about 5mins, but the coolest way to get across the Creek and dirt cheap.
    Desert day trips, excellent for the tourists, a day out in the desert with respectable companies organising the trips, reasonably priced about 40-50 UK pounds for the day, they keep you well entertained and well feed through out the day.

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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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