Dubai Souqs

Dubai Souqs

The Middle Eastern version of the free market is the modern day souq. A visit to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the covered alleyways in search of exotic treasures and fine jewelry and silks.  While these markets don’t offer the luxurious shopping experience of the Mall of the Emirates or the Dubai Mall they give visitors a glimpse into the origins of Dubai’s trade.

The Dubai Creek where many of the historic and still active souq’s are located is the foundation of modern Dubai.  It originally served as a port for trading vessels plying to and from India, Africa and the Middle East.  You can still see some of the old custom houses, but the creek is frequented more by local shoppers and tourists than by shipping vessels these days.  Take a step back in time with me and take a peek into Dubai’s souq’s:

Gold Souq

The dazzling gold souk, located at the mouth of the Dubai Creek is a must vist for any visitor to the gold-obsessed UAE.  The small shops are packed with large quantities of gold and shop-owners ready to bargain.  Most of the gold is 22 carat and sold by weight with an additional charge for craftsmanship.  The window shopping is excellent, but prices are high for prospective buyers.

Textile Souq

The textile souq’s alleyways are adorned with luxurious silks, yards of beaded fabrics, pashmina scarves and everything you need to outfit yourselif in traditional Emirati dress.  If you want something special made any of the vendors will be happy to help you, just remember to bargain.

Spice Souq

The colorful spice souq offers a visual and olfactory experience as scents of sandalwood, curry and cardamom waft through the air.  Any of the spice purveyors will be happy to answer your questions, fix you up with a magic elixir or recommend a tea blend for your tastes.

Fish Souq

The bustling fish market is the place to purchase anything from mussels and prize fillets to shark fins. Dubai is the world’s fourth largest shark fin exporter despite the controversy surrounding such trade, it is lucrative for the sellers and sold openly in the fish souq.

While Dubai continues to expand its skyline the historical souq’s offer a different perspective on the Dubai in headlines.  I would encourage any visitor to Dubai to make time for a visit to the Dubai Creek to step back in time to observe the foundation of Dubai.

WHEN YOU GO:

Avoid the heat, its best to start early in the morning before it gets too hot or go late afternoon when it begins to cool. Souqs are open by 9am with most stalls closing between 1 and 4pm during the most intense heat of the day. They stay open until around 9pm.

Dress modestly, as these are the traditonal neighborhoods of Dubai it is recommended that both men and women cover up loosely from neck to past the knees to avoid any staring.

Be prepared for aggressive vendors and be ready to bargain if you plan to purchase anything.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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