Saturday, July 22, 2017

Seeking the Perfect Gift in Dubai’s Souks

Are you seeking unique and different souvenir ideas for your friends and family? Have they racked up dozens of key chains, snow globes or I heart (insert city here) t-shirts from all the trips you’ve taken?

Up your friendship game by giving your loved ones a one of a kind gift from the magnificent city of Dubai. Immerse yourself in the culture and find yourself in one of Dubai’s traditional souks. What is a souk, you may ask? Also known as an Arab marketplace or bazaar, find almost anything your heart desires in one of the little stalls lined up and ready for your inspection. If you need more convincing, here are just some of the things you can find and experience in Dubai’s souks.

Gold Souk
Considered the most famous and visited souk in Dubai — and the cheapest place to buy gold, find your way through a golden maze of retailers. The Gold Souk offers visitors a vast selection of jewelry from head to toe. While most of the gleaming accessories are made from gold, there are also options made from silver, diamonds and precious stones. The Gold Souk is the perfect place to buy your loved ones the gift of a lifetime. Just some tips before purchasing gold, know how much each gram is worth, the price of gold fluctuates everyday just like the stock market. If you have your eye on a certain piece, don’t be afraid to barter for it, you’ll most likely get it for a lower price. Another useful tip is to always purchase in cash as retailers will be more willing to lower the price for you. Lastly, always purchase from a retail store as they adhere to strict government rules and regulations as opposed to a lot of the street vendors.

Gold Souk: Located in Deira near the Al Ras Station.
Opening hours: Saturday - Thursday 10AM-10PM, Friday 4PM-10PM.

Spice Souk
Prepare for an intense aroma as you enter Dubai’s spice souk. Take a deep breath and inhale all the scents surrounding you, as hints of saffron, rose, chili, cinnamon, vanilla, herbs, nuts and incense enters your nose and spill at your feet. Mounds of aromatic spices await you, if you’re not sure what you like or what to get, the friendly shop owners are more than willing to help you explore your favorite scents and tastes. Don’t be afraid to pop some crunchy herbs in your mouth or give a dried fruit a sniff, you’ll never know until you try. While you’re at it, bag a bunch of saffron, this spice is usually extremely expensive in other countries and would make as a lovely gift. The Spice Souk also offers all kinds of dried fruit, including dates, another exquisite gift you can bring home as a souvenir. Why not let your loved ones have a taste of your trip!

Spice Souk: Located in Deira, next to the Gold Souk.
Opening hours: Saturday - Thursday 10AM-10PM, Friday 4PM-10PM.

Textile Souk
Whether you’re or not you’re a fashionista the Dubai Textile Souk is a place you must visit. The vivacious vibrant colors you’ll see here compete with the multi-colored spices at the Spice Souk. Offering an array of fabrics and colors, feel the touch of a variety of materials collected from all over the world and gathered at this very souk. Glide your hand against velvets, suede, silk, pure cotton, and choose your favorite texture. This Textile Souk is especially popular for its bright pashmina-shawls and traditional Arabian shoes that would be so appreciated by your girlfriends. For the men, this large souk has leather wallets and belts in all sorts and colors. When purchasing at the Textile Souk, always barter for a lower price and try to purchase from one store as the store owner will be more likely to give you a better discount.

Textile Souk: Located in Bur Dubai, near Bur Dubai Abra Station.
Opening hours: Saturday - Thursday 8AM-1.30PM and 4PM-9PM, closed on Fridays.

Souk Al Bahar
If you’re less into exploring, and more into sitting by a creek sipping a cup of coffee, Souk Al Bahar is the souk for you. You can even buy your own traditional Arabian coffee pot to bring home and relive your Dubai experience in the confines of your own living room. This classic coffee pot would also be a perfect souvenir for your coffee loving friends and family. As a more modern souk, Souk Al Bahar mirrors a shopping mall where you can find almost anything, including traditional Arabic lamps you can purchase to take home — be careful though, this particular souvenir, whether for a gift or for yourself to enjoy is rather fragile and may be difficult to take home. A much easier option also available at Souk Al Bahar are the adorable camel shaped chocolates. Authentically Dubai, these are a delightful and humorous souvenir for loved ones, how worth it would it be to see the smile on their faces?

Souk Al Bahar: Downtown Dubai at 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard
Opening hours: Saturday - Thursday 10AM-10PM, Friday 2PM-10PM

So put your bargaining skills to good use — or better yet, begin practicing them, and land yourself a souvenir that will genuinely show your family and friends that they’re really always in your thoughts. Hunt and explore for your souvenir at one, if not all of Dubai’s amazing and exotic souks. These truly one of a kind souks are waiting for your appearance.

About Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism)
With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai Tourism’s mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the emirate. Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector. It markets and promotes the Emirate’s commerce sector, and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the Dubai Tourism portfolio include Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (formerly known as Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment).

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