Traditional places are always incredible but what makes these Dubai souks or markets legendary and exciting is their fascinating mixture of international designer brands and traditional handmade products. No doubt Dubai is referred to as shoppers paradise. So if you are looking for a fantastic shopping experience, these souks are the IT of shopping.
Going in the history of the Dubai souqs, they have been there since times immemorial but in scattered form. A few decades ago, these bustling Arab marketplaces became the hubs for traders worldwide, particularly in Asia and Africa. Infact these souqs were initially built to accommodate the ever-increasing trade going through the Dubai port. As a result, these souks were built over time, starting in 1905 with the building of Al-Zarafa Souk and eventually expanding to cover an area of 17 hectares by the 1960s.
Traditional souks are typical in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. They are usually an open-air market where people can buy and sell goods. In many traditional souks, traders would gather outside their shops and talk to each other while they waited for customers to come by, and this allowed them to build relationships with their customers and talk about what they were selling.
So if you are looking to check out some traditional souks in Dubai? Well, here is a list tailor-made for you!
- Gold Souk
Gold Souk is probably the oldest and the most famous traditional souk in Dubai. Considered the largest market for gold in the whole Arabian Peninsula, the gold souk is famous for its elegant jewelry, gemstones, antique pieces of art, and many more things. Whether you are looking for jewelry for a small occasion or a grand party, or for that matter, daily wear, Gold Souk is the perfect place for you.
Location: Located in the district of Deira in Al Dhagaya near the fish and vegetable market.
What to buy: Whether you’re looking for precious gemstones or jewelry for the wedding or any other special occasion or bespoke artifacts, you name it, and all your requirements will be catered for.
- Perfume Souk
Perfume Souk is literally the ocean of scents. It is a place where you can find all types of perfumes, cosmetics, and beauty products. The alleys of the perfume souk are filled with different types of aromas that fill our hearts with serenity. In addition to traditional attars like oud and bakhoor, popular international brands are also available.
Location: It is situated in Sikkat al Khali street, Deira, near the Gold Souk.
What to buy: Try your hands at the famous local attars like Oud and Bakhoor. You can also ask for mixing different scents to create a significant and elegant perfume or scent according to your liking.
- Spice Souk
Dubai Spice Souk is located in Deira and offers visitors an opportunity to experience Arab culture traditionally through its spices, herbs, and other products. The alleys of Spice Souk are filled with heavenly aromas of different spices and herbs. This market is decades old, and it’s still one of the best places to buy souvenirs from Dubai.
Location: It is situated in the locality of Al Ras on Baniyas Street, Deira, adjacent to the Gold Souk.
What to buy: Fill your shopping bags with saffron, cumin, sumac, rose petals, nuts, cinnamon, and many herbs and spices.
In addition to the traditional souks, several contemporary souks have been built recently. These modern souks have been built in the traditional architecture style typical to the Arabs.
Some of the contemporary souks in Dubai are:
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah
The Souk Madinat Jumeirah is located in the heart of the city. The old-styled alleys of this souk are filled with designer stores, restaurants, cafes, souvenirs, sculptures, and more. This marketplace is perfect for finding exquisite jewelry, designer brands, spices, elegant fabrics, and traditional souvenirs. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of cuisines and authentic Arabic coffee at one of the many restaurants with the iconic Burj Al Arab in the backdrop.
Location: This souk is part of the Jumeirah resort situated on Al Sufouh Road.
What to buy: From spices to herbs, designer clothes, unique artifacts, and souvenirs, you’ll find everything in this luxurious yet traditional market.
- Flea Market
The flea market in Dubai has always been popular as they provide people with opportunities to find unique items at a low price while also socializing with other people who share their interests. This market in Dubai has over 300 makeshift stalls selling everything from clothes, furniture, books, instruments, and more. Sometimes antique artifacts are also available. If you are into second-hand things, then indeed, this place is for you.
Location: Usually organized during weekends on multiple locations, including Ibn Battuta Mall, Al Safa, Zabeel Park, etc.
What to buy: Old unused products like clothes, books, souvenirs, musical instruments, and much more.
- Gold & Diamond Park
Gold & Diamond Park is a relatively new indoor air-conditioned mall located next to the mall of emirates. With more than 60 jewelry stores, this souk is an excellent place to shop for unique jewelry sets. In addition to jewelry shops, this market has many cafes, restaurants, saloon, and spa all in one place.
Location: Sheikh Zayed Rd, Al Quoz, Dubai.
What to buy: Fill your bags with bespoke jewelry, perfumes, diamonds, and much more.
Today these souqs have everything to offer from spices to gold and handmade products and perfumes. So if you are around these souqs, grab some coffee and soak in the atmosphere, take your time to shop and bargain to get the ultimate deal.