After sunbathing at Dubai’s pristine and serene beaches, it’s time to go on an exciting shopping tour. From 21st century shopping malls and traditional souqsto extravagant festivals and international events, the city will tempt you to max out your credit cards. Book any of the shopping tours available, and see why Dubai is known as a shopper’s paradise.
Walk into any of the 49 world-class shopping malls and you’ll soon realise why window shopping is impossible. From chic designer wear to the latest electronic gadgets, the tax-free price tags are sure to make you reach for your wallet. In addition, the magnificent architecture and grand interiors make your visit an unforgettable experience. After shopping to your heart’s delight, treat your taste buds at the bustling food courts. All the malls offer a variety of cuisines – Arabic, Mongolian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and Indian. Some have a children’s play area and arcade games to entertain the little ones. You could also go for a movie break to any of the cineplexes that are conveniently located inside. Here’s a brief glimpse of the major malls of Dubai, where an array of international and regional brands await you.
The residence of haute couture, BurJuman brings the world’s leading fashion brands to you on a platter. Take your pick from Burberry, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Donna Karan, Fendi, Guess, Hermés, Kenneth Cole, Kenzo, La Perla, Louis Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada and Saks Fifth Avenue. With stunning passageways and modern sculptures, BurJuman’s décor is equally impressive.
Deira City Centre
Deira City Centre is one of the busiest shopping malls in the Middle East, and provides the ultimate shopping experience. With more than 300 outlets spread over three storeys, the mall has plenty to offer you – leading fashion houses, a hypermarket, restaurants, fast food outlets, children’s entertainment centre and a cineplex. Visit the designated Textile Court for some stunning fabrics, and match it up with charming gems from the Jewellery Court. Don’t forget to stop by the Arabian Treasures section, which houses oriental souvenirs, rugs, carpets and antique furniture.
Ibn Battuta Mall
This unique mall is themed around the travels of the renowned 14th century Arabian explorer, Ibn Battuta. The mall is segmented into six distinct countries, representing the most influential places visited by Ibn Battuta. The décor of the Andalusian, North African, Egyptian, Persian, Indian and Chinese Courts are a fascinating sight and the stores within have treasures worth discovering.
Mall of the Emirates
Mall of the Emirates is home to one of the world’s largest indoor snow parks – Ski Dubai. Take this unique opportunity to ski down the 450-metre slope in a land known for its desert. The Mall, which is one of the largest shopping malls outside North America and whose size is equivalent to 73 football pitches, offers a dizzying choice of over 400 brands, 65 restaurants, a 14-screen cineplex, a children’s entertainment area and a community theatre and arts centre.
Mercato (Italian for market) offers a charming atmosphere that is quite unique in the Middle East. Based on a distinctive Renaissance architectural concept, it predominantly blends Italian, French and Spanish designs to recreate an authentic European marketplace. The mall provides more than just world-famous brands; it offers an unforgettable shopping and entertainment experience, right down to the cobblestone bridges and stone archways. • Souk Madinat Jumeirah Wander through the Souk Madinat Jumeirah to experience the true Arabian bazaar-like atmosphere, in which open-fronted shops spill onto the sandstone streets. The huge wooden-arched pathways are home to a range of exceptional brands, cosy cafés and exotic restaurants.
The Boulevard, located in the impressive confines of Jumeirah Emirates Towers, takes the shopping and dining experience to new heights of luxury. As you stroll around the remarkable interiors, you’ll feel like you are in one of the world’s most fashionable and refined quarters. Choose from a range of designer boutiques like Bottega Veneta, Cartier, Emporio Armani, Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent. These neighbour fashionably chic restaurants like Harry Ghatto’s, Mosaico, Scarlett’s and Vu’s.
Distinct with its pyramid-shaped atrium roofs and hieroglyphics on the walls, Wafi City is regarded as one of the most opulent and elegant shopping malls in Dubai. The spacious corridors feature a staggering range of fabulous boutiques. From high fashion brands and diamond jewellers to specialty retailers and department stores, you’ll find all you need to live the high life.
After visiting the awe-inspiring malls, walk through the charming alleys of the legendary Arabian souqs, where shopkeepers amusingly attract your attention to their wares. ‘Souq’ is the Arabic word for a market, where different kinds of goods are bought or exchanged. This is the ideal place to visit if you are looking for some great bargains
Deira Old Souq
Widely known as a trader’s paradise, the Deira Old Souqis Dubai’s largest souq. In this fascinating maze of alleyways, you’ll find a variety of trinkets, kitchenwares, glasswares and textiles – all at very low prices.
In the tiny lanes of the Spice Souq, take in the wafting aromas of spices, nuts and dry fruits. As you stroll around, observe how sacks overflow with frankincense, dried lemon, ginger root, cardamom, nuts, pulses and traditional medicine, giving you an authentic feel of Dubai’s trading past.
As you walk past the glittering splendour of the world’s biggest Gold Souq, you’ll be convinced that Dubai is indeed the City of Gold. Ogle at the endless rows of dazzling ornaments that are available in 18 to 24 carats. The souqis packed with jewellery in every form imaginable, from bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces to even gold ingots. Take time to observe the wooden-lattice archways and roofs that take you back to a bygone era. If you are looking for some ethnic items, silver jewellery or pearl and precious stones, then wander through the narrow alleys to find a plethora of shops hidden behind the main arcade.
Deira Covered Souq
Gaze into the small shops of Deira and you’ll find rare antiques and curios of the region. Take home some of the popular souvenirs, which include the symbol of Arabic hospitality – dallah(coffee pot) as well as silver and wooden knick-knacks such as dhows, miniature camels and falcons, and beaded necklaces. Ancient rifles and decorative daggers (khanjars) are also popular buys. The souqalso features exclusive alleys for textiles that are full of bright and inexpensive materials from India and the Far East.
Meander through the Textile Souqin Bur Dubai, which has every kind of material you can dream of, in every colour and price range. From printed and plain silk to linen and cotton fabrics, the wide variety will surely amaze you. After buying your material, visit any of the nearby tailors who will be happy to turn your stunning fabrics into perfectly-fitting garments.
This is the place to go for cheap leather goods and everyday designer wear. T-shirts, shorts, sunglasses, shoes, gifts and souvenirs are all available at rock-bottom prices, which can be further reduced if you haggle a little.
Fruit and Vegetable Market
Stop by the Fruit and Vegetable Market in Deira for a different kind of shopping experience. As you walk past the small shops stacked with a variety of fresh produce, be prepared for some smooth salesmanship by the eager shopkeepers. Don’t forget to taste the many varieties of local dates, which are abundantly found here.
If you wish to see an incredible array of local fish on offer, then the Fish Market is definitely worth a visit. It is the largest and busiest one in Dubai with treats like blue lobster, baby shark and metre-long kingfish. But make sure you wear waterproof shoes and casual clothes to thoroughly enjoy this trip.
Dubai Shopping Festival
Although Dubai is considered a shopper’s paradise throughout the year, during the Dubai Shopping Festival the city becomes the most sought-after shopping extravaganza in the world. Enjoy a menu of attractions during the month-long festival, which is dotingly called DSF. The entire city offers unbelievable discounts on everything from cars, electronics and computers to fashion, jewellery and perfumes. Shop till your heart’s delight at the Global Village, which is one of the major attractions of the festival. Here you can go on a mini-world tour, picking exotic products from every country pavilion you visit. Enjoy scores of events that add a buzz of excitement into the city. These broadly include international fashion shows, children’s events, street-side performances, nightly fireworks, Aqua Fantasia shows and many other cultural events that will leave you completely spellbound. So whether you are looking for haute couture at world-class shopping malls or classic souvenirs at traditional souqs, you’re sure to find it all in the multifaceted city of Dubai.
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