Shopping remains a big drawcard for Dubai as it continues to
reinvent itself as a major tourist destination. Be warned though:
Dubai is not the bargain centre it used to be. Prices are now
comparable to any other international city, and if you want
specific items you are probably better off sourcing it through an
online discounter in your home country. What Dubai does offer
though is incredible range and convenience, turning shopping into a
recreational and fun activity. Besides, the malls are premier
attractions in themselves, often food, entertainment and spectables
in addition to the hundreds of stores.
Dubai has zero sales tax and low import duties so certain items,
such as electronic goods and gold jewellery, prices are still quite
good. Dubai International Airport is quite frankly one of the most
expensive venues to shop in Dubai, although it does have the
advantage of selling alcohol in every guise, making this the only
place to purchase liquor by the bottle.
The Dubai Shopping Festival in late January/early February is a
long-standing major attraction offering major price reductions,
special offers and product launches on a huge range of premium
goods. Lucrative raffles take place to further add to the
excitement. There is also a smaller, but increasingly popular Dubai
Summer Surprises (DSS) shopping festival over June and July which
alone attracts some two million visitors.
The two main shopping facilities in Dubai are the Mall of the
Emirates (the largest mall outside of North America) and the Dubai
Mall. Both have numerous other attractions to complement their
astounding range and number of shops.
It''s worth noting that warranties on high-end electronic goods
may not be valid in your home country. So factor this in when
calculating the amount you are saving.
Apart from the air-conditioned malls and duty-free emporia of
the airport, the best shopping is to be had at the souks -
traditional Arab markets - around the city. Here you can find
authentic Bedouin paraphernalia, Persian-style carpets and
textiles. A particularly pleasant shopping area is the Bur Dubai
side of the Creek where you can find textiles, raw silks and
Dubai''s most famous bazaar is the Gold Souk at Sikkat al-Khali
Street. Innumerable shops and stalls sell gold jewellery in every
possible form. Bargaining is expected and prices determined
according to weight.
Shops tend to open from 8am to 1pm, reopening after the heat of
the day at around 4.30pm until 8pm or even later. Malls will remain
open from 10am until 10pm. Shops, malls and souks usually close on