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Saturday, August 30, 2008

10 Reasons to Shop Dubai - a taster

Since you twisted my bangled arm, here's a taste of my 10 Reasons to Shop Dubai or The Ultimate Dubai Shopping Guide. Visit Viator for the full article, which includes fab extras like what to buy where, and a lesson in bargaining.
1.Dubai Shopping Festival - citywide sales, massive discounts, crazy promotions, extravagant raffle prizes, entertainment, street fairs, food stalls, nightly fireworks, and cultural activities, in the cool winter months (Jan-Feb).
2.Dubai Summer Surprises - summer (Jun-Aug) equivalent; hotel prices are slashed but it’s a sweltering 45 degrees Celsius outside. It's as if you’re in a giant sauna or God has placed a blow heater above Dubai. An experience!
3.Dubai’s Shopping Malls - I’m not a fan of malls normally; give me a shopping 'hood like Amsterdam’s Nine Streets any day. But in Dubai, where it’s too hot to stroll the streets for six months, malls make sense. Dubai’s malls boast restaurants, cinemas, theatres, art galleries, child minding centres, mosques, and ski slopes!

4.Mall of the Emirates - my favourite; enormous, opulent, marble floors, spacious ‘avenues’, fab selection of shops, swish Harvey Nichols, Virgin Megastore, superb restaurants (Almaz by Momo) and bars (Apres), chic Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, and indoor ski slopes.
5.Dubai’s Souqs - these bustling bazaars aren't the most attractive (get Marrakesh and Istanbul out of your head) but they’re atmospheric, gritty, ramshackle, and real; they don't exist for tourists, this is where real people shop for everyday stuff.
6.Because in Dubai Bargaining is a Fine Art - part of the fun of shopping Dubai’s souqs is haggling; it’s not a requirement as in Cairo or Istanbul, but if you pay the first price offered, you’re probably paying double the value. See my Viator article for bargaining tips.

7.Dubai’s Best Buys - Dubai’s best buys are carpets, textiles, perfume, spices, and gold. Buy these and other exotic goodies at the Spice Souq, Deira’s Covered Souqs, Gold Souq, Bur Dubai’s Textile Souq, and Karama Souq. (I tell you what to buy where on Viator.)

Souq Madinat Jumeirah - this wonderful air-conditioned, contemporary take on a souq is the place to shop when you can’t face the souq chaos, the heat has got to you, you’re not in the mood for bargaining, or you want a chilled glass of white with lunch. Prices are higher but the quality is better.
9. Dubai’s Homegrown Fashion - Dubai’s fashion scene is blooming; watch cheeky young designer Raghda Bukhash, whose fabulous
Pink Sushi label playfully appropriated the red and white gutra (Arab men’s headdress) to produce cute skirts, handbags and clutches, well before everyone started wearing gutras in Europe. Available at Amzaan, owned by princess Sheikha Maisa al-Qassimi. Other hip boutiques stocking local fashion include Five Green and S*uce.
10. Dubai’s Shopping Hours - 10am-10pm daily for malls; stores outside malls close afternoons and on Friday (Muslim day of worship). Shopping is most fun in the evening when locals shop. It means nights end late, but what are days for if not dozing by the pool?


TravelMuse said...

I was just looking at fares to Dubai today. You're making me long to come visit. I would love to see the Madinat Jumeirah and shop Dubai.

Anonymous said...

Dubai sounds like an opulent India - Spices and gold - music to my ears@! The heat, not so much. ;)

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Travel Muse - I missed this message of yours - sorry! You must go to Dubai. And personally I think Madinat Jumeirah is enchanting - especially at night - and a great place to shop. I know some people say it's a bit 'fake' but call that fake and you may as well starting calling every man-made structure fake. It's fab! You must go!

Newwrldyankee - you're a little bit right - cause the Indian population in Dubai is huge, but it's also distinctly Arabian, and has a bit of every other Middle Eastern country, plus Iran, and Europe/Western culture, thrown in because of the 80% foreign population.

You get used to the heat, amazingly enough - although it takes a couple of years! Seriously.