10 tips for visiting the Souks in Dubai

Dubai is a shopper’s paradise, and the Souks are a great place to start. There are many different types of Souks in Dubai, each with their own unique offerings. From the traditional Gold Souk to the modern Miracle Garden, there’s something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll show you the best Souks to visit on your next trip to Dubai, explain how to haggle in the Dubai Souks, and even what tours to take through the Dubai Souks!

One of the best ways to see the souks in Dubai is through taking a Souk tour. The guide will know the best addressses, the prices and the pitfalls and will teach you about the history of the souks. Here are the best Dubai Souk tours. 

Overview of all the best Dubai Souks

The Dubai Souks are a collection of traditional markets, or “souks,” located in the heart of the city. The souks are known for their wide variety of goods, from spices and gold to textiles and electronics. With so many souks to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. This guide will give you an overview of all the best Dubai Souks, so you can make the most of your shopping experience.

Gold Souk Dubai

The Gold Souk in Dubai is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. This market is full of jewellery shops selling gold, silver, and other precious metals. bargaining is expected, and it is not uncommon for shoppers to haggle for a better price.

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Spice Souk

The Spice Souk in Dubai is a bustling market where people can buy spices from all over the world. The market is located in the heart of the city and is easy to get to by public transportation. The Spice Souk is a great place to buy spices because the prices are very reasonable and the quality is excellent. There are also many stalls that sell other products such as incense, oils, and herbs. The market is open every day from early morning until late at night, so it is a great place to visit any time of day.

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Perfume Souk Dubai

The perfume souk in Dubai is one of the best places to buy traditional oud, essential oils and incense. This is because the souk offers a wide variety of these products from different vendors, all in one place. This makes it easy to compare prices and find the best deals.

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Textile Souk Dubai

The textile souk in Dubai is a must-visit for anyone interested in textiles or shopping for fabrics. The souk is located in the heart of the city and is home to a wide variety of fabric shops, making it the perfect place to find what you’re looking for.

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Souk Madinat

If you’re looking for souvenirs from your trip to Dubai, Souk Madinat is the perfect place to go. This traditional market is located in the heart of Dubai and is full of stalls selling everything from lamps to handmade jewellery. You’re sure to find something unique to take home with you.

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The Souk at Dubai Mall

The Souk at Dubai Mall is a great place to buy gold and jewellery. You will find a wide variety of gold and jewellery pieces, as well as some more western jewellery pieces. The prices are very reasonable, and you can find some great deals on gold and jewellery here.

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Souk al Bahar

Souk al Bahar is located on the other side of the bridge over the Burj Lake. This Souk offers shoppers lots of little boutiques and amazing restaurants. The view from the bridge is breathtaking, and the atmosphere in the Souk is electric. You can find everything from traditional Arabic clothing to modern fashion, and the food is incredible. If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, Souk al Bahar is definitely the place to go.

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Global Village

Global Village is a shopping and entertainment complex located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The complex is open from November to April each year, and attracts over 5 million visitors during this period. Global Village features over 75 countries represented through pavilions, each with its own shops and restaurants. The complex also includes a number of Souks, which are traditional Arabic markets selling a range of goods such as spices, perfumes, and gold.

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Al Seef Heritage Souk

The Al Seef heritage souk is a great place to buy presents and souvenirs. It is full of traditional Emirati items, such as spices, jewelry, and pottery. The souk is also a great place to learn about Emirati culture and history.

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Extra: The Al Ain Camel Souk

The Al Ain Camel Souk is the last traditional camel market in the UAE. It is located in the city of Al Ain, in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The market is a popular tourist attraction, and it is also a place where camel traders come to buy and sell camels. The market is open every day, and it is a great place to see the camels and learn about the camel trade.

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Tips for visiting the Dubai Souks

The Dubai Souks are a must-visit for any traveler to the United Arab Emirates. These traditional markets are a great place to find souvenirs, gifts, and local handicrafts. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when visiting the souks. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience.

Dont be afraid to Haggle

When shopping in the Souks you cannot be afraid to haggle. Arabs love to haggle – it is part of their culture. When visiting the Souks you are supposed to haggle down the price considerately. I have never been too keen on haggling but as it stands, I am actually quite good at it! Here are some tips you want to keep in mind when trying to find something at a good price in the Dubai Souks.  

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Look up gold prices before heading to the Gold Souk

souks dubai visit tips gold

Before heading to the Gold Souk you should always look up the gold price in Dirham. This is essential when you want to negotiate a good price for a nice necklace or a ring. Obviously you will have to pay a small mark up – but overall it will help you to determine what a good price is and when a sellar is taking the piss. 

Gold prices can fluctuate daily and although these fluctuations are in essence small, it is a good idea to check the daily price.  When haggling try to keep in mind that a mark-up of 10% to 20% on the gold price is fair, but that paying double is too much. 

Bring old gold jewelry to the Gold Souk to have it made into something new for cheap

souks dubai visit tips gold price

Not many people know that you can bring old jewelry to the Gold Souk to have it made into something better and more beautiful for a small price. Many Asian people bring their family jewelry to the Gold Souk when visiting Dubai to have their jewelry remade into modern and more up to date pieces. These necklaces and bangles are often given as a wedding gift. 

Before you have people melt down your gold, make sure you weigh the gold yourself (It wouldn’t be the first time someone tampers with their scales) and check the quality of the gold at home, preferably at a jeweler. You can also check the purity of the gold when looking at the mark on the inside of a ring, the back of a bracelet or the lock on a necklace. This way you are sure that you receive the same quality gold and the same weight of gold in your new necklace or piece. 

Also, look around the little shops and haggle on the price to make a new piece. Do understand that craftsmanship can differ. Ask for examples of their work before committing. 

Don’t buy anything (packaged) in the spice souk

souks dubai visit tips spice souk

The Spice Souk is very beautiful and fragrant when you walk through the Souk. But it also has its downsides. The quality of the spices is not always great and most of the time the spices are massively overpriced. If you would like to buy spices from the spice Souk you should refrain from buying any packaged spices as they are just low-tier, low-quality spices often produced and mixed especially for tourists. If you are looking for amazing spices for cheap prices you should head to your local Carrefour Supermarket. – no I am not kidding – they have high quality spices such as curry, pepper, cardamon and cinnamon for very little money. I remember buying half a kilo of turmeric for my mom and paying the equivalent of $1.50. 

Same goes for dates: most big supermarkets have a little counter where you can buy high-quality dates at reasonable prices. When I bring dates home for my family I mostly go for dates with chocolate I just buy at one of those little counters. 

Residents and emiratis don’t buy their spices at the spice market – so why should you? 

But all in all the Spice Souk is amazing to visit, to take pictures at and to walk through. Just not to buy spices at. 

Buy tacky souvenirs at 1 to 10 dhs stores

souks dubai visit tips 1 to 10 dhs shop

Now we are talking about buying spices and souvenirs at other stores rather than the souks, my next tip is to buy small souvenirs at the 1 to 10 dirham stores. These little equivalents of pound shops or dollar stores are scattered throughout Dubai and a reasonably unknown source of tacky little tourist tat. Whether you want an “I Love Dubai” T-shirt or a massive Dubai mug or fridge magnet, you will find a lot in these little shops. 

This is a tip for people who are traveling to Dubai on a budget. Buying your souvenirs at the Souk is obviously a fun experience – but if you want to save some money, the 1 to 10 dirham stores are your place to be! Just look them up on google and instruct your cab driver accordingly. 

Learn a few words in Arabic

souks dubai visit tips arabic

Building report with the merchants is always a good idea. Most of the merchants in the souk, however, will be Pakistani or Egyptian. Sure, Arabic is not a Pakistani’s first language, but many of them do know a few words, and it is a way to break the ice – which is important when wanting to negotiate a price. 

I have compiled a list of words and phrases in Arabic you can use when shopping in the souks.

If you need more Arabic words, you can pick up a little Arabic phrasebook that can help you on your travels through the Middle East.

  • Shukran = “Thank you”
  • Marhaba = “Hello”)
  • Maazera = “Excuse me”
  • Hal tatakalam al’iisbania = “Do you speak English”
  • Ayna yomkanany shera = “where can I buy”
  • Naam = “yes”
  • La = means “No”
  • Kam yukalif = “how much does it cost”
  • Laaref = “I don’t know”
  • Alshafqat tatimu = “it is finished”
  • Min Fadlak = “please”

Any other words people should know? Leave them in the comments! 

Go to the souk early or very late

souks dubai visit tips time

If you want to visit the Souks in Dubai it is a good idea to go early. Not only does this mean it will be quiet, you will also evade the hottest part of the day: the afternoon.

The Souks open at 10:30 am which gives you an hour and a half before the sun rises to its highest point. During spring and summer it can get very hot in Dubai.

Early in the morning the salesmen will also be less clingy and less obtrusive. You will be able to explore the Souks in relative peace which gives you more time to look for something nice or special.

On the other hand: if you have found something you really like, it is a good idea to head to the souk near closing time to obtain a bargain. At the end of the day, the salesmen might be more willing to part with items at a lower price as the day is coming to a close and FOMO is kicking in.

The Souks close at 10 pm.

Keep your ears open to hear what prices other people can get

souks dubai visit tips creek

When bargaining, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open when other people are trying to haggle down a price. Maybe they can get a better price then you? You can also mention that you know certain other customers got a better price.

A lot of stalls will have Arab prices and tourist prices. People who are Arab will often get a better price than people like me – people who are white. I noticed this when I went shopping for an Abaya. My friends bargained down an Abaya I liked. I could not get the price below 200 dhs. It was ridiculously hard for me to knock any money off the thing. I obviously did not buy it.

My friends – cheeky as they are – decided to go back without me (I was ‘’browsing’’ another stall) and were able to haggle down the garment to 80 Dhs. They are no better or worse hagglers than I am. We just have a different skin colour.

That is why you need to keep your ears and eyes open. If other people are getting a better price than you, call the salesman out and try to secure an even lower price! Don’t let these people cheat you out of your money.

Do not overpay for your abaya

souks dubai visit tips naif

Abayas are a very popular souvenir to take home. This traditional United Arab Emirates garment is rather unknown in the Western world, which means tourists hardly know what to pay for an abaya. This means they often end up overpaying.

In fact, when you go to Naif Souk – a special clothing and fabric souk in Deira, you will be quoted ridiculous prices like 300 or even 400 Dhs. The fabric of the abayas in this souk is often quite cheap and no way in hell they are worth 300 Dhs – or even 150.

I would say that any price over 100 Dhs is too much – especially since the quality of the fabric is quite poor. My friends mostly pay between 70Dhs and 90Dhs.

Another great way to explore the Souks, learn more about Dubai’s history, how to get a good bargain and where to buy what souvenirs is through taking a Souk walking tour. These interesting and unique Dubai walking tours take you through Dubai’s most important Souks with a skilled and knowledgeable tour guide.

You can learn why the Gold Souk was so important to the city or why Naif Souk is a haven for textile. If you are looking for a unique experience while visiting the Souks in Dubai, I would opt for one of the walking tours!

After your Souk Tour you can head to your hotel or head to one of the most beautiful pools in Dubai to cool down! 

4 thoughts on “10 tips for visiting the Souks in Dubai”

    1. Hi Mina!

      The English spoken at the souks is overall quite good. Most salesmen are Pakistani while some are Egyptian or even Jordanian. They understand that most of their customers will not be able to speak Arabic.

    1. Hi Conal

      It depends how well you can barter.
      Have a look at the daily gold rate.
      If you want to be safe and sure it might be best to go to a jeweller.

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