Old Dubai Souks - What you can expect to find
Blog written on 19-05-2022
The thing with living in Dubai is, you can spend years here, and not know what "the other side of town" looks like. There is enough to do in "New Dubai", that you can forget the old part even exists. I knew I wanted to dedicate my first few months here to exploring like a tourist, because there is so much to learn and discover when you're still curious and your perspective is still fresh! But then Covid-19 came along and derailed my plans. So I had to wait a bit longer, but now I've had a chance to head to the Old Dubai souks, and I'm glad I did. Please note, for all the things you'll read below, you will need CASH to buy (except gold as that can get pricey). So make sure you have cash in small denominations with you.
Buy gold in the Gold Souk
If you intend to buy anything from the gold souk, you generally pay based on the weight of the item you're buying. Yes, they put in on a scale, and get the price directly off the weight. This really got me by surprise because some of the pieces are very elaborate, so I thought that would affect the price too! But alas. The purity of the gold also affects the price, and the purity is determined by the number of karats. The purest form of gold is 24k, or 24 karate.
Pick up a cashmere scarf at the textile souk
In the Old Dubai souks, there are plenty of vendors selling the exact same thing. So, you can comfortably negotiate to get the best items at the best prices! Cashmere scarfs are one of those things you'll want to keep handy in your bag, especially if you want to visit a modest country. You just never know when you need to cover your shoulders. If you intend to do a desert shoot, you can pick up some traditional outfits here for cheap too!
Learn a thing or two at the Spice Souk
When you hear spices, the first thing that probably comes to mind are cooking spices. However, there are other herbs that have good medicinal properties that will spark your interest. Go with an open mind. You might pick up one or two things that will help you relax and relieve stress!
Want to buy perfume? There's a souk for that!
The perfume souk is not a souk per se, but rather, it is a street of perfume shops that are just after the gold souk. here, you can get your favourite fragrances mixed for you, or you can get a special fragrance made just for you! If you intend on driving, best to go early because there isn't much parking, and when you do find parking, the spots are quite tight. But it's well worth the visit!
Are you going to be heading out to the Old Dubai Souks when you visit? I would certainly add it to the list if I were you!
Combine your trip to the Old Dubai souks with a visit to Bastakiya
If you want to couple your visit to Old Dubai Souks to the Al Fahidi quarter also known as Bastakiya), check out this blog post where I detail what you can do there.
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I’m a travel curator who has visited over 30 countries and is currently based in Dubai. For more of Tingu Travel’s experiences, you can follow us on Instagram and Tik Tok @tingutravel