Best shopping spots in Dubai, UAE

Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

The city of Dubai (UAE) would certainly be the gold medals’ favorite, had there been a sport named shopping. Where else in the world would you find a dedicated celebration ‘Shopping Festival’ each year? Here is a city where shopping is a national pastime. But unlike shopping districts or store-lined streets in other hot favorite shopping towns, here it’s all about the malls. There are hundreds of these vast ‘monuments of consumerism’ where tourists stagger about with more bags than they can feasibly carry.
Dubai’s vast malls come studded with cafés and restaurants, and often with a whole bunch of enormous entertainment features. The Dubai Mall, the biggest in the world, stands next to the Burj Khalifa. It boasts of a theme park, an ice-skating rink and a giant aquarium inside. Another top mall, the Mall of the Emirates, includes the world’s biggest indoor ski slope. The malls in Dubai act as socializing spots, places for hanging out with the family or for meeting up with friends for a movie, coffee or bowling. Thankfully, most of them are extremely clean, easy to get to and offer a wide range of facilities. And, most importantly, they’re all air-conditioned, which is useful during the summer months.
The Dubai Shopping Festival
Held in the month of January and February, it has become much more than just what it sounds. The huge discounts, loud promotions, wide sales, and contests with Porsches as the prizes, all make it an enriching experience altogether. The venue is well laid out for kids’ entertainment, street fairs with food stalls and vivid fireworks. At the Diving and the Heritage Village, traditional dance performances and various cultural activities are the major attractions.

Dubai Gold Souq - visa to Dubai

Gold trader at Gold Souq in Dubai, UAE

The Souks
In Arabic, Souk means a place where any kind of product can be exchanged or bought. The closest equivalent is bazaar. There are opportunities for la fresco shopping too. Dubai’s best buys are the things we associate the most with the Middle East: carpets, textiles, spices, gold, perfume frankincense, and myrrh. The Deira covered market was once the Arabian Gulf’s largest. The city’s Spice Souk is small and a lot more busier than it once was, but a stroll here is an aromatic boon for the senses.
Gold Souk and the Textile Souk are the other notable Arabian style Souks in the metropolitan city. They’re not just for tourists, these gritty and ramshackle Souks are where the real people shop for everyday things. Deira’s covered Souqs are the places where you would find belly dancing costumes, traditional outfits, hookah (sheesha) pipes. At the Gold Souq, anything that glitters is worth consideration. Bur Dubai’s Textile Souq sells splendid Indian saris, colorful fabrics, stylish Aladdin slippers, and Arabian antiques. For discounted souvenirs, the Karama Souk is the best place in the region.
So, what would you take home as a souvenir? Something traditional from the souks, say, gold jewellery, or an Arabian outfit? Or would you rather scan through the malls for designer accessories or the latest electronic gadgets? Either way, you take a dip in the pool of the enriching experiences the temples of consumerism have to offer here.
Please note that in order to enter the UAE many foreign visitors are required to obtain their official travel visas at the VisaCenters in USA, UK and Canada.

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Dubai in a Day

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Dubai is a relatively new tourist destination and it has gained immense popularity in the past few years. It is a great place for shopping, partying, sunbathing and fine dining. It also has the largest immigration population in the world. Citizens of most countries will receive a 30 day visa on arrival which is totally free of charge. This can be extended for up to 90 days on payment of Dhs 500. Canadian nationals, however, need to apply for Visa in advance and they can do so at the VisaCenter in their country. If UK & US national are looking for a 90 day visa then they can apply in advance at the VisaCenter.

If you are visiting Dubai just for a 1 day stopover then you need to utilize that day fully. There are lots of things you can do in a span of 12 – 14 hrs and this is not restricted to only shopping. You can visit a number of attractions or take a tour to have a glimpse of the city.

3o Min Helicopter Ride

This is perhaps the best option to see Dubai in such a short span of time. You will get to see all the important landmarks in the city from bird’s eye view. You can get this tour from Lama Tours in Dubai. However, in order to get the trip started there must be a minimum of 4 persons.

The Amazing Dubai City

A whirlwind tour of the city will take around 5 hours and you must cover places like the magnificent beaches at the Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab Hotel which is a 7 star luxurious property. You must also visit the Camel Race Track, Dubai Race & Golf Club and Sheikh’s Palace. If you still have time left (from the 4 hrs schedule) you can make a quick trip to the Creek to witness the mesmerizing architecture of Deira Towers and the underground Dubai Museum.

Shopping Tour

The city is a paradise for shoppers and if your stopover is mainly intended for this purpose then you must devote at least 4 – 5 hours for this purpose. The main shopping centers are City Center, Burjuman and Lamcy Plaza. You can get almost anything under the roof and all of them sell branded items. If you want to buy electronics then Bur Dubai is the place for you. Do not forget to bargain here, though. Lastly you can end the tour with a delicious buffet dinner at the Dubai floating restaurant. Enjoy the sumptuous food while cruising along the Dubai creek.

There are many tourists who would appreciate the services of a Bus Tour that will cover the major parts of the city in around 5 hrs approximately. So that will leave you with another 5 hours minimum for your shopping. Viator, the leading tour company, has one such tour which starts at $37 and will cover Dubai in 4 hrs 30mins. The pick is between 1:00 to 2:00 pm from centrally located hotels in Dubai. It also has an English speaking guide on board. The tour will cover the gold souk, the Al Bastakiya quarter and the Dubai Museum, Jumeirah Mosque and the photo shop at the Burj Al Arab hotel. You will also have an opportunity to board the water taxi across the creek to the spice market.

You can cover a lot of places in Dubai even if you are going there for 1 day only but proper planning is definitely required.

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