Best Souks in Dubai: 10 Traditional Markets

Mabruqq's Editor ARTS & CULTURE Aug 07, 2020
Best Souks in Dubai: 10 Traditional Markets

Dubai might be famous for its malls, lavish lifestyle, luxury cars, skyscrapers, and restaurants but do you know where the beauty of Dubai lies? Its traditional souks and heritage markets that are the heart of Dubai & an important chapter of the Arabic heritage.

Located in the oldest districts of Dubai, Souks is the Arabic word that means Bazaar or traditional marketplace. Dubai Souks are a great place to experience Arabic culture firsthand. From Shining jewelry and glazed gold bars to irresistible aromas of scents, spices, and rich fabrics, Dubai delivers the finest cultural experience to tourists.

With modern metropolis life taking the centre-stage, the traditional Arabian markets are the places that make the daily life and trade happen in Dubai. Any trip to Dubai is incomplete without visiting the souk markets of Dubai.

Let's explore the richness of Dubai and take you to the most famous Souks in Dubai.

1. Gold Souk

Dubai’s Gold Souk is one of the world’s the most illustrious marketplaces where every corner of the market is filled with glittering gold. The shops in the market are decorated with shining pieces of gold jewellery, gemstones, and unique designs that will tempt you to make a purchase.

There are hundred of shops lined-up next to each other selling premium quality gold at current market prices. Even if you are not fascinated by gold shopping, Gold Souk Dubai, being a tourist hub, will please you with its liveliness and stature. Include the largest gold bazaar in the middle east in your Dubai travel itinerary today.

Other nearby market includes Gold & Diamond Park, a mall that has many jewellery stores, convenience stores and cafes.

  • Location - Deira, Old Dubai
  • Nearest Metro - Al Ras & Gold Souq Metro Station on Green Line
  • Bus Stations - Al Sabkha & Gold Souk
  • Timings- 10am-10pm (Mon-Sun); Friday- 4pm-10pm


2. Perfume Souk

At Perfume Souk, you can discover the dealings in everything scented from perfume to essential oils to incense sticks, exotic traditional oud & bakhoor. This trading spot has beautifully fragmented options for everyone. These Arabian scents can be purchased as a incense stick, rock, powder, crystal, or wood element.

You can even get a personalised perfume which is created specifically with the type of scent you are looking for and one that suits your skin.

Dubai perfume souk offers exciting aromas and scents that attracts tourists from around the globe. Whether you’re searching for an ancient Arabic scent or a modern branded perfume, the market covers all the aspects. Prices of scents are not fixed and are labeled on the product. You can test your bargaining skills to get the best deal on purchases. Take home the symbol of Arabian life from Perfume Souk Dubai.

  • Location - Sikkat al Khali - Dubai
  • Nearest Metro - Al-Ras Metro Station
  • Bus Stations - Sabkha Bus Station, Gold Souq Bus Station, Emirate Bus Station
  • Opening Hours - 10am-2pm & 4pm-10pm (Saturday to Thursday); Friday- 4pm-10pm
  • +971 58 220 0965


3. Spice Souk

Now that you have the gold and you smell good, it’s time to visit the best spice market in Dubai- The Spice Souk.

Located beside the Gold Souk, Spice Souk is an ancient market which is filled with an array of exotic and homegrown spices. The idea is to experience a pure arabic bazar dealing in colorful and flavorful spices, herbs, rice and fruits.

This market hall is a must visit for those who want to explore Dubai’s everyday life and buy high quality saffron and local spices unique to the arab region. You can also shop dried fruits, candied nuts and locally-blended teas. Be aware of the scammers and take a tour guide with you.

  • Location - 41 34th St, Deira, Al Ras, Dubai
  • Nearest Metro - The Palm Deira Metro Station
  • Bus Stations - Gold Souk Bus Station, Emirates NBD, Deira, Sabkha
  • Timings - 7:30am-9:55pm


4.Textile Souk

Dubai Textile Souk is nestled in the historical Al Fahidi disctrict where the stories of old Dubai reside. It offers fabrics of Dubai and textiles sourced from all around the world to tourists, designers, fashion lovers where an array of shops are crowded with rolls of best fabric in Dubai.

Here you can get fine silk, cottons, sari fabrics, embroidery, and other fabrics which you can chose to make a traditional abayas, jalabiyas, kandura or a hijab. Many shops offer a comprehensive range of hand-woven and machine-made fabrics in cashmere, silk, cotton and wool.

Textile Souk dubai is one of the best souks in Dubai and lies is the same neighborhood as Gold, Spice & Perfume Souk. So you don’t have to worry about traveling across different locations.

  • Location - 57, Opposite to Abra - Ali Bin Abi Taleb St - Dubai
  • Nearest Metro -Burjuman Metro Station
  • Bus Stations - Ghubaiba Bus Station, Sharaf-dg metro bus stop
  • Timings - 9AM–2PM, 4–8PM Monday-Sunday (Friday Closed)
  • +971 4 353 8833


5. Souk Madinat

With the backdrop of iconic Burj Al Arab, Souk Madinat is the best aesthetic souks in Dubai that is surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of Madinat. Its narrow lanes are decorated with arabian shopping stands, designer boutiques, jewelry outlets, rare art pieces, souvenirs shops, and perfume stores, all blended in a electric atmosphere.

Food lovers are spoilt for choices with more than 50 modern eateries & aesthetic restaurants offering a lifetime view of canalside & Burj Al Arab. You can also attend a live show at Madinat Theater to give a happy ending to your shopping.

A classic traditional souk with a modern feel. Souk Madinat is a must do while in Dubai.

  • Location - King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St - Al Sufouh 1 - Dubai
  • Nearest Metro -Mall of the Emirates Metro Station
  • Bus Stations - Dubai Police Academy-02, Burj Al Arab Hotel-02
  • Timings - 10am-11pm (All Days)


6. Meena Bazaar

One of the most visited traditional markets in Dubai, Meena Bazaar is not your typical souk rather it combines a Souk with the best of textiles, perfumes, jewellery all in one market at the cheaper prices available. A hub for south asian fashion & handicrafts, Meena Bazaar was earlier known as Cosmos lane but with its striking resemblance to the infamous meena bazaar in Delhi, its name got changed to Meena Bazaar.

Once you enter the Meena Bazaar, you can feel the old dubai vibes as shops are bursting with tourists and most of the sellers are Indian & Pakistani speaking in Hindi. Some of the things you can shop here are pashmina, raw silk, lace sarees, indian & pakistani ethnic wear, silver & diamond jewellery, and get it stitched from the best tailor shops.

Be careful while shopping as some of these stores sell duplicate products in the name of the original.

  • Location - 34 Al Nahdha St - Al Fahidi - Dubai
  • Nearest Metro - Al Fahidi Metro Station
  • Bus Stations - Deira, Ghubaiba, Rolla
  • Timings - 8am-6pm Monday-Sunday (Friday Closed)


7. Souk Al Bahar

Made in 2006 and revamped with current trends, Souk Al Bahar blends the classic arabian style with modern western shopping concept. It is located next to the Dubai Mall in the heart of Downtown Dubai offering a majestic view of Dubai fountains.

Souk Al Bahar which means “market of the sailor” is a best place to soak up Arabic culture, do some souvenir shopping and eat authentic middle eastern food. The evenings at Souk Al Bahar are even more happening with the whole place lit up with lights, gentle breeze, Dubai Fountain shows, and live music being played in restaurants & cafes.

You can take home things like Bateel dates, nuts, incense cones, jewelry, abayas, brass lamps, traditional carpets, local costumes, and arabic fragrances. Souk Al Bahar has over 100 shops, 22 restaurants and is the best modern arabian souks in Dubai.

  • Location - Souk Al Bahar - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd - Downtown Dubai - Dubai
  • Nearest Metro - Burj Khalifa Metro Station (Red Line)
  • Bus Stations - Burj Khalifa The Palace Hotel, The Dubai Mall, Empire Heights Tower
  • Timings - 10am-1am (All Days)


8. The Souk, Dubai Mall

Located inside the Dubai Mall, The Souk has a Arabian design & architecture that shocks most modern and western mall designers. You can easily find it just by entering from the groud floor.

The Souk Dubai Mall offers lots of handcrafted jewellery which is inspired from Emirati heritage. It consists of more than 40 boutique stores boasting of fine jewellery, precious metal and impressive gemstones.

It is modernised concept presented with an international gleeful shopping experience with local art and Emirati heritage. There are many interactive digital maps available to visitors throughout the mall that can help you navigate.

  • Location - Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Near Souk Al Bahar
  • Nearest Metro - Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro (Red Line)
  • Bus Stations - Dubai Mall Metro Bus station
  • Timings - 9am-12am


9. Global Village

It represents different cities and cultures all over the world at one place. At Global Village Dubai you can find food, merchandise, forms of entertainment and retail shops are spread around the corner. From October to April Global Village is seasonal shopping offers loaded with different deals and discounts. Global village is the family destination for culture, entertainment and shopping. Here you can experience a wide range of events, shows and activities from different regions. It offers unique and international cuisine and different entertainment experiences can be enjoyed.

  • Location - Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road E 311 road, Dubai
  • Nearest Metro - World Trade Centre Metro Station
  • Bus Stations - Wasl Bus Station, Ghaya Residence
  • Timings - October 2022 to April 2023 - 4pm-12am


10. Carpet Souk

UAE Souk market is also known for Carpet and rugs. Carpet Souk in UAE is located at Abu Dhabi and it is the best place to see a good collection of Arabic speciality. The products are handmade with vibrant colours and it is also sold at a premium price range due to product authenticity and quality. Ruga are sold for home decor, gifting purposes and for prayer purposes.

  • Location - 437 Al Meena St - Zayed Port - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
  • Nearest Metro -
  • Bus Stations - Al Mina St / Zayed Port, St 27 / St 20
  • Timings - 9am-11pm


VAT information for Dubai Souks

Shoppers have to pay a 5% VAT charge when buying Gold from Dubai Souks. But under the Tax refunds for Tourist Scheme, they can get 85% off on the VAT charge back at the airport.

All you need to do is shop at retailers that offer tax refunds on goods and show a sales receipt with a tax refund tag when claiming a VAT refund at the airport. You also need to attach copies of your passport and credit card.

You can recover VAT either in cash (UAE currency) or request it to be transferred to your credit card.