Souk is the Arabic word for market place where any kinds of goods are brought and then sold out. Traditionally Dubai used to have dhows (the traditional boats) come from India, China, Ceylon with a milieu of goods like spices, silks, perfumes etc. These were brought to the docks and then sold at the souks located adjacent to the docks. But over the years freight has also changed and the manner in which it is transported is also undergoing a rapid change.
These dhows still bring in goods from all these countries and also include electronic goods and other trendy consumer articles too. Dubai is a vibrant city with a very hot climate for most part of the year. Yet it has developed itself as the world’s biggest shopping destination. It is also commonly called the “Shopping Capital of the Middle East.” People from all parts of the globe come here and have a lifetime experience of shopping, surf and sand.
One of the most important factors which have allowed Dubai to attain this unique position is the kinds of market which are present here. There are the traditional Arabic markets which are called souks along with the more modernized malls and hyper marts.
If one really wishes to experience the quintessential Arabic shopping experience then he/she should surely venture into the different souks that Dubai has to offer.
Gold Souk: This is one of the most significant attractions of the city. Gold is still considered to be the metal of the affluent. And especially so in the South Asian countries where it is bought on all religious and sacred ceremonies.
Over the years, Dubai has gained recognition bazinga as the City of Gold. The gold souk in the Deira region has nearly 250 big and small gold retail shops which dazzle the window shopper with their glitz and dazzle. All the windows are decorated with all kinds of jewellery and making a choice is an enormously difficult task.
Gold Souk displays gold jewellery which is suited more to the tastes of the Indian and the South Asian countries’ buyers. The designs are exquisite and the latest in fashion. The prices are also surprisingly very attractive. One can easily find gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, opals, and amethysts lined up in the windows and are cheaper as compared to the western countries.
Spice Souk: The walk down the spice souk takes you to another era altogether. There are narrow streets which are lined up with shops selling all kinds of spices and herbs. The fragrance in the area is so over whelming that it feels like as if we have stepped back in times long gone.
The shops in the souk sell spices and herbs like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, dried fruit and nuts and also incense which is brought here from all parts of the Middle East. The most interesting part is that all the spices are sold straight from the sacks and the shopkeepers are more than happy to chat about life and the best herbs and spices.
Textiles Souk: Textiles of all hues and shades jostle with each other to attract attention in this bazaar. The shops in the Textile Souk of Bur Dubai are a treasure trove for people shopping for textiles. All kinds of textiles like the delicate voile, broderie anglaise, silk and velvet are available here with some very beautiful embroidered patterns or fine threads of gold running through the weave. The choice is unlimited but the prices are negotiable.
Experience the joy and sheer vibrancy at these souks and I am sure you will never ever forget the feeling!!!