Dubai’s best buys are the things we associate with shopping the Middle East – carpets, textiles, perfume, spices, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Seriously. Dubai’s Spice Souq may be small and a lot more touristy now than it once was, but a stroll here is an aromatic assault on the senses – great buys include tiny boxes of saffron, frankincense (the sticky golden rocks of resin in the big sacks), incense burners, and do-it-yourself henna kits.
Deira’s Covered Souqs are the place to shop for bellydancing outfits, traditional costumes, sheesha pipes, and at the Gold Souq, anything that glitters. Bur Dubai’s Textile Souq sells Indian saris, vibrant fabrics, spangly Aladdin slippers, Dubai t-shirts, and Arabian ‘antiques’. Karama Souq is not so much a souq but a rather shabby shopping centre, but it’s the best place for discounted souvenirs from the region: Arabian bronze and copper coffee pots, engraved trays and Aladdin lamps, Yemeni khanjars (daggers), Bedouin silver jewellery from Oman, colourful Moroccan lamps, sequinned and beaded cushion covers and bedspreads from India, and mother-of-pearl inlaid boxes and furniture from Syria.