Souk’ or ‘souq’ is the Arabic word, which stands for the market or place where any kind of goods are brought or exchanged. Traders from around the world brought with them a variety of merchandise and “haggled” over the sales and purchases. In the modern times or today, souks are still markets but they are just a shadow of their former wonder.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah: The spirit of the traditional Arabian souk survives at Madinat Jumeirah. You will wander along the meandering avenues; past towers, lantern-lit hallways and narrow waterways. Discover the treasures hidden along the way –fashion, jewellery, antiques, art, oils and spices, and a series of world-class restaurants and bars.
Location: Jumeirah Road PO Box 75157, Dubai, Behind Burj Al Arab Hotel
Saga Bazaar: Saga Bazaar is famous for luxurious banquets, corporate gala dinners, wedding celebrations, conferences and meetings. The magical lights, the precious glassware and dishes, will make an unforgettable experience that will ever last in your precious memories.
Location: Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqueim 1, Dubai
The Gold Souk: World famous Gold Souk is Dubai’s Gold Souk. Usually, the shops are open until 10:00 pm. You can reach the Gold Souk with public buses, metro, taxi or water taxi “Abra” from Bur Dubai. We don’t recommend to go by car as the area is very crowded and to find a parking could be difficult.
Location: Deira (near Baniyas Square) Sikkat al-Khali Street, Dubai
Old Souk/Textile Souk: The Old Souk/Textile Souk lies over the Creek in Bur Dubai. The bazaar consists of a long line of restored sand-colored stone buildings, covered by a wooden roof in one area, and topped with attractive wind towers.
Location: The Textile Souk can be reached from Deira (Gold Souk, Spice Souk, Perfume Souk) by crossing the water on an abra or water taxi.
Naif Souk: The souk is famous for its souvenirs, leather, watches, jewellery, handbags and textiles. Today, the rebuilt Naif Souk awaits its visitors with more than a hundred shops and air-conditioned climate.
Location: Naif Souk is located in the old Deira district of Dubai.
Karama Market: This Souk is one of Dubai’s most popular souk areas- largely due to its “real fakes” available. You will find everything from bags, shoes, DVDs, watches, jewellery and everything in between. It is open all day and till late in the evening although a few shops close in the afternoon during the week. This is a definite trip to make sure you have lots of water with you, flat shoes and a tight grip on your purse- you will want to splurge!
Location: Ten minutes from Dubai Creek.
Perfume Souk: The Perfume Souk is the name given to the collection of perfume shops. Perfumes are also available in shopping malls but perfume souk is the best place to choose among a wide variety. Aromas here range from traditional Arabic Ittars to latest perfumes all under same roof.
Location: Sikkat Al Khail Road, Deira, east of the Gold Souk.
Spice Souk: Here you will find spices of all varieties: cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, turmeric, chilli, curry, cloves and lots more. Also you will find basmati rice, dates, dry fruits and nuts of endless varieties, different sorts of tee, shisha and tobacco, seductive perfumes, pottery as well as baskets.
Location: Next to the Gold souk.
Meena Bazaar: Dubai is famous for its great intercultural community living together in peace. After the Arabic locals, Indian minority is the biggest in Dubai and Indians have always played the most important role in the business life of Dubai. Therefore Dubai has several Indian areas. The most important goods include traditional Indian jewelry and wedding jewellery, watches, Indian textiles, Indian furniture and accessories or Indian spices. You can also get to see two Hindu temples in the Meena area: one is dedicated to Shiva and the other to Krishna Gods.
Location: Bur Dubai, next to Al Bastakiya area.
Khan Murjan: Underground souk, part of the Wafi Center complex. You will find various shops and vendors from across the Arab world.
Location: Sheikh Rashid Road, Ground Level, Wafi City Mall, Wafi City, Umm Hurair 2, Dubai
The Friday Market: Historically it was a Friday market for traders in the less inhabited regions but the roadside market has now become a favourite stopping place for tourists and is on all week now not just Fridays. t is a row of stalls on either side of the road that sell all sorts of things from carpets to pottery, fruit and vegetable, carpets and rugs, inflatable toys, and household pots and pans.
Location: On the East Coast Road between Dhaid and Masafi.
The Souk at Central Market: This traditional Arabian souk will be a ‘must visit’ destination for residents with the emphasis on displaying and selling traditional and regional products ranging from jewelry, carpets, antiques to traditional tailoring, fashion and diverse restaurants.
Location: Aldar Properties, Po Box 51133, Abu Dhabi
The Souk at Qaryat Al Beri: This contemporary adaptation of a typical Arabian souk is home to local and international retail brands, coffee shops and a diverse range of restaurants. Abras (water taxis) take you around the souk via meandering manmade canals, and the stunning waterside complex offers alfresco dining in beautiful architectural surroundings.
Location: Between the Maqtaa and Musaffah bridges in Abu Dhabi.
Gold Jewellery: The Gold Souk has many jewelers, including some of the Gulf’s largest. Apart from the souk, you’ll also find some big-name jewelers in the shopping malls, such as Cartier, Chopard and Tiffany & Co. Regional jewelers to look out for include Damas, Pure Gold and Rivoli.
Location: On 4th Street in Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi
Local Specialties: Carpets and rugs tend to be very well priced here. Some of the Arabic perfumes are very interesting. You can have special perfumes mixed especially to suit your taste. Heavy wooden furniture from Asia and Kashmir is a good buy.
Made In UAE: Made in UAE was founded in 2007 in Abu Dhabi by the Emirati artist Azza Al Qubaisi, and is the first local 100% non-profit project to develop and promote UAE handicrafts and artworks.
Location: Marina Mall- Abu Dhabi, Women Union- Abu Dhabi
Iranian Souk: Iranian Souk is of an open air and vibrant colors. Through shopping there, you will find goods such as colorful carpets, bedspreads, and pottery. It is very popular among tourists coming to the emirate and it comprises of small stores housing a collection of handmade rugs, traditional items and traditionally designed jewelleries.
Location: Al Meena Street, Abu Dhabi
Central Souk: Central Souk is the most famous market in Sharjah and is a definite destination for all shoppers. The Central Souk has one of the best selections of oriental carpets in the UAE. In between shopping and discovering relax and enjoy a snack in the friendly cafés followed by a walk around the scenic Khaled Lagoon.
Location: Al Arouba Street, Sharjah
Souk Al Arsah: Arsah means a large open space. This Market is one of the oldest market place in the UAE. It was the meeting place for the Bedouins and their camels in the old days. The souk offers a number of small stores selling local, new and antique handicrafts, wooden Arabic bridal and pearl chests, copper coffee pots, ethnic and hand-made jewellery, perfume bottles.
Location: Al Mareija – Sharjah
Souk Al Bahar: Souk Al Bahar is known also as Souk Mohamed Bin Saqr. It is an old market that expresses the originality of the town and history of commerce and trade development in the area. There are also larger stores selling Arabic style clothing and accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, and a number of ladies’ tailors specializing in national, bridal and beaded clothes.
Location: Sharjah Creek
Souk Al Ghuwair: This Souk is divided into markets selling an odd mix of products – gold, saris, textiles, clothes, shoes, suitcases and bags; hardware, paints and key cutting outlets; electrical items, fans, plugs, switches; mirror work and carpets. Always open late, it is a handy and useful place to know. It gets very busy in the evenings and traffic congestion can be expected.
Location: Rolla Area, Sharjah