Top 10 things to buy in Dubai, pt 2

Oh yes, there are more exotic goodies to buy in Dubai…
6. Carpets and kilims – the UAE has a reputation for having the finest quality carpets in the region at the lowest prices. This is because there is a discerning audience of locals and expats who know their carpets (and know how to bargain!), there’s no tax, and because Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are just across the sea, so the carpets don’t have far to travel. Carpet come from far and wide but the best buys are obviously Persian carpets.

7. Gold and gems – after carpets, gold is the next best value buy, while diamonds are increasingly becoming a good buy. The gold market is huge in Dubai with locals and wealthy Indian and Arab expats being the biggest buyers. They’re mostly buying for wedding dowries, as well as investment. Rarely do tourists walk away without something sparkly either. You’ll find anything that glitters at the Gold Souq. The Gold and Diamond Centre is also a great place to shop but the Souq offers a quintessential Dubai experience.

8. Textiles – most of the fabulous fabrics at Bur Dubai’s textile souq come from India, Bangladesh and East Africa, so you can expect to find lots of vibrant fabrics. Bur Dubai’s Textile Souq is the place to shop, but the sari stores in the back streets are also worth a look – the Indian saris make wonderful curtains and bed throws.

9. Middle Eastern souvenirs – Dubai has it all: spangly sequined slippers from India and Pakistan to the more exotic curly-toed Aladdin slippers from Afghanistan; colourful glass lanterns and chandeliers from Syria and Morocco; exquisite mother-of-pearl inlaid wooden furniture from Syria; Egyptian cotton sheets and clothes; the softest pashmina shawls and colourful embroidered coats from Kashmir and Nepal; gorgeous beaded cushion covers and bedspreads from India; miniature paintings from Iran and Turkey; bellydancing outfits from Egypt; sheesha pipes from everywhere… and I could go on…

10. Kitsch souvenirs – if you’re a collector of kitsch or you want to buy a dozen little trinkets for the staff at the office, then you’ll go out of your mind trying to decide what to buy as Dubai just has so much of this kooky stuff, from mosque-shaped alarm clocks that play the call-to-prayer when they go off to keyrings dangling with tiny iconic Dubai buildings, to Sheikh Mohammed coffee cups and t-shirts, and a million things that come in the shape of a camel. And I hear you can still pick up a Saddam Hussein cigarette lighter (which sends an electric current up your arm when you flick it!) if you’re prepared to pay for it.


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  1. Maryam in Marrakesh

    Lara, Okay, so you have me thinking about Dubai in a whole new way! I need to stop thinking about it in transit:)

  2. Maryam in Marrakesh

    Lara, Okay, so you have me thinking about Dubai in a whole new way! I need to stop thinking about it in transit:)

  3. Lara Dunston

    Oh dear, well, how did you think about Dubai?

    Gosh, but even if it’s only ‘in transit’, it must offer one of the best ‘in transit’ experiences in the world with all that fab shopping at the airport.

  4. Anu

    I totally agree the Dubai airport looks like a big shopping mall with some runways on the side -:) still it is one of the best operated airport, you can spend hours there even if you don’t shop.

  5. Lara Dunston

    Yes, I spend a lot of time at Dubai airport and it’s fantastic. I’m a frequent flyer so I get access to the Emirates lounges and they’re just brilliant – a bit too crowded – but the array of fantastic food, drinks, and fine champagne is impressed. No other lounge compares. But even if you’re not in a lounge, the cafes are great. And, of course, as you said, then there’s the shopping. It’s great for getting last minute gifts if you forget something.

  6. NewWrldYankee

    I loved your what to buy in Dubai series so much, I had to stumble it! Great list – you really know how to bring it to life! Did you take these pictures?

  7. Lara Dunston

    Thank you so much! That’s very sweet of you. I’m glad you liked it.

    I did take the pics myself actually. My husband is a photographer and so most people think he takes the pics on my blog – but he earns too much money from his images to give them away! – I take them myself, so thank you!

  8. Anonymous

    Good Afternoon!!! cooltravelguide.blogspot.com is one of the best resourceful websites of its kind. I enjoy reading it every day. Keep it that way.

  9. Lara Dunston

    Hello 'Anonymous'

    Why thank you for the kind words! Much appreciated! I shall try very hard to post *every* day. :)

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