Dubai is shopaholic heaven. This is the city that boasts the world’s largest shopping mall and whose major annual event is the Dubai Shopping Festival – even its name sounds suspiciously like “do buy”. The seriousness with which Dubai takes its retail therapy is evident in the lavishness of many of the spectacular modern malls that dot the city, some of them virtual tourist attractions in their own right, attracting an eclectic crowd of local Emiratis, Western tourists and bargain-hunting Indian and Filipino expats. Alternatively, there’s still plenty of old-fashioned Arabian shopping to be found in the souks of Deira and Bur Dubai, piled high with traditional items like gold, perfume and spices at cut-throat prices – which can often be lowered still further if you fancy a spot of good-natured haggling.

Opening hours for mall shops are usually 10am to 10pm; some stay open until midnight between Thursday and Saturday, while a few remain closed on Fridays until 2pm. Opening hours in souks are more variable: in general most places open daily from 10am to 10pm, though many close in the afternoon from around 1 to 4/5pm depending on the whim of the owner, and some places don’t open on Friday mornings. Bargaining is the norm in the souks; prices in mall shops are fixed.


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