There’s not much of an ‘historic center’ in the über-modern city of the Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
Still, there are a few winding streets that date back to the city’s days as a sleepy fishing village not so very long ago.
So on your visit, when you tire of shopping malls and high-end boutiques, it’s worth stopping by the Gold souk and Spice souk to enjoy a wander in what were the original shopping malls.
The section of Dubai where the markets can be found is called Deira, and it’s divided from the modern Bur Dubai area by the Dubai Creek. You can reach the area by metro, or by the traditional boats – the abra – that ferry passengers from one side of the creek to another for a small sum (1 dirham, about 25 cents).
The Gold souk is quite a sight to behold. Each year, about twenty-five tonnes of gold is on sale, making it one of the largest gold markets in the world. The windows show off the glittering wares, although I must admit to feeling shopping fatigue in the souks. I love looking around, but all the identical items stall after stall dampen my (already poor) shopping enthusiasm.
The gold souk is open daily 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-22:00.
The spice souk is nearby, and these are always my favorite markets. Here you can find everything packed into the tiny shops- cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, Iranian safron, vanilla and frankinsence. Enjoy wandering the fragrant passages.
After our day of exploring and an early flight out the next morning, we weren’t in the mood for a sit-down dinner, but we did scrape together an excellent and inexpensive way to fill our stomachs from what was on sale in the markets.
So, after exploring modern Dubai, an evening in the souks was an enjoyable way to end the day. Enjoy this corner of ‘old’ Dubai on your trip to the United Arab Emirates.