19

S – Souks in Dubai | #AtoZChallenge

S – Souks of Dubai | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

After the last post on restaurants and food places of Dubai, I received a lot of feedback from a lot of people that this was the last thing that they were looking for. I am sure most of the women were lying (Just kidding). This post should be of utmost importance to them. If they aren’t concerned with shopping then who will; I have often found women confessing to me that they find shopping therapeutic.

We have already discussed the malls in Dubai, let’s dedicate this post to the markets or as they call it ‘Souks’ in Dubai. I find malls very monotonous, with most of them having similar lines of retail outlets. My father always told, when you travel, to feel the real culture and vibe of a place travel and explore the local markets.

Before proceeding I would like to highlight what are some of the things that are a must buy from Dubai – perfumes, gold, electronics, spices, textiles, coffee, chocolates, dates, honey and carpets.

Gold Souk

It is the world’s largest gold market with around 300 retailers. The gold souk is located in the Al Ras area of Deira region of Dubai. There is a reason why Dubai is known as the city of gold. The products are government regulated and hence the quality of the products is pretty much genuine everywhere you shop. The gold is also of better quality, usually 22 or 24 carats, compared to India and hence it is considered cheaper than India.

It is a traditional market with narrow lanes with glittering gold on display everywhere. Don’t forget to be at your bargaining best. The gold souk is very well connected using any mode of transport.

Spice Souk

Just next to the gold souk, you will be transported to the aroma-laden streets of traditional trade hub of Dubai, The Spice Souk. The moment you enter the street a strong aroma of spices, which appear to be pleasantly soothing, will greet you. You can purchase an extensive variety of spices found across the planet. The spice souk is not only famous for spices; in fact, you can purchase some of the best dry fruits and dates for your trip back.

Perfume Souk

The first thing that I noticed as soon as I landed in Dubai was the strong scent of perfumes and ‘ittra’ that the locals would be wearing. For some reason, it gives a comforting feeling to everything. Needless to mention the street is an amalgamation of some of the finest scents available.

Perfume souk is also in the same Deira locale on the Sikkat Al Khail Road. You can find anything from the traditional Arabic ittras to more contemporary options. You will find perfume shops in malls too, but the price in the perfume street is unbeatable. They are the perfect souvenirs and don’t forget to take the ‘Oud’ flavor.

Textile Souk

Take an abra for just one dirham and cross the creek to the other side, Bur Dubai. Here you would come across the textile souk, which is also known as the ‘old souk’. The ambiance is reminiscent of the 80s era with small sand-colored shops with wooden frames and architecture, offering a wide variety of clothing and fabric options at very nominal prices.

Meena Bazaar

Meena Bazaar is my favorite market in Dubai. If you aren’t able to visit all the markets separately then it’s better to pay a visit to the Meena Bazaar. Once there, you will not feel as if you are in Dubai and it reminds so much of any traditional market in India. You will find everything here in its narrow lanes; from perfumes to dates, from gold to clothes, from Indian street food to Arabic shawarma, from souvenirs to first copies of watches.

It is extremely difficult to find tailors in Dubai, Meena Bazaar sorts that out for you. Keep 2 to 3 hours when visiting it. Get down at the Al Fahidi station of the green metro line and start walking towards the creek, Meena Bazaar will be on the left-hand side.

Friday Market

A market that is a little far from the city of Dubai towards the East Coast region. It started as a weekly market, which would be set up on Fridays in Masafi – yeah, the same Masafi from where the mineral water comes from. Today it has become a famous tourist place and is now on all weekdays not just Fridays.

You can visit the market for plants, fruits, vegetable, carpets, pottery, handicrafts and household items that are considerably cheaper than what you will find in Dubai.

Fruits & Vegetable Souk

It is in the Ras Al Khor region and is favored by the wholesale or bulk buyers. Now completely shaded, it is a perfect place to get your fresh veggies at a cheap price. You will find supermarket trolleys to help you with your stuff to the cars.

Naif Souk

Naif Souk has come a long way from its older days of being just a camel market to being a full-fledged marketplace like Meena Bazaar. It is located in the old Deira district of Dubai. The lanes are narrow with shops cramped in and the market is amongst the oldest souks in Dubai. You can find perfumes, attar (ittra), phones, gifts, hardware and a lot of other things including some really cheap food options.

Karama Market

It is the ‘first-copy’ or ‘fakes’ market in Dubai. Located in the Al Karama region you can reach easily by metro and get down at the station with the same name. You will find copies of almost everything; bags, wallets, DVDs, jewelry, watches, shoes, sunglasses and so on. If you are not from the brand or an expert in that product you will not be able to tell the difference with the naked eye.

Some markets that are not the traditional souks but are named and are high-end markets.

Souk Madinat – it is the same market that we discussed in the Jumeirah region. The architecture brings the old-world charm to life with modern shopping outlets. It is a place for souvenirs, fine art and sculptures with some amazing cafes and restaurants.

The Souk – it is a dedicated area within the Dubai Mall reflecting the Emirati heritage and is famous for fine jewelry, precious metals and gemstones.

Souk Al Bahar – the perfect marriage of traditional Arabic marketplace with modern design, situated just on the shores of Khalifa Lake in Downtown Dubai. You can shop while enjoying the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa in the background. It is famous for Bateel dates, incense cones, jewelry, abayas, brass lamps and fresh Arabic pastries.

Note: The Gold Souk, Spice Souk and Perfume Souk are on the Deira side of the creek and The Textile Souk and Meena Bazaar on the Bur Dubai side.

On Fridays, most of the markets are closed in the first half and they usually open around 4-5pm.

All the beautiful women and wonderful shopaholics out there can thank me later and you can always reach out for any other information on what to buy and from where.

For all those who love shopping,

For all those who travel to markets,

For all those who collect souvenirs,

And

For all those who love traditional souks…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 19th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘T’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

12

Q – Quick Guide to Dubai Mall | #AtoZChallenge

Q – Quick guide to Dubai Mall | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

When visiting Dubai it would be criminal of you if you miss the Dubai Mall. It is the second largest mall by total land area and the world’s most visited shopping destination for a reason. Given its sheer size, it is practically impossible to cover everything in one go hence I decided to give you a quick tour of the mall and guide you to places that you shouldn’t miss.

Everybody visits a mall for shopping and with more than 1000 retail outlets your shopping cravings are well fed off. Through this post will try to highlight those places, which either I haven’t discussed earlier or are of interest.

How to reach

The Dubai Mall has many entrances, as it is located in the heart of Downtown Dubai. One can simply not miss Burj Khalifa in the center of it. If you traveling in a taxi you will be impressed with how organized everything is.

If you are taking a metro then get off at Dubai Mall, but it will still take another 10-15 min to reach the mall. There is also a free shuttle bus from the metro station to the mall.

Some of the places you can choose to visit depending upon your preferences:

Football in the mall

Yes, you heard it right! You and your kids can enjoy football inside the Dubai Mall. Go to the 2nd floor (p7) and head to the football pitch called ‘Goal’. It is a ‘Drop and shop’ concept where you can drop your kids while you go ahead with your disturbance-free shopping. It is ideal for kids of 10-15 years of age.

Caboodle

Caboodle is another ‘Drop and shop’ zone where you can leave your kids under a paid guidance and you can go ahead for hassle-free shopping. It is an indoor play arena with multiple activities for kids including an arts and crafts zone. It is one of the popular places for kids in Dubai Mall along with Kidzania.

Supervised Caboodle entry is AED 70 per hour per child.

Emirates A380 Simulator

For all those who wanted to become a pilot and fly a commercial plane, this is a must try for you. It is an amazingly realistic simulator where you get to experience what it is to take off, fly and land a commercial plane. To add to the authenticity you can take help of assistance during the flight. Head to ‘the Village’ on level G.

Tickets: starts at AED 325 for 30 min.

Hysteria

For all the thrill seekers, Hysteria is a haunted house, but way better than what we usually find in India. With the use of technology, the fear-based attractions are on a different level. There is a retail outlet at the exit where you can but some horror and fear related merchandise.

The ticket starts at AED 35.

VR Park

VR Park has replaced the SEGA Republic, which was a gamer’s paradise. The newly opened VR Park is a virtual reality indoor theme park where you can try your hands at many high-tech virtual reality games. When your beautiful half is busy trying multiple dresses and it might seem like ages to you…head to the VR park for some entertainment.

Prices start at AED 35

Print a 3D candy

I know it’s hard to believe but you can get a 3D printed candy at one of the cutest places in Dubai Mall. It is the world’ first 3D gummy printer, which can print up to 20 different designs – including the Dubai skyline. The candy can last for a year but would you let it last that long!

Drive an F1 Car

If you aren’t able to visit the Ferrari World, don’t worry; you can still try your hand at a Ferrari at the Ferrari store on Level 1, which is adjacent to the waterfall. You’ll find a purpose-built F1 simulator sent straight from Maranello (the Ferrari F1 factory). It uses the same software as Ferrari racers train with. Jump into the seat and go zoom!

Read the other post on Kids where you can find more details about Kidzania and Dubai Ice Rink.

Not everything comes at a price and there are many attractions that don’t require your wallet to shed weight.

Fashion Avenue

It is an ultra-modern fashion precinct housing brands such as Armani, Gucci and Chanel. You can not only shop here but also take a stroll around the vast space of 440,000 sq. ft. and click a picture. Fashion Avenue is one of the best places to take pictures inside the Dubai Mall. Even the restrooms are elegant and exquisite and just go there to experience luxury.

Dubai Aquarium

Located at the entry level right in the center of the mall. One can reach the Aquarium from anywhere in the mall. If you aren’t paying and going inside the aquarium and underwater zoo, you can still gaze at the marine life on display through a massive glass partition. This is one of the best places to take a picture in the mall and usually crowded, so finding a spot might be cumbersome. I would still recommend you to pay the price and watch the king croc, believe me, its totally worth it.

Timings: 10 am to 12 am

Rage Bowl Skate Park

It’s a hidden place on Level 2. It is one of the best places to try skating in Dubai. If you finally manage to locate it then you are in for a treat; one can skate there for free.

Meet a Dino

For all the Dino-lovers of all ages, head to the Souk area where in the middle there is full-size skeleton of a 155-million-year-old dinosaur. You will be amazed by the sheer size of the skeleton; just imagine what it would have been in flesh. The most important thing, this dinosaur skeleton is on permanent display and doesn’t require a ticket.

Dubai Fountain

The best place to spend your evening at the Dubai Mall. I am sure you will be tired by now. Head to the lower ground floor and in the opposite direction of the entrance. Take a seat at any of the lavish restaurants beside the lake and watch the Dubai fountain, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. It is accompanied by a laser show for which the world’s tallest building is used as a canvas. You cannot imagine the scale; you have to experience it to believe it. The sound, the lights, the lasers along with the Fountain makes it for a mesmerizing experience and that too at zero cost.

Shows every 30 min from 6pm to 11pm; Abra rides AED 20 per person.

Where to eat

You can find every possible cuisine in the world at the Dubai Mall. There are a plethora of options at the food court on level 2.

Cake and Coffee addicts – Hummingbird or Magnolia Bakery

Tea – Café Bateel

Salads and grills at Wafi Gourmet

Pasta lovers – Vanellis, it is like the subway of the pasta world where you can decide what goes into your pasta.

TGIF with an amazing view of the fountain and Burj Khalifa.

French cuisine at the ultra-luxe café Angelina or Parisian-style bistro Aubaine.

Candy lovers – head to the world’s largest candy store, Candylicious.

Finish your day with dinner at Souk Al Bahar, an Arabic-style marketplace or enjoy cocktails on the terrace of the Address Boulevard.

I can keep going on and on but then this post will become as big as the Dubai Mall. You can always reach out to me if you have any questions regarding Dubai Mall or Dubai – City of Gold.

For all those who love candies,

For all those who are gaming freaks,

For all those who love fountain shows,

And

For all those who love the Dubai Mall…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 17th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘R’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

25

M – Malls Of Dubai | #AtoZChallenge

M – Malls of Dubai | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Dubai is famous for many of the World’s ‘largest’ and ‘biggest’ things and is equally rated as one of the top shopping destinations in the world. With modern cosmopolitan global cities, shopping and malls go hand in hand, which makes Dubai home to many of the world’s largest malls. In total, it has more than 40 places that qualify as shopping malls.

Dubai Mall

It is the second-largest mall in the world by total land area and is one of the world’s most visited shopping and entertainment destinations that welcome in excess of 100 mn visitors in a year. It is a part of the Downtown Dubai area with more than 1000 retail outlets. Some of the biggest names include; Topshop and Zara, and department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Galeries Lafayette.

Inside of Dubai Mall

It is also home to some of the major attractions in Dubai – like the entrance to Burj Khalifa, The Underwater aquarium and zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, Kidzania, Reel Cinemas with 22 screens, VR Park Dubai, Rain Forest Café, Hysteria, Dubai Fountain and Souk Al Bahar.

It has connectivity with the metro through the Dubai Mall metro station.

Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates or MOE as it is famous in Dubai is another huge shopping mall in UAE. There has always been a debate about which among the both has a bigger shopping space. MOE is the place where you can find snow in the middle of the desert – Ski Dubai is a fun and adventure place for everyone especially kids.

With more than 600 retail outlets and 100 restuarants, it is one of the leading shopping destinations in Dubai. Some of the major attractions include – Magic Planet – one of the largest indoor family entertainment centers in Dubai, Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre and Vox cinemas with 14 screens. The famous restaurants are Tribes, Salero Tapas and Bodega and The Cheesecake Factory.

One can take a metro ride to reach the MOE.

Ibn Battuta Mall

Ibn Battuta is the world’s largest themed shopping mall and is named after the famous 14th-century explorer with the same name. In a way, this mall is a tribute to the travels of Ibn Battuta. There are six major courts whose designs are inspired by the regions he traveled – Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China.

It is one of those malls that you can visit even if you are in no mood to shop. For travellers, it is a must and is my personal favorite because of the amazing detailed interiors of each court. You can find plenty of backgrounds to get clicked. It is also home to Dubai’s only Imax along with 21 other screens.

It is situated at the end of Dubai towards Abu Dhabi and has good metro connectivity.

Festival City Mall

Festival city mall is situated on the banks of the iconic Dubai Creek and it is one of the largest malls in Dubai. Just like Ibn Battuta Mall one can travel to the Festival City Mall for entertainment and leisure. There is an amazing fire and light show that takes place on the waterfront after the sunset. One can also enjoy the show from any one of the restaurants that silver line the waterfront.

The Festival city area is like a ‘City-within-a-city’ and you can find Dubai’s only IKEA there. Don’t miss Ikea’s sumptuous breakfast at a reasonable cost. The mall has the largest Aldo store on the planet and the only Mint Velvet outside the UK. The rock lovers can head straight up to Hard Rock Café – the only in UAE.

It is not connected via metro, hence a taxi is a best-preferred option.

Wafi Mall

Wafi Mall is another themed mall in the heart of the city and its styles are based on Ancient Egypt where you will find architecture reminiscent of Karnak, small pyramids, and images of pharaohs. It is a quieter mall compared to other malls in terms of foot-fall and makes it a perfect place if you are heading for a meeting over a coffee.

It also an immersive light and laser show in the evening depicting the era of pyramids. The place also has some of the best restaurant options in the whole of Dubai. Khan Murjan, an underground souk is famous for Arabic souvenirs.

Dubai Outlet Mall

As the name suggests, you will find factory outlets of all the major brands here. During my stay, I would regularly pay a visit to it to grab on some amazing offers which may range from 30% to 90%. It is a shoppers’ paradise with the location being its only drawback. It is located on the Al Ain Road and would take roughly around 30 min from the city to reach.

Make sure you visit on Mondays as they have extra offers on them. No direct connectivity with metro.

Mercato Mall

Mercato mall is a themed mall whose architecture takes you to the Italian Renaissance era. This mall is famous for its eateries and bakeries like Cakery Epicerie by Stephane Glacier and Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar for the city’s creamiest hot chocolate

Burjuman Centre

It has a long history and has the best location of all the malls – right in the heart of Bur Dubai. It has great metro connectivity with both the metro lines and you will find a taxi at any point of the day. Close to some of the main office locations it is the best place for a quick lunch getaway.

If you are staying in JLT, JBR and Dubai Marina then Dubai Marina Mall is the answer to all your shopping needs. Similarly, if you living near Mirdif and Deira then you can head to the Mirdif City Centre and Deira City Centre respectively.

Some of the other famous malls are DragonMart in International City, The Village Mall, The Beach and the famous City Walk.

Tips:

When going for a movie try for the smaller malls, as the chances of getting tickets are high there.

Do check out the location of malls as you may find one just next to you as there are so many of them.

Parking can be a huge issue on the weekend. Always note your location and drop the SMS for parking.

Carry a water bottle.

If you love shopping…then you will love Dubai…and its Malls.

For all those who love shopping,

For all those great at bargaining,

For all those who like discounts,

And

For all those who are always found in Malls…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 13th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘N’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.