Guide to Buying Souvenirs in Dubai

This post may contain affiliate links, you can read more about it on our disclosure page. There are also non-affiliate links included in this post for your convenience.

Wherever I travel I love to take a piece of where I’ve been home with me. For the most part it is photos of the things I see, hopefully I can be in one or two of them, but I love to take pictures of my kids. Every now and then it is nice to get something more tangible to bring home. Living in Dubai I have been able to get plenty of new things, mostly to replace all the maternity clothing I had when I arrived, and the post-baby items after I lost a lot of weight. However, I knew when we first moved here that I would want some decor and knick knacks to bring back to the USA. Some great friends of ours visited in July 2017 and I used their trip to justify getting some souvenirs at the same time as them. I am glad that I did, clothing does not last forever.

Choosing your souvenir

I am particular about everything and like to have all my stuff “just right”. I know a few hoarders (My mom being one of them, sorry mom!) and I get an itch to buy up anything miniature, unique, artsy, whatever is my style, especially if it is on sale. But I also hate to have a ton of clutter sitting around making things look messy. I have learned to reign that in and do a decent job buying only what I really really want or truly need. Most of the time.

Some things to consider before you go on the souvenir hunt: 

  • What are you looking for? A shirt, a persian rug, scarf, shoes, little items, jewelry? Have an idea ahead of time and try to stick with your list. If you see something awesome does it beat your list items or no, if no then put it down and keep moving.
  • What will you do with the item? Are you REALLY going to wear that dress? Do you have anywhere to put the souvenir on display, will you make a spot? Do you have too many things like it already or maybe it’s part of a collection. Make sure you are buying the best souvenir for yourself, not junk thank anyone could have. It has to fit you and fit in your life so it doesn’t get thrown out later on.
  • Not sure where to find what you are looking for? Ask! Either that shop will have it tucked away or they can point you in the right direction. It might be good to keep a picture on your phone of what you are looking for if people are not understanding your description.

Where to get them:

  • Souk Madinat (Jumeirah) – This souk is one of the high end ones in Dubai. There are nice restaurants and a good view of the Burj Al Arab. Walk through all the side avenues, you can find some great items. There is basically everything in this souk.
  • Central/Blue Souk(Sharjah) – This souk is located out in Sharjah if you are out this way (Souk Al Jubail for meats and produce is across the road). You can probably get some better prices here, there is the gold stores and kiosks on ground floor, and rugs and random items upstairs.
  • Dubai Mall – On Lower ground level between the food court and Five Guys there are a few stores (Jaber Gallery + 2 others). On the way from Five Guys towards Waitrose there are lots of kiosks and stores with more goods. Also on Ground Floor down the alleys across from the Aquarium is the Dubai Mall souk, you can find more small
  • Museums & Tourist Spots – The Dubai Museum and Fort had some really great prices! Their handmade art store near the entrance was neat and had a large variety of beautiful art that I felt was well priced.
  • Carrefour – Cheaper items if you are on a budget like shirts, traditional wear, toys, etc.
  • Deira Souks – You can spend ALL day walking around in Deira, there is the Gold Souk, textile souk, spice souk, and old souk. You can do this plus the Dubai Museum and even go to the creek and ride an abra for less than aed5.
  • 1 to 10 gift shops – Everything is 1 to 10 dirhams and there’s lots of souvenir type stuff in them.

How much to pay

Dubai is very different from America when it comes to shopping. Some stores like Carrefour, retail, and a few random small stores will have set prices for everything. Most stores, especially those in a Souk, do not have set prices and you have the opportunity to haggle a bit and potentially get a much cheaper price than what is on the sticker.

  • Always ask “Best price?” it is a very not aggressive approach to the seller asking if they will go down in price for you. If the item costs too much and they wont budge, you can say no thank you and walk away. You can even comment that you’ll try to find a better price elsewhere.
  • If the seller is willing to haggle, the discount magic numbers are 20% off at the fancier souks and up to 30% in the smaller and more local souks. A bigger discount is even better.
  • It can help to do some research of value of items you are interested in ahead of time so you know what price you are looking to get.

Getting it home

  • Ask for packaging of goods while in the market and use your clothing to pad fragile items
  • Keep breakables in your carry-on
  • Check bag anything liquid that does not comply with carry-on regulations
  • Checked baggage any sharp objects (like a dagger you purchase in the souk) or it’ll be confiscated on your way through security.

If you want a piece of “Dubai” without visiting

I love mandala and Asian designs. I have never been to India or any Asian countries. Just Dubai. So I will settle for getting similar items off Amazon (Although I am sure you can find similar goods on other sites). Look for items that are “Arab” or “Islamic”, have Arabic writing on it or the Hamsa, and things like the little camel(there are other animals like it and items such as goblets, kettles, lamps, etc.). You can also find anything with the Burj Al Arab on it or the Burj Khalifa.

16 COMMENTS

  1. social media search | 4th Aug 17

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude!Thank you so
    much, However I am going through troubles with your RSS.
    I don’t knoow why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having the same RSS problems?

    Annyone that knows the solutiion can you kindly respond?
    Thanx!! http://zuzazapata.blog.br/musicasobreracismo/

    • thehaywirehoney | 5th Aug 17

      Thanks! There’s a problem with the subscription form? I shall look into it, thanks for letting me know!

  2. Susie | 9th Aug 17

    I would love to go to Dubai! Looks like some amazing treasures.

  3. Josie Arana | 9th Aug 17

    Hey! I’ve lived in Dubai for ten years and I love getting souvenirs whenever I visit someone abroad. I love Jaber Gallery, there’s always quite a few hidden gems in there and it’s right up my alley as I’m quite particular about souvenirs! Great post xx

    http://www.josiearana.com

  4. Ellen | 9th Aug 17

    The intricate detail in each soak is beautiful. I like to buy necklaces when I go on vacation. That way every time I wear it I think of my vacation.

    • thehaywirehoney | 9th Aug 17

      I love your necklace idea!

  5. Sara | 9th Aug 17

    I love the souvenir items from Dubai. It’s always fun to see what kinds of souvenirs you can get from different companies and where you can get them. I’m not sure I’ll ever make it to Dubai but if I do, now I am prepared to buy souvenirs!

  6. Patternprincess | 9th Aug 17

    Very good advice…especially the part about choosing a few nice and meaningful pieces

  7. Tyra | 9th Aug 17

    These are some special souveneirs! What is a souk by the way?

    • thehaywirehoney | 10th Aug 17

      A souk is basically a group of stores where you can buy just about anything. So the Gold Souk in Deira or the Dubai Mall is a bunch of jewelry stores with lots and lots of gold. It’s kinda like an American flea market if you are familiar with those.

  8. Danielle | 10th Aug 17

    I think I would do well here as I am a great haggler! I love the hamsa pieces and would have a hard time controlling my spending in Dubai.

  9. Ashley | 10th Aug 17

    I love mandalas also, would definitely get something like that if I ever visit Dubia! Thanks for the fun article!

  10. Shell | 10th Aug 17

    I would love to visit here one day!

  11. Nadine | 10th Aug 17

    I love your tips for negotiating price! So helpful. 🙂

  12. Adrienne | 10th Aug 17

    Wow! You are a terrific shopper and very informed about what’s available!

  13. Lorelle | 16th Aug 17

    I loved visiting Dubai, though we were only there for a quick stopover of 2 days.
    When our family holidays we like to collect magnets of the cities or countries we visit. Our fridge is covered in magnets… lol… Lorelle 🙂
    https://amindfultravellerblog.wordpress.com/

Leave A Comment