Gold and Spice Souks
- Type: Shopping, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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Dubai has been a heavyweight in international trade for centuries, specializing in all things rare and valuable. To get a sense of what commerce was like back in the 19th century, take a stroll through one of the city's traditional souks, or bazaars. The Gold Souk, located on Dubai Creek's south bank near the Dubai Marina, specializes in glitz and glamour. Featuring glittering displays of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, the Gold Souk is one of the world's most renowned jewelry trading centers. In fact, approximately 20 percent of the world's gold passes through this market. On the other side of the creek lies the Spice Souk, where venders hawk rare flavors from across the globe, including cinnamon, ginger, and chili. This is also the place to stock up on saffron. As the souk's primary ingredient, you'll find this delectable spice at a much lower cost here than you would at home.
Recent visitors warn against being taken advantage of by the merchants and recommend that you practice your haggling skills before heading to the souks. According to one TripAdvisor user, "We found the merchants to be present but not pushy. […] When we were interested in pieces, they were willing to negotiate with us."
Most vendors are open for business every day between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., although many will close up shop between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to escape the hottest part of the day. You don't have to pay to peruse, but should you be interested in buying, make sure you're carrying some cash as credit cards aren't widely accepted.