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Every year, huge numbers of tourists come from all over the globe to visit the city of gold – Dubai. Referred to by some as the “shopping capital of the Middle East”, Dubai is known for its many shopping malls, high end designer brand stores and traditional souk districts offering goods and services to suit every shoppers’ needs. With tax free shopping, Dubai is the kind of city that shopaholics dream of visiting and you might find it hard to keep a rein on your bank balance in this bustling city.
The best time for shopaholics to book their Dubai holiday is undoubtedly at the end of January. Since 1996, January has heralded the return of the Dubai Shopping Festival, during which the whole emirate becomes one gargantuan shopping mall for an entire month. The Dubai Shopping Festival attracts around 3.35 million visitors who flock to the city to enjoy the deep discounts offered by Dubai’s shops as well as the various music shows, art exhibits and folk dances that play throughout the festival. Many competitions and prize draws are also held during the day, giving shoppers the opportunity to win prizes worth millions of Dirhams – lucky winning shoppers may find themselves having to ship a brand new car back home!
There is almost nothing that cannot be bought in Dubai, with its massive “Mega Malls” offering everything from perfumes and jewellery, to clothing and electronics, to cars and home furnishings. Merchandise from most of the world’s top designers can be found in the city and bought at prices far lower than in western countries, making Dubai a haven for fashionistas looking to stay current without breaking the bank. For a truly awe-inspiring experience, shoppers will want to visit the Mall of the Emirates which is one of the ten largest malls in the world and houses its own indoor ski slope with real snow.
For shoppers preferring an authentic Middle Eastern experience, or more unusual goods, Dubai’s souks provide a more traditional approach to shopping. Souks may appeal to shoppers who like a bargain as all prices must be negotiated with the stall owners and paying in cash will always get you a better deal on the same items available in the malls. The Gold Souk in Deira is an impressive historic market containing hundreds of jewellery shops offering the finest jewellery in the city. Even if you don’t intend to purchase anything, the glittering beauty of this souk is not to be missed.
Dubai is a shopping paradise and if you’re the “shop ‘til you drop” type there is no better place in the world to go on a shopping holiday. The only thing that will stop you buying everything your heart desires in Dubai will be running out of room in your suitcase.
Have you been to Dubai? What shops did you visit and what bargains did you find in the souks? Share your experiences in the comments section!
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Kelly is both a glampacker and a resident travel agent at Beat the Brochure. Kelly is a solo travel and Europe expert starting her travels as a rep in Ibiza. Kelly dreams every day of living in Hawaii with a very hunky, tanned man and would be much closer to this dream if it weren't for a high heel obsession.