Ever since tourist destinations opened their doors post COVID, people are making the most of it. And Dubai seems to be a favoured destination, especially celebrities. Actor Kaniha is the latest to flaunt her Dubai visit on Instagram. Typically, she has declared her love for the Burj Khalifa and has even posted various stills of her in quarantine.
Dubai opened to tourists last July and ever since actors like Sushmita Sen, Keerthi Suresh have made quick visits. In fact, tourists were particularly crowding during the Dec-Jan to take part in their annual Dubai Shopping festival. Having said that, ever since a sudden surge in COVID cases, the government has set some new rules for tourists recently. There will be a change in protocol for tourists travelling by air from January 31st. UAE Residents, GCC citizens and visitors are required to do a PSR test (72 hrs duration) before flying to Dubai. Dubai airport committee has also requested for rapid PSR/Antigen tests for those travelling outside Dubai.
Meanwhile we have come up with some terrific shopping places (ranging from expensive malls to flea markets) for you in Dubai.
1. Wafi Mall: On the Oud Medha Road, this mall is known for its pyramid shaped façade structure, artwork, and Egyptian themed interiors. With 350 stores of branded apparels, crafts, décor, and accessories, this will satiate your retail therapy craving. Also check out their fabulous spas. Only 10 minutes from Dubai International Airport.
2. Dubai Mall: Said to be the world’s largest mall and guaranteed to provide you with the best shopping experience, Dubai mall is near Burj Khalifa. With over 1200 luxury and premium brand stores, an Underwater Zoo, Dubai Aquarium, Ice rink, Reel Cinema, Theme park, Dubai fountains and numerous restaurants, this is worth a visit. Also try their Hershey’s Chocolate World and the Candylicious store. Best way to reach is by taking a direct cab.
3. Mall of the Emirates: Over 475 premium stores of fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics, home décor, magic planet kid’s play zone and multiplex cinema and an amazing Ski Resort. What more do you need? Take a metro to the Mall of Emirates station and then take the skywalk to reach the mall.
4. Dubai Flea Market: This is what we call experiencing street shopping with a difference! We love their second-hand furniture, handicrafts, toys, books, ceramics, gadgets, and clothes, which you can buy or sell. Cheap and durable.
5. Spice Souk: An array of tiny shops selling saffron, turmeric, cloves, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander, and sumac. You can also buy fine quality basmati rice, dry fruits, nuts, hookah masala and flavoured tobacco. Basically, everything needed to cook a quintessential Dubai meal.
6. Perfume Souk: It is a narrow corridor lined with small shops selling perfumes ranging from local Arabic ittars to branded international perfumes. You can also buy scented incense in powder, crystal, wood, and rock form.
7. Meena Bazaar: Must visit for their jewellery, watches, textiles, furniture and accessories and spices from India.
8. The Outlet village: You simply must visit this Italian themed Dubai shopping area if you want some fantastic deals on branded products like, DKNY, Coach, Michael Kors, Roberto Cavalli, Hugo Boss, Rodeo Drive, Nike, and many others. There are heavy discounts on handbags almost every day of the year and you could pick up branded bags at 50% discount. Party dresses from the last season have their prices slashed to a minimum and you could get trainers too at heavy discounted prices. With its variety of brands and crazy cheap deals, this is a must-go place being a 45-minute cab ride from the city centre.
9. Garderobe: This is where you will get luxury brands at affordable rates. From Chanel, Alexander McQueen to Celine and these products can be viewed and bought from the website.
10. The Souk Madinat: You can get a complete Middle Eastern shopping experience here and they have a tidy mix of boutiques, luxury fashion and gift shops.
11. Textile souk: Must visit for their rich cottons, satins, silks and tailor-made clothing. Tens of thousands of patterns and colours of material are scattered throughout the many stalls in the market, and expert tailors will measure you and make a custom suit or dress in a matter of days. Aside from suits and dresses, abayas and niqabs, shawls and shirts, there are stalls selling all manner of buttons, laces, sequins and stones, and people who specialise in repairing clothes.
And finally, 7 best things to buy in Dubai.
1. Dubai spices: These spices are full of flavours and available at local markets for very affordable rates. Arab spices have stronger flavours and give an extra punch to your meat curry. So, don’t forget to get your stock. Try the Spice souk of course.
2. Camel Milk chocolate: A Dubai speciality that is now exported to other countries. You will get them in whole milk, macadamia, and spiced (Arabia) chocolates. Available at Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and other duty-free shops.
3. Arabic Attars: These are made by distilling flower petals in water by using pressure and mild heat. Available at perfume souk.
4. Persian Rugs and carpets: These are handmade and perfect for heat-proofing for winter. Available at Persian Carpet House.
5. Pashmina Shawls: Though expensive they make great gifts. And if you are on a budget you can try silk or viscose versions of the product. Available at Pashmina House and Textile Souk.
6. Arabian Coffee: Known for its strong flavours, they are a must buy item. Also, the middle east has distinct methods of brewing that gives it a distinct regional taste. Try the Dubai Coffee Museum.
7. Electronic items: You get your favourite branded gadgets at great deals. In fact, it is much cheaper here than in India.