Dubai may have the world’s largest shopping mall, but for many visitors, the best shopping is found in the city’s traditional souks, or markets. Each of these historic markets specializes in one product or category of products, and one of Dubai’s most famous (and most pungent) souks is the Spice Souk.
Located in the eastern part of Dubai next to the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk includes a small area of narrow lanes lined by small shops selling almost any spice you can imagine. Huge bags and bins of colorful and fragrant spices -- everything from frankincense and saffron to dried chillies -- overflow into the streets. You’ll also find shops selling incense and sheesha, a type of tobacco smoked in a water pipe.
If you come to buy spices, be prepared to haggle; knowing your basic numbers in Arabic will help. Even if you’re not in the market for spices, a trip to the Spice Souk is worth an hour of your time just to soak up the atmosphere of one of the few remaining places where you can catch a glimpse of a more traditional Dubai.