Tucked into Dubai’s Deira district just north of Dubai Creek, the Dubai Spice Souk offers some of the city’s most rewarding shopping. Here, covered alleyways brim with stalls that sell all manner of Arabian and Asian spices, herbs, and delicacies, making the souk ideal for souvenir hunters and anyone hoping to get a sense of old Dubai. The Basics
Located close to Dubai’s other main market—the Gold Souk—the Spice Souk is a whirl of scents and color. Visitors browse shops filled with bags of rainbow-hued spices and herbs, from saffron, cumin, and vanilla to Arabian scents such as frankincense and oudh (the latter made using fragrant agarwood). Other wares—rose petals, teas, dried fruits, nuts, incense, and candies—also feature here, as does a huge array of souvenirs, from tapestries and perfume bottles to frankincense burners.
Travelers can shop independently, but organized tours offer the bonus of a guide for insight into the products and pointers about haggling. Most tours stop here as a part of a wider Dubai sightseeing excursion that also includes other activities; for instance, crossing Dubai Creek by abra
water taxi. Souk visits are also central to many tours that focus on old Dubai. Some private upscale options combine a visit to the souks with a seaplane flight. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The Dubai Spice Souk is a must-visit for shoppers, foodies, and culture vultures.
- Be prepared to barter—haggling is a way of life for the vendors.
- If you’re buying spices to take home, check the relevant customs regulations and ask vendors to properly seal and label your goods.
- Be ready for the heat: although the souk is shaded, there’s no air-conditioning apart from certain individual shops.
The Dubai Spice Souk sits near the northern bank of Dubai Creek in Deira. It’s easily walkable from the nearby Al Ras metro station or from almost anywhere in the western end of old Dubai. Another option is to ride an abra
water taxi from Bur Dubai on the creek’s southern side and hop out at the Deira Old Souk abra station—it’s just steps from the souk. When to Get There
The souk is open daily all year, although it’s closed every afternoon. Opening hours are 10am–10pm Saturdays to Thursdays (with closure from 1pm to 4pm) and 4pm–10pm on Fridays.
From Saffron to Dates
Top products include saffron, dried lemons, and spice mixes such as zaatar, a blend of sesame seeds and dried herbs. Don’t miss the boxes of delicious chocolate-coated dates stuffed with almonds—they’re perfect take-home gifts.