Top 15 Uniquely Dubai Things to Buy

Top 15 Uniquely Dubai Things to Buy

One big shopping center, such as Dubai, makes it easy and hard, at the same time, to stop one's choice on a proper souvenir to take home. A handful of gems, a Rolex watch, maybe, or a flying carpet... All of these may last in time, but come at a price. Here are some of the more traditional and, notably, more shopper-friendly Dubai mementos worth considering.
(To visit the venues mentioned in this article, check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Dubai)

1. Lanterns

Lanterns in traditional Emirati homes are inlaid with glass and mirrors and form a great centerpiece and bring a room to life. There is a great deal of workmanship that goes into the creation of these lanterns and therefore they make great gifts. A treasured gift would be a lantern made of copper and tin with a lot of filigree work on it. Try to get one that has small bits of glass woven into the design. Or, you could opt for one in an octagonal in shape and made of brass.

You will find that such lanterns have a large number of intricate ornaments on them. They also have a crisscross of metal and glass in their design allowing for great shadow play. Most lanterns are the kind that can be placed on a table or hung up, but you must ensure that they are well packed and safely transported. You can find exquisite pieces at F-Zone at the Dragon Mart, Homes R Us and Karama. Cheap versions of aluminum and glass begin at 30 Dirhams and those made with precious metals and with good hand work can go up to 500 Dirhams as well.
Where to find it:
Dragon Mart
Address: Al Awir Road, Dubai 7567, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number: +971 4 433 6200

Homes R Us, Union Coop, Hamriya Shopping Centre - along Abu Hail Road

Karama Souq
Address: Street No. 18b , Dubai Uae | Timming 10 Am to 10:30 Pm Fridays 3 Pm to 10:30 Pm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number: 97143373195
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2. Aladdin lamps

Aladdin lamps
The legend and mystery of Alladin find their home in these brass lamps inlaid with stones or intricate carving. Smaller versions of these can be tucked away into suitcases and make exotic gifts for those back home. Karama Souk is not a traditional bazaar but a leisurely stroll along the pavements will allow you to unearth a few of these jeweled treasures.

Another sure bet is the Al-karama market next to the fish market in Bur Dubai. While you can hone your haggling skills here, a beautifully carved lamp or one with lots of stones or inlay work will definitely set you back by a few hundred Dirhams.
Where to find it:
Karama Souq
Address: Street No. 18b , Dubai Uae | Timming 10 Am to 10:30 Pm Fridays 3 Pm to 10:30 Pm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number: 97143373195
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Offline reading and travel directions:
With GPSmyCity App you can read this article offline on your mobile device, use the embedded offline city map and GPS navigation, as well as create a self-guided walk to visit the venues featured in the article.

3. Kava Pots and Coffee Sets

Kava Pots and Coffee Sets
Kava is acid neutralized pure coffee and a cup of this steaming beverage is an amazing experience. In Dubai it is best drunk as the locals prefer it – strong and black. This coffee is so much a part of Arab culture that it is given its due honor by being served in exquisite pots and cups. The kava coffee pot is usually lined with gold or silver and the more expensive ones are inlaid with intricate carving and semiprecious stones.

The cups are made of copper or silver and rimmed with gold or silver and the entire set is carried on trays made of thin silver or gold. In traditional Arab homes, these are highly prized, often becoming family heirlooms. The prices for these coffee sets vary from 100 Dirhams for a simple set, to several thousand Dirhams for the more elaborate versions. They can be found aplenty in the souvenir shops in Dubai Mall or in the Mall of the Emirates.
Where to find it:
Dubai mall
Address: Financial Centre Road,Downtown Dubai,Near Buj Khalifa , United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 800 382246255

Mall of the Emirates
Address: Al Barsha 1 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 409 9000
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Offline reading and travel directions:
With GPSmyCity App you can read this article offline on your mobile device, use the embedded offline city map and GPS navigation, as well as create a self-guided walk to visit the venues featured in the article.

4. Attar

Image Courtesy of: Naomi King
Historically, the shortage of water made women in particularly use these intensely smelling oils to perfume themselves. Even today you will get a whiff of strong and exotic scents when you walk past Arab women. Attars are oils made by distilling flower petals in water under mild heat and pressure. Oils and spices can also be added and the resulting mixture is mixed into mild sandalwood oil. This is allowed to rest until the sandalwood oil has completely absorbed the perfume of the distilled essential oil.

The intense fragrances of essential oils are available as a set of the most appealing fragrances, including the popular white musk and rose. A must visit destination is the Perfume Souk on Sikkat al-khail street. Here you will find bottles upon bottles of various sizes and shapes, all containing the heady aromas of pure attars. They can also be found at major retail conglomerates such as , Al Falah Plazas, Geant hypermarket – The Gardens Mall Dubai and Burjuman Center , Dubai. Prices start at about 50 Dirhams for 10ml of Attar.
Where to find it:
Burjuman Center
Address: Khalid Bin Al Waleed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 352 0222

The Gardens Mall -Ibn Battuta Mall
Store Address:
Ibn Battuta Mall.
PB. 23906 Dubai, UAE
Phone: +971 4 3685240
Fax: +971 4 3685232
Store Timings:
Sat - Wed: 10.00Am to 10.00 Pm
Thu - Fri: 10.00Am to 10.30 Pm
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5. Incense Holders

Incense Holders
An important part of any Arab culture, incense holders from Dubai make rich and elegant gifts. They are a part of the region’s culture and hospitality. Incense holders usually contain frankincense or myrrh which impart a rich, sweet fragrance. If you have the good fortune to be invited to a traditional wedding in Dubai, you will have these rich bejeweled containers brimming with fragrant smoke passed around you as a sign of welcome. They are also used at religious celebrations like Eid, at births etc.

Incense burners are available at most malls. But a much more fun place to procure them is at the Spice Souq in Old Deira, where you can also pick up incense, coals and other essentials. The best time to go is around 5 pm in the evening. If you have to shop in the morning, get an early start as most shops here will down their shutters around 1 pm for a short break when the heat reaches its peak. If you don’t want to carry a regular sized holder back, a great buy is an electric incense burner which can be plugged into your car’s charger. Is is available at the Deira Souk and costs $5 which is 15 Dirhams (the local currency).
Where to find it:
Spice Souq
Address: Sikkat Al Khail Road | Al Ras, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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6. Lucky Stones

Lucky Stones
Lucky stones based on the month of birth are usually inlaid in gold, silver and platinum rings or pendants to bring good fortune to the wearer. The best part about these gifts is that they can be given to both men and women. The variety of designs is unimaginable and you are bound to find one that will enchant even the fussiest of recipients. For a special woman in your life, buying an entire set, comprising of a ring, bracelet, a necklace and a set of earrings would be perfect. You can choose from a range of precious metal as a base. Go for filigree work, or classic Arabian designs. For men, finger rings with a single stone with simple linear designs are the best.

You can find a mind-blowing range at Pearlicious in Covent Garden or the Gold & Diamond Park. You will also find a number of designs at the Damas outlets. The size and cut of the stones and the metals they are set in will determine their price. You can expect a range of 120 Dirhams for just the stones (a piece) to a few thousands to put that into a metal setting.
Where to find it:
Pearlicious in Covent Garden, Dubai Marina – Dubai

Gold & Diamond Park
Address: Office No. 213, Buldg No 4, 4th Interchange, Sheik Zayed Road, United Arab Emirates
Phone:+971 4 362 7777
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7. Traditional Arab Shoes

Traditional Arab Shoes
Arab styled shoes are reminiscent of the kind the fictional character Aladdin wore. They are often a slim fit and taper at the toes. For men, the shoe has a curly tip. You will find traditional shoes in a riot of colors. Men have options that include threadwork all along the body of the shoe. For women, the enhancements are done with beads, baubles and little cloth balls. The women’s versions are also available with heels of varying heights thus ensuring that there is something for everyone.

Traditional shoes can be of the slip-on variety or the completely covered ones. They can also have support straps at the back. The Cloth Souk in Dubai is good place to go looking if you can stand the heat in the daytime. Al–Karama and the Old Souk of Dubai also have some fabulous offerings for you to look through. These shoes will set you back by about 50 to 100 Dirhams.
Where to find it:
The Cloth Souk (Textile Souk ) :

Address: Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

8. Hookahs

Almost every Arab home in Dubai and in the Arab world has a hookah. Some of these are only decorative and others serve as a refreshing indulgence for a group of people that are visiting. In fact, highly ornate and expensive hookahs are often given pride of place in a person’s home. A fabulously extravagant gift would be one which has a long flexible hose and has the base made of glass decorated with 12 karat gold. The ideal size would be 3ft. If you are looking for a portable version, you could opt for the smaller 20” version of this. Some hookahs come with two pipes. You can pick up a gorgeous hookah at the Deira covered souks. You will also get a wonderful range at the Dubai Duty Free shopping center, Carrefour, Karama and in Geant. They begin at prices around 40 Dirhams and go to a maximum of 200 Dirhams.
Where to find it:
Carrefour Hyper Market

Karama Souq
Address: Street No. 18b , Dubai Uae | Timming 10 Am to 10:30 Pm Fridays 3 Pm to 10:30 Pm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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9. Jewel Chests

Jewel Chests
Beautiful carved and inlaid jewel chests made of sandalwood and enhanced with silver, brass and precious and semi-precious stones make a great gift for someone who treasures their trinkets. Dubai with its Gold Souks would set the perfect base for you to shop for such a unique gift. Jewelry chests in this part of the world are made from several materials – besides precious metals you will also find jewelry boxes that have been fashioned out of animal bone.

These are further enhanced with intricate carving depicting the Bedouins of the desert or even the local views of the seashore. You could choose from fancy ones like a design depicting the Burj al Arab. Jewelry chests are available in so many avatars that you will be spoilt for choice. You can find some great pieces at the Dubai Gold Souq, the BurJuman Shopping Center, the Deere Shopping store and other jewelry stores. Prices for these depend on size and the materials used. It also depends on workmanship. A range of 250-700 Dirhams for small cases is the average cost.
Where to find it:
Dubai Gold Souq
Address: Khalid Bin Waleed Road, Deira | 1 42 St, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

BurJuman Shopping Center:
Address: Khalid Bin Al Waleed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 352 0222

10. Arabic Style Carpets

Arabic Style Carpets
Arabic style carpets are an international phenomenon. It is one of the most prized gifts that can come from this side of the world. Carpets come in several sizes, with the most popular being the one that is placed in the center of a room. The colors are predominantly earthy with darker hues of red, brown and tan being the most common. These are further enhanced with contrasting colors and Arabian patterns to make them unique.

There are the hand woven ones and those that are mass manufactured. Of course handmade is more expensive but is definitely worth every dirham you spend on it. If you don’t have the baggage space for a full carpet, a great gift option is a mouse pad carpet. These are available at most high end stores and are authentic miniature carpets with a rubberized backing to make it a mouse pad. National Iranian Carpets store at the Souq Medina Jumeriah is a place you must explore. Other stores definitely worth a dekko are Lata’s, Pride of Kashmir and Al-Jaber Gallery. Depending on the weave and intricacy, the price of a good carpet can be anything from 300 to 1000 Dirhams.
Where to find it:
National Iranian Carpets:
Beach Jumeirah, Dubai
Landmark: Madinat Jumeirah
P.O.Box: 172190, Dubai
Tel: +971 4 3686003

Souk Madinat Jumeirah
Telephone: +971 4 368 6216

Al-Jaber Gallery:
Address: Deira City Center - Al Garhoud Rd. - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

11. Khanjar

The Khanjar is an important element in the traditional attire of old Emirati men. These silver and gold embossed daggers are curved and worn over the men’s dishdashas. They were originally made from the horns of a rhino but today are largely made of wood. The more ornate ones come with marble, silver or even sandalwood handles. The sheath of the dagger is often decorated with a silver-threaded weave. The value of a Khanjar is based on the intricacy of this weave and the quality of the workmanship.

When you are shopping for a Khanjar look for the one that comes with two rings to help attach them to belts. A Khanjar should feel heavy and the originals usually have five rings. They will be almost completely covered with a silver sheet and about 30 or 40 years old. Even if you don’t actually want to buy one, you can spend hours admiring the work done on Khanjars at the Mutrah Souq or at the Yemen Pavilion at the Global Village. You can buy them for rates beginning at 100 Dirhams and going into a few thousand depending on the work done on them.
Where to find it:
Yemen Pavilion at the Global Village

12. Perfume Holders or Stands

Perfume Holders or Stands
Dubai’s perfumers are of world renown. You can even create a brand new fine fragrance to match a loved one’s tastes. Classic perfume stands are designed from crystal and glass to hold some of the best fragrances that can be found in Dubai. Perfume holders come in varied shapes and sizes and your choice will depend on the tastes of the person you plan to gift it to. Most perfume stands come with a gold base with intricate carving on it. These are sometimes embellished with semi-precious stones. The body of the holder is usually of glass and in some models has some overlay work done in gold. These designs are generally Arabian in nature and reminiscent of ancient Muslim architecture. The caps of the holders are done up in myriad shapes further enhancing the beauty of these perfume holders.

You can find a mind-boggling range of these at the Dubai Perfume Souk and at Al Nabeel Perfumes & Cosmetics Showroom. Perfumes and perfume stands can begin at 100 Dirhams and go up from there, depending on the ingredients used.
Where to find it:
Dubai Perfume Souk
Address:Sikkat al Khali - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Al Nabeel Perfumes, Dubai Outlet Mall:
Dubai Outlet Mall, Showroom Shop No. F100, Second Floor, Beside Tchibo Showroom, Dubai
Outlet Mall. 044264933
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13. Abayas

These are essentially loose black robes that are worn over one’s regular clothing by Muslim women. This can be worn with the niqab or the veil that covers the face and hair except the eyes. In some Arab countries, the abaya has evolved to include some fashionable elements of color and embellishments allowing the garment to do its job of keeping a woman modest while giving her something to enhance her outward appearance. Intricate threadwork can be found on the veils, down the body of the robe, around the cuffs and around the hem of the robe.

Some of them even allow for the use of artificial stones to enhance the look of the abaya. If you want to buy abayas steer clear of the shops in the malls, instead head to Souk Naif in Deira and all the roads surrounding it. The Islamic wear shops in Dubai and Sharjah are also good bets. Good quality abayas are available in the range of 100 to 300 Dirhams.
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14. Quran Stands

Quran Stands
No Muslim household in Dubai is without a traditional Quran stand to keep the text away from the ground. There are so many Quran stands available and each one is designed in unique ways to suit the décor of the home the piece goes to. Quran stands are generally made of wood. You have boxes which come with drawers below to store incense and the like and which house a collapsible stand on top of it.

There are stands which remind you of the intricate designs that go around the Ka’aba in Mecca. The base of these stands look like the minarets from which the muezzin gives his call to prayer every day. Quran stands are also available as a pedestal with sacred verses inscribed on a marble inlay. Step into the Makkah Islamic Book Center or the Al Abbes Islamic Books shop in Sarah for range of Qurans in numerous languages and some great stands. A price range of 100 Dirhams to 400 Dirhams is common.
Where to find it:
Makkah Islamic Book Center
City: Sharjah
Tel: +971 6 5735888
Fax: +971 6 5731616
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15. Muskets

The rich cultural history of the Dubai region can be gifted as an intricately carved handgun. These Muskets have silver and brass-reinforced barrels. If you are looking for something like this to take home then look for the Arab Matchlock Musket. The body is steel and brass. The shoulder butt is made of a polished wood for that enhanced steadiness while aiming.

The handle is done up intricately with embossed silver and even the trigger is fashioned out of heavy duty pure silver. The barrel of the gun, right up to the tip is a display of master craftsmanship and a clear indication of the sophistication that work done by hand can achieve. You can wade through the artifacts at Arabian Treasures in Deira City Center. The Gold Souq is where you will find the ones made of precious metals. The age of the musket and the materials used in adornment determine the price – which usually is in the range of 350 to 700 Dirhams.
Where to find it:
Dubai Gold Souq:
Address: Khalid Bin Waleed Road, Deira | 1 42 St, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Arabian Treasures in Deira City Center:
Deira City Center :Address: 8th Street, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number: +971 4 295 1010

Other Interesting Souvenirs from United Arab Emirates

If traveling to the United Arab Emirates is not on your immediate agenda, or you simply can't afford an extra space in your luggage, fortunately, these days, you can find a wide selection of authentic and truly interesting UAE souvenirs online. Presented here are some of the UAE products sought by foreign visitors, now available online for your convenience.

1. Oudh And Bakhoor - Scent of Arabia - Bakhoor is an aromatic incense which is burnt on a piece of hot coal, or electric burner, to fill a home with a fragrant smoke. Similarly to Bakhoor, Oudh chips are also burned to perfume a house or clothing on special occasions. Just heat 'em up with a small flame (lighter/cooker) for about 60 seconds, then sit back and enjoy the fragrance filling the room.

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