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Spice Souq, Dubai

Spice Souq, Dubai (must see)

Dubai is a fantastic mixture of futuristic buildings and traditional areas, one of which is the Spice Souk on Sikkat Al Khail Road in the Deira district.

The souk is the largest and oldest in Dubai and consists of an open and roofed market with narrow cobblestone lanes, where you will find all the spices you know and a lot you will have never heard of. The smoky, spicy odors, the noise of the merchants and customers and the bright colours will give you the feeling of stepping back in time. When you buy your spices, they aren’t packed in plastic bags, but in hessian pouches to keep them fresh for longer.

Spices aren’t the only things you will find in the wonderful souk. Many stalls sell fine leather goods: shoes, bags and belts. Other stalls offer cheap electronic goods, mostly from India and you can find beautifully decorated Hookah’s (water-pipes) and Shisha (tobacco) in different fragrances. Even if you are a non-smoker, these water-pipes make a lovely decoration item.

The best time to visit the souk is in the early evening when it’s cooler, because although the shops are air-conditioned, the lanes aren’t. Many stands offer refreshing mint tea or fresh fruit juice. The spices aren’t very expensive – even the Saffron is reasonably priced, but you really should haggle with the merchant – it’s expected and it’s also part of the fun!

What to buy here: 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 regularly sized holder back, a great buy is an electric incense burner which can be plugged into your car’s charger. It is available at the Deira Souk and costs $5 which is 15 Dirhams (the local currency).

Tip:
The best thing is to form a relationship with the seller. Just have fun and remember this is a really good place to get quality spices if you take your time and know what you are looking for.

Opening Hours:
Sat-Thu: 10am-1pm / 4-10pm; Fri: 4-10pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Dubai, United Arab Emirates within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Spice Souq on Map

Sight Name: Spice Souq
Sight Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Sight Type: Shopping
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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