Dubai is a city that has literally risen front the sand. It has become a tourist mecca and business hotspot with an ever-changing skyline. It boasts mega-malls, shopping paradise and an assortment of all kinds of entertainment. It is no wonder that Dubai has so many places to visit and many things to buy. From traditional Emerati souvenirs to duty free bargains I have come up with the best things to buy in Dubai during your visit. If you are curious about why you should buy camel milk chocolates or pick up some oudh, keep reading to find out all of the best souvenirs from Dubai.
Best Things to Buy in Dubai
Dubai is home to the largest mall in the world, it is no wonder that it is known as a shopper’s paradise. If you are looking for the latest fashion and luxury, Dubai is the place to find it. But underneath the glamour of the Dubai shopping mall, there are plenty of souvenirs to buy in Dubai that offer more traditional and cultural pieces. In the oldest part of the city you can find various souq’s, such as the gold souq that contains about 10 tonnes of gold at any one time or the spice market offering exotic spices from all over the world. Below I have outlined what to buy in Dubai on your visit.
Looking for a Guide to the Emirate? Check out this Dubai Guide.
Camel Milk Chocolates
One unique souvenir from Dubai has to be camel milk chocolate. High quality chocolates are made without preservatives or chemicals and include locally popular spices, nuts and honey. For health buffs, camel’s milk is seen as healthier than cow’s milk, with more vitamins, less fat, less lactose and more insulin. When I am asked what the best thing to buy in Dubai is, I usually start with this! It is something truly unique and an exciting gift to bring back home and share with your friends and family!
Arabic coffee is aromatic and flavourful, but also bitter. Often referred to as mud, its thick flavours are intensify by the settling of the coffee in the bottom of the cup. You can get it with or without cardamom and sweet and unsweet. You will have to try and see which arabic coffee you like best. Culturally it is served when hosting family gatherings or having friends over. Arabic coffee is traditionally important for discussing events, as the coffee-drinker is central to the conversation.
An arabic coffee pot will help you replicate the arabic coffee you have bought while visiting the Emirate. They are one of the cheap things to buy in Dubai and will make you look professional when you make arabic coffee at home for family and friends!
If you do not have any room in your suitcase, check out these options.
Shopping in Dubai for souvenirs is part of the fun of travel and reminiscing about Aladdin’s journey in the popular Disney movie always becomes a topic of conversation while in the desert. With oriental rugs, ornate buildings and the magic of an Aladdin lamp, a street rat can imagine a life with a sultan’s daughter. You can find these brass lamps with intricately inlaid stones all over Dubai and they are one of the things to get from Dubai when you visit.
Next to the gold souq, you will find the aroma of the spice souq. Filled with exotic spices from all over the world, you can find just about any spice in the Dubai spice souq. Check with your home country about what you can and cannot bring home before you stock up on spices from the souq and stick to things that you cannot easily acquire at home!
Shisha pipes are a mainstay in almost every Arab home. Some make ornate decorations and some offer an indulgence of flavoured tobacco with friends. You can get them in all shapes and sizes, but a small shisha pipe makes the perfect souvenir from your visit to the Middle East and a conversation piece to display at home. The shisha aroma is one of those scents that you will find in arab countries that really give you a feel of the place. Every time you smell it, it will evoke feelings of travel.
There is not much that is cheap in Dubai, but sand bottles are one of the inexpensive things to buy in Dubai to bring home from your vacation. It is amazing to watch these artists create names or camels or sunset designs by delicately inserting coloured sand into the bottles. If you get the chance, watch these artists create a bottle for you with your name or something that will remind you of your visit to the UAE.
Liquor and Cigarettes
Duty Free shopping at the airport in Dubai is a common question by anyone visiting Dubai. As the largest airport in the world, millions of travellers have short layovers in Dubai and take advantage of the Duty Free shopping available to them. Dubai, although a muslim country, has some of the cheapest liquor in the world and also affords cheap cigarettes for those who wish to purchase them.
If you have more than a few hours on a layover, you might consider leaving the hotel. Here is what to do on a short Dubai layover.
Dubai is a mecca of shopping malls and as mentioned, boasts the largest mall in the world. It features almost every brand imaginable as well as dozens of culinary delights. If you are looking for designer clothes for all styles, you will be able to find it at one of the shopping malls in Dubai.
If you did not pack the right clothes for Dubai, you can always pick something up at the mall!
Dates and Dried Fruits
If you have had dates in the Middle East, then you know that you should pick yourself up some dates and other local dried fruits while you are in Dubai. Many are packaged to take home and they are one of the popular things to buy in Dubai to take back home. You will never buy dates from your grocery store after trying dates in the Middle East.
A unique souvenir from Dubai would be a traditional curved dagger once held commonly by men. It makes for a unique conversation piece back home. Known as a Khanjar it is an important element in the traditional attire of Emirati men. These were originally made of bone but mostly now made of wood. The more ornate ones are made of marble and silver handles.
Oriental Perfumes and Oils
Dubai has shopping opportunities in its own perfume souq. The Middle East is known for its high quality perfumes and Dubai is one of those places. If you are looking for what to buy in Dubai, choose a high quality oriental perfume or oil.
Oudh and Bukhoor
Most people who visit the United Arab Emirates will speak of a “oudh” that you can only experience in the Emirates. It is an amber musk scent that many men wear. If it is a scent that you enjoy, why not bring home this memorable scent from your time in Dubai. If you want to bring back a memory of your time in Dubai, you can purchase some Arabian incense, known as bukhoor.
Best Things to buy in Dubai
After reading this post, I hope you have some ideas about the best things to buy in Dubai and instead of feeling lost in the largest mall in the world or while meandering through the old souqs, you can quickly see and buy what you are looking for instead of wandering aimlessly for what to buy in Dubai.
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Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.