Dubai is an incredibly vibrant shopping destination nestled in the Arabian Desert. From the inconceivably large and sprawling malls to the traditional Arabian souqs Dubai has everything to offer on a wild shopping spree. And with the right Dubai shopping tips, it shouldn’t necessary be wallet heavy all the time.
There’s nothing you can’t buy here and it won’t be surprising if you stopped just because of weight restrictions on your return flight 🙂 . The malls here are not just a shopping destination but a very prominent face of what Dubai stands for. A refurbished extension of the centuries-old history of Dubai’s recognition as a trading port. Rightfully the quintessential element of life in Dubai.
And for someone like me who’s not into shopping until it comes to the bare necessities, there’re lots of other opportunities to indulge into. Take for example the indoor ski in Mall of Emirates. Ski Dubai is a huge indoor ski resort in the Mall of Emirates where you can ski or just roll on the snow for hours. If you are not a ski person than scuba dive along with sharks in the humongous 10-million liter tank in Dubai Aquarium inside Dubai Mall.
So let’s dig into the Dubai shopping tips and hacks to make your Dubai shopping experience a thing to remember.
5 great Dubai shopping Tips and Hacks to save you some cost
1. Use Metro instead of cabs
Dubai city has a very competent metro system now. One of the top Dubai shopping tips is to leverage this Metro system instead of cabs for mall hopping. It’ll save a lot of bucks. The best part is that the Metros stations are connected to the malls by air-conditioned overhead walkways. It’s overwhelming to think, how the government wants to make your shopping experience in Dubai incredibly easy and fun.
I was having a general conversation with one of the taxi driver during a short ride. The taxi business took a hard hit after metros came into the picture and daily income moved south. The guy was planning to move back to this home country because of a severe dip in his savings. So you can expect some inflated prices if you hire a cab.
2. Visit during the festival season
This is a very popular hack and you will find this tip in many forums so I will not elaborate on this. The Dubai shopping festival (DSF), organized at the start of the year is a month-long shopping extravaganza with abundant discounts on retail items.
3. Consider malls in the city outskirts
Visiting Dubai during DSF although a popular shopping hack depends totally on your overall trip timing and may or may not work every time. It didn’t work for us. For an all season hack, we recommend a visit to the malls on the city outskirts rather than the ones right at the city center.
Dubai outlet mall is the one mall recommended by almost every page on the internet mostly because of its excellent discount on brands. However, Dubai outlet mall is not connected by Metro and you have to hire a cab to reach there. It’s about a 20-30 minute drive from city center. The place is crowded for obvious reasons and you will find clothes on the floor and misplaced items everywhere in the crowded shops.
Pirate Hack: Dubai outlet mall offers shuttle service from selected city hotels. So you might want to check their website for a free ride 😉 . Plan to visit in the morning hours. The shopping time is 10am-10pm. We would recommend avoiding late evening times as it can get cumbersome to find a taxi back.
We visited Outlet mall and City Center Deira, and prefer the later. The prices were reasonable and the best part is that it is directly accessible by Metro. I had about 6-7 heavy carry bags by the time we returned. Thanks to the easily accessible metro right outside the mall.
4. For souvenirs consider a trip to Dragon mart
Dragon mart is a huge bustling dragon shaped mart with more of stalls rather than shops. It is the largest China market in Dubai. At a whopping 1.2km length you might want to change over to your sports shoes for a decent walking experience here. Apart from souvenirs, daily use products, clothes and cheap electronics, Dragon mart is also famous for interior design items. Quality might be of concern here so keep your eyes open.
The biggest disadvantage of Dragon mart is its far-flung location and inaccessibility by metro. From the city center, it’s about 20 kilometers and a taxi ride would take around 30 minutes.
Pirate Hack: Take a metro to Rashidia metro station which is the closest metro station to dragon mart and then hire a cab from there to Dragon mart. It takes about 5-10 minutes and cost less than half the ride from city center.
Dubai is famous for cheap electronics. I was literally surprised at how low the prices were compared to similar brands in India. A lot of people buy televisions here. However be aware of the new customs rule in India specially made for televisions.
5. Visit Gold Souq Deira if you are into the yellow metal
If you want to indulge in some gold shopping than we would recommend Gold Souq Deira rather than the malls. Gold Souq is a traditional market located in Deira with nearly 300 shops glittering with gold. There’s mix of renowned as well as local brands. The sheer amount of competition among hundreds of shops gives you a fair chance at getting a good price.
You have to haggle here because the shops maintain a buffer on the said price. Personally, we found haggling in Gold Souq much easier and fun because of the remarkably homelike aka DESI ambiance. Even the shopkeepers expect you to bargain for the said price. Conversely, the malls with air-conditioned showrooms gave us a mental block to even try haggling. In Gold Souq, the discounts we got on the initial price with some decent bargain was surprising.
Access to Gold Souq Deira is very easy by Metro. Take the Metro to Al Ras Metro station (Green line) and it’s a 15-minute walk from there. Anyone outside the station will point you in the right direction.
Pirate Hack: Keep your gold receipts safe and easy to access when you are at the airport. Most of the times, airport authority asks for the receipts during final check in.
Hope you enjoyed the post. Do let us know your thoughts 🙂
Signing off for now……..