We lived here for two and a half years now. You’d think we’ve done most of the UAE, seen what there is to see, do the touristy thing and be bored by now. Nope! I guess we’ve been taking our time with our sight seeing since there’s no rush to see it all. This past weekend, we went to the Dubai Creek Souq. I’ve heard my friends say how fun it is and talk about all the great bargains you’ll find, but we never put it on our priority list. Thankfully, last minute circumstances made our GPS point to this location and off we went.
The Dubai Creek is a part of the UAE’s history, serving as its trading port well before the discovery of oil. The souq itself is located on opposite sides of the Dubai Creek in the old neighbourhoods of Dubai. On the Deira side visit the Gold Souq and the Spice Souq then ride an abra, a traditional boat used to cross the Dubai Creek, to visit the Textile Souq. The abra will give those of any age a delight at only 1AED per crossing (children are usually free.) For an extra special treat, take the abra at night when you can see all the dhows lit up with lights.
The textile souq is full, wall-to-wall, of beautiful scarves, genie shoes, wall hangings, dresses, fabric and more. A beautiful array of colours splattered all around you. This is a photographer’s dream; so bring your camera if you want some great shots. My girls wanted belly dancer skirts…they love to make all the little coins clink as they dance. I wouldn’t allow the whole outfit because something about a 4 and 6 year old in a sheer top and pants just didn’t do it for me. So, we opted for the opaque waist wrap around pieces. After haggling with the shopkeeper, we walked away with each at 25 AED ($6.81 USD). They are well made, heavy and a perfect souvenir for the girls.
In the gold souq, you’ll be amazed at the amount of gold sitting in there. It consists of over 300 retailers that trade almost exclusively in jewellery. By some estimates, approximately 10 tons of gold is present at any given time in the souq. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever been surrounded by that much gold in one place. Yellow gold is not something I wear, but seeing so much of it concentrated in one area, I couldn’t help but think how beautiful it was.
The spice souq is filled with the most beautiful colours of spices and your nose will dance as you sample the scent of each. I love seeing barrels and sacks full of spices in bulk. Walking through here, I thought about how fun it would be to trying a spice a day until all the spices had been tasted. What a feat…if anyone does it, I want to know!
Plan your day according to the opening times, as they do close in the middle of the day, only to reopen later in the afternoon. Your evenings will be much busier, especially on Thursday and Friday nights, but the lights and hustle and bustle makes it all part of the traditional experience.