All you need to know when shopping in Dubai


Dubai is considered as one of the leading cities in the world. . Dubai is one of seven states that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Crime rate in Dubai is very low. That is why this city is considered one of the safest cities on earth.

Dubai is a dream destination for shoppers; it redefines the concept of retail therapy, daunting for the amateur and even a bit of a challenge for the pro. But this appealing combination of old and new, in the heart of the Middle East, isn’t without its potential stumbling blocks for newcomers. Just bring stacks of cash or a handful of credit cards combined with plenty of stamina and you’ll do just fine. It’s always helpful to bring someone along to help carry all those purchases back to the hotel or tour around. Here, we share our top tips to ensure your spending spree goes without a hitch.

The tour
Although Dubai is not particularly large, it is most definitely not a dull city. The various shopping areas are dotted about all over the place, and walking between them simply isn’t an option. Happily, taxis are easy to come by and extremely affordable. Tipping isn’t essential, but is recommended when you encounter good service.

There’s also the Dubai Metro, a monorail that runs through the center of town. So far, there are only 2 lines open, but there are stations at several of the big malls. The long-awaited Dubai Tram is also due to come on-stream before the end of 2014 – connecting the bustling Dubai Marina (home to Marina Mall, The Beach and other picturesque seafront shopping destinations) with the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel and Mall of the Emirates.

Timing Your Trip
Dubai is not only the national shopping hub, but also a favorite destination for residents of other Middle East countries, hosting two shopping festivals a year, during which malls offer massive discounts, raffles and entertainment, from fireworks to flash mobs. Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) runs for a month from the first week of January, and with 2015 marking the 20th edition, next year’s event promises to be grander than ever. Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), introduced 17 years ago to jazz up the Emirate’s historically quiet summer season, runs from the first week of August through the start of September.

Although events such as DSS have served to boost summer visitor numbers, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s darn hot. It’s fine in the cool, climate-controlled indoor environments of the malls, but anyone hoping to explore the city’s outdoor attractions may wish to avoid the scorching July to September season.

Religious Occasions
The UAE is an Islamic country, and several special days on the Muslim calendar influence shopping hours. Friday is a day of rest and prayer, and many smaller shops won’t open until the afternoon if at all. Larger stores and malls keep regular hours, but they do pipe in the hauntingly melodic call to prayer.

Ramadan is a special month in the Islamic calendar, denoted by particular phases of the moon, currently falling some time in summer. During this time, Muslims fast during daylight hours and, as a sign of respect, all eating and drinking in public is banned. This means independent outlets and mall food courts close until after sunset, but Dubai’s myriad of hotels will all have at least one operational outlet, screened off, for non-Muslim guests. Due to the unorthodox hours people keep over the Holy Month, stores open late for the duration.

Two celebratory long weekends officially conclude Ramadan: Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month, and then Eid Al-Adha falls a few months later. On these occasions, malls will again stay open late, offering special deals and entertainment.

The Dress Code
Contrary to some misconceptions of the UAE, majority of locals here are tolerant and very accepting of different attitudes and beliefs. But whilst you’re in the country, you will need to respect their cultural and religious sensitivities. This isn’t difficult: it just means dressing modestly when in public areas such as malls and restaurants, with shoulders and knees covered for women, and no bare chests or shorts for men.

Police or even the occasional offended local citizens have been known to approach inappropriately attired shoppers and ask them to go and change. It’s also worth mentioning here that public displays of affection, drunkenness or overt rudeness will also not be tolerated; these could land you with more than a simple caution.

You may be in the Middle East, bartering salesmen, but you cannot haggle in malls, period. These are full of big international brands and they command big international prices. Outside of sales season, don’t expect to get any particular good bargains, chances are you’ll find things cheaper in other countries. However it’s a different story in the old souks, where you are very much expected to barter over the price of your gold, spices or textiles. The shop owner’s first offer is simply an opening for negotiations.

Culled from


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here