Modern Dubai is a glittering, ultra-modern city that reflects very little about its’ humble and modest beginnings as a trade port on the other side of the Dubai Creek. The heritage of Dubai has been entrusted to a few restored forts and museums that one can visit to learn about ancient Arabic culture and heritage. However, the age-old custom of haggling is alive and well at the Daira Souk. Almost anything is available at this seething maze of shops, people and merchandise and almost everything is open to negotiation.
The atmosphere of the souk is alive and vibrant with the noise and bustle of people going about their business of buying or selling. Brightly colored merchandise spills out of shop doorways and potential customers are lured with good prices and the best choices.
Very popular and plentiful items are pashmina’s and scarves and other Middle Eastern traditional clothing. Colorful cushion covers and printed Arabic tablecloths are also in abundance. The antique dealers lend to the feeling of going back in time as they display a treasure trove of ancient heritage memorabilia, some authentic, some copied. Emiratis are well known for their penchant for perfume and there are plenty of sampling opportunities at the souk.
Walking through the narrow corridors and streets, one is bound to be approached by agents, soliciting customers for copies of brand-name watches and handbags. These shops are out of sight and behind closed doors and prices are very negotiable.
The serious bargaining happens over more expensive items and a cup of tea or Arabic coffee. For the casual tourist buying mementoes and smaller items, haggling can begin when the buyer is prepared to purchase a few items.
A visit to the Deira Souk is recommended as a fascinating shopping experience. It is a delightful contrast to the world famous multi-story shopping malls on the other side of the Creek and a memorable glimpse into a rich, traditional Dubai heritage.