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Dubai is labeled the "shopping capital of the Middle East". Shopping center or souk (souk or souq is Arabic word for market) – in Dubai they are both an experience. One modern, one old, one cool, one sweltering hot, both are extreme. Old means about sixty years – before then there were sand dunes and Bedouins. The experience starts right from the Dubai Airport Duty Free Shops which are probably the best in the world in terms of variety, price and ambience. There is an aura about Dubai Duty Free shops or DDF. Millionaire Raffle and Raffles for luxury cars and bikes offer great opportunity to win big and are very popular.

The older shopping centers are nothing special, just like any shopping center in the West, but the newer ones are really special. Built around themes like water parks, zoo, ski slope, race track and marina, they try to outdo each other in glamour and attraction.

At the Ski DuGold in Dubaibai shopping center the ski slope area is attached to the shopping center with floor to ceiling glass walls offering a view of the activities on the slopes. Local women in abayas coast down special slides on inner tubes alongside their children and in another area women pull their children on sleds and help them build snow men. The ambience is complete with a roaring fire in a giant stone fireplace.

 

To visit Dubai’s souks hop on the tourist bus. Located in the old part of town, narrow streets and alleys, and off them even smaller alleys, they are picturesque and mysterious. The gold souk, located in Deira, has hundreds of shops with fabulous displays of gold and precious stones lined up next to each other. They look exotic. Ladies in abayas, headscarves and veils float from store to store. Gold, gold, gold, everything 18 and 24 carat gold. Rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, all shapes and sizes, glittering with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones. It is the largest gold market in Dubai located at the mouth of the Creek and is a must see.

 

If you like to cook Indian and Middle Eastern dishes you will find all you need at the spice souk. Strong, sweet, pungent, wonderful smells, meld together into one overwhelming sensation. This is a must-stop for those aspiring to be great chefs. "Authentic fake watches" and "authentic fake hand bags" are hawked by street vendors who shoot out of narrow side alleys and try their best to lure prospective buyers into their shops and stalls. Even if you’re not keen on cheap textiles, knock-off Dior scarves and kitchenware, you’re sure to be wowed by the high energy street scenes.

Dubai is a fascinating destination able to keep even the most demanding traveller entertained. It is also a fantastic stop off destination where you can spend a few days relaxing ahead of travelling further afield.

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