If you're going to knock The Gold Souk off your list of places to see, I suggest bringing plenty of cash. Otherwise you'll just be window shopping! Listed on the 1000 Places to See Before You Die, the Gold Souk will most likely appeal to travelers looking for an outstanding deal on gold, diamonds, silver, watches and an assortment of other jewelry. And you WILL get a good deal if you're willing to play tough and walk out on offers.
(Below: The Gold Souk area is not very large but has plenty of variety for all jewelry hunters!)
It takes all of 30 minutes (very hot minutes minds you) to walk the Gold Souk and surrounding spice market. The temperature was constantly between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit, which works out well for the stores on the Gold Souk route as they are all air-conditioned! But enter at your own peril as you'll soon be surrounded by shelves and shelves of gold, diamonds and the like and people all too eager to it to you.
(Below: You need to take a water taxi, known as an Abra, to cross the Dubai River in order to reach the Souk)
What you need to know:
- Actually the people in the stores are pleasant of the most part and will let you browse without too much pressure.
- Some of the world’s best known brands are represented and the products are of good quality in the stores. You buy from a street dealer and you’re getting the fake stuff.
- The gold, diamonds and the like can be negotiated down to prices which are 20% lower than the sticker price if you’re a tourist. If you have a local contact I highly recommend bringing them. They can talk to the dealers in their own language and negotiate prices that are even better than what you could get on your own. I was told you can get dealers down to 30% and even 40% below the listed price if you let the locals do the negotiating on your behalf.
(Below: Video of my crossing of the Dubai River (25sec) ! I went over in the evening which resulted in some spectacular views of the Dubai sunset)
(Below: The Souk is covered so you're protected from the sun and the stores all have air-con to escape the heat)
(Below: A store front window. This is something out of Indiana Jones!)
(Below: The quality is excellent but you should know ahead of time what you are looking for. Otherwise the shopping can be a bit overwhelming)