Shopping is one of the best things you can do while on vacation. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and get your hands on some unique gifts! 


Whether you’re visiting this country for the first time or a regular visitor, there is a lot to experience when shopping in the United Arab Emirates. Beautiful clothing, delicious snacks, and handmade pottery are just a few examples of what you can buy from the stores and markets of the UAE. 


With so many options to choose from, you may not know where to start. So to make your trip a little bit easier, we’ve put together a complete guide to shopping in the UAE. 

Spend a Day at the Mall 

A day at the mall can make an exciting vacation activity for the whole family. In the UAE, you will never run out of malls to shop at. This country is home to several massive shopping centers with retail stores, restaurants, and small businesses. 


The most popular shopping mall in the UAE is the Dubai Mall. This shopping center is the second-largest mall in the world! It has over 1,200 stores and over 200 restaurants. 


Or if you’re in Ras Al Khaimah, you may want to visit the Rak Mall. Not only does this mall have plenty of great stores and restaurants, but it even has an ice rink! Kids and adults alike will have a great time when they shop here. 


If you have little ones, you may want to visit the Abu Dhabi Mall. This shopping center has a supervised play area that can entertain your kids all day. It’s a great option if you want to get some shopping done while the children have some fun. 


Of course, these malls are just a few of the most popular options. No matter what city you visit in the UAE, there is sure to be a quality shopping mall nearby. Browse the malls throughout the UAE to decide where you’ll spend your next big shopping day. 

Find Some Unique Products at the Souks 

Souks are a common type of marketplace in the Middle East, so there’s a good chance you’ll see one when you’re in the United Arab Emirates. These markets are typically outdoors, so we recommend visiting on a sunny day when the weather isn’t too hot


At souks, you can find vendors selling a variety of unique goods. Clothing, ceramics, carpets, and even perfumes are just a few common souvenirs you will find at these markets. 


Spices are another common product you can find at souks. Cardamom, turmeric, and dried ginger are staples of Middle Eastern cooking, so expect to see a lot of those when you’re browsing the spice vendors. These spices can make great souvenirs for anyone who loves to cook. 


Or if you’re not a fan of cooking but still want to taste some of the local cuisines, you can also find vendors selling street food. We recommend picking up some dried fruit—not only is it delicious, but it’s long-lasting and can make an excellent snack to bring home. 


Shopping at a souk is an experience you may not get in many other countries, so be sure to visit at least one while you’re in the United Arab Emirates. It’s one of the best ways to experience this country’s wonderful culture! 

Support the Many Small Businesses in the United Arab Emirates 

When shopping in the United Arab Emirates, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to worldwide retail stores or other big businesses. This country is home to plenty of amazing small businesses, so be sure to give some a visit during your stay. 


You can find a variety of small businesses in the UAE. From clothing stores to antique stores and even restaurants, there is sure to be a small business out there that’ll catch your eye. 


If you’re an art enthusiast, you may want to visit Arte, The Makers’ Market in Dubai. This market is full of beautiful artwork that you can purchase, including vibrant paintings and stunning pottery. Other fun finds such as jewelry, handmade soaps, and tasty snacks are all common at this market as well. 


Shopping at small businesses can land you some truly one-of-a-kind products. You’ll frequently find small businesses in souks, but keep an eye out for them when you’re shopping at malls or browsing the streets, too. 

Tips for Shopping in the United Arab Emirates 

There’s a lot to consider when you’re shopping in the United Arab Emirates. Here are a few helpful tips to bear in mind: 


  • The United Arab Emirates uses the dirham as its currency, which is equivalent to roughly 27 US cents. Knowing how to convert your money can help prevent overspending when you’re on vacation in the UAE. 
  • Many vendors, especially in souks, will allow you to haggle prices. Consider learning how to haggle before you shop in the UAE—it can help you earn some good deals! 
  • Visit small businesses when possible. These businesses can offer unique finds that you won’t find anywhere else. Best of all, you’ll be supporting the local community! 
  • When possible, browse stores online before you visit them in person. Getting an idea of their products can make shopping less overwhelming. Knowing what to buy ahead of time can prevent overspending, too. 
  • Most small businesses and vendors accept cash so be sure to keep some dirhams in your wallet. 


With these tips in mind, you can make the most of your shopping trip in the UAE. 


When you’re on vacation, going shopping is a must. After all, you’ll want to bring something home to remind you of your exciting trip to the United Arab Emirates! 


The UAE is one of the best countries in the Middle East to go on a shopping spree. With plenty of giant malls, vibrant outdoor markets, and creative small businesses to visit, you’ll never run out of places to stock up on snacks and souvenirs. 


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