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Dubai My Travelz Travel UAE

Visiting the Gold and Spice Souks

The sandstorm that decided to linger around the UAE caused us to alter our plans again. Instead of the desert safari we decided to head over to the infamous Gold and Spice Souks. A souk is a traditional market. There are tons of deals to be made and things to see at a souk.
Visiting The Gold & Spice Souks  ©2015 HollyDayz
The Gold and Spice Souks are located in Deira, Dubai’s commercial business area. A quick taxi ride from Downtown Dubai left us in a very crowded area. People everywhere! The taxi driver instructed us to go through the revolving door to get into the souk area. Upon going through the doors we were inside a small jewelry area. We walked a bit and found ourselves outside.

The area right next to the souks ©2015 HollyDayz
The area right next to the souks ©2015 HollyDayz

This area of Dubai is very different then the rest. It looks older and rundown. Dubai is a very safe place, but that isn’t a place I would want to be late at night, based off the way it looks. There is an open walkway with tons of jewelry stores and benches to sit down. As you walk down the main corridor there are narrow alleyways. Down these narrow paths are tons of stores, some are open air and some are inclosed.
The main area of the gold & spice souk  ©2015 HollyDayz
The main area of the gold & spice souk ©2015 HollyDayz

The moment we stepped foot into the area we were approached left and right by several people. They were trying to get us to come to their store. It was constant and non stop. The people were very friendly, especially since they want you to purchase goods from them. So if people pressuring you to visit their store isn’t up your alley, I wouldn’t recommend these souks.
Gold and Spices are not the only things you can buy in the souks. They also sell clothing, souvenirs, shoes, watches, bags, and more. The designer watches and bags were not real, but people were trying them on nonetheless. Looking at them you can’t tell off a glance they are fake. If you touch it or you know your fakes from the real you will certainly notice.
Getting ready to haggle for a few items  ©2015 HollyDayz
Getting ready to haggle for a few items ©2015 HollyDayz

A local informed us that the best deals can be found towards the interior of the souks. So you need to go towards the middle and not stay on the outskirts. A skill set that you certainly need when going there is the art of haggling. Don’t ever go with the price they give you! If they don’t want to work with you then don’t be afraid to walk away. They will stop you and try to work with you because you can always go to the next place and get the same exact thing.
Also have a converter on your phone. I used the Globe Convert App. Everytime they would give me a price, I would convert it to see if I was comfortable with the price. It really helped a lot. You can get caught up when you are seeing prices in AED.
Another important tip is what you wear. There are a lot of people from many different traditional backgrounds. Not to mention you are surrounded by a lot of men. I had on a tank top, but I also used a button up shirt as a jacket. It became pretty humid and I briefly took it off. One of the stores I went into a gentleman kept trying to get me to purchase a shirt by holding them up to me.
Taking a breather from the haggling  ©2015 HollyDayz
Taking a breather from the haggling ©2015 HollyDayz

The first time he tried his hand seemed to go on my skin right above my breast and I thought maybe that was a mistake, until he did it again. I left very quickly and put my button down back on immediately. Needless to stay I lost my interest in being in the souks after that. I also later found out that it isn’t typically in their culture to even touch your hand. You do get some random creeps who will and they can be arrested and deported if you report them.
We did manage to get some souvenirs and other nice items from the souks. We did not buy any gold, but did get the opportunity to look at some things. The price of gold changes and there are signs that tell you how much it costs so you can’t be duped. Some places also take credit/debit cards, but you get charged an extra 5%.
Certificate for the world's heaviest gold ring  ©2015 HollyDayz
Certificate for the world’s heaviest gold ring ©2015 HollyDayz

We took a seat on one of the benches and watched some tours go by. I saw a lot of people standing by a window. When I went to see what they were looking at I realized it was a huge ring! In fact it was the world’s heaviest gold ring. Not too surprised as we were in Dubai. Walking a little more we ended up in the spice souk which is laid out in the same fashion as the gold souk.
Heaviest Gold Ring In The World  ©2015 HollyDayz
Heaviest Gold Ring In The World ©2015 HollyDayz

We went into one store where the gentleman had us smell frankincense and myrrh. He also pulled out saffron, vanilla, and more. He had some colorful chocolate rock candy that he let us try. It was really good and I ended up haggling with him and buying some.
Some spices  ©2015 HollyDayz
Some spices ©2015 HollyDayz

More Spices  ©2015 HollyDayz
Beautiful Color looking at the Spices ©2015 HollyDayz

We then noticed right across the street were boats (abras), so we headed over there. We took the abra across the creek for 1AED. We didn’t explore too much because we had reservations at Ewaan, so we stopped at store, bought a ton of candy and other goodies and paid 1AED to head back on the abra to catch a taxi from there.
Getting ready to hop on the abra  ©2015 HollyDayz
Getting ready to hop on the abra ©2015 HollyDayz

Abra going across the creek  ©2015 HollyDayz
Abra going across the creek ©2015 HollyDayz

Overall it was a lot of fun, but a bit stressful with the haggling and everyone talking to you every second. The ride across the creek was a fun experience.

Have you ever been to a souk? What was your experience like?

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Abu Dhabi Dubai Tips of the Trade Travel UAE

What To Wear In Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Before heading over to the United Arab Emirates many people wonder what they should pack. Not only do you have to keep in mind the weather, but more importantly the cultural and religious aspect, as it is a Muslim country. The last thing you want to do is offend the locals. So here is some insight on what to wear in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
What To Wear In UAE  © 2015 HollyDayz
Dubai in particular, is the most lax of the seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates. Still it is important to remain respectful. While I was there I saw many people who either weren’t aware or simply didn’t care what they wore. Your clothing could warrant unwanted attention or something being said to you by a local. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy an entire new wardrobe or dress like the locals.
Malls, Marina, and Souks
While walking around at The Dubai Marina I saw many tourists from all over wearing many different types of clothing. Some were covered up and others not so much at all. I wore a capped short sleeve shirt and capris that almost looked like pants. I also had a light jacket I kept wrapped around my waist in case it got a little too chilly.
At The Dubai Mall I wore jeans, a t-shirt, and a light jacket. Walking around with a tank top, short shorts, and tight clothing is frowned upon. Shorts should be at least down to the knee. Shoulders should also be covered. The same goes for men, who are better off wearing t-shirts rather than tanks.
dubai-mall-courtesy-policy-sign-small
In the winter months, taking light jackets or a long sleeve button up would do well. It also helps in the summer time when you are inside and the AC is blasting. I am not really a fan of short sleeves. I had both a light jacket and a button down shirt I used to cover up, as most of my shirts are tank tops.
One time I did take off my button down shirt at the gold souks. The area is bit more rundown and old. I didn’t get a bunch of stares, but I did get unwanted attention from one gentleman. As humid as it became, I put my button down right back on!
Pool, Beach, and Hotel
If you are headed to the pool, beach, or hanging out at your hotel your clothing choices are a bit more lax. Swimming trunks, one piece, and bikinis are allowed. They are however not allowed on the way to the pool or beach. You must be covered up at those times and not with a towel! Bring a coverup or some actual clothes. There are many locals walking around many hotels so keep that in mind.
Nightlight and Restaurants
Heading out to explore the nightlife allows for you to wear what you would normally wear out. Again just keep in mind where exactly it is your going and how your getting there. Restaurants will typically alert you to their dress codes. Most are casual or as they call it “smart casual.” You will see many Emiratis in their national dress, which is welcome everywhere.
Mosques
Many mosques don’t allow non-Muslims, but there are a couple that do, including the very beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. As a woman, your arms, legs, and hair must be covered. I was completely covered and I still had to wear an abaya. I believe it was because my hair is long and was hanging down. My mom was also completely covered, only had to cover her hair with a shayla (headscarf) rather than wear an abaya. Abayas go over the clothes, and will be lent to you at the mosque.

Dress Code from the Sheikh Grand Mosque © 2015 HollyDayz
Dress Code from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque © 2015 HollyDayz

Men are to wear pants. No shorts! When entering the mosque shoes must come off. Clothing for both men and women must be conservative. If you aren’t comfortable walking around barefoot you can keep your socks on. There is also no intimacy allowed on the grounds. That includes kissing, hand holding, or even putting your arm around the opposite sex. I wouldn’t be too surprised if during Ramadan wearing anything to tight or short would be even more highly offensive.
Desert Safari
On a desert safari you can wear shorts and tank tops if you wish. Once the sun goes down it can get cold. When I went it was very cold! I had on long capris, sneakers, 2 shirts, and a fleece. I was still cold with all of that on! People wearing shorts weren’t too happy at that point. The summer months I’m sure are much warmer at night than in the winter. It is still good to bring at least a light jacket with you.
Ultimately it is your choice what you wear, but if you are going to travel to other countries with a conservative culture, then you should respect it.
How do you feel about the “dress code?”

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