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?

Asia Dubai My Travelz UAE

Experience The Dubai Mall

If shopping is your favorite past time, then Dubai is certainly the place you want to be! There are so many malls, and souks it could make your head spin. While in Dubai, we went to the largest mall in the world, based off area, The Dubai Mall. This mall is more than just shopping, but an experience.
Experience Dubai Mall  © 2015 Holly Dayz
The Dubai Mall is obviously huge, but you have no idea what that truly means until you arrive. We took a taxi to the mall. The taxi driver dropped us off near the parking lot area which is supposed to make it easy to get in. The hard part came when it was time to figure out how to exactly get into the mall. There are many floors and esculators. It was extremely crowded! Try a holiday shopping season, times 100. The first thing I noticed was a multi-floor movie theater and a Sega Indoor Theme Park.
After some odd minutes of walking around and taking the escalators up and down we finally figured out how to get into the actual mall. Being very hungry, we followed the signs and bee lined to the food court. The food court was extremely crowded and huge. There was fast food, restaurants, and cafes. Everything from Hot Dog On A Stick and Johnny Rockets to KFC and Subway. If you can’t find something you like to eat in this mall then I am not sure what to tell you.

Chinese Food © 2015 HollyDayz
Chinese Food © 2015 HollyDayz

After taking a walk around we decided on some Chinese food. Once we got our food we realized there was no place to sit. Walking around I spotted a door to more seating outside. I doubt that would be a place anyone would want to sit in the hot months. From the sitting area there was a view of the very top of the Burj Khalifia (the tallest building in the world.) After eating, we went back into the mall and walked around a bit. I spotted even more places to eat, including The Rainforest Cafe and The Cheesecake Factory, as we walked around.
Top of the Burj Khalifia from the sitting area © 2015 HollyDayz
Top of the Burj Khalifia from the sitting area © 2015 HollyDayz

We were in search of the waterfall inside of the mall. Following the signs towards The Waterfall we came across some pretty awesome findings. One being the ice skating rink. There were a ton of people skating around having a blast. As we continued to walk I spotted a gold Lamborghini. I love Lamborghinis and apparently so do people in Dubai because I saw a bunch of people driving them.
Gold Lamborghini © 2015 HollyDayz
Gold Lamborghini © 2015 HollyDayz

Ice Skating Rink © 2015 HollyDayz
Ice Skating Rink © 2015 HollyDayz

Continuing to follow the signs, in my mind we hit gold, A Disney Fashion Store! If you know me you know my LOVE for Mickey Mouse. I wandered around the store seeing all kind of bags, clothes similar to these boho clothes, and sneakers with Mickey everywhere. It was pretty awesome! Right near the store was The Waterfall.
Disney Fashion Store © 2015 HollyDayz
Disney Fashion Store © 2015 HollyDayz

Disney Fashion Store  © 2015 HollyDayz
Disney Fashion Store © 2015 HollyDayz

The Waterfall is beautiful and has sculptures of divers made from fiber glass. The waterfall can be seen from all 4 levels. It was crowded with people taking pictures, but there is another area to the right that has the same view, but no people. So walk away from the main area if you want a better photo opportunity. The mall has a ton of information desks, so if you are looking for a particular store or area, they many people behind the desk will point you in the right direction.
In front the Waterfall  © 2015 HollyDayz
In front the Waterfall © 2015 HollyDayz

From The Waterfall we asked someone where to find the Aquarium. Between them and the signs we found our way to the crowded area. This is a serious mall to have an Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. We didn’t go inside, but decided to view the beautiful tank, which is one of the largest in the world. It also features the largest glass panel in the world. As I looked up towards the ceiling it looked like a starry night. It was beautiful! There is also a replica of King Croc for those who don’t go inside the aquarium.
Aquarium Glass Panel © 2015 HollyDayz
Part of the Aquarium Glass Panel © 2015 HollyDayz

The amount of stores in The Dubai Mall would go beyond the term “shop till you drop.” Whatever it is your looking for, they have it. They even have their own souks. The souk at the mall is much more modern then the more traditional ones. You can also get a great view of the Burj Khalifa and the Fountain show once stepping outside.
Dubai Fountain Show © 2015 HollyDayz
Dubai Fountain Show © 2015 HollyDayz

The fountain show happens everyday on the Burj Khalifa Lake. There are a couple of shows in the afternoon, and then every 30 minutes in the evening from 6pm – 11pm. I didn’t catch the show the day I went to visit the mall, but I did watch it on another night after an amazing dinner. In true Dubai fashion it is the world’s largest dancing fountain.
Although not usually a place someone would make their business to visit when traveling, The Dubai Mall is a must see.

Have you ever been to the Dubai Mall? If not would you want to check it out?