You may have heard Dubai being referred to as the City of Gold. While there is an array of reasons Dubai deserves this name, it originally was derived from the Gold Souk. Never is this a truer description of Dubai than when you emerge yourself in the golden haze of one of the largest jewelry outlets in the world. The sheer size alone of the market is enough to make you dizzy. Get your credit card ready, this is also one of the cheapest places in the world to buy quality gold jewelry. Souk means market, and the Gold Souk is exactly that, a market where over 300 jewelry retailers compete for your business.
The hundreds of shops are aligned in narrow laneways, their windows crammed full of 22 and 24 karat gold. With this image in mind it is easy to imagine the gold fever many people experience when they first visit the Gold Souk. Many a traveler has made an astute purchase in the gold souk, with gold and diamonds being picked up for only a third of what they might fetch in the USA or the UK.
The Gold Souk is conveniently located in Deira, central Dubai. It is only a short taxi ride away from most of the central hotels. The Souk is open until 10.00pm, however the best time to visit is afternoon. The crowds are a little smaller at this time and you are more likely to attain a good price.
The sheer size alone of the Gold Souk means you may wish to set aside an afternoon, or even a full day to be able to see a good part of it. Dubai’s tax free shopping combined with the number of retailers means you will be sure to get a bargain. Remember, this is a market and if you need to haggle. The shopkeepers will expect you to barter. You may feel uncomfortable at first if you are not used to bartering, but this is the tradition of the Gold Souk, and after a while you’ll find it is quite fun.
You may like to leave your purchases until the end of your visit, some stalls may have similar items as others for much smaller prices. The Gold Souk is known for the friendly nature of its shopkeepers, you’ll get all the help you will need. Like all markets, they will certainly be keen to make a sale.
The prices in the Gold Souk will vary for day to day. The shopkeepers calculate their price based on the daily value of gold per ounce combined with the labor costs of crafting the jewelry.
One word of caution for the Gold Souk; look out for fakes. While a rarity, there have been occasions when shopkeepers have passed off fake gold as the real thing. You may wish to do some research on the difference between fake gold and real gold before you go to the Souk, or take someone with you who can tell.