Last month I decided to accompany my husband for an official trip to Dubai. The idea was to explore the city, while he is at work. Dubai’s modern architecture, the sky scrapers, the posh cars, the spotless roads and the huge shopping malls–which is a huge attraction for most tourists didn’t appeal to me. I am someone who is more drawn towards natural beauty and hence Dubai was never on my bucket list.Nevertheless, since I was already there, I decided to tick off a few must-haves in Dubai which included ‘dates’, ‘dry fruits’ and not to forget Gold. After spending a lot of time in the supermarkets buying the huge sumptuous dates and an assortment of dry fruits I headed straight to 54, Al Khor street to Dubai’s Gold Souk (Souk refers to marketplace or baazar) which is easily accessible by Dubai’s metro.
Personally, I am not a gold lover but when in Dubai you just cannot give the Gold Souks a miss. According to the local guide, the shops are open all seven days a week from 10 in the morning till 10 at night. Few shops however are closed in the afternoons (1 to 4 pm) especially on Fridays. So if you are keen on visiting this place, avoid the afternoons. As I entered the souk, the dazzling yellow engulfed me. It truly is a spectacle. The array of shops with gold being displayed on the outside is quite a crowd puller. There were plenty of gold ornaments of different shapes, sizes and designs which were displayed on the glass front of all shops. As I made my way into one of the many shops in the Souk, I found more jewellery inside. Apart from gold, the shops also had diamond, platinum and silver in abundance.
Since I am not an expert gold buyer I had no idea about the price and the quality of the jewellery being showcased but on asking the local customers and the guides I found out that there was not a huge difference in price scale when compared to India. The reason why people fascinate over the gold in Dubai is that they guarantee purity. People mostly tend to buy 18 or 24 karat gold ornaments which is 99.9% pure (such purity is not guaranteed elsewhere). Also, the shops charge bare minimum for making the ornaments. In fact, in some shops the ornaments are made for free i.e. making charge is zero. Do not however forget to haggle before you settle down with the final price because random haggling is allowed in these gold souks. It is but obvious that gold lovers will be excited amidst so much dazzle but do keep in mind that you can carry only a limited amount of gold back. So, for people who are planning to visit Dubai in near future and intend to buy and carry back gold to India, do not buy gold for more than 1 lakh rupees otherwise you are up for trouble with the customs at the airport. Also to avoid hassles at the airport, wear as much ornaments as possible and carry less.
Personally, apart from the dazzle there was nothing much in the Gold Souk that intrigued me. In fact, the local vendors selling branded handbags and perfumes at an affordable price caught my attention instead but for people who have a fascination for gold, the Dubai Gold Souks are a must visit. A shout-out to all the bride-to-be’s, this is where you need to come for your jewellery shopping. So what are you waiting for?