Dubai is known as a shopper’s paradise, but shopping in Dubai is not particularly cheap, and except for a few items, a lot of things are actually less expensive to buy at home. I have therefore put together a guide to some of the things, which are worth buying in Dubai.
Clothes and shoes.
Clothes and shoes from international designers and brands is one of the things, it rarely makes sense to buy down here (unless you are after fake goods in Karama, which I do not recommend). However, during the summer sale, and during the shopping festival in January, most stores mark down lots of items, so this is when people down here do their shopping.
Cosmetics, perfume, skin care and hair care
Cosmetics are generally the same price as in Denmark or a little more expensive, but it depends on what you are after. Most brands can be found down here including products that never reach the stores in Denmark.
Shampoo is really cheap in Dubai and the premium brands, which are normally only available at hairdresser salons in Denmark, can be found in supermarkets and at pharmacies in Dubai.
When it comes to skin care and creams, it is about the same price as in Denmark, but I have discovered that Boots (a UK pharmacy chain) has cheap Dermalogica products
Perfume is expensive in Dubai, and it is rare that they have the great bargains you usually find in stores at home. If you want a slightly different souvenir to take home, try one of the local fragrance oils oud. Some of them have quite a distinct smell, while others are more like ordinary perfume, and the fragrance lasts for a long time.
Cameras and electronics are much cheaper in Dubai than in Denmark, as are various accessories such as SD cards and USB sticks.
Gold and precious stones
Gold and precious stones are somewhat cheaper in Dubai than at home, and if you know what you are looking for and what the approximate price should be, you can often get a good deal. Most tourists visit the vibrant gold souk at Dubai Creek, but the locals and expats often prefer the Gold & Damond Park at Sheikh Zayed Rd. At both places, it is possible to bring your own design, which will then be made to order.
In the textile souk (and in most other souks) you can buy beautiful scarves. The quality varies greatly and even though it says 100% silk on the label, the material might turn out to be cheap polyester from China. However, the scarves are often very cheap and great gifts to bring home. Be sure to haggle as the starting price is most probably many times higher than what the vendor is prepared to sell the scarf for.
Spices in the spice souk are cheap and of good quality and the souk is quite an experience in itself. Prepare to fine-tune your negotiating skills, as the vendors can be very insistent.
The dates down here is amazingly delicious and of a quality that you rarely find in Denmark. The flavor is rich and almost toffee-like, so even if you do not otherwise like dates, I highly recommend that you try tasting some in Dubai. A good gift to bring back home to the persons who have taken care of your potted plants, your mail or your dog, while you were away.
The tax-free shop in Dubai’s airport is big and has a great selection of alcohol, some of it slightly cheaper than in Denmark.