BurJuman has many of the same boutiques as Wafi (Chanel, Escada, Versace), yet has a better selection of high-end European brands such as Burberry, Cartier and Louis Vuitton.
It’s only fitting that the world’s biggest mall is in Dubai, where everything seems to be bigger, brighter and flashier. Covering 5.9 million square feet, this massive shopping emporium has 1,200 shops, one of the world’s largest aquariums, an ice skating rink and SEGA Republic, an indoor theme park. The mall is also connected to the Burj Khalifa, and the entrance to the tower’s observation deck is inside Dubai Mall. As you can imagine, shopping runs the gamut from designer labels to souvenir kiosks, and you’ll be spoiled for choice in the floors dedicated just to jeans, and another to shoes.
Mall of the Emirates
Before Dubai Mall, the most comprehensive and varied shopping experience was at Mall of the Emirates. This shopping complex features the famous indoor snow and slopes (and penguins!) of Ski Dubai, as well as a 14-screen multiplex cinema and Magic Planet, the largest indoor amusement park in the region. Among the shopping highlights: Harvey Nichols, H&M, M. Missoni, Marc Jacobs and Etoile, a chic, multi-label (Valentino, Dior and Chanel) women’s clothing store designed by Jacques Garcia.
Located within the resort city of Madinat Jumeirah, this air-conditioned, indoor souk is a stylized and more expensive version of the original Souks in Deira. Ignore the fast-food joints and souvenir shops to find real treasures from artisans around the region and beyond, including antique Middle Eastern trinkets, handsome Indian silverworks, and hand-painted ceramics from Palestine.
The gold and spice markets (called “souks”) in downtown Deira are comprised of several narrow, dusty alleyways. This area is one of the last remaining spots in the city where visitors can get a taste of old (pre-oil) Dubai, and find things one can’t get back home. Dress down (leave your jewelry at home and stick to jeans, khakis and t-shirts) and saunter the Gold Souk at Sikkat al-Khali Street for 18-, 22- and 24-karat bracelets, necklaces and earrings sold by weight. Do your homework: Learn the going gold rates and craftsmanship charges and bring along a talented bargainer to ensure you’re getting a deal.
Steps away, on Al-Sabkha Road, sample the delicious dried fruit, figs and nuts of the Spice Souk, and purchase cinnamon, cloves, saffron and more from chatty shopkeepers’ bulky open sacks. The minute you exit your taxi, you’ll be approached by several solicitors who will tell you they’re selling “Louis Vuitton, Prada, Rolex and Cartier” right around the corner. Of course, this is all counterfeit merchandise, and it’s never “right around the corner.” Avoid talking to these men, who will often lead you down winding roads, into buildings and up staircases to dirty offices, putting travelers in an unsafe situation (not to mention a bad bargaining position).
Egyptian-themed Wafi City, in Bur Dubai, is an Egyptian-themed mall with stores ranging from St. John to Marks & Spencer. Kids love the mall’s Encounter Zone, an 80,000-square-foot video game and entertainment center.