What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Dubai? For us, it has to be the Dubai Shopping Festival. Dubai’s malls and shopping destinations come to life during the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, where shoppers will find unbeatable deals on everything from fashion and jewelry to electronics and accessories. The world’s biggest shopping festival, this month-long celebration isn’t just about searching for bargains and shopping till you drop. There’s also a line-up of thrilling entertainment, such as fireworks, fashion shows and live concerts, and visitors will also get the chance to take home unforgettable prizes.

Whether you’re taking a vacation with your family, planning your honeymoon or looking forward to exploring Dubai as a solo traveller, the Dubai Shopping Festival 2020 has something for everyone!

Markets: Global Village, Al Rigga Street, Dubai Mall, Night Souk, Al Fahidi Fort, Gold Souk, The Layali Dubai Concert, Promenade at Dubai Festival City, DSF Desert Camp, Al Seef Street, Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Ibn Battuta Mall, Festival Waterfront Centre, Lamcy Plaza, Dragon Mart, Mercato Shopping Mall, and Lulu Village are just some of the places where you can make the most of the festival.

What to buy in Dubai Shopping Festival?

You are bound to fall in love with Dubai Shopping Festival the first time you witness it. Here are some of the most common things you would surely like to buy in DSF:

Gold Jewelry – As Dubai is known for its pure gold, you will find the best and intricate designs gold here. With the cheap and discounted rates, you will find buying gold is affordable here.

Leather Bags and Jackets– Apart from being famous for gold, Dubai is also famous for its authentic leather bags and jackets. Anyone would lay his hands on classy leather goods here.

Apparels-You will be spoilt for choices when you come to DSF. It is home to top brands from BOGGI, Jack & Jones, and Rodeo Drive, to Armani, Billionaire, and Prada and so on.

Electronic Gadgets– Top brands like Bose, Sony, Apple, Acer, Fujitsu, and so on are available at cheap and discounted rates.

Top 11 Uniquely Dubai Things to Buy at DSF

All of these items mentioned above may last in time, but come at a price. Here are some of the more traditional and, notably, more shopper-friendly Dubai mementos worth considering.

1. Lanterns – Lanterns in traditional Emirati homes are inlaid with glass and mirrors and form a great centerpiece and bring a room to life. There is a great deal of workmanship that goes into the creation of these lanterns and therefore they make great gifts. A treasured gift would be a lantern made of copper and tin with a lot of filigree work on it. Try to get one that has small bits of glass woven into the design. Or, you could opt for one in an octagonal in shape and made of brass.

2. Aladdin lamps – The legend and mystery of Aladdin find their home in these brass lamps inlaid with stones or intricate carving. Smaller versions of these can be tucked away into suitcases and make exotic gifts for those back home. Karama Souk is not a traditional bazaar but a leisurely stroll along the pavements will allow you to unearth a few of these jeweled treasures.

3. Kava Pots and Coffee Sets – Kava is acid neutralized pure coffee and a cup of this steaming beverage is an amazing experience. In Dubai it is best drunk as the locals prefer it – strong and black. This coffee is so much a part of Arab culture that it is given its due honor by being served in exquisite pots and cups. The kava coffee pot is usually lined with gold or silver and the more expensive ones are inlaid with intricate carving and semiprecious stones. The cups are made of copper or silver and rimmed with gold or silver and the entire set is carried on trays made of thin silver or gold. In traditional Arab homes, these are highly prized, often becoming family heirlooms.

4. Attar – Historically, the shortage of water made women in particularly use these intensely smelling oils to perfume themselves. Even today you will get a whiff of strong and exotic scents when you walk past Arab women. Attars are oils made by distilling flower petals in water under mild heat and pressure. Oils and spices can also be added and the resulting mixture is mixed into mild sandalwood oil. This is allowed to rest until the sandalwood oil has completely absorbed the perfume of the distilled essential oil. The intense fragrances of essential oils are available as a set of the most appealing fragrances, including the popular white musk and rose.

5. Lucky Stones – Lucky stones based on the month of birth are usually inlaid in gold, silver and platinum rings or pendants to bring good fortune to the wearer. The best part about these gifts is that they can be given to both men and women. The variety of designs is unimaginable and you are bound to find one that will enchant even the fussiest of recipients. You can choose from a range of precious metal as a base. Go for filigree work, or classic Arabian designs. For men, finger rings with a single stone with simple linear designs are the best.

6. Traditional Arab Shoes – Arab styled shoes are reminiscent of the kind the fictional character Aladdin wore. They are often a slim fit and taper at the toes. For men, the shoe has a curly tip. You will find traditional shoes in a riot of colors. Men have options that include threadwork all along the body of the shoe. For women, the enhancements are done with beads, baubles and little cloth balls. The women’s versions are also available with heels of varying heights thus ensuring that there is something for everyone. Traditional shoes can be of the slip-on variety or the completely covered ones. They can also have support straps at the back.  

7. Hookahs – Almost every Arab home in Dubai and in the Arab world has a hookah. Some of these are only decorative and others serve as a refreshing indulgence for a group of people that are visiting. In fact, highly ornate and expensive hookahs are often given pride of place in a person’s home. A fabulously extravagant gift would be one which has a long flexible hose and has the base made of glass decorated with 12 karat gold. The ideal size would be 3ft. If you are looking for a portable version, you could opt for the smaller 20” version of this. Some hookahs come with two pipes.

8. Jewel Chests – Beautiful carved and inlaid jewel chests made of sandalwood and enhanced with silver, brass and precious and semi-precious stones make a great gift for someone who treasures their trinkets. Dubai with its Gold Souks would set the perfect base for you to shop for such a unique gift. Jewelry chests in this part of the world are made from several materials – besides precious metals you will also find jewelry boxes that have been fashioned out of animal bone. These are further enhanced with intricate carving depicting the Bedouins of the desert or even the local views of the seashore. You could choose from fancy ones like a design depicting the Burj al Arab.

9. Arabic Style Carpets – Arabic style carpets are an international phenomenon. It is one of the most prized gifts that can come from this side of the world. Carpets come in several sizes, with the most popular being the one that is placed in the center of a room. The colors are predominantly earthy with darker hues of red, brown and tan being the most common. These are further enhanced with contrasting colors and Arabian patterns to make them unique. There are the hand woven ones and those that are mass manufactured. Of course handmade is more expensive but is definitely worth every dirham you spend on it. If you don’t have the baggage space for a full carpet, a great gift option is a mouse pad carpet.

10. Khanjar – The Khanjar is an important element in the traditional attire of old Emirati men. These silver and gold embossed daggers are curved and worn over the men’s dishdashas. They were originally made from the horns of a rhino but today are largely made of wood. The more ornate ones come with marble, silver or even sandalwood handles. The sheath of the dagger is often decorated with a silver-threaded weave. The value of a Khanjar is based on the intricacy of this weave and the quality of the workmanship. When you are shopping for a Khanjar look for the ones that come with two rings to help attach them to belts. A Khanjar should feel heavy and the originals usually have five rings. They will be almost completely covered with a silver sheet and about 30 or 40 years old.

11. Muskets – The rich cultural history of the Dubai region can be gifted as an intricately carved handgun. These Muskets have silver and brass-reinforced barrels. If you are looking for something like this to take home then look for the Arab Matchlock Musket. The body is steel and brass. The shoulder butt is made of a polished wood for that enhanced steadiness while aiming. The handle is done up intricately with embossed silver and even the trigger is fashioned out of heavy duty pure silver. The barrel of the gun, right up to the tip is a display of master craftsmanship and a clear indication of the sophistication that work done by hand can achieve.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Shopping

The alluring discounts and sales on luxurious brands make it even more irresistible. Here’s a short guide on how to win the shopping battle:

Start Shopping Early: Imagine, you are eyeing the perfect dress from a distance and somebody else takes it away! Happened before? So, the best way to win over your shopping rivals is to arrive at the store when they are still yawning in their beds. A morning shopping trip is the best. The store is tidy, staff is more attentive, and there are hardly any queues in the changing rooms.

Do your research: The trick is to know what you want and where to get it. With innumerable stores ready to blow your mind and leave you spoilt for choice, it is suggested to know beforehand which stores on the hubs and malls are brimming with your areas of interest.

Exploit the sale: When shopping during the sales it is good to keep in mind any major upcoming events- a wedding or an adventure trip perhaps? The Dubai Shopping Festival 2020 is the perfect time to pick up that Prada handbag or those Jimmy Choo leather boots, the Gucci sunglasses or the Versace gowns that you have been leering at for quite some time now.

Dubai Shopping Festival 2019-2020 promises to be extravagant and amazing. It commences from 26th December 2019 and will last till 1st February 2020. Start planning your DSF trip with Akbar Holidays with our amazing Dubai tour packages.

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