Dubai’s Modern Souks

Souk is the traditional Arabic word for market, but not all Dubai’s souks are traditional. In the heat of the UAE summer, sometimes it is nicer to wander the cool pathways of some of the city’s more modern souks.

Souk al Bahar (or ‘market of the sailor’) can be found just across the footbridge from the Dubai Mall, close to the Palace Hotel. It commands wonderful views of the world’s highest fountain from the many restaurant terraces and is a breezy, shady place for a coffee when the weather is moderate. At the hottest point of the day, however, it is possible to retreat to the interior, which has an exotic feel, with golden stone and geometric shadow, arabesque lighting and cathedral-like halls. Shopping provides a wide variety of businesses from art galleries, handcrafts and traditional souvenirs to diamond jewellery and designer labels.

Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a stunning recreation of an Arabian marketplace between the luxurious Mina al Salam and Al Qasr beach resorts. It’s easy to get lost in its cool passageways but also fun to anticipate what you might discover. Along with shopping, from inexpensive souvenirs to furs and jewellery, you will also find the Madinat Theatre, the exterior amphitheatre, and dozens of restaurants either facing the buzzing interior or out over the many waterways that connect the different areas of the resort.