Modelled after the traditional Middle Eastern marketplaces, wandering Dubai's souks is like taking a step back into time. At the spice souk, a savvy shopper's hit list will include fresh dates, A-grade saffron strands and local spice blends for seasoning shish tawook. Next door, Al Dhagaya deals in everything shiny, with jewellery, gold, silver and precious gems all available for the right price. Fragrance fans can duck into nearby Sikkat al Khali Street for vials of pure perfume, and essential oil blends of rosewood, woodlander and jasmine, plus samples of Arabic oud favoured by the Emiratis. Be prepared to haggle – it's insulting to accept a vendor's first price and a little bit of bargaining is expected as part of the experience.
Home to Dubai’s colourful souks, Deira, on the north side of the creek, is the best example of old-world Dubai. Pursue the labyrinths of gold, perfume and spices, and check out historic landmarks such as Heritage House (dating back to the 1890s) and Al Ahmadiya School.