Culture and Experience Travel 5 MINS READ

Plan Your Visit To The Authentic Dubai Spice Souk

Plan Your Visit To The Authentic Dubai Spice Souk

Culture and Experience Travel 5 MINS READ
Dubai Spice Souk

Dubai Spice Souk, also called the Old Souk, is a traditional market in the Deira neighborhood of old Dubai. Located adjacent to the Gold Souk, it’s a must-visit place for anyone interested in experiencing a colorful, aromatic, sensory journey.

Heaping baskets overflowing with fragrant herbs and spices greet you at every corner. Spices are available loose by weight or pre-packaged for your convenience. Just like in other traditional spice souks, you can snag bargains by buying in bulk, and remember, friendly haggling is not only expected, it’s part of the fun! Take home a piece of Dubai’s unique flavors. Here’s everything you need to know:

Humble Beginnings

Dubai Spice Souk

Early Days (1850s)
The Spice Souk emerged as part of a much larger market called “Al Kabeer Souk,” meaning “The Big Market.” Its location near the dhow moorings on Deira’s side of Dubai Creek facilitated the easy loading and unloading of spices brought in by traders.

A Hub for Trade
The Spice Souk quickly became a favored spot for both residents and travelers seeking exotic spices, herbs, and other goods. Over time, the souk underwent renovations and changes, with some shops being transformed, but the core market atmosphere persists.

Legacy of the Spice Souk
Today, the Spice Souk stands as a testament to Dubai’s trading heritage. The narrow alleyways, the aromatic assault on the senses, the friendly vendors, and the colorful displays of spices create a unique experience for visitors. While Dubai has become synonymous with luxury and modern marvels, the Spice Souk offers a link to its historical roots as a center of commerce and cultural exchange.

Beyond Spices
It’s important to note that the Spice Souk isn’t limited to just spices. You can also find incense, traditional medicines, and other interesting wares.

What To Expect & Buy

Dubai Spice Souk

The Spice Souk is a feast for the senses. You’ll see towering pyramids of saffron, glistening mounds of turmeric, and vibrant displays of paprika. Shopkeepers will be eager to show off their wares and explain the different uses of each spice.

Here are some of the souvenirs you can buy at Spice Souk Deira Dubai:

Common spices: Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers.
Exotic spices: Saffron (one of the most expensive spices in the world) from Iran, sumac, fenugreek, mahleb, and black lime.
Spice blends: Pre-made spice mixes for specific dishes, such as curry powder, baharat (a Middle East blend), and za’atar (a herb mix).
Dried fruits and nuts: Dates, figs, apricots, pistachios, almonds, and cashews.
Herbal teas: Peppermint, chamomile, hibiscus, and rose oils and scents.
Incense and perfumes: Oud, a luxurious resin with a woody scent, and bakhoor, scented chips burned on hot coals.
Other: Coffee, rosewater, and local honey.

Stay Near Dubai Spice Souk

Dubai Spice Souk

The George Hotel By Saffron Dubai Creek

While it may not be the most luxurious hotel in Dubai, it offers good value for budget-friendly travelers seeking a centrally located hotel. Nestled in Deira, you’ll be near the famed Spice Souk and Gold Souk. Al Ras Metro Station is also a short stroll away, providing easy access to the rest of the city.

Super 8 by Wyndham Dubai Deira

Super 8 by Wyndham Dubai Deira is a budget-friendly hotel offering comfortable rooms, some with balconies and views of the Gold Souk. Guests can enjoy on-site dining at the hotel’s restaurant and stay connected with free WiFi. The hotel is also conveniently located from Dubai International Airport.

Ibis Styles Dubai Deira

Ibis Styles Dubai Deira is a 3-star hotel located in the heart of Dubai’s cultural center and lively souks. It features colorful rooms, an all-day restaurant, a rooftop pool, and a gym. The hotel is conveniently close to the Gold Souk and Spice Souk, providing easy and hassle-free access.

Tips For Visiting The Spice Souk

Dubai Spice Souk

▸ There are many different spices available at the souk, so it’s helpful to know what you’re looking for before you go. You can research the average prices of spices so you have a good starting point to haggle.

▸ Don’t be afraid to haggle with the vendors for the best price. Be polite and friendly, but firm in your offer. If you’re not happy with the price, be prepared to walk away.

▸ Many vendors at the souk don’t accept credit cards, so it’s important to bring cash. Dirhams are the local currency, but most vendors will also accept US dollars and Euros.

▸ The Spice Souk is located in a Muslim country, so it’s important to dress modestly. This means covering your shoulders and knees.

▸ The Spice Souk can be quite hot, especially during the summer months. Wear loose, breathable clothing and bring a hat and sunscreen.

▸ Take your time to browse the shops, smell the spices, and ask the vendors questions. You might even be able to sample some of the spices before you buy them.

Plan Your Visit To Dubai Spice Souk

Dubai Spice Souk
📌 LocationThe Spice Souk sits in Deira’s Al Ras neighborhood, on Baniyas Street by the Old Souk Abra station.
⏰ Opening HoursOpen daily. Timings vary but tend to be between 8 AM and 9 PM, except on Fridays when the market is closed during the day.
🚗 Getting ThereTake the Green Line to Al Ras Metro Station. From there, it’s a short boat ride away.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I find at the Dubai Spice Souk?

The Dubai Spice Souk offers a wide variety of spices, herbs, teas, and other culinary delights. You’ll find everything from common staples like cinnamon and cumin to more exotic options like saffron and frankincense.

Is bargaining expected in Dubai Spice Souk?

Absolutely! Bargaining is a big part of the experience at the Spice Souk. Shopkeepers expect you to negotiate, so don’t be afraid to haggle for a good price.

Can I sample spices before buying them?

In most cases, yes! Many shopkeepers will be happy to let you smell or even taste a small sample of their spices before you commit to buying.

What are some other things to buy at Dubai Spice Souk besides spices?

The Spice Souk isn’t just about spices. You can also find a variety of souvenirs, such as pashminas, perfumes, and oud (a type of fragrant wood).

What should I wear to the Dubai Spice Souk?

While there’s no strict dress code, it’s always respectful to dress modestly, especially when visiting during prayer times. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended for navigating the crowded souk.

Ritesh Raj

COO at CuddlyNest

Editorial Policy

Last update: 21 June 2024

Millions of places to stay, one app.

Don’t miss out on mobile-only deals and one-of-a-kind offers.

QR image

Get the app now.

Download from Apple Store button Download from Google Store button
Phones images

Read more