The expat population in the UAE is huge. Let’s just throw in stats to prove our point. The current population is over 9.2 million people, out of which 7.8 million are expats. And South Asian countries account for around 58 percent of the total population with India and Pakistan leading the way. Some Indians have made Dubai their home as early as the 1950’s. This should tell you they probably know their way around the city a wee bit more than the rest do, but they’re willing to share their discoveries.
1. You need to ditch the fancy florists…
The temple lane in Bur Dubai and the streets of Karama will get you the same flowers for a cheaper price. In fact, the tiny shops in Bur Dubai will sell you bags full of marigolds and other flowers which are so fragrant that you can use them as fresh potpourri.
2. You can get your dream outfit within your budget
We’ve all spotted a fabulous outfit, paraded around the store in it and then put it back on the rack all because of the price tag. This won’t be the case if you pay a visit to Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai. The market is lined with little stores that offer fabrics and tailoring services. Pick one that suits you (and your budget) and get it stitched to your liking.
3. Not all superfoods are found on supermarket shelves
Are you one of those who snack on walnuts and almonds through the day? Then you understand how painful it is buying those over-priced packets from the supermarket shelves. Leave those and shop from the Iranian shops located by the Bur Dubai Creek (behind the popular Bank of Baroda building) instead. It’s the easiest way to pick up the month’s supply.
4. You will hate bottled spices and herbs
That is once you discover the Spice Souk in Deira. Located quite close to the Gold Souk, the market has vendors selling cinnamon sticks, dried chillis, oregano and even dried fragrances. Pick up as much as you want, but make sure you bargain.
5. There’s an easy way to stay hydrated in the summer
Have some coconut water. The little stalls along the creek (Deira side) sell coconuts (with lots of water) for as little as AED 10. Definitely cheaper than the bottled coconut water you find in your local supermarkets.
6. Your fave perfume is not as expensive as you think it is
We all have that favourite scent that comes at a price tag you could get a zillion other things for. But there are perfume shops in Deira (towards the end of the Gold Souk lane) that sell the same brands for a lesser price. Fear not – it is original stuff!
7. There’s a market with everything from wedding favours to gift wrapping material
You don’t have to empty your pockets buying gifts or wrapping materials the next time you have an occasion to celebrate. Head to the wholesale market in Al Ras (Deira) and make your purchases there. Al Qadah Trading is a well-known retailer in the area. (Warning: don’t blame us if you walk out buying more than you wanted to).