Without a doubt, the city of Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Anyone who comes for a visit – whether for a long stay or a quick trip – should not leave empty-handed. Fortunately, there are many places where you can buy beautiful souvenirs in Dubai.
Arabic coffee, dates, perfume, jewellery, and handicrafts are just some of the things you can buy as souvenirs. These are available in most shopping malls, like The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, as well as in traditional markets, such as the Gold Souk. Even at the airport, Dubai Duty Free offers plenty of souvenir items, including the that things we’ll be discussing below!
List of Must-Have Dubai Pasalubong Souvenirs
When shopping for a souvenir, the idea is to buy something traditional and unique — something that would truly remind you of the place. Here’s a list of the most popular, interesting, and budget-friendly souvenirs that you will find in Dubai:
The abaya is a long robe traditionally worn by Emirati women, and it usually comes with a matching scarf, called the sheila. Based on Islamic dress code, the traditional colour is black, although these days, abayas come in many different colours and styles. You can buy them in most malls and souks around Dubai.
The kandoora is a traditional garment worn by Emirati men. It is usually white in colour, with a tassel along the front, though they also come in different colours nowadays. Notably, men of status, such as Rulers and Ministers, wear a distinctive gold or black robe on top of their kandoora.
3. Arab Slippers
Arab slippers come in a wide variety of colours, designs, and materials. The traditional, curly-toed slippers are typically designed for men, while the flat-tipped slippers are made for women. The designs usually involve colourful beads and intricate threadwork. In addition, women’s slippers also come in different heel heights. Awesome!
4. Arabic Coffee
Coffee lovers will love qahwah, the traditional Arabic coffee. Strong in flavour and caffeine, this type of coffee is usually served in small cups. By tradition, Arabic coffee is offered to guests visiting an Emirati home, as a symbolic gesture of hospitality. You can buy qahwah in spice souks, grocery stores, and shopping malls, as well.
5. Arabic Carpets
Arabic carpets are available in different sizes, colours, and designs. These are indicative of the Persian influence in the UAE and across the region; hence, Arabic carpets are often called Persian carpets. The cost varies depending on the fabric, intricacy of the design, and of course, the size. An Arabic carpet would make an elegant addition to your living room!
6. Aladdin’s Lamp
As you may have guessed, this lamp is inspired by the story of Aladdin, a young man who comes across a magical oil lamp, releasing a Genie who grants wishes. Thanks to this folk tale, Aladdin-inspired lamps are immensely popular across Dubai and the Middle East. Now, wouldn’t it be amazing if you actually found a magical lamp with a Genie inside?!
You may have heard of “potpourri,” a mixture of dried flower petals and spices, and used as air fresheners. Bakhoor is quite similar, though it is made of wood chips soaked in fragrant oils. Just like potpourri, bakhoor is used to make a room smell fresh and fragrant.
Of course, if you buy bakhoor, you should also get a mabkhara. This is where the wood chips are placed and burned to release the fragrance. The mabkhara comes in different shapes and sizes, and is often used as decoration in Emiratis’ homes.
No, we’re not talking about real, live, hump-backed camels, but rather inanimate versions of this popular animal. Camel souvenirs can be found all over Dubai, in different shapes and sizes, such as trinkets, T-shirts, fridge magnets, camel-shaped chocolates, and plush toys. Take your pick!
Before leaving Dubai, be sure to get a bottle of attar, which is a natural perfume oil. Attar, or “ittar” is made from flowers like rose or jasmine; it may also contain sandalwood, herbs, or spices. The oil is usually extracted naturally, via steam or water distillation.
11. Coffee Set
If you are planning to buy some Arabic coffee, don’t forget to include a coffee set, too. This includes the dallah, a tall coffee pot with a long snout, and several finjan, which are tiny cups. These are often sold in sets, in various designs. As mentioned earlier, by tradition, Emiratis place a dallah by the entrance of their homes or stores, as a symbol of hospitality.
Dates play an important in Middle East culture; the fruit symbolizes hospitality and religious significance. Dates are often served to welcome guests in Emiratis’ homes. It is also the first thing that Muslims usually eat to “break” their fast during Ramadan.
Health-wise, dates have high nutritional value, making the fruit a popular snack among locals and tourists alike. You can buy different varieties of dates in shops, markets, and grocery stores around Dubai. You can enjoy dates fresh, dried, processed into a syrup, or added as an ingredient to biscuits, sweets, and chocolate!
13. Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and you can take it home – in souvenir form, of course! Burj Khalifa merchandise come in a wide range of forms and designs: mugs, shirts, keychains, and miniature towers that you can display at home! You can buy souvenirs from shops in the tower itself, though these are also available in other places.
14. Woven Handicrafts
Woven handicrafts have been around since ancient times, when Bedouin women would make baskets, containers, rugs, and other items. These products are usually made from palm tree leaves, wool, cotton, and other natural materials. You will find these items in most souks.
You may have heard people say that gold in Dubai is more affordable than in other places. Indeed, the variety of gold jewellery and accessories here will astound you! There are necklaces, rings, bracelets, belts, and many other eye-catching pieces. You can buy them at the Gold Souk, though there are gold retailers and shops all across the city as well. Gold is known to be a practical gift which appreciates value in time.
Aside from gold, pearls are also popular in Dubai. In fact, way before the discovery of oil, and before Dubai became the cosmopolitan hub it is today, it was the pearl diving industry that thrived in the UAE. You can buy pearls in souks and shopping malls across the city.
If you love to cook, or if you have a friend back home who loves cooking, then don’t forget to buy some spices. You will find many kinds of spices in Dubai, including cardamom, cinnamon, curry powder, and lots more. You can buy these at the Spice Souk, as well as in numerous other outdoor and indoor markets in the city.
As you can see, there are many types of souvenirs that you can buy in Dubai. All of these items are bound to remind you of this amazing place, its beautiful destinations, and diverse community. In the meantime, be sure to enjoy the experience while you’re here! Here’s a list of things to do in Dubai that can help you make the most of your stay.