Come New Year and it will be the apt time to land in the ‘tax free shopping paradise’, Dubai. On the 1st of January, ‘Layali Dubai’, better known as the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) makes its grand entry in the desert city. An event of festivity and lights, fun and adventure, food and culture, offers and promotions, the festival turns Dubai into an oasis for shopaholics and paradise for gourmands. The one month affair offers excitement to travellers by letting them purchase exclusive jewellery, most expensive bags, perfumes, shoes, clothes and more at great discounts. Sometimes, up to 75%. That’s how crazy the festival is. Though alluring discounts on luxurious brands are irresistible, yet you need to be clever to win the shopping battle.
Some quick facts on DSF:
Date: 1st January to 1st February 2016
Where: Dubai, UAE
Major Shopping Places: Global Village (Dubai’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping park), Spice Souk and Gold Souk at Diera
Must-Visit Malls: Al Ain, Marina, Khalidiya and Dubai Mall for luxury, lifestyle, jewellery and fashion item shopping
What to Shop For: Perfumes (especially the traditional Arabic ones called ‘Attar’), gold, spices, dry fruits (specially dates), Middle East fabric and gadgets
Special Attractions: Fireworks on its inaugural day, live music and street performances
Here are some interesting tips that will make your visit memorable:
- Buy tax-free gold at Gold Souk: In business since the sea trade era, Gold Souk in Dubai offers gold at unbelievable prices. Located in the business district of Deira, Gold Souk is ‘the’ place to be at during the festival. Here, more than 300 retailers offer a plethora of gold jewellery and bullions at prices devoid of taxes. It is definitely the place where money can buy happiness! (Are you listening ladies?) However, international tourists should know their carrying capacity. And you must know that bargaining is the norm here.
- Spice Souk: Its narrow passages lined with old, small stores take your love for spices and herbs to the next level. Food lovers can hop in here to buy everything – local Arabic spices, nuts, seasonings, saffron, dry fruits, medicinal herbs and spices imported from India, Pakistan and Iran. Carrying them as souvenirs is not a bad idea either.
- Bargain till the last minute: Though both the big malls and small local stores are loaded with discounted objects, we would suggest you to bargain till you win over the shopkeeper. Bargaining is an integral part of Dubai Shopping Festival and the best of it happens at the souks. After all, you should not return with the feeling that ‘I could have paid less’.
- Do a detailed research: Good planning leads to a successful trip. If you are specially visiting Dubai for the shopping fest, you better know your want and where to grab it from. There are innumerable malls to stand alone shops that will drive you crazy with souvenirs, jewellery, clothes, bags, edible items etc., so a detailed study of specialized stores is going to fetch you the best of the lot.
- Be an early shopper: Get to know about the opening time. Arrive at the store during early hours, because it is when the sellers are more attentive. Also, you will save a lot of time in bargaining, standing in queues for trial and waiting in the billing counter. After all, the perfect dress and handbag you were longing for can be grabbed if the expedition begins early.
- Get exploited with luxurious brands: Armani jeans, Gucci bags, Versace dresses and what not! Be it your wedding or honeymoon, pack your luggage with the most expensive set of clothes or footwear while returning from the festival. Not to mention that their discounted prices will leave you in a state of awe.
- Glance through theme lights: Can you imagine butterfly lights saying ‘DSF 2016’? Many such unimaginable theme lights in every corner of the city are an altogether different element of attention. It is when the city promises to showcase out of the world lighting to the whole world.
- Wear flat shoes and carry an extra pair: Malls in Dubai are huge and so are the open markets. Be prepared to walk an uncountable stretch. Wearing heels might be a trouble, flat bellies or slippers are ideal. Also, in case it tears apart, your extra pair will come handy.
Explore Dubai beyond Shopping
Embark on an unforgettable Dubai city tour with your loved ones. The advent of the event makes attractions like Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Creek more dazzling with innumerable lights over them. Dedicate few hours for a scintillating desert safari and interaction with the marine life at The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Rediscover the deliciousness of Lebanese cuisine, spicy Indian kebabs, French cookies or freshly made cocktail right there right then.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2015 marked the event’s 20th year and happened to be a great success. If you missed it last year, now is the time to make up for it. Book hotels and flights for Dubai before the prices pinch your pocket. DSF 2016 promises to be an event full of merriment, happiness, craziness and unforgettable memories. If shopping is your thing, be a part of this extravaganza.
Welcome to Dubai, the world of food, fun and fiesta! Let us know if the tips helped you.