I am not a fan of dust collectors or souvenirs that people buy and put in a drawer and never see again. A true souvenir should make you happy, should correspond with the place you brought in from and should ideally have a real use. I’m not really interested in Chinese souvenirs like key rings that tear your pockets apart (I’m talking about the key rings from Burj Khalifa) or wannabe funny T-Shirts, mugs, etc. And that’s why I’ll share with you a few tips. The final choice is, of course, up to you.
Date (fruit) in Dubai
Dates from the Emirates are delicious. Forget about the supermarket taste of dates. There is a really wide selection. You can even buy a box of chocolates (I recommend Carrefour) – dates with nuts or in chocolate, etc. Let the seller advise you or try on your own. Or just buy some fresh dates there.
Spice in Dubai
Spice in Dubai – you might be wondering why I mention spice. But believe the spice in Dubai smells really good and tastes even better. There are plenty of spices you may have never seen. It serves as a brilliant souvenir as well. Not only you can use it while cooking and experiment with it but you will always remember your days in Dubai while doing so. Spices can be bought in the spice market – bargain a lot. Or in Carrefour, where you can buy some spice too + you can also buy there a whole package. At Carrefour, I found a department where there was spice from different countries sorted by country – India, Philippines, etc. There is spice from 10 countries or so. This gives you an opportunity to try completely different kinds of spice. I recommend saffron, you get here Iranian saffron, I bought saffron in Carrefour in fine glasses (one costs 30 AED or so). You could buy it as a small gift for your loved ones.
Dubai Souvenirs for children – In Dubai there are lots of sweets that you can’t find in Europe (in various shops in the shopping centres). Or you could go for things that will last longer, fore example, plush camel or other animals.
Fragrance – Perfumes – At the shopping malls you will find retailers offering you to try out their perfumes. There are also many specialized shops. You can find a variety of spicy scents. Natural oils – sandalwood, aromatic sticks, etc. There is also something like mini wooden towers. You put a little flammable thing on top of it and ignite it and it smells good. You can have this luxurious scent of Orient at home.
Kettles – if you order Arabic coffee or Moroccan tea, you get it in a beautiful kettle. In Dubai, you will find beautiful coffee jugs, kettles and even whole sets for coffee making. Every time you make yourself a tea you will recall Dubai. You can make Moroccan tea or Arabic coffee as well, just make sure to buy a cardamom package.
Sweets and food – I really enjoyed Iranian sweets which are often very simple and very sweet things. But in Dubai, you can also buy a top box of chocolates and chocolates, deluxe pralines, etc. Just keep in mind the temperature, don’t bring home a bag of melted matter.
For smokers – You would not believe what a joy is for a smoker to buy local cigarettes with Arabic description on them. Beware, at the airport, they sell cigarettes with English descriptions, so I suggest buying it outside the airport. And you can also buy some nice lighter with Burj Khalif on it (If you like to). Water pipes are another option – you can find here really beautiful pieces including accessories. Just do not forget you need to carry it back home somehow – it needs to fit your bags.
Traditional clothes – men’s sandals and ladies’ Abajo can be an interesting souvenir. In Dubai, I wore diaspora, a comfortable long white men’s dress.
Carpets – You probably won’t be buying prayer rugs, but you will find carpet shops where there are really gorgeous Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Kashmiri and other carpets. Don’t forget to check out if the vendor has certificates. They also sell their carpets meat to hang on a wall, just like paintings do. Such carpets have different colour and mosaic from each angle.
Fabrics – cashmere scarves, fabrics from which the marketers there will sometimes make something for you right on the spot. There is a very wide selection from all around the world. Be careful about cashmere, do not buy anything made of it if it is from (made in) Pakistan or China.
Gold and Diamonds in Dubai – If you go to Gold Souk, you can bring something made of gold or something with diamonds on it.