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As the shopping capital of the Middle East, many tourists travel to Dubai every year to experience its vast offering of high-end shopping, sophisticated architecture, and vibrant nightlife. Dubai is also known for having a range of activities that cater to different age groups. 

You’ll be spoiled for choice with the endless number of malls that line Dubai’s main highway, Sheikh Zayed Road. Here are 5 shopping destinations we think you should add to your itinerary for your next Dubai shopping trip! 

1. The Dubai Mall

Entrance of The Dubai MallAs the largest mall in the world, The Dubai Mall is a shopping destination that most tourists will most certainly visit. The mall has over 1300 retail stores and 2 anchor department stores. You’ll be able to find an extensive range of items here, from fast-fashion retailers such as Zara to luxury brands such as Chanel. There is even a Fashion Avenue that is home to over 100 luxury brands! 

You can easily spend the entire day (or two!) in The Dubai Mall with its long list of dining and entertainment options as well. The mall is also known for being home to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and having an Olympic size ice rink.  

Tip: Afraid you’ll be too tired to walk around the entire mall? Fret not. The mall offers an In Mall Chauffeur Service, a complimentary buggy ride to the shop you intend to visit. 

The Dubai Mall is located in Downtown Dubai, with other attractions such as the Burj Khalifa in the vicinity. Tick off a few other attractions from your itinerary when you visit The Dubai Mall! 

2. Traditional Souks around Dubai Creek

Dubai SoukIf you are looking for a change of scenery from the modern malls in Dubai, head down to the Deira side of Dubai Creek where the traditional souks are located at. Souks are traditional Arab markets akin to bazaars and have been in operation since the early 1900s. 

Gold Souk 

When it comes to shopping in Dubai, the Gold Souk is also another popular tourist spot. Many tourists visit the Gold Souk to catch sight of some of the most intricate jewellery found in the Middle East. You’ll not only find gold but also other precious gems and metals at the souk.  

If you plan to get a tax refund on your purchases, look out for retailers taking part in the Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme by the Tax-Free stickers displayed in the shop window. Don’t forget to use utu Tax Free Card to receive up to 25% upsize on your tax refund!  

Spice Souk 

Not too far from the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk offers an experience that satisfies all your senses. Shop for a wide range of colourful spices and herbs that would make a great addition to your culinary adventures. You’ll be able to see mounds of spices that are either sold by weight or in packets. The spice souk also offers a selection of fragrant teas, nuts, oils and saffron.  

Perfume Souk 

Another traditional market in the vicinity is the Perfume Souk, where you will discover a different kind of aromatic experience. Choose from a wide range of exotic fragrances, including traditional Arabian scents essential to the Arabian lifestyle and modern scents. You can choose to buy these fragrances in different quantities, whether in big bottles to store at home or in small portable vials. The best thing about the Perfume Souk is that you can buy your very own personalized fragrance!  

Tip: Practice your bargaining skills to get the best deals on your purchases as an integral part of the souk experience.

3. Ibn Battuta Mall 

“2013_03_12_2124” by lam_chihang is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For an aesthetically pleasing shopping experience, head down to Ibn Battuta Mall, the largest themed mall in Dubai. The mall was named after the famous explorer of the same name, Ibn Battuta.  

The themed mall is divided into six courts which are each designed to reflect the different regions Ibn Battuta has travelled to. Feel as if you are travelling the world as you walk through the six courts: China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Andalusia. Each court highlights the different aspects of the region’s history and culture through the intricate design and architecture. The beautiful mall interiors call for many Instagram worthy shots! 

While admiring the beauty of the mall, explore the wide selection of brands available in the mall that are sure to offer something you like. 

4. Dubai Marina Mall

The Dubai Marina Mall is the smallest mall on the list with around 130 stores. The mall is located in the Dubai Marina area and with its waterfront location, visitors are able to shop and dine with a scenic view.  

 The mall has a selection of high-street brands and also affordable brands that will be able to satisfy different shoppers’ needs.  The eateries in the mall also do not fall short of providing a variety of options ranging from fast-food chains to restaurants serving global cuisines. Some eateries also offer alfresco dining allowing you to feel the sea breeze while enjoying your meal! 

5. City walk

City Walk is created as European-style street in Dubai If you prefer an outdoor shopping experience, visit City Walk, a shopping avenue that offers a large selection of shopping, entertainment and dining options. You’ll be able to find local and international brands appealing to shoppers of all ages. Shop for clothes, jewellery and even handmade carpets! 

You can choose from a variety of dining options here. Sit down for a drink in one of the Instagram worthy cafes or satisfy your hunger by having a meal in one of the restaurants. Want to take a break from shopping? Explore The Green Planet, a tropical indoor rainforest sustaining over 3000 plants and animals. Relax and unwind as you witness the beauty of nature in this biodome. 

Shopping tax-free in Dubai 

When visiting these locations, don’t forget that you can claim a tax refund for your shopping. Let us walk you through the tax refund process in the UAE. 

 How to shop tax-free: 

  • Keep a lookout for the tax-free or VAT-free sign displayed on the shop window 
  • Minimum spending requirement: AED250 
  • Request a VAT refund claim and present your travel document to the cashier during purchase  
  • Your information will be entered into the digital Tax Free system 
  • You will receive a Tax Free tag (substitute of a Tax Free Form!) attached to the back of the original sales receipt 
  • Keep the receipts and Tax Free Tag to validate your claim at the end of your trip 

 How to validate your goods: 

  • Head to the validation point or self-service kiosk before checking in and going through Immigration 
  • Present your original sales receipt with the Tax Free tag attached to it along with your purchased goods for inspection 

 Receiving your tax refund: 

  • Once validated, you will be able to choose a refund method 
  • Fill in your utu Tax Free Card number into the credit card refund field on the self-service refund kiosk OR provide it to one of the staff at the validation point 
  • The Tax Refund Operator will process your tax refund and utu will notify you of your upsized refund

utu Tax Free Card upsizes your tax refunds by 25% when you shop abroad. To learn more about utu Tax Free card and start upsizing your tax refunds, download the utu Tax Free app now. 

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