The Gold Souk is Dubai’s most famous and visited souk (market). A labyrinth of covered walkways is home to hundreds of retailers offering a huge selection of jewellery made from gold, silver, diamonds and other precious metals and stones.
A visit to this fascinating gold market in Deira should be on every tourist’s itinerary, whether or not you’re planning to buy gold.
Prices and Jewellery
The market price of gold is displayed on signs around the souk and in individual stores. Prices are listed for 24K, 22K, 21K, and 18K in AED per gram. The current gold rates in Dubai can be found here. Pieces are sold by weight according to the current market price, with an additional charge for workmanship (making charge).
Always barter on the price of anything you wish to purchase. Sellers will initially set a high price. The weight element of the price is non-negotiable but the making charge is. Significant reductions are possible. Similar items can be found in many of the stores so take your time to shop around. Credit cards are accepted, but better discounts can usually be obtained if you pay in cash.
To be on the safe side ensure you purchase from the stores and not from street vendors. Strict regulations ensure items on sale in the stores are genuine and accurately described. Inspectors from Dubai Municipality carry out inspections of the shops here. Scales are checked for accuracy and samples of gold and jewellery are sent to a laboratory for testing.
A VAT charge of 5 per cent is levied on jewellery sold here and throughout Dubai. However, tourists can claim 85 per cent of the VAT back at the airport under the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme. Goods must be purchased from a participating retailer (look for Tax Free stickers in shop windows) and shoppers will need to present a sales receipt with a tax refund tag.
Much of the gold and jewellery on sale here are elaborate pieces catering to the Indian market. Indians are the largest group of expatriates living in Dubai and the UAE. They also visit Dubai as tourists in large numbers.
One piece of jewellery to look out for is the Najmat Taiba (Star of Taiba). The gold ring holds the Guinness World Record for the heaviest gold ring in the world. It weighs just over 63 kg and is displayed in the shop window of Kanz Jewels.
Gold Souk Extension
The Gold Souk Extension is a new development that aims to revitalize the Deira area and enhance Dubai’s reputation as a global market for gold and other precious metals.
The new development is located just across the road from the old Gold Souk and covers over 1 million square feet. It is home to more than 300 stores, plus offices and residential apartments. It offers superior facilities for both tenants and customers, including workshops, covered parking, hotels, restaurants, banks, and other businesses.
Jewellery and gold shops based at the Gold Souk Extension include Malabar Gold & Diamonds, Jawhara, Zayan Gold, Al Romaizan, and Samra.
The extension opened at the start of 2022 and is part of the larger Deira Enrichment Project. The developers, Ithra Dubai, are confident that it will be a major success and contribute significantly to the economy of Dubai
Ithra Dubai is a subsidiary of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the principal investment arm of the Dubai government. ICD was established in 2006 to consolidate and manage the commercial companies and investments owned by the government. Ithra Dubai’s portfolio includes the Waterfront Market and One Za’abeel.
In September 2022, Ithra Dubai announced that stores specialising in silver and perfume would be allowed to open for business at the Gold Souk Extension.
The souk is located in Deira, an area of ‘Old Dubai’. The nearest Dubai Metro stations are Al Ras and Gold Souq. Both stations are on the Green Line. Gold Souq Metro Station is a bit closer to the Gold Souk Extension.
The closest bus station is Gold Souq Bus Station. It’s on Al Khaleej Street, right next to Gold Souq Metro Station.
Buses going near the Gold Souk include bus service 8 (Ibn Battuta Bus Station to Gold Souq Bus station via Dubai Marina/Jumeirah Beach Residence, Al Sufouh (Madinat Jumeirah), Umm Suqeim (Burj Al Arab), and Jumeirah.
To reach the Gold Souk from the Gold Souq Metro Station or Gold Souq Bus Station, cross the pedestrian bridge over Al Khaleej Street and walk west. In a couple of hundred yards, you’ll come to the Gold Souk Extension. The original Dubai Gold Souk is immediately south.
If you’re looking for an authentic Dubai experience, then the best way to get to the Gold Souk is by abra.
Abras are small boats that cross Dubai Creek, and they offer a unique way to take in the sights and sounds of the city. What’s more, riding an abra is a great way to mix with locals, as it’s one of the most popular forms of transportation in Dubai. Best of all, the ride is cheap, just 1 AED (£0.24, €0.28, $0.27).
Boats leave from Bur Dubai Abra Station and arrive at Deira Old Souk Abra Station. From there, it’s a short walk to the Gold Souk. On the walk from Deira Old Souk Abra Station to Deira Gold Souk, you’ll also pass through the Spice Souk, making for a truly memorable Dubai experience.
The Gold Souk is open 7 days a week. Opening times vary by store but most are open from 10 am to 10 pm Saturday to Thursday (many stores close between 1 pm and 4 pm). Timings on Fridays tend to be from 4 pm to 10 pm.
During Ramadan, many gold souk shops extend their opening hours.
The Gold Souk is the best-known but by no means the only place to buy gold in Dubai. If you don’t want the souk experience there are many other (air-conditioned) places to shop. One of the best alternatives is the Gold & Diamond Park (close to Equiti Metro Station).