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.
It’s a fascinating place that should be on every tourist’s itinerary, even those with no intention of making a purchase. Many organised tours stop here.
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 percent is levied on jewellery sold here and throughout Dubai. However tourists can claim 85 percent 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.
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.
The Gold Souk is open 7 days a week. Opening hours are 10 am to 10 pm Saturday to Thursday (but many stores close between 1 pm and 4 pm). Timings on Fridays are 4 pm to 10 pm.
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 Umm Al Sheif Metro Station).