Shopping in Arabian Peninsula

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Downtown Dubai

    Dubai Mall

    With around 1300 shops, this isn't merely the world's largest shopping mall – it’s a small city, with a giant ice rink and aquarium, a dinosaur skeleton, indoor theme parks and 150 food outlets. There’s a strong European-label presence, along with branches of the French Galeries Lafayette department store, the British toy store Hamley's and the first Bloomingdale’s outside the US.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Downtown Dubai

    Mirzam Chocolate Makers

    The art of crafting fine chocolate is taken very seriously at this high-tech 'Willy Wonka' factory, where all stages from roasting to handwrapping take place behind glass walls. Only single origin beans from such far-flung locales as Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, India and Indonesia are used. Sample the final product or sign up for a tour and tasting workshop. There is also a small cafe here where you can sip on a deliciously velvety cup of hot chocolate, straight up or spiced. Mirzam is Dubai's first bean-to-bar factory.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Manama

    Kingdom of Perfumes

    One of the joys of perfume shopping in the Gulf is watching the mesmerising way a perfumer can mix seemingly random oils to produce the very smell you requested. That is the magic you will witness Abdullah perform whether you ask him for a Western waft or a local oud. Just sit back and watch the master at work. Prices for small bottles begin at BD1 to BD4, meaning even a top-of-the-range one won't break the bank.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Muscat

    Asmaa Collectionz

    Spicing up a piece of bland furniture with a display of traditional silver jewellery, the owner of the Asmaa brand realised that the table would be more useful if the jewellery was photographed and laminated onto the surface. The concept was an instant success with friends, and now the collection of finely crafted pieces is a Muscat success story.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Muscat

    Amouage Vistors Centre & Factory

    Tours of this home-grown, internationally renowned perfumier can be arranged at the company's factory near the Burj Al Sahwa Roundabout. The copper distillation units are on show through glass panels. There's also an elegant shop here with testers in all fragrances and an extensive range of soaps and crafted leather goods.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Marina Breakwater

    Wafi Gourmet

    Offering beautiful Medjool dates stuffed with pistachios, cashews, almonds or oranges; gorgeous marzipan, baklava and other Middle Eastern sweets; take-home bottles of rose water; and a full-service deli, bakery and restaurant, Wafi Gourmet is one-stop shopping for foodies looking to take home the taste of Arabia.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Saudi Arabia

    Madina Made

    The products in this shop are of real quality and are guaranteed to be made in Medina by locals. Purchasing something here means supporting the small businesses of Medina that produce the items stocked here. These include high-quality rugs, prayer mats, prayer beads, local dates, honey and spices.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Jeddah

    Jarir Bookstore

    Jeddah's best bookstore, with the city's widest selection of English-language books including guidebooks, maps and excellent titles on local and national history and heritage.

  • Shopping in Dubai

    Souk Madinat Jumeirah

    More tourist-geared boutique mall than traditional Arab market, this handsomely designed souq is part of the Arab-village-style Madinat Jumeirah resort and not a bad spot for picking up souvenirs. Options include camel toys at Camel Company, Bedouin daggers at Lata's and pashmina shawls at Toshkhana. In some shops, bargaining is possible. The nicest of the numerous charming cafes, bars and restaurants are canalside.

  • Shopping in Yas Island

    Yas Mall

    Bright, spacious and hosting 370 shops, Yas Mall is the star of Abu Dhabi's shopping scene. Look out for the growing plant wall and the two 12m-high tree-themed sculptures by acclaimed South African artist Marco Cianfanelli, with leaves inspired by Arabic calligraphy. There's access to Ferrari World, cinemas, a fun park for wee ones and a Carrefour hypermarket.

  • Shopping in Kuwait City

    The Avenues

    The largest shopping mall in Kuwait, and the second largest in the Middle East, is quite an experience. Within its different zones, it has long palm tree-lined shopping 'avenues' designed like European streets, with similar shopfront architecture to Venice or London (some with mock 2nd floors, windows, arches, ornate alcoves and flower boxes). More than just a place to shop, it's a destination and hang-out space for Kuwaitis, who promenade these 'streets' of an evening in their national dress. It's worth stopping at an information desk to pick up a 50-page directory and map, as you'll find 800 stores and counting, plus dozens of eateries and places of entertainment. There are parking spaces for 10,000 cars, but getting into The Avenues can be tricky; expect to queue. Kids love the Magic Planet zone, with fairground-style rides and games. There's also a cinema, five- and four-star hotels, a souq space and the bohemian Soku area – inspired by New York's SoHo neighbourhood.

  • Shopping in Sharjah

    Souq Al Jubail

    Herb-infused honey, dates, nuts and dried figs make for great foodie gifts and treats, while the long lines of stalls piled high with fruit and vegetables are good for stocking up on all your produce needs. This mammoth market, with separate sections for meat, fish and fruit and veg, is housed in a domed building on the waterfront. Head out the back entrance for views of the fishing dhows (traditional cargo boats) on the docks right outside. Get here after the asr (mid-afternoon) prayer to witness the daily fish auction held in the middle of the market building.

  • Shopping in Dubai

    Dubai Festival City Mall

    Southeast of the airport, near Business Bay Bridge, this 350-store behemoth has all the standard shops, plus Ikea – a draw for locals and expats. Its main plus is the picturesque location around a semi-circular bay, which is lined with bars and restaurants. All are great vantage points from which to enjoy Imagine, a free laser-light-water-pyrotechnics show presented nightly on the hour. Air-conditioned abras (traditional wooden boats) connect Festival City with the Creek metro station across the Dubai Creek.

  • Shopping in Al Bateen & Al Mushrif

    Beautiful Henna Centre

    Henna application (on hands and feet) is a traditional ritual of local bridal preparation, though these days it's not limited to weddings and is appreciated as an art form in itself. With 20 years of experience, this henna bar offers both traditional and modern artistic henna applications in a luxurious salon setting. Henna art prices depend on the level of intricacy in the design and size. Hands or feet cost from Dhs90 and a single piece on the body from Dhs40.

  • Shopping in Oman

    Barka Factory for Omani Halwa

    Barka is renowned for its halwa, Oman's traditional sweet, which is made in industrial quantities at an attractive-looking factory (with spangled pillars) in Barka. Many outlets along Hwy 1 near the Barka flyover sell this sticky confection. Flavoured with cardamom, dates and saffron, it's dispatched all over the country – there's even a Barka Sweets shop in Salalah, 1000km away.

  • Shopping in Doha

    Villaggio Mall

    In this Venetian-themed mall, you can shop under a 'sky' of fluffy white clouds, eat pizza at Paul, and take a ride on a gondola (QR10 per person) along the indoor grand canal and peruse items in shops with European-style facades. Entertainment includes an IMAX cinema and indoor theme park Gondolania, with fairground-style rides, games and amusements for kids.

  • Shopping in Muscat

    Amouage

    Amouage sells the most expensive (and exquisite) perfume in the world, produced from frankincense, musk and other exotic ingredients in premises. You’ll find the ultimate Arabian gift here or better still, at the Visitors Centre & Factory on Hwy 15 (the main road to Nizwa), 3km west of Burj Al Sahwa Roundabout, where they offer guided tours of the factory.

  • Shopping in Kuwait City

    Reading Room

    A concept store selling carefully curated gifts ranging from Nordic cooking books and inventive kitchenware to tech accessories and locally made birthday cards. It's easy to spend a chunk of time here testing the lotions and potions, and flicking through design journals. There's also a communal space in which the owners encourage customers to 'lounge, interact and collaborate'.

  • Shopping in Hajar Mountains

    Bait Al Nahal

    Active beehives form the centrepiece of this open-sided shop. As the worker bees collect their precious cargo, their keepers demonstrate the magic properties of honey and give tastings. The honey is available to buy in even very small quantities, along with fresh honeycomb. There's also wild herbs, date syrup, neem juice and some crafts for sale in this health-promoting haven.

  • Shopping in Muscat

    Opera Galleria

    With a range of classy shops selling the best examples of Omani-produced items, this luxury shopping arcade includes silver khanjars (traditional curved daggers), baskets worked with pieces of camel or goat hide, embroidered kumar (Omani caps), hand-loomed goat-hair rugs (from OR15), frankincense, and a range of local and international perfumes.