Just across the creek from Al Fahidi/Bur Dubai—you can hop on a boat taxi for a ride—are the old city’s souks. Both a quintessential Dubai experience and an incredibly touristy activity that many will say you must do while here, visiting the gold and spice markets can be overwhelming, so if you’re going, steel your senses. Sellers are constantly calling out to passerby, trying to entice them to enter their storefront out of all the other nearly indistinguishable adjacent shops. It’s standard to haggle—the original price is rarely what a customer pays—and you’ll generally get a better deal if you ask for prices in the local AED currency. (Almost all the vendors take credit card, which is convenient.) That said, it’s exciting when you find what feels like your treasure among the souks—the gold market is a mecca for gifts to return home with. You’ll also see some primarily silver shops mixed in here, plus accessories, Arabian-style shoes and clothing. The spice market is a little quieter, and it can be interesting talking to some of the vendors about the diverse array of spices they have on hand. (Or, you know, you can stock up on chocolate dates for your suitcase.) If you’re hungry after shopping, stop at the self-explanatory cafe, Creekside, which doubles as a gallery/cultural event space.

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