Naif Souk, Dubai

3.7
#22 of 117 in Shopping in Dubai
Naif Souq: Risen from the ashes

For a traditional Arabic fabric market that was destroyed in a fire in April 2008, Naif Souq seems to have regained a significant chunk of its former glory.

Starting with the structure of the building, the authorities have done a fine job of restoring the look and feel of an older era, much before more westernised shopping malls such as Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall took centre stage. The older feel holds true despite certain merchants who gripe about the complex still being a ‘box/cabin’ market on account of the cubicle size of most shops.

At the entrance of the mall, a marble plaque states its earlier inauguration date as 1970 and the post-fire date as 2010. The building has been designed evidently to evoke the sense of history and tradition that was prevalent in the earlier structure. The camel-coloured edifice with arches is one of the tributes to Islamic architecture.

Even right outside the souq, shops speckle the streets, and one can tell from their names that they mostly all deal in clothes: Hassan Ismail Abdullah, Maknas textiles, Salalah Textiles, Readymade garments — all near gate number 3, with merchants beckoning prospective shoppers to snap up the best deals.

The new-old marketplace has revamped facilities. There are 218 shops in the air-conditioned, modernised souq. There is space for 100 cars to park. And there are three levels selling everything from faux-leather bags, baby clothes, toys, abayas, scarves, nighties and jellabiyas (one piece traditional Egyptian garment) to pashminas, sunglasses and flat shoes from China.

While predominantly a clothing and textile hub, there is enough for it to be an intriguing sightseeing spot for both tourists and locals alike, looking for more than just clothes.

Bargaining is big in Naif Souq. Scarves with printed motifs of tech company Apple’s famous icon selling for Dh15, but coming down to Dh10 the moment you move on to the next shop. Cries of “Yes Madam, I give good price” resonate on the mosaic floors.

Another major attraction seems to be the selling of bukhoor — wood and brick chips soaked in deeply fragrant oils — that, as the shopkeepers tell you, are used to sweeten the smell of burning coal. Bukhoor holders come in various shapes and sizes and cost anything up from Dh15 to Dh300.

An ubiquitous bukhoor burner is the ceramic figure of a shaikh wearing a red gutraah (headdress) and yellow goggles, and its feminine counterpart, a woman in a black abaya, both figures holding a container for the bukhoor.

Abdul Dahri, a merchant from Paktika in Afghanistan, who has been in Naif for nine years, remembers the fire that caused him much pain as his business suffered and he had to cut down from three meals to two a day because he couldn’t afford naan. As he tries to sell abayas to every woman who crosses his path, even those who don’t wear abayas, he makes a plea: business is not good. He hasn’t had a sale all day and is willing to slash the price of any piece of clothing you pick from his ground-floor ‘box’ shop. The price of an abaya ranges anything from Dh50 to Dh1,000, depending on the cloth, cut and design.

Copyright issues are evidently overseen as a ‘Bin and Jerry’ ice cream counter near the escalator on the first floor attracts a crowd of teenagers. The manager at the ice cream parlour, unwilling to be named, has his own take on the taste buds of people from different regions. People from India like butterscotch, people from Pakistan like coffee, and South Africans order mostly mixed fruit flavour.
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Naif Souk Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
235 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • My people market is very normal dont expect a little bit of spices on some incense on cheap imitation clothes the complex has two small courses and abroad many shops I will not repeat the experiment
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  • A must if you looking for abayas at very reasonable prices.. Some nice kurti tops too.. One can bargain too.. The more pieces the lower the price  more »
Google
  • This the best place to buy clothes and fashion. Shoes, perfumes,home furniture, Electronic and much more. All at affordable price and the products are very good quality and new styles too. This market well known because of it's good prices and good quality. Most people living in Dubai and nearby Know this is the best place where you can shop with the cheapest prices and good quality. Many products are not available elsewhere too many shops here. This place is well organized and nice atmosphere here. Parking available in this market and bus route is nearby.too many Taxi are available here . I wish you all a great time and happiness
  • This is the best pace to come for women's Islamic clothing. Abayas, scarves, gowns. Shop after shop selling them, inside the souk and around the area. Basically knock off around half the price. He starts 120, you say 70. Be prepared to walk, and they will accept 90 easily.
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