Al Fahidi Street is perfect for a bit of local colour and some great shopping. It is part of the commercial area that runs from Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (formerly Bastakiya) all the way to Shindagha and takes in Dubai Museum, the Electronics Souk and the Textile Souk. There is a good range of inexpensive places to eat, including some fantastic vegetarian restaurants. This area is always busy but it really comes to life at night – if you’re not sure you’re in the right place, just head for the neon lights.
Karama is one of the older residential districts in Dubai, and is one of the best places to find a bargain. The best spot is the Karama Complex, a long street running through the middle of the district that is lined by shops on both sides. The area is best known for bargain clothing, sports goods, gifts and souvenirs (from toy camels to mosque alarm clocks and stuffed scorpions to pashminas) and it is notorious for being the hotbed of counterfeit items in Dubai. As you wander round you will be offered ‘copy watches, copy bags’ with every step, and if you show any interest you will be whisked into a back room to view the goods.
If you’re not interested, a simple ‘no thank you’ will suffice, or even just ignore the vendor completely – it may seem rude, but sometimes it’s the only way to cope with the incessant hassle. The most popular shops are Blue Marine, Green Eye and Asda. With loads of small, inexpensive restaurants, you won’t go hungry while pounding the streets of Karama. Try Chef Lanka, Aryaas or Saravana Bhavan, or head for the large fish, fruit and vegetable market.
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