All that glitters is definitely gold at the famous Dubai Gold Souk in Deira, the city's commercial centre. Imagine a market dripping in gold, with this precious metal rendered in every adornment you can possibly think of and that's the Gold Souk. What you won't be prepared for is how bright and shiny everything is, such is the sheer spectacle of the Gold Souk.
A Bedouin nomadic existence was common in the Emirates until just a generation ago. As part of that traditional lifestyle, gold and jewellery were a portable way to store one's wealth.
Gold jewellery is still a large part of a woman's wedding dowry in certain areas of India, the Arabian Gulf and Africa. Visitors from these countries and many other regions head to the Dubai Gold Souk, which is one of the most important jewellery trading centres in the world where it's estimated that 20 percent of the world's gold stock passes through.
Gold prices in Dubai are among the lowest and most competitive in the world which draws a sizeable international contingent of buyers. Gold is sold by weight here and prices vary depending on whether a piece is handmade or manufactured by machine. Expect to barter if you are serious about purchasing.
The variety of gold jewellery available at the Gold Souk is dazzling. Even if you don't plan on purchasing any bling, you can't help but feel thrilled by the array of earrings, necklaces, pendants, bangles, bracelets and rings on offer in 18ct, 21ct, 22ct and 24ct gold in over 300 stores.
The colours of gold vary too: from rose to white gold, yellow gold and even purple! The designs range from Western styles to traditional Indian jewellery.
While the Gold Souk is a sight to behold at any time of the day, it is particularly beautiful at night due to its gilded glow. To visit the Gold Souk, go down to Creek in Bur Dubai and take an abra (water taxi) to the markets. The trip takes around 10 minutes. There are also many buses that visit this area.