“All that glitters is not gold” except in the Dubai Gold Souq (or souk) where it is regulated and offered to you at the lowest prices in the world from over 300 jewellers.
Dubai has an open port policy, without any sales taxes, making prices very competitive. As a trading hub, “Do-Buy” has traditional Arabic marketplaces or souqs selling a lengthy list of goods. Use your best haggling skills to purchase hand-crafted items from neighboring countries – Persian rugs from Iran, silver from Oman, antique art from Syria and even modern abstract artwork from Iraq. In addition to copper and bronze, silks and textiles, spices and perfumes, you can also shop for designer fashion and imported electronics in any one of over 40 modern shopping malls. The Dubai Mall has over 1,000 stores and is known for having the world’s largest aquarium while the Emirates Mall has an indoor ski slope.
If you’d like a more personalized experience, you can even arrange for a 3-4 hour private shopping tour.
For other Exotic Escapes, go to www.IslandGetawaysTravel.com
Turn around 180 degrees for an expansive view of a beach that seems as wide as it is long. Diani Beach stretches out to waves coming in from the Indian Ocean beckoning you into the warm water. The sand is firm and perfect for jogging but there’s little activity at this time of day. That will soon change.
The beach bar is just opening for business. A vendor is setting up racks of sarongs. A man strolls by with hand-woven hats. Another with bags for sale.
A hotel attendant walked by. Could he get me anything?, he inquired. Some of the resorts in the South Pacific offer fresh coconuts. I asked if they had any, not realizing that a staff member would be dispatched to climb a palm tree and fetch me a fresh green drinking nut. It was quickly sliced open and handed to me with a straw inserted. A perfectly refreshing coconut mocktail.
And then I met the resident colobus monkeys – inquisitive, mischievious and completely fearless. They alone provided hours of free entertainment. They would walk right up, look over you and your belongings and perhaps abscond with a small item left unattended.
My only regret is that I have only 1 day and 1 night here. Barely 24 hours, enough time to look around but not really do much.
I had brought a stck of small bills, 5s, 10′s, some 1′s, for tips. Both camps had staff gratuity boxes and driver/guides were given tips directly. Some companies offer ultra all-inclusive trips. Gratuities were not expected in that case.
I had a little money left. I was leaving the next day and I knew I would have some time at the airport. I wandered into the duty free store to grab some gifts and souvenirs. At the check-out counter, the cashier informed me that credit cards were NOT accepted, only cash. On the way back to the gate, I finally noticed the ATM machine with a very, very long line. How had I not seen that before? Now it made sense to me. Strcitly cash and carry.
I would arrive home with less than $10 U.S.