Souks (also spelled as ‘souq’) are traditional open air markets that are found throughout the Arab world. These markets are an integral part of Arab culture and many people in the Middle East shop at these areas for fresh produce and household items. Originally souks were temporary trading spots outside the city where wandering merchants would stop their caravans. In addition to trade, festivals, celebrations and other events were also held here. As their importance grew, souks were given more prominent spots within the city. Usually bustling with activity these markets can provide foreigners with interesting insights into the lives of locals. While most souks are ordinary markets some of them have become famous throughout the world. 

Kuwait has quite a few well-known souks. The Souk Al-Mubarakiya is a widely visited one located in downtown Kuwait. Items on sale range from clothes and household items to jewellery and antiques. Visitors can also try out a variety of Middle Eastern delicacies here. Other souks that are a part of Souk Al-Mubarakiya include the Souk Al-Hareem, where women garbed in traditional attire sell skilfully crafted items that make terrific souvenirs; the Persian Carpet Souk, where one can purchase one of the highly prized rugs at a bargain price; and the Gold Souk, where gold is quite cheap.

Gold Souks are also quite common in the United Arab Emirates. The most well-known among them is definitely the Deira Gold Souk in Dubai. Featuring in excess of three hundred merchants one can purchase gold at amazingly low prices due to relatively small charges for design and craftsmanship. Other traditional markets in Dubai include the spice, the satwa (for all kinds of fabrics) and the textile, souks.

Tourists who plan on touring the Arab region can save themselves a lot of hassle when it comes to booking Middle East hotels by going for a hotel chain such as Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Middle East. This world famous chain boasts excellent Qatar, Oman and UAE hotels and is the ideal option for those touring the region since it offers contemporary accommodation in strategically located areas of key destinations.