For centuries Arab vessels have crossed many a sea and established a name as traders for their owners, Arab merchants have played an important role in spreading their culture and way of life to the rest of the world. ‘Souks’ or marketplaces are part of such an exchange and are the predecessors of modern shopping malls. These traditional market places are however still very much in practice and can be found widely across Abu Dhabi for almost any category.

While initially they only sold spices, silk, jewellery and other artefacts that were brought from far off countries, today they have diversified and sell items ranging from consumer goods, electronics, clothing, souvenirs and a host of other items. Fish souks and fresh & vegetable souks are also gaining in popularity.

Close to Mina Road, near the Abu Dhabi port is the Carpet Souk. Machine made and handmade carpets can be found in various patterns and colours. If you don’t find what you are looking for the facility of commissioning one according to your requirement is an option available. It is recommended that you first visit many of the shops to gather an understanding of the market and products. This knowledge will also come in handy when bargaining for the price. A higher number of knots per square inch of the carpet indicate better quality and therefore prices will be higher. Silk is also pricier than wool and carpets imported from Iran will cost more than their counterparts from Turkey.

The Gold Souk on 4th Street, Madinat Zayed is popular for its exquisite handcrafted jewellery. The area also has many malls with famous jewellers. With very competitive prices, this is the perfect spot to pick up your favourite design in gold as it is cheaper than any other part of the world.

However, visiting the many souks is time consuming as you have to bargain and also check all the stalls to get a feel of the variety available. Therefore it is advisable that you select the best of accommodation Abu Dhabi has to offer in an urban area. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice the ambience and atmosphere as any hotel in Abu Dhabi is known for their luxury. The Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi is one such urban reclusive.

Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry. Google+