The Souk Madinat in Dubai

The Madinat is a newly built souk near the Burj al Arab.  There is an element of artificiality about it (my Lonely Planet guidebook refers to it as “Disney does Arabia”), but when it comes down to it, it’s a very pleasant place to hang out.  Since it’s attached to two five-star hotels, all the restaurants serve alcohol and the large courtyard is a relaxing place to catch up with friends over grape-flavored shisha.  At night it’s bustling with both tourists and locals, but my favorite time to go is in the morning for coffee because it’s not crowded and the sunlight shines through the pretty wooden ceilings and windows.

Before most of the stores are open

The shops sell all sorts of souvenirs from kitschy bobble heads to exquisite hand-made rugs.  There are practical things available too, like swimwear and toys.  Maybe it’s not the cheapest place to find these items, but it’s still fun to look around.

Shisha, anyone?

Pretty fabrics

If you ever need a bronze camel (or elephant, or frog, or any other animal for that matter) this is your place

So many pretty lights and lamps

In case you’re wondering about that price tag, 2,970 dhs is around $825 USD

A great furniture store called Marina

Views from outside

Dubai wind tower 3


One of many pretty views of the Burj al Arab from the Madinat

Being from Texas, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Riverwalk in San Antonio when I saw the canals at the Madinat.  Exchange the abras for one of those big rectangular river boats, and you could be in Texas!  Look at the resemblance:

Madinat canals

San Antonio Riverwalk. Picture via

Dubai wind tower 4 (1)

wind towers are featured prominently throughout

there are lots of outdoor dining options


About Lynda

Longhorns and Camels is a blog about exploring Dubai from the perspective of an expat from Texas. It features stories about living in Dubai including descriptions of local culture and popular activities in the region. It also includes photography of the UAE and other countries abroad. It has been recommended by several well-known guides for expatriates: InterNations, ExpatWoman and Expat Focus.
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13 Responses to The Souk Madinat in Dubai

  1. Judy says:

    Great photos! I always found my visitors just loved the place, my only complaint was that I always got lost… it’s like a maze in there 🙂

  2. tracy says:

    It’s funny about the artificiality of things. You sort of just have to go with it really, don’t you? Sometimes I try to go to places that might have a bit more ‘character’ (like the creek), but like you say, despite the artificiality some places are lovely to just hang out. I feel the same about the fountains at Burj Khalifa. Over the top and all, but rather lovely to watch nonetheless.

  3. Jessie says:

    are these little emirati people pepper shakers or something? hahah!

  4. Shannon says:

    Wow really pretty in the daylight! I’ve only been at night. It totally photographed that same camel last week. 😉 And the ceramic Emirati’s are kind of hilariously sinister. Sheesh, I gotta get bloggin’.

  5. I love love love those lamps!! You must feel like you are living in permanent “Arabian Nights” or Aladdin’s cave…. fabulous!

  6. Lasairiona says:

    Being from Ireland I find it very difficult to be so far from water, Galveston and San Antonio are a welcome reprieve from the land-locked Houston. This looks gorgeous!

    • Ireland is so beautiful – lucky you! Just been to the Northern part (Londonderry, Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, etc.) and we loved it – amazing. Definitely want to get to Dublin at some point! Well, the water here at the Madinat is fake, but yes, it is pretty. 🙂 The amazing ocean is definitely one of my favorite things about Dubai – you’ll love it.

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