Dubai’s big spending on manmade islands and other over-the-top attractions left this unabashedly capitalist city with mountains of debt. That doesn’t mean a trip to the cosmopolitan Mideast sheikdom needs to send you to the poorhouse though. There’s plenty to do without spending a dirham.
SOUK WANDERING: Steep yourself in Dubai’s mercantile spirit with a trip to the bustling old souk (market) in the creekside district of Deira. Gold merchants ply their glittering wares from dozens of shops at the heart of the market.
Peek inside for the air conditioning alone. Surrounding alleyways tempt shoppers with exotic offerings like frankincense and pashmina shawls, and echo with the call to prayer from nearby mosques five times daily. Browsing while wandering doesn’t cost a thing. If you are buying, remember to bargain hard.