what to buy

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What to buy and souvenirs

Shopping is something of a national pastime in Abu Dhabi, probably because there are so many fabulous malls and souks (markets) around town. Discover your new favourite place to shop, from ultra-modern malls housing the latest brands to smaller souk-like outlets where you can purchase souvenirs, gifts, traditional perfumes, handicrafts, spices and carpets.

Looking for souvenirs as gifts? Get into a traditional frame of mind. Ornate wooden carvings, local art, gold jewellery and carpets reflect the beauty and enchantment of Abu Dhabi's Arabian heritage. From the smallest silver pillbox to a large hand-knotted carpet, souvenirs come in all shapes and sizes and can often be bought in Abu Dhabi for more reasonable prices than in other emirates.

You can spoil yourself in the city too, with a bejewelled designer watch from an upmarket international brand store, or a more affordable, simple timepiece from a supermarket.

Yas Mall

Splash out on a haute-couture suit or gown, or buy fabric and have a local tailor design something unique for a bargain price. Buy a treasured Arabian antique, or find the latest state-of-the-art home entertainment system. Abu Dhabi prices are competitive compared to some international destinations, especially when it comes to carpets, textiles, and gold. In the souks, bartering is acceptable and even expected.

Most shops open from around 10am to 10pm and may stay open later on the weekends. Although most malls work straight through the day, some independent shops close for an extended lunch break, usually from 1pm to 4pm. Hours may change during Ramadan, with many shops closing for the afternoon and reopening from 7pm until midnight, or even later.

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