The Naif Souk is one of Dubai’s historical sites. Once an old camel market, it is now a two-storey covered shopping mall built in the traditional style with over 200 shops and stalls selling practically everything, including textiles, leather, electronics and sounvenir, but unfortunately no more camels.
The Naif Souk is particularly known for the possibility of buying cheap abayas, the long dresses typically worn by Islamic women.
Apart from the chance to pick up some bargains, it is also worth visiting the Naif Souk just to experience the traditional culture of Dubai. In the evening, the whole area comes alive, you can walk along the side streets surrounded by a myriad of people.
According to many locals, the Naif Souk is the best place to shop in Dubai, with the cheapest prices for many goods. It is advisable to walk around its aisles to explore and buy, but also the surrounding streets, as the traffic in this area can get really bad due to the narrow streets and vans parking everywhere for loading and unloading goods.
On 1 April 2008, the Naif Souk was the centre of a fire that disrupted the life of the entire neighbourhood: shopkeepers watched in silent disbelief as the place where they had earned a living all their lives went up in flames before their eyes. The fire broke out at 1.45 am, destroying 183 shops and stalls.
There were no casualties, mainly due to the fact that the market was closed at the time of the fire, but two firemen were transferred to hospital for minor burns and eight people remained in observation for a few days after inhaling large amounts of smoke.
Eyewitnesses claimed to have heard a bang near the air conditioning units located near an electrical transformer inside the souk. Residents of the area rushed to the streets to console the shopkeepers who had lost everything, who were also saddened by the fact that Dubai had lost forever a historic place that held evidence of a bygone era. The fire caused an estimated one billion dirhams worth of damage.
On 25 June 2010, a warm crowd celebrated the inauguration of the new Naif Souk, which the hundreds of shopkeepers who lost everything in the fire immediately reopened. The new Naif Souk, which is the one that can still be admired today, retains the charm of the old market but with some new features such as an underground car park, restaurants, kiosks, lifts and above all a new air-conditioning system.
Of the 218 shops and stalls present, 111 are on the ground floor and 107 on the first floor, but although the design of the new building has a traditional look, many shopkeepers and long-time residents of the area say that the old atmosphere has been lost forever.
The Naif Souk is located in the Deira area, in the middle of the district. Reaching it by metro is very easy, just get off at the Baniyas Square stop on the green line and walk a few dozen metres in a northeast direction.
Those coming from the red line and do not want to change at Union have the option of getting off and continuing on foot; the journey takes about 15-20 minutes on foot. Alternatively, you can reach the Naif Souk by bus or taxi directly from Union Square.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.