The Souk Al-Bahar, which means ‘sailors’ market’ in Arabic, is a magnificent structure located in the heart of Downtown Dubai: it is a shopping, entertainment and leisure centre, there are numerous bars and restaurants and everything is in splendid Arabian style.
The Souk Al-Bahar is reached via a footbridge that starts at the Dubai Mall and passes over the azure waters of Downtown Dubai’s man-made Burj Khalifa Lake.
Anyone visiting this complex cannot fail to be pleasantly surprised by the old Arabian style with which it is built. Inside, there are more than 100 shops, 22 restaurants, cafés and lounge bars including international chains and typical settings, many of them strategically positioned along the building’s outer walkway, directly on the water and with a spectacular view of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
From here you can also have a privileged view every evening of the Dubai Fountain, the dancing fountain show that mixes water, sounds, lights and colours in a truly unique and explosive blend.
A visit to the interior of the Souk Al-Bahar is an experience in itself. There you will find corridors adorned with natural stone, with arches and soft lighting emanating from beautiful Arabian-style lanterns. The decorations are also in style, with arched windows and sinuous designs. Inside, the shops sell an eclectic mix of authentic local handicrafts, jewellery, clothing, perfumes, carpets and home furnishings, as well as original books and Arabic artefacts; most shops therefore sell typical but high quality products, almost always handmade and good looking.
There is also no shortage of souvenir shops, where one can take home excellent souvenirs of a holiday in Dubai, as well as a bureau de change and a small supermarket, which, however, sells products at unbelievably high prices. Should you need to buy groceries or everyday products, the adjacent Dubai Mall will certainly be a more wallet-friendly choice.
The combination of tradition and heritage, a beautiful location and opportunities for romantic and fine dining makes Souk Al-Bahar a must-visit destination during a visit to Dubai, especially at sunset, when the Burj Khalifa lights up and the dancing fountains are on display in all their glory.
Souk Al-Bahar is open every day: Saturday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., while on Fridays it opens only in the afternoon, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Restaurant hours vary, but they are usually open for lunch and dinner, often at unusual hours.
Being located in the middle (it literally has to be said) of the Downtown Dubai district, Souk Al-Bahar is pretty well connected to the rest of the city. Using the metro, simply get off at the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall stop, walk down the long, covered, air-conditioned corridor to reach the interior of the mall and then follow the signs to the exit for the Promenade, as the pedestrian walkway along the artificial lake is called.
It is also possible to get off at the Financial Centre stop and then take the bus to the Dubai Mall, crossing it to the Promenade. Since it is built right in front of the Dubai Mall, it is also easy to get there by bus: line number 27 leaves from the Deira Gold Souk and has its terminus right here. Buses run every 15 minutes.
To get there by car, the best solution is to park at the underground car park of the Dubai Mall and then continue on foot following the signs for the Promenade, while those opting for a taxi can get dropped off at the main entrance of The Palace Downtown Dubai, a luxurious hotel belonging to The Address chain built right next to the Souk Al-Bahar, also in full Arabian style.
The entrance is located along the Boulevard, the semicircular avenue bordering the Downtown Dubai district, which is also very pleasant to walk along (temperatures permitting) and dotted with numerous bars and restaurants of the highest standard.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.