Most Popular Souvenirs from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

If you are headed to Sharjah, the cultural capital of United Arab Emirates, this post can give you a fair idea of the most popular souvenirs sold in the souks there. This is not about what is found in modern malls but those in the traditional souks frequented by locals. I always thought that Sharjah being in a desert country could have nothing of its own… how wrong I was! Because, as I scoured through the souks of Sharjah I realized there was not one but plenty to take back home. The 30kg allowance in Air Arabia flight to back home was a source of courage to shop and shop.

Souvenirs from Sharjah

Dates grown in UAE

The first to attract me were the dates. Khallas, Nabut Saif, Sakii, AbouMaan, Hallawi, Khissab, Jabiri, Hillali, Lulu, Chichi, Khadraoui, Sultana, Barhi, Khenezi varieties – the salesman went on… Which one do you want? I couldn’t believe when I was told UAE grows 120 varieties of dates! My head was spinning trying to comprehend the names he rattled out in one breath! Later I read up ‘date tree’ population in UAE is about 40 millions!!! It was really hard to choose one or two of those varieties. Do you know why dates are taken first while breaking fast? Our tour guide explained:

Dates are easy to digest, decreases feeling of hunger, and prepares stomach to receive food after being inactive for long by activating release of digestive secretions. And also prevents constipation as a result of changing meals times.

In addition to dates other food souvenirs that you can pick up are the herbs, spices and dry fruits. Most of these are imported from other countries. And they have chocolates too! I had a good time sampling some of the dry fruits from Iran.

Dates from Sharjah

Carpets in Souks of Sharjah

The range of carpets I saw in Fujairah souk amazed me. They sell locally made carpets and many imported ones in the souks. The manner in which the shop was stuffed indicated it was a hot selling item in Sharjah. Fujairah souk is on the highway connecting Sharjah with other cities of UAE. It is easy to make big purchases and get them loaded on the vehicles. This is one reason why you will find carpet shops along highways. I was pleasantly surprised when the carpet dealer told me he had some products from Kashmir in India too.

You get to see all sizes of carpets. Most impressive among them are the wall to wall carpets! The designs and the colors used makes you dream of owning one. Price is bargain-able. It is advisable to quote your price half of what the carpet dealer says and after some haggling you do reach to a comfortable price range.

Carpets from Sharjah

Carpets from Sharjah

 

Handicraft Items in Sharjah

For the handmade souvenir lovers there are handicraft items too on sale in these souks. You get such colourful cute little handmade containers, closed boxes which you can use to keep knick knacks. They are made of palm leaves and interwoven with colourful threads, all so attractive that one tends to reach out to them. Emirati women use their skills to create modern designs. They make woven bags, bookmarks, bigger stuffs like tents, camel bags and carpets.

Scarves as Gifts from Sharjah

Most of my friends purchased these scarves. They make such ideal gifts for your near and dear ones at home. They roll up to tiny balls and are light in weight and easy to pack. I am sure this definitely figures as a must buy in several tourists’ list. Girls use it in different ways including head covers and stoles. There are shops dedicated only for this. Each of them stuffed with different qualities, colors and patterns. Cost ranges from 10 to 15 Dirham.

Scarves from Sharjah

scarves worn on head

Perfumes or Attar as called in Souks of Sharjah

The aroma is bound to attract your attention as you cross cluster of shops selling perfumes or Attar as locals call them. Fragrance is an important part of Arabic culture. They prefer the traditional oil based attar and use Frankincense a lot. As is their custom Frankincense was traditionally burned to cleanse rooms and clothes.  If you are one of those who collect various perfumes from around the world, souks of Sharjah are ideal hunting grounds.

Perfumes from Sharjah

As I scanned I was amazed to find a whole range of incense, including frankincense, myrrh, oud and bukhoor. In addition to the traditional ones you will find commercial modern perfumes too. Among the traditional ones Oud is a great rarity! These are burned in Emirati households to waft through the clothes or used as a pure oil or in perfumes. Strangely Oud is derived from a disease infecting the agarwood tree. This variety fetches astronomical prices in the range of tens of thousands of dirhams a kilo. A ten gram pack will make an interesting and more affordable souvenir to take home! Bukhoor is another sought after incense. In the emirates, these compacted packs of scented ingredients are burned, just like oud, on a mubkhar, a traditional burner along with charcoal to release the smoky scent. Many Emirati families have their own ‘secret recipe’ for bukhoor!

Gold Jewelry from Blue Souk

And if you have that extra special person in your life whom you want to gift something extra special there is the yellow metal! Blue Souk has rows of shops stuffed to brim with gold ornaments. Strands upon strands of glittering gold, I have not seen something like that in India where people queue up purchase gold ornaments for any and every occasion possible. Gold is cheaper in UAE compared to India due to less making charges and less tax. I know most Indians will love this!

Gold Jewels Souvenirs from Sharjah

So? Could you make a choice which you will pick and pack from Sharjah?!

I am thankful to Sharjah Tourism Board and Air Arabia
for this FAM trip to Sharjah UAE in February 2017.

Rampuria Haveli Tour Through Historic Center of Bikaner
Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner, Rajasthan, Made with Ghee

52 Responses to “Most Popular Souvenirs from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  • Really Informative! I’m going to UAE next month for a vacation and I’ll be visiting Sharjah. I was wondering what I will buy from there as a gift for my family. This article surely did help me to get over the dilemma. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Dates and Attar are the picks for me. Lovely souvenirs to bring back, Indrani.n

  • Ask me about souvenirs !! 😀 The whole of middle east has a wide range of souvenirs to buy. As you have mentioned, the first thing is of course dates. 🙂 We are still relishing the dates bought by Vasu. 🙂

    Carpets, perfumes are next bet for me. And it’s so difficult to move away from gold souks. 🙂 Isn’t it?
    Tell me, what did you buy? 🙂

  • Love those scarves,but as you already said, the last pic is my favorite

  • Wow I would love to shop there, so much color and texture and fine things. I would buy a scarf and some jewelry and on and on….

  • It was a wonderful window shopping experience, Indrani 🙂 The goodies tempt me to buy but my pocket is happy they are just pictures 😀 Thanks for the information.

  • Oh…so many kinds of dates….yummy…Also the carpets , handicrafts and scarves are must buy..

  • That gold jewellery looks bizarre. Jewellers in India should start stocking this kind of stuff. May be useful for next demonetisation 😉

  • This is a brilliant ready-reckoner for anyone visiting Sharjah!

  • The choices of souvenirs are amazing. I loved the beautiful carpets and the designer scarves. The gold jewellery are bedazzling. And of course, dates grown in UAE are a must!

  • stacey veikalas
    9 months ago

    Oh lots of beautiful things to see. I love markets and the rugs and scarves are just beautiful! Of course the jewelry would be right up my alley too! Nice nothing better then shopping for local products!

  • I can’t believe Sharjah is just next door and we are not enjoying it more! Can’t wait to be able to discover it more deeply!

  • I’m such a fan of thos oriental hand crafted items, like the scarfs… I always buy too many of them and never get the chance to wear them. The carpets look gorgeous as well.

  • UAE is a massively traveled destination by Nigerians but i’m yet to explore it, sadly. The market looks pretty awesome, and I wouldn’t mind a carpet from there too. Alot of the fabrics and gold are imported here and the perfumes are straight up divine. Awesome post!

  • I’ve only ever flown through the UAE, not stopped to explore or look for souvenirs. I would love to taste and bring back the spices to enjoy in every day life!

  • Wow, I didn’t even know there were that many varieties of dates! I always buy scarves as souvenirs. I like they they’re useful and you can’t grow out of them. Also, I’ve always wondered how people get carpets home after purchasing them abroad…

  • Fantastic choices and souvenirs that really tell you about the excellent craftsmanship from this region, great stuff and I do love dates!

  • I think I would go with the dates–food is always a good option and a good gift. Some of the other items, such as carpets, I would be afraid to buy, as I know nothing about how to determine quality and would afraid I wasn’t buying something good.

  • Love all the gift ideas! Some gold souvenirs would be nice! hahah But my all time favorite is some UAE dates! Nothing better than soft and sweet yummyness! Ill take at least 10 varieties please 🙂

  • I love the idea of bringing back dates for my co-workers and scarves for family and friends! I think the carpet would be risky, what if I didn’t like it when I got it home — I’d be stuck

  • Wow those carpets look beautiful! That would probably be my souvenir of choice. I do wonder how I would get it home though if I got the wall to wall one! Do you know of they they ship??

  • I didn’t make it to Sharjah during my time in the UAE, but this is a nice peek into what to look for when I finally make it there. Dates are my particular favorite, as I learned the same facts as your guide explained (digestion, fullness, health) when I was in Dubai!

  • Megan Jerrard
    9 months ago

    I would love to travel for the carpets – Arabian rugs are incredible! You always find the best carpet dealers in these local souks 🙂

  • Oh all the little handicrafts and goods make the perfect gifts! And yes the dates look so delicious!

  • 40 million varieties of dates. Wow! I can’t even imagine that huge no. But how to differentiate on their quality. The carpets and scarves look beautiful. As you said, I will surely love to purchase something in Gold at an amazing price. Nicely compiled up a list of souvenirs.

    • Indrani Ghose
      8 months ago

      Hi Suruchi it is 120 varieties of dates and 40 million date trees! 🙂

  • I’d go for the dates, scarves, and handicrafts. Who knew there were so many varieties of dates? A scarf is always my go-to when I travel. I have a collection from different countries. I’m a total scarf-addict!

  • Traditional souvenirs are always my favorite. Sharjah looks like a cultural treasure trove! I’d want to buy authentic mementos that reminded me of the sights, smells, and tastes of such a colorful place. Dates, perfume, and scarves would top my list!

  • I hope the carpet vendors at the souks in Sharjah aren’t as pushy as the carpet merchants in Morocco. In Morocco I succumbed to the high-pressure sales tactics and ended up buying not one, but two carpets that I didn’t need. 🙂 The dates look great. I hope I wouldn’t have any problem getting them or other dried fruit items through Customs, as can be the case with some food products one brings back to the United States.

  • I’m not really a souvenirs fellow myself, but you do make a good case for buying (and eating) some of these! Nice post!

  • lovely! lovely things everywhere! I have also heard that it is way more cheaper in sharjah than Dubai. then I think this city would be the best place for me for shopping when I travel to UAE next year. Cheers

  • Dates & Attar are a must. Always get those while returning from UAE and the best thing about these souvenirs is that everybody loves them!

    Parampara-Parichay
    http://awaradiaries.com

  • There are quiet some souvenirs to collect from sharjah. I particularly love their carpet designs. Great to know even our Kashmiri carpets have found their way there 🙂 are kilim carpets also found?

  • 120 varieties of dates! I had no idea there were so many. If I were shopping the souks, I’d definitely want to try some of those.

  • I like to buy food souvenirs when I travel. It’s something from the country I can share easily with others, and it also brings back the memories of my dining experiences there. So I would definitely be checking out several date varieties!

  • I would definitely like to try several varieties of dates. Food souvenirs are typically the easiest and least expensive souvenir to buy. And they remind you of your dining experiences!

  • 120 varieties of dates!! That’s something I didn’t know that existed.
    The carpets from UAE are some of the most beautiful I have seen.
    Nice list of souvenirs to grab from Sharjah.

  • What???? There are 120 varieties of dates? I’ve seen only 2 in my life!!! Damn…
    Those carpets and scarves are just gorgeous. Thanks for the tip on bargaining.

  • For someone who frequents UAE at least once or twice a year, I admit that I have bought all of these at one point or another. My mom also ends up buying gold every time we go there. We also end up buying dates a lot. But I prefer the seedless ones.

  • Going to UAE someday is something like a dream destination for me! Now it is good that I have all the info I will need on what to bring back home for gifts 🙂

  • I have no tendency to bring souvenirs with be back home. One thing though, I wouldn’t mind bringing home one of the carpets. It is probably typical me to want something that would be quite hard to bring back home. 🙂

  • I really enjoy dates so I think I would pick up some of those. The carpets looks really classy as well so that would be an ideal souvenir. A carpet would be a practical souvenir which is something I like in a souvenir.

  • I’ve not been to Sharjah for so long. I lived in Dubai for many years but didn’t get chance to go to Sharjah a lot. The souks in the UAE are famous for fabulous bargains and great shopping. This is a lovely combinations of great items you can get there, especially the carpets and jewellery. Authentic items for great prices!

  • Carpets, dates, and gold! I know this a post specific to UAE but when my mom lived and worked in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this is what summarized her big buys. I fell in love with the dates she would bring back from Saudi and I bet the UAE’s exports taste just as good!

  • I enjoyed reading about Sharjah, the cultural capital of United Arab Emirates. After reading about 120 varies of dates, I know what my suitcase would contain – I love dates! I sounds like an interesting place – thank you for sharing.

  • I’m with Tamshuk, 120 varieties of dates! Wow! I’d be bringing some of those home with me for sure.

  • These are great suggestions as gifts to buy for the house or for your loved ones when visiting UAE. I have been there just for a stop over but that didn’t stop me buying a really cute souvenir from the airport: a camel. I would love to return though.

  • Tatum Skipper
    8 months ago

    We had our parents go back to Dubai strictly to get the carpets for our new house! Those markets are unbelievable and those rugs you can’t find anywhere else. Dates are kind of funny to bring back as a souvenir

  • Gold, Dates , Scarves and Perfume would be something one can bring back. I wouldn’t think of getting a carpet though. We generally tend to buy fridge magnets, beer holders which make for great souvenirs. Would love to visit the Blue Souk. 🙂

  • Lovely marketplace… so many varieties of dates and dryfruits! I din’t actually know that dates had so many varieties. For most of my life, I’d known exactly one kind, untill the imported packets started appearing in the malls. He he…

  • I would like to bring a variety of dates and incense for me . I love buying Souvenirs from places I visit. Middle eastern countries fascinate me always. I am amazed to see the variety though.

  • Dates would be like the best souvenir! Unique and of course something very local 😀 Also Attars. I love them personally.

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