Bustling haven touts cheap fashions and plentiful plants
Dubai’s own little city that never sleeps is renowned for its bargain tailors and authentic Pakistani and Iranian food, but it’s also great for retail therapy on the cheap. Satwa can sometimes feel like a maze, so we suggest starting in Al Hudaiba Street (colloquially known as Plant Street), which houses stores bursting with greenery, a second-hand bookshop and cheap local fashion, then head down Al Satwa Road for everything from wooden pipes to Dhs500 bikes and fancy-dress wigs. Put on your walking shoes and step to it.
National Flowers USP: There are several stores selling plants along this strip, but the friendly service and stunning orchids make National Flowers a stand-out. It also provides landscaping services. Why go? Green-fingered residents will find it hard to resist the magnificent orchids, Dhs8 sunflowers and the oddly-upright massangeana hailing from Holland. Where? Al Hudaiba Street (Plant Street), Satwa (04 344 2217).
Orchids, Dhs85 each
Kalba Trading USP: Selling ladies’ fashion items for less than Dhs80, some of the styles might not suit everyone’s taste, but there are plenty of gems to be found if you’re prepared to dig through the racks. Why go? For the cheap basics, such as long cardigans, shorts, T-shirts and beach-style dresses, as well as the kitsch faux ‘tattoo sleeves’. The store also stocks sporty-chic mesh-style grey tops that are a hit for spring/summer 2012, as well as nautical dresses that would look the part on Nasimi Beach. Where? Al Hudaiba Street (Plant Street), Satwa (04 225 1322).
Grey mesh top, Dhs35
Bookworld USP: This cosy second-hand bookstore is well looked after, has a friendly atmosphere and smells like a library. It also has a good selection of new books and best-selling authors including Paulo Coelho and Dan Brown. Bonus: If you return the book after reading, you get half your money back. Why go? To walk down memory lane: this store has a unique collection of MAD, Archie and Betty and Veronica comics. Where? Al Hudaiba Street (Plant Street), opposite Al Maya Lal’s (04 349 1914).
Archie comics, Dhs4 each
Fida General Trading USP: This haberdashery shop sells everything you could possibly need to make your own fancy-dress outfit, including ribbon, fabric, feathers, wigs and even masquerade masks. Why go? For dress-up essentials, such as long gloves, tulle and fabric scissors. If you’re planning a hen party or a wedding, this is a great store to pick up decorations or make outfits on a budget. Where? Opposite Satwa Clinic, Al Satwa Road (04 344 4008).
Green gloves, Dhs20.50; white gloves, Dhs28.50
Azar Mehr General Trading USP: It might not look like much, but take your time to sift through the wares at this Iranian-owned shop and you’ll find everything from gas-stove cookers to yoga mats. Why go? We’re told this place is popular for its intricate pipes on display under the counter. If you’re after a bike, you’ll find a top deal here – saddle up for less than Dhs500. Where? Opposite Municipality, Al Satwa Road (04 344 3712).