Shopping and business hours have tended to vary considerably in Dubai, however this changed with effect from 1st September 2006 when the whole of the government sector, including schools, changed their weekend from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday.
The major supermarkets such as Spinneys, Choithrams, Safestway and the Union Co-op open from 8am to 10pm seven days a week. If you are staying in self catering accommodation you cannot fail to be impressed with the range of goods and produce on offer at very reasonable prices in local supermarkets. There are counters especially reserved for pork products and it is fair to say that there is not much in the way of produce that cannot be obtained in Dubai. The butchers and fishmongers situated within the main supermarkets are always extremely helpful and will prepare your meat to your liking and gut and fillet fish as per your request.
Public and government sector working days are from 7.30am to 3pm. whilst privatised companies tend to work from 9am to 5pm. All the major shopping malls are open from 10am until 10pm, with most of the larger malls open until midnight at the weekend. Most shops operating outside the main shopping malls are open from 9am until 1pm and from 4pm until 9pm so please be prepared to see smaller shops closed during the afternoon.
Money exchanges are prevalent in Dubai and they will often give a similar, if not better, exchange rate than banks. Money exchanges are open from 10am until 10pm from Saturday to Thursday and 5pm until 10pm on Friday; some money exchanges close between 1pm and 4.30pm. There are numerous Automatic Teller Machines which are linked to all European countries and cash may be withdrawn as normal via Link or credit cards.
Tourists are not able to buy alcohol in supermarkets and only non-Muslim residents are allowed to have a liquor licence, which is issued by the police. Licence holders are then allowed to purchase alcohol from licensed liquor shops for home consumption. It is not permitted to transport alcohol unless you have a valid liquor licence. If you have purchased alcohol from a Duty Free outlet to be drunk in your hotel or apartment whilst you are on holiday do not take it out of the room or apartment unless it is in a bag.
For further detailed information on the superb shopping facilities that are available to you, please see our dedicated ‘Shopping’ section.