For a completely different view of Dubai, head out to the low-rent inner-city suburb of Karama, home to some of the innumerable expat Indian and Filipina waiters, shop assistants and taxi drivers who provide the city with so much of its workforce.
The suburb is best known for the (in)famous Karama Souk, the heart of Dubai’s roaring trade in designer fakes. Step into the souk and you’ll be instantly regaled with offers of “copy” watches, bags, sunglasses, DVDs and so on – or “genuine fakes”, as the resident touts like to describe them.
Fear of police raids means that the best stuff isn’t put out on display in the shops themselves, but is generally kept hidden away in a backroom somewhere. Quality is often high (though check all items carefully, particularly zippers and stitching) although so are prices – don’t expect to pick up anything good for much under a $100. Not exactly a bargain, but obviously still a lot cheaper than the real thing.