best shops in India

Old Nov 27th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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best shops in India

Going to Delhi , Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Varanasi, and Khajuraho in 3 weeks.Going to be on a tight schedule. Im sure my driver will have some suggestions but i would like to know what everyone thinks are good places to buy local artwork , crafts and anything local that will look good on my table or wall at home.Thanks
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Can really only give detailed info for Delhi and a bit for Jaipur. For Jodphur, just walk along Palace Road and go in any of the shops there. (They will all tell you they export to Conran, Pottery Barn etc, believe it if you want to...) For Khajuraho, I like the woodcarvings, but I actually would concentrate on the temples and just the lovely countryside which is flat and good for biking, don't spend a lot of time shopping if you don't have a lot of time there, as it is a little bit of a tourist rip-off, IMO. I don't see Agra on your list but do not do ANY shopping there, IMO that is a complete tourist rip-off.

The best shopping really is in Delhi IMO as you can get a broad range in a short time e.g. the Santushi Shopping Complex where you could spend a few hours and get a lot done, the Central Cottages Emporium or a place like Fab India which has several outlets in Delhi. For the rest, try to concentrate on seeing the places, e.g. Jodhpur where just wandering the little back alleys is a joy. For jewelry, Jaipur is great, but know your stones and prices and haggle (other than at Rajasthali). Saris make great pillow cases, wall hangings, etc.

Delhi Shopping

1. Central Cottage Industries Emporium – for everything
Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan
Janpath, New Delhi
Tel. : 23725035
Fax : 91-11-3328354

Fixed price. Their selection is tremendous and I find the prices unbelievably good; however for really high-quality items like silks and pashminas, I would go elsewhere, like Ahujasons (see below). The Cottages is great for printed cottons like tablecloths, napkins (something like US 50 cents a piece), bedspreads, etc and they have lots of handicrafts large and small. They are definitely worth a trip. They also take credit cards which is nice if you are buying a lot. The shop is located quite near the Imperial Hotel (a good place for lunch or tea on the lawn), and the street on which it is located has lots of smaller shops selling all kinds of nick knacks. Bargain hard in street stalls, pay cash.

2. Ahujasons Sahwlwale Pvt Ltd - pashminas, shawls
6/444, W.E.A., Ajmal Khan Road
Karol Bagh, New Delhi
Phone :91-11-25720304
Fax :91-11-25757149

The mother load for pashmina and other fine quality wool shawls. Very well known and respected in India and elsewhere. Located in a virtually non-touristed part of New Delhi called Karol Bagh full of shops. Be prepared to spend some time looking at their myriad selection and bargaining.

3. Carpets. If you are looking for Indian carpets, one of the best, but not the cheapest, places to buy rugs is the carpet shop in the arcade adjacent to the ITC Maurya:

Shaw Art Palace, the Carpet Shop
Shop No. 9, Hotel Maurya Sheraton
Diplomatic Enclave S.P. Marg
N. Delhi 110021
Tel: 91-11-302-3080, 91-11-611-2233 ext. 1946
Fax: 91-11-302-3080

They have an excellent selection and are reliable. Bargain very hard. If you are carrying the rug with you, bargain based on paying cash; if you are shipping, bargain based on a credit card. A Visa or MasterCard is preferred to an Amex, as Amex charges the merchant a higher fee. They will arrange shipping for you. If the rug is 9 by 12 or less, they can actually fold it into a square (albeit a heavy one) and wrap it, and you can check it with your luggage. (Check the weight restrictions on your airline.) Shipping is rather expensive.

Another good place to look is the Central Cottage Industries Emporium mentioned above, this might be a place to start to get an idea of prices. I would NOT buy carpets in Agra, and don't think Jaipur is a good place either.

4. Santushti Shopping Complex
New Wellingdon Camp, Delhi
Phone: 11/467-3322

This is an outdoor shopping "mall" owned and operated by wives of Navy officers. The shopping area is a series of small cottages surrounded by lawns. Extremely pleasant as it is enclosed and no beggars or hawkers are allowed. Very good handicrafts shops and some great fabric stores and home stores like Good Earth (see below). Shops are a bit more expensive than other shopping areas. There is a very good restaurant here called Basil and Thyme which is a nice for lunch.

5. Hauz Khas Village

This is sort of the "Soho" of New Delhi, lots of small and trendy shops, with some good restaurants. One restaurant I can recommend is Top of the Village Bistro, 12, Hauz Khas Village, Tel : 26853857, or 26522227. An interesting place to wander for an afternoon. It is not far from the Quatab Minar and could be a stop for lunch and shopping after a visit there in the morning.

6. The Qutab Crescent Mall
Store No. 11, Ground Floor
Lado Sarai, New Delhi-110030
Tel. 91-11 32562977

This is an up-scale mall with some nice shops. It’s nice to do as part of a visit to the Qutab Minar, Hauz Khas Village and a meal at Olive. To get there, stand with Qutab Minar behind your back, walk (or drive) straight for about 150 meters until you reach a red light which only has a right turn and no left turn . Take a right and follow the road as it curves to the right .. after the curve you will see a CNG pump on your left and adjoining that is the Mall. It would be about a 5 minute walk.

7. Taj Mahal Hotel Shopping Arcade
1 Mansingh Rd., Delhi
Phone: 11/302-6162

For a wide selection of very high quality silk saris and Punjabi outfits, try the shops here. They are not cheap, but you will be getting the best quality. They also have handicrafts. This is good for evening shopping before dinner, as shops are generally open late here, check with the front desk.

8. Indian Crafts Museum
Bhairon Road
Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

The Craft Museum is a good small-scale museum showcasing various Indian handicrafts. They also have a shop selling the handicrafts, proceeds go back to the local communities.
9. Bookshops and more in Khan Market
Paper back and hardback books in English are dirt-cheap in India. Hotel bookshops are often good, although more expensive. The Sheraton and the Oberoi have good ones. However, Khan Market has two very good bookshops that are very inexpensive. Khan Market is in South Delhi, not far from the Oberoi and not far from the Qutab Minar and Haus Khauz Village area. Every taxi or car driver knows it. Other than bookshops, there are some clothing stores and shoe stores here as well a branch of Fab India (see below, I have not been to it.)
Bahri Sons
Opposite Main Gate
Khan Market
Tel: 2469-4610
e-mail: [email protected]

Great coffee table books (including Indian picture books and design books) and large selection of fiction and non-fiction books.

Faqir Chand & Sons
15A Khan Market
2461-8810
e-mail: [email protected]

Good selection of paperbacks at Rs 350-350, very nice leather-bound at Rs 550, and they will bind books in leather for you as well, this takes a day or so.

Good Earth
9 ABC
Khan Market
New Delhi
Tel: 91 11 24647175
http://www.goodearthindia.com

This is one of a chain of shops in India (this is one in Mumbai) that sells interesting home and bath accessories, furniture, fabrics and other items like china. Worth a look here or in the Santushti Shopping Arcade where they have a shop or in Mumbai.


10. FabIndia – Fabrics and More
Many Locations in Delhi, go to http://www.fabindia.com/index.asp

Connaught Place
B-28, Upper Ground Floor,
Inner Circle,
Connaught Place,
New Delhi - 110001;
Ph: +91-11-41513371, +91-11-41513372
Email:[email protected]
Greater Kailash: Garments and Home Furnishing
N-Block Market,
Greater Kailash Part I,
New Delhi - 110048
Ph: +91-11-29232183,
+91-11-29232184,
+91-11-29232185
Email:[email protected]

Garments: 14th Floor
Home Furnishings: 5, 7, 9th Floor

Khan Market
Central Hall,
Above Shop no. 20 & 21
Khan Market,
New Delhi – 110003
Ph: +91-11-41757142, 43, 44
Email:[email protected]
Here's your chance to buy the fabrics and crafts at one-tenth the price you see at places like Conrans. Selection is kind of unbelievable. They ship, you can also order on-line. Fabindia sources its products from more than 7,500 craftspeople and artisans around India. There are branch stores all over India (as well as in Rome and Dubai.)
For a good reliable local car service in Delhi, contact Kumar Tourist Taxi Service at 2341-5390 or
[email protected]. They charge about US$12 for an 8-hour day with a driver.


Jaipur Shopping

I like Jaipur for jewelry, but do some comparison shopping before you leave to make sure you are getting a good price. I would NOT buy carpets there, I think they are a overpriced and not great quality.

Gem Palace
Mirza lsmail Road (generally called M I Road)
Jaipur 302001
Tel: 91-141-37-4175
Fax 91-141-37-3586.

The shop itself is fascinating, get someone to show you the upstairs rooms which are hand painted. Their list of clients is impressive. They have new and estate jewelry.

Surana Jewelers
B-7e Surana Enclave
Ram Singh Road
Tel: 91-141-237-2544

This store has many of the same pieces as Gem Palace, at 25 percent less, and you can bargain a bit harder here.

Rajasthali
Ajmeri Gate
M.I. Road
Tel : 2367176

This is the government-owned and run handicrafts store for Rajasthan. Prices are fixed, but are very good, as is quality generally. They have a smaller but very good jewelry selection, as well as fabrics and handicrafts. Rajasthali also has outlets at Jaleb Chowk and Amber Fort in Jaipur

Ridhi Sidhi Textiles
9, East Govind Nagar
Amber Palace Road
Jaipur
tel: 91-141-633134
fax: 91-141-632968

They have had really great quality hand-blocked cottons, he supposedly makes fabrics for Liberty of London. (Believe that if you want to...but stuff is nice.) His shop is a bit of a mess, so don't be put off, the fabrics were in a room at the back. He also seems to have seconds at very cheap prices, so if you want undamaged goods, look quite carefully. He also sells handicrafts.


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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 01:52 AM
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I agree with Cicerone, Delhi has a lot of good places for shopping.

Varanasi is good for shopping, especially many small shops along the street(very narrow).

small bag or handkerchief dyed with various colors will be good on your wall or table I guess.

If you are interested in stamps, there are a lot of them. I bought a elephant shaped stamp, It was really cute.

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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 05:19 AM
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Thanks, Cicerone!
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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Are shops in Delhi open on Sundays? If, so what are the hours generally? What about the hours on Saturdays?
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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just wanted to say thanks. that was a lot of great information. i have used kumar taxi in the past and yes they were very good.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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Do the Kumar taxi drivers generally speak English well? Would they be suitable for sightseeing as well as shopping? Can they assist with planning the order of places to visit so that we can group places and shops that are relatively close to each other, then move on to another area, rather than going back and forth from one area to another and then back again.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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Most shops are open on Sundays, but check websites, call or ask at your hotel if you want to confirm this with respect to a particular shop. To the best of my recollection, the Central Cottages Industries Emporium is closed on Sundays, but do check this I may be wrong. Shop hours tend to be about 10 – 7 pm. Shops in most hotel arcades will be open on Sundays and later into the evening. The modern glass shopping malls will be open in the evening, and major local shopping areas like Karol Baugh are too; however in some places like Haus Khaus Village the shops close around 7 pm. FabIndia is open every day, I think that is true for all their outlets, but you can check the website for the outlet you want to go to.

The level of English of the Kumar drivers can vary, but generally is good. I would also bring a phone because you can call the main office if you have a question and your driver cannot answer it. The phone is also useful to call the driver when you want to be picked up, he may have to park somewhere else while you are shopping or in a museum. (The driver will generally have his own phone and will give you his number; you could use the driver's phone to call the office of course.) Yes, they can plan out the day if you give them the list of where you want to go; with a map and a list you can work it out. They should also be able to advise on traffic patterns so that you are not heading into traffic if you can avoid it. It may be helpful to do this by e-mail with the head office when you a making a booking. I find the head office guys to be the best in terms of helpfulness.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 08:10 PM
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Cicerone,
That is great info. I would like to get sterling silver picture frames. Do you think Delhi is a good place to get them and where exactly should I go? I went to Delhi many years ago and got jutti shoes at the Turi Bazar near Anardana Chowk Patiala. When I went back three years ago, he was no longer there. The artisan's name is Satnaryan Sayal and had received some national award... During your many travels to India, have you found a good place to get good quality sandals/jutti shoes?
Many thanks, Sophia
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 08:32 PM
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For silver frames, I would first try Ravissant, they are know for their silver. They have two outlets in Delhi, including a small one at the Oberoi Hotel. See http://www.cest-ravissant.com/index2.html. They won't be cheap but the quality will be excellent. I would also try Good Earth shops, see the link above. Other shops in Santushi may have them. Also try a shopping arcade attached to any good hotel, like the Oberoi, which have good quality shops, a boutique there or a jewelry shops may have frames. You may also try smaller shops or someplace like the Cottages Emporium, I just don't know about quality and whether they will in fact be silver (I can't tell the real from stainless steel in some cases). There is of course no consumer protection or anything, so the vendor may tell you it is silver when it isn't. That's way a reputable dealer like Ravissant or a reputable shop like one in the Oberoi gallery may be a safer choice.

If you are going to Jaipur, I would also try the Gem Palace, they may have estate pieces, which would be interesting. They have a good bit of estate jewelery.

For shoes, I really don't have any advice, I get shoes made here in Hong Kong so don't look much elsewhere.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 04:56 AM
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Thank you again. Sophia
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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We made shopping forays on a recent trip in Ahmedabad (not on your list, some good places for tapestries, Gujarati needlework and decor) Udaipur (poor shopping) Jodhpur (some minor successes a lot of wasted time.

We felt Rajasthan to be generally not worth the effort shoppingwise, disappointly, with rather unappealing stuff many places - it is possible to find the traditional jutti shoes, however, quite easily - in Udaipur on Palace Road and Lake Palace Road, in Jodhpur old city markets and Rajasthali, in Delhi. The Rajasthali stores in both Udaipur and Jodhpur were big disappointment - they do have lots of mirror work tapestries and pillow covers, tho if that is of interest. The Meherengarh Fort in Jodhpur, a must visit has a very nice museum shop at the end of the audio tour, as well as other small outlets for Jodhpur vendors including a branch of the famous Mohanlal Verhomal's spice shop operated by his widow. The museum shop sells a number of nice items, including some of the traditional mughul style drawings (surely not of the best quality but attractive) One gets the feeling that the traditional craft industries in Rajasthan are dying out - certainly the local women were not wearing leheriya, kota doria and tie and die fabrics of the sort I craved and the quality (the local folks are mostly going for nylon these days) available was much inferior to that found say at a dupatta shop, Dili Haat or Fabindia in Delhi.

Im not sure what kind of shopping there is in Khajuraho, since there is not much of a village there, but if you search out a sari shop you might find some interesting handlooms - shawls, scarves, etc from Chanderi, Maheshwar or elsewhere in MP - MP is justly famous for these.

Back in Delhi, we were most please with Fabindia (especially the GK-1 N block stores, one has housewares/table clothes etc, very stylish and beautiful fabrics) and the lovely textiles at Dili Haat. There seemed like there might be some good quality pottery and other decorative pieces at Cottage Industries but most of the stuff we saw was middling quality. and less interesting. Someone else mentioned Santushti - we didnt go there but did visit a store in Jodhpur, Tulsi, that we quite liked which also has a branch in that market. Lots of Westerners shop at Anokhi (mostly clothing) but it reminded me of Laura Ashley and underwhelmed. Finally, the Craft Museum in Delhi had some of the nicest craft items we saw on our trip, from Bengali textiles through wood carvings, jewelry, mirror tapestries, etc. It might be a good place to start and do some level setting before you begin shopping - you may well wind up finishing there.

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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 02:32 AM
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I am not an old hand at shopping in India but boy I gave it a good try in Delhi , Agra , Mumbai and in Goa . Cicerone has given excellent advice .
Taxes on certain goods varies between states depending upon whether the item is something made in that State or close by. So , a pashmina in Delhi will be likely better quality and cheaper than in Mumbai or further south .In Delhi we bought wonderful pashmina , shamina - my memory of its spelling has faded-( silk and pashmina woven blend wich is extraordinairily fine and soft )and beautiful hook embroidery rugs - not carpets -made in Kashmir .Stunning range of designs from classical French to William Morris type patterns .They were from the the Cottage Industries Emporiums and top of the range emporiums and whilst you pay more the quality was superb as was the vast range .They shipped the largest rug by post ( 12 feet by 10 feet ) at a very modest cost .They said 3 weeks to deliver to Australia and it was .They fold into quite small packages so we carried 3 smaller ones home .Mumbai has wonderful gems and semi precious stones .I expect thet is also the case in Delhi . We also found the quality was best in the cities where the work is famed .
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 06:04 PM
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thanks again for all the input. im writing all of this for references.
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 07:26 PM
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Thanks, Cicerone, for more great info.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 10:55 PM
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Also, Anokhi, with several locations throughout India, including Delhi & Jaipur.

Well made Indian style clothing with a contemporary flair. Great fabrics, all handprinted.

Lovely cafe outside of the Jaipur store - excellent coffee, and SALAD!
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Old Dec 19th, 2007, 10:59 PM
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Cicerone, I just returned from Delhi. As I had very limited shopping time, I got most of my shopping done at Khan market. The book shops were especially interesting since I picked up many older titles that I didn't get to read when they first came out. Dili Haat - this is my third time there and it is hit or miss - the artisans are traveling artisans and they rotate every 14 days. I bought some minor handicrafts but didn't find the wrought iron work or quality jutti I found my first time there. Saw some beautiful copper water jugs but simply couldn't carry them back as they were too heavy. Cottage Emporium on Janpath, just didn't do it for me, probably because of the white florescent lights. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency this time and liked it better than Oberoi simply because of the feeling. Thanks again for pointing me to Khan Market.
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Old Dec 20th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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You know, I don't really understand the point of buying pashminas in India-you can get the authentic ones here in the states on-line or in certain shops on sale for LESS than you can get them in a lot of shops in India, so why buy them there? On the other hand, most objects can be bought here in the States from India-things like unique looking copper water jugs, would be very nice, however, the problem is, as Sophia points out, -how you gonna carry that stuff around?

I'll be in India for 5 weeks starting the end of January, I'm going on a camel safari in Bikaner, among other things, and will spend several days in Varanasi (my most desired destination in India besides the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad).

I've decided to concentrate on the sights and experiences, rather than the shopping, because I'm just not going to be able to carry things with me, since after India and Nepal, I'll be going one to Dubai-one of the "hot" destinations of 2008-gotta check out the self-proclaimed world's only 7 star Burj al Arab hotel, among other scenes (something tells me there is a bit of star-inflation involved in that hotel rating!) as well as Oman. After the UAE, I'll end up in Paris for a day before heading home to the US-and after that, well, my beloved Venice will be beckoning, with free travel and accomodation-how could I not?

However, I'll post here if I see any markets, shops, in my many weeks of travel in India that may be of interest to others. Oh yes, and I DO plan on donning a beautiful sari, and having my hands henna'ed with lovely Hindi designs- and then having my picture taken-that should be quite interesting!
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Old Dec 20th, 2007, 05:04 PM
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If you are talking the same quality, you will find much better prices on pashmina in India. Most sold in US are either lesser quality or much higher priced. You'll also find a lot more variety in colors, patterns and weave in India.
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Old Dec 21st, 2007, 06:44 AM
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You will find lots of pashminas in India, which really invented the shawl and pashmina wool comes from the region, so you will find a lot. Do women in the US still ware pashminas? I thought that craze was kind of over. Anyway, you should still be able to find many of them, I would go to Ahujasons as they are known for quality and they have a big selection. You will also find a huge selection of other wool shawls which are embroidered, as well as shawls which are a mix of wool, silk and cashmere. If you want a nice souvenir of India, one of the embroidered wool shawls is a good one. They make good table covers and wall hangings as well. India has a lot of textiles, and they make good decorative fabrics and easy to pack.

You can always ship heavier things home, or ship dirty laundry home and take souvenirs in packed luggage. A place like Cottages Emporium on Jan path would be reliable for shipping, IMO, but you never do know. I have not used the Indian postal service so don't know about reliability, I have shipped rugs from India with no problem. But check your luggage restrictions, you may be allowed 2 bags in and business class up to 3, so you may be able to take more than you think.

Hmm, Dubai is one of my least favourite places, if you really want to see the Middle East I would go elsewhere, but you are going to Oman so that is a good thing. Jordan is a very easy trip as well and has the fantastic Petra. The people are lovely in Dubai, but of course virtually no one you will meet is from Dubai, they are all from somewhere else like Pakistan, India, Lebanon, Syria and the Philippines as the population is tiny and few of the Dubai citizens work and so virtually all labour is imported, including white collar jobs. They have an absolutely excellent PR system and have been able to sell themselves as a "destination" when they are really just one shopping mall after another (Toys R Us, Dunkin Donuts, Tiffany, Bulgari, burquas and oud), a very average beach, a small desert (which pales next to a real one like in Jordan), some good restaurants and hotels and lots of traffic. My hats off to them for the sales job they have done. You are at least going at the one good time of year if you are going in the next few weeks.

At one point, the Burj al Arab was charging non-guests to enter the hotel, about US$25, I don't know if they do that any more.
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