Last week I prepared myself for a visit to Dragon Mart. For anyone who doesn’t know where or what is DragonMart, then let me explain. In a way one might describe Dragon Mart as a giant Chinese mall. Selling mostly Chinese products, the 1.2 Kilometer-long Dragon Mart is the largest trading centre for Chinese Products outside mainland China. It’s also boasts to have over 2,500 parking spaces, which is interesting because I can never find a parking spot… then again on my last two visits I valet parked my car. It’s only AED 17. Believe me, it’s totally worth it.
If you haven’t been to this weirdly, and slightly fascinating mall then you should. It’s worth a visit, but I suggest you avoid weekends and late afternoons. I always try to schedule my trips in around mid morning. The best thing about DragonMart is the huge variety of items on sale. You can find everything from toys, furniture, lamps, lights, clothes, stationery and even machinery… if that’s something you really need. On my last trip I bought 18 meters of faux grass, and 70 clear glass vases. I styled a wedding in Abu Dhabi yesterday and it’s a golf themed event. Just in case you’re wondering why I would need 18 meters of faux grass.
If you’re a bride on a tight budget and fancy sourcing your own decor then maybe these tips and tricks (from an experience DragonMart shopper) will help…
1. Park in FA – thats the lamp section. It’s sort of in the middle and if you’re looking for vases, lights or other decor items then you’re in the right area.
2. Don’t be affiraid to ask the information desk for help. I suggest taking pictures of the items you’re looking for, it helps when you might be faced with a language or accent barrier.
3. It’s OK to barter. I barter with every shop owner I meet. Be friendly and smile. It makes it easier for them to give in and knock a few dirhams off the price.
4. Avoid peak times. – Dragon Mart opens at 3pm on a Friday so if you do need to make the trip over a weekend then I suggest you arrive early. Nobody likes a crowed mall.
5. Quality check you items. You’re probably getting a bargain but if you can check the quality I would. For example whenever I but string lights I always check they work first. It’s time consuming but worth it.
6. Embrace your surroundings. You will know what I mean when you get there. I’ve only just leant to go with the flow when I visit DragonMart. I usually stress out, panic about time and get lost. I don’t know why but as soon as I enter the mall I loose my bearings, and that’s when my stress levels rise and my palms get sweaty.
So what do you buy? Good question. Here are my top 5 DragonMart bargains to look out for…
1. Glass vases. If you buy in bulk you can save you’re self a lot. However it’s a long way to go if you’re looking for one or two pieces for the house.
2. Printing. Believe it or not you can find a few good places to print canvases, badges, fridge magnets and all that other promo stuff.
3. Garden furniture. – Move over Ace Hardware.
4. Lights. You can find fairy lights, lanterns, Arabic style lanterns and anything that glows. It’s all in FA 🙂
5. Fans. You can find wood and paper fans for about AED 10 each. I know lots of brides have asked me where to buy fans for a wedding ceremony. They are sort of a ‘must-have’ if you’re getting married in Dubai.
If you fancy reading my blog about Dragon Mart from 2012 just click on the link below…. http://www.mylovelywedding.com/cheap-cheerful-dragon-mart/
Good luck my lovelies…