Drive along the Emirates Road (towards Hatta-Oman) and you won’t miss Dragon Mart, the largest trading center for Chinese products outside mainland China. The first time I came here to shop was a few days before my wedding, to buy carpets. We—specially my mom—were terribly disappointed at the few shops and the even fewer choices of merchandise. There were a handful of people walking about in the 150,000 square meter mall.
Four years later, things appeared to have improved dramatically. The entire place is abuzz with people from all walks of life. There are over 2,500 parking spaces, but we couldn’t find a single one on a Friday, so we had to return the next day!
That is the dragon sitting in front of the mall’s main entrance. Do you see the smaller dragon in front? Although not shown in the picture above, several smaller dragons like this surround the big one, and together, they spit a stream of water out their tiny mouths at the big dragon. They perform this glorious act only at night. Sorry, no pictures.
Dragon Mart provides a gateway for the supply of Chinese products in the Middle Eastern and North African Markets, offering Chinese traders and manufacturers a unique platform; eight fully-equipped warehouses are located just behind the mall.
Some say the building is shaped like an enormous dragon, but I didn’t notice. Perhaps I need to climb on top of a burj or something to truly appreciate the dragon.
Inside, Dragon Mart just looks like any other shopping mall (except most shop owners are Chinese).
This place literally sells everything I could think of, but one has to be an expert at haggling. A 2000 dirham item can be bought in 1000 dirhams (if you spend an hour or two haggling). But you need to hurry as there are almost 1,500 stores to choose from! I think we spent 5 hours there and still didn’t see the entire place.
Lovely painting, isn’t it? No, I didn’t buy it. I want my sister, Sophia, to paint for me. Sophia, if you’re reading this, I’m going to set a deadline on that painting soon. She reads my post, but I’m certain she’s going to ignore this. Oh, well.
Cute lamp, na? No, I didn’t buy that either. Imagine how difficult it would be to clean off dust from that thing. Here in the U.A.E. we always have our windows and doors shut because the air-conditioner is on most of the time, plus I’m allergic to dust. Even then, those stubborn dust particles always manage to find their way into our home.
Oh, but we did buy something. Curtains!
It’s not there in the picture, but we ordered a gorgeous set of curtains for our humble home in Hyderabad. We received a call two days later to pick up the curtains. And they just arrived as I type this. I’m so excited! And we bought a small carpet to match it too.
Also, I noticed lots of local women shopping for bags and shoes. And I thought they only bought original, branded items.
What else? Oh yes, there is no dedicated food court (yet). But there are small food stalls scattered throughout the place. There are, however, several prayer rooms so it was very convenient to pray on time. And those shopping carts; you need to pay 25 dirhams rent and deposit 100 dirhams. It’s crazy.
Overall, Dragon Mart is a good place to shop for curtains, carpets, handbags, furniture, and hardware stuff.