Travellers visit Dubai for its posh ambience and surrounds, but Dubai manages to shock everyone with its surprise element. Dubai undoubtedly holds prominence in unique outlandish architecture, glitzy high rise buildings, malls and hotels, but there’s more to Dubai than just world class urbanism and elegant lifestyle. Dubai shows its hidden wonders and captures your attention with history, heritage and great local cuisine. Amid the revolutionary urban transformation of the city, Dubai has managed to preserve its ethnicity in its historical sites of old Dubai. Keeping its past alive through these pastoral sites, the other side of Dubai is a memorable journey you will remember than your sophisticated trips in Dubai. For a completely different Dubai experience, check out these places on your trip.
1. Meander on the Dubai Creek on an Abra cruise
The Dubai creek separates the old and the new sites in Dubai and a sail down the creek gives you a clear picture of the city’s contrasting vistas. A breezy and invigorating cruise on traditional wooden boats on Dubai creek is a great way to start your journey to Dubai’s past era. Operating since the days when Dubai creek served as the fishing and pearling area, this leisure trip is a top attraction among tourists and the perfect way to view staggering contrasts of Dubai city skyline.
2. Experience shopping in traditional way at Dubai Souks
Obviously shopping will be on any traveller’s wish list visiting Dubai as the city canvasses shopping through its extravagant range of lavish shopping malls. For an authentic traditional shopping experience away from the glitzy malls filled with squandering branded merchandises, take a walk around the lanes of Dubai Souks in Old Dubai and get the essence of local shopping. A buzzing atmosphere with spurts of colourful fabrics, endless displays of gold, enticing aromas of spices and perfume will keep you captive in specific lanes wanting to explore deeper realms of these Souks. The myriad of merchandise excel right from the originality to its quality. The souks most popular to visit are the Gold Souks, Perfume Souks, Spice Souks and Textile Souks. Wander around this charming marketplace and get the feel of local way of trading, mingle with the locals here and try out some authentic Arabian cuisines.
3. Get a glimpse of the Bedouin era at Al Bastakiya Quarters
The essence of Dubai’s origin is best observed in the Al Bastakia Quarters. An old segment of traditionally made Arabic houses with specially designed ventilation known as wind towers, the Al Bastakia Quarters takes you through its narrow alleys and sand toned structures to the time way back when Dubai was a simple pearl and fishing villages. Veiled by Dubai’s enigmatic modern transformation, the Al Bastakia Quarters preserves the Bedouin era and gives you an insight into the lifestyle of locals during the past at well maintained picturesque heritage sites which are now a part of UNESCO sites.
4. Enjoy delightful Arabian art and culinary tour at Old Dubai
The Al Bastakiya Quarters reflects the early years of Dubai and moreover embraces its original art and cuisine scene. Home to primitive Arabic houses of merchants, certain sectors and labyrinth lanes have been remodelled into art galleries and cafes. A great breather from the bustle of chaotic Dubai city rushes, this segment of Old Dubai exudes tranquillity while respecting the artistic side of Dubai. A walk through the winding narrow lanes lets you experience the genuineness of Dubai. Join in for a cultural lunch or dinner at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding – a great way to relish Arabic cuisine amid Arabian settings and people. Visit the XVA Gallery and cafe, Maljis Gallery and peek into the fusion of Middle Eastern traditional and contemporary art scenes, combine it with a trip to Arabian Tea House Cafe or Bastakia Nights for flavoursome Emirati food specialities and local treats set in the surrounds of shaded cool courtyard donned in Arabian decor, green shrubs and wall climbers.
5. Learn more about Old Dubai at Dubai Museum
Housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai Museum is perhaps the best way to dig deeper for a real encounter with Dubai’s past. An excellent way to learn about Dubai’s historic and cultural influences, Dubai Museum is a house of fascinating collections from the ancient times when Dubai was a small fishing village. The Museum showcases life size dioramas and exhibits that recreate the lifestyle of locals before Dubai moved towards becoming one of world’s most innovative metropolitan.
6. Turn back time at Dubai Heritage Village
A short stroll from the Bur Dubai abra station takes you to a well preserved Arabian village cocooned away from the domineering iconic soaring structures of modern Dubai. As you step into this village, you will seemingly forget all about Dubai’s glitzy appearance. The Dubai Heritage and Diving village is set at Al Shindagha Historical neighbourhood and takes you on a journey when Dubai thrived as a humble creek side village specializing in fishing and pearling. Showcasing the bygone era culture, the village features a range of traditional houses, a souk and historic and handicraft exhibits along with food stalls offering delectable Emirati food.
7. Visit Dubai’s biggest mosque – Grand Mosque
Dubai’s leading place of worship, the Grand Mosque is an impressive restoration of its original version. The biggest mosque in Dubai is simple and under toned compared to other mosques, has plain hues with Quranic inscriptions and intricate carvings. The main attraction is the city’s tallest minaret that soar above rest of its domes and minarets, towering over Bur Dubai and the creek making it a grand sight to visit.
An incredible juxtaposition of sophistication and simplicity comfortably bonded into a remarkable city, the contrasting two worlds of Dubai fascinates visitors who not only like to experience the chic life of Dubai but gain cultural insight of the city as well. On your Dubai trip, you can enjoy a lavish urban getaway or a rich cultural experience or the best of both worlds as per your convenience. With a myriad of things to do in Old Dubai where the city’s heritage is strongly fused in its segment and elements, a tour of these precious sights is something you would not be keen on missing on your trip.