Discover the authentic Dubai far from the luxury buildings and hotels

When we talk about travel to Dubai, we often think of oversized shopping malls, the famous Burj Khalifa tower or even artificial islands. Old Dubai is not necessarily the image that we have in priority of the city of excessiveness.

Focus on old Dubai, an often forgotten facet of the main city of the United Arab Emirates.

Old Dubai: Deira and Bur Dubai

Old Dubai is located in the north of the city. The historic center is built around an arm of the sea called Dubai Creek. Old Dubai is often separated into 2 districts:

  • Deira north of the inlet
  • Bur Dubai to the south

These 2 neighborhoods are quite similar. Here, we definitely forget the big towers of 300 meters tall, oversized shopping malls and the other clichés one can have about Dubai.

Old Dubai is a classic Arab city, far from the clichés about Dubai!

We are indeed in a classic Arab city. The streets are bustling with activity, we are in a a veritable maze of alleys, mosques are numerous and the architecture is traditional, typical of the Gulf countries.

In short, old Dubai completely breaks the clichés one can have about the city of excess …

What to do in old Dubai?

After this short introduction to the districts and geography of old Dubai, make way for places of interest in the historic center of Dubai. Let’s see together what to see or do in this part of town.

These things to see or do in Dubai are all about old Dubai. For more information on the rest of the city, you can consult this travel guide dedicated to Dubai:

Dubai souks

The souks of Dubai are mainly located in Deira but there are also a few in Bur Dubai. As elsewhere in Arab towns, these narrow streets are full of shops and often organized by product. There is the spice souk, the Gold Souk for gold jewelry, …

The souks of Dubai are a true immersion in the Orient …

It is also a great place to buy traditional Middle Eastern products: spices, Arabic coffee, henna or other products from the region.

Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum is a very good museum that traces the history of the city. This museum is located in an old fort, which gives it a certain charm!

Entrance is free and one of the must-see places in old Dubai. Allow around 45 minutes for the visit. Free entry !

Abra on Dubai Creek

As previously mentioned, Dubai Creek is an arm of the sea that separates old Dubai into 2 districts. To reach one district from another, the easiest solution is to to cross by boat. This crossing is done on an abra, a traditional wooden boat.

The crossing is very short. However, if you want to spend more time on these boats, it is possible to go up the inlet on a private excursion. Or, you can opt for a dinner cruise on an abra! A superb memory for sure!

This post on old Dubai will, I hope, have the merit of making you want to discover this more authentic part of Dubai. Far from the shopping centers and the excessiveness that is often attributed to the city, old Dubai should appeal to lovers of the Middle East and Arab cities.

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