Old Dubai: Discover Deira
I miss Dubai - but more so, I miss Old Dubai.
Dubai markets both "New Dubai" and "Old Dubai" equally but most travellers seem to be captivated by the glitz and glamour of the more modern features of Dubai. But, it's the older sights that play an integral role of the city’s dynamic history. So naturally, we gravitated more towards the sights that preserved the Emirati Heritage and here are some activities to make the most of your time while there.
1. Deira Grand Souk
Deira Grand Souk is also known as the Spice Souk which is one of the largest markets in Deira. Here you can purchase spices, herbs and fragrances. It's an amazing place to be as it activates your sense of smell - take a wiff of all of the herbs and spices.
2. Dubai Creek
Surprisingly, this was one of the highlights of my time in the historic city. Imagine hopping onto a small wooden boat (an 'abra') which leans from side to side as persons embarked on their journey. You're immediately sucked into everything that's happening around you from the persons sitting side by side, to the captain who stands in the small square cut out with his steering wheel. It's undescribale and only an experience that you'd have to feel to understand.
The cost to cross the creek is a mere 1 Dirham per person which is about 30 US cents!
Fun Fact: The Dubai Creek was Dubai’s original trade link with the outside world.
3. Dubai Museum
The Dubai Museum, situated in Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest building in Dubai and it's here where it learnt of interesting facts about Dubai.
It's really inspiring to see that that city was birthed from the hard work of locals - a small fishing village to a futuristic city is nothing short of remarkable!
You'll truly have a greater appreciation for the Emirate after you've had a tour of the musuem.
4. Bastakiya Quarter
The Bastakiya Quarter is a charming neighborhood which was takes the name of the rich textile and pearl merchants from Bastak, Iran who settled there in the 19th century. It lies along the Dubai Creek and is home to not only the Old Dubai Museum, but many other shops, cafes and galleries.
Tip: Be sure to look up to spot the windcatchers - an early form of air conditioning.
5. Dubai Heritage Village
A traditional Arabian village located in the Al Shindagha district provides a glimpse into Dubai’s traditional culture and lifestyle which provides some insight into the including Emirate's pearl diving traditions and architecture.
6. Dubai Old Souk
The souk is an exhilarating place to explore. The Emirati lure you into their stores with sweet words and try things on you to sweeten your appetite for an expensive purchase.
Here it's okay to haggle because they enjoy it (truthfully I enjoy it too) but don't insult them with a substantial price cut.
7. Gold Souk
If you haven't figured it out by now, the Gold Souk is simply a melting pot of hundreds of jewellery shops. Here you can find gold at a cheap rate but most of the shops have the same rate so be sure to visit more than one to get an idea of the current rate.
8. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House
This historic house was the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum – the ruler of Dubai from 1912 to 1958, and the grandfather of current Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. It's another great bit of history that you shouldn't miss.
Now that you've journeyed with us through this charming neighbourhood, be sure to also check out 7 Unforgettable Experiences You Must Try While In Dubai!