Dubai is a city of modern skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, and lavish shopping malls. However, its old town, also known as Old Dubai, offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of Old Dubai, and guide you on how to spend a perfect day in this charming neighborhood.
Dubai’s Old Town, also known as Bur Dubai, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing the city’s traditional side. The neighborhood boasts several historical sites, traditional markets, and charming streets, all of which offer a unique glimpse into the city’s past. In this article, we will guide you on how to spend a perfect day in Old Dubai.
Getting to Old Dubai
Old Dubai is easily accessible by public transportation. Visitors can take the metro to Al Fahidi Station, which is located in the heart of the neighborhood. From there, they can explore the area on foot or by taking a traditional taxi.
Exploring Al Fahidi Historical District
Al Fahidi Historical District is the heart of Old Dubai, and it’s the perfect place to start your tour. The district is home to several well-preserved traditional houses, known as wind towers, that date back to the 19th century. Visitors can explore these houses, which now serve as museums, galleries, and cultural centers. They can also wander through the narrow streets and alleyways, which are lined with traditional architecture, quaint cafes, and art galleries.
Visiting Dubai Museum
Located in Al Fahidi Historical District, Dubai Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the city’s history. Housed in the oldest building in Dubai, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past, from its humble beginnings as a fishing village to its current status as a global metropolis. Visitors can see traditional boats, weapons, and household items, as well as interactive exhibits that bring the city’s history to life.
Crossing Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek is a natural inlet that divides the city into two parts, Bur Dubai and Deira. Visitors can cross the creek on a traditional wooden boat, known as an abra, which costs only a few dirhams. The crossing offers stunning views of the city’s skyline, as well as the chance to see traditional dhows (boats) sailing on the water.
Exploring the Spice and Gold Souks
After crossing the creek, visitors can explore the traditional markets of Deira, including the Spice and Gold Souks. These markets offer an authentic taste of Dubai’s past, with vendors selling spices, perfumes, textiles, and gold jewelry. Visitors can haggle over prices and soak up the lively atmosphere of these bustling markets.
Having Lunch at Arabian Tea House
Located in Al Fahidi Historical District, Arabian Tea House is a charming cafe that offers traditional Emirati cuisine in a beautiful setting. Visitors can enjoy a delicious lunch of Arabic mezze, shawarma, or grilled meat, accompanied by fresh juice or tea. The cafe’s outdoor seating area is a great spot to relax and soak up the neighborhood’s atmosphere.
Exploring the Dubai Heritage Village
Dubai Heritage Village is a small, open-air museum located in the heart of Al Shindagha neighborhood. The village is a replica of a traditional Emirati village, complete with Bedouin tents, palm-leaf houses, and a souk (market). Visitors can explore the village and learn about Emirati culture and traditions, including handicrafts, weaving, and pearl diving. The village also hosts live performances of traditional Emirati music and dance.
Taking an Abra Ride
After exploring the village, visitors can take another abra ride back to Bur Dubai. This time, they can enjoy the views of Old Dubai from the water and watch the sun setting over the city’s skyline. The abra ride is a perfect way to end the day and relax before dinner.
Enjoying the Views from Bur Dubai
As the night falls, visitors can head to Bur Dubai’s rooftop bars and enjoy the stunning views of the city’s skyline. Some of the best rooftop bars in the neighborhood include The Observatory at Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Level 43 Sky Lounge at Four Points by Sheraton, and The Deck at the Queen Elizabeth 2. These bars offer a range of cocktails, mocktails, and light bites, as well as stunning views of the city.
Having Dinner at XVA Art Hotel
XVA Art Hotel is a charming boutique hotel located in Al Fahidi Historical District. The hotel’s courtyard restaurant offers a range of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant’s setting is as impressive as its food, with a peaceful courtyard surrounded by traditional architecture and art galleries.
Old Dubai is a unique neighborhood that offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. From traditional markets to historical sites, and from abra rides to rooftop bars, there is something for everyone in this charming neighborhood. By following our guide, you can spend a perfect day in Old Dubai and create unforgettable memories.
- Is it safe to visit Old Dubai? Old Dubai is a safe neighborhood for visitors. However, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions, such as keeping your valuables safe.
- Can I wear shorts in Old Dubai? While there is no strict dress code in Old Dubai, it’s advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or traditional markets.
- Are there any guided tours of Old Dubai? Yes, there are several guided tours of Old Dubai available, including walking tours, bike tours, and cultural tours. These tours offer visitors a more in-depth experience of the neighborhood’s history and culture.
- What is the best time to visit Old Dubai? The best time to visit Old Dubai is from November to March when the weather is pleasant and mild. Summers in Dubai can be hot and humid, making outdoor activities uncomfortable.
- Are there any accommodations in Old Dubai? Yes, there are several accommodations in Old Dubai, including boutique hotels, guesthouses, and hostels. XVA Art Hotel, Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, and Orient Guest House are some of the popular options.