Feel the essence of Arabia exploring Dubai’s famous souks. Since the city’s early days, merchants from neighbouring countries would sail in to peddle their wares here. Gold, textiles, perfumes and fish are all on offer in these markets today, but the greatest sensory overload comes from the Spice Souk, which is alive with vibrant colours and aromas of some of the world’s most prized spices.
You can travel between the two souk areas by Abra over the Dubai Creek. At just AED1 for a ticket, the boats are not only quick and inexpensive, but are a truly authentic Dubai experience.
Relax and recharge at the lavish and conveniently located Hyatt Regency nearby.
Or immerse yourself in old Arabia and stay among the windtowers in one of the restored old buildings which operate as guest houses such as:
You’ll find Dubai Museum inside the Al Fahidi Fort. The historic building is filled with exhibits featuring impressive audio-video installations and life-sized dioramas that portray life in Dubai back when the area was inhabited by Bedouin tribes.
In addition to the Dubai Museum, history and culture buffs can enjoy any one of these other interesting museums:
Transport yourself to old Arabia, and walk among the wind towers of Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood where the gypsum and coral buildings were painstakingly restored to their original glory using authentic building materials used back in the day.
Photography enthusiasts can do no wrong here as just about every angle looks like a masterpiece with the Arabesque designs of the old buildings. And housed in one of Dubai’s oldest buildings, lies Bayt Al Wakeel, a heritage restaurant where you can enjoy Levantine and Emirati cuisine.
A number of art galleries dot the area displaying everything from calligraphy to modern art. But if you crave more than just culture, go to XVA, the unique art gallery that is also a hotel and café.
If you have time to spare, do meander to the Dubai Heritage Village or stop by Sheikh Saeed House which was the official residence His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s grandfather.
Finally go to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) where all sensitivities are set aside and you are encouraged to ask all the questions you have about Arabs, Emiratis, and Islam.