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Arva Ahmed
Curators’ pick
Arts & Culture

Discover the best of Old Dubai

11 Places

4 Days

Food tourism innovator Arva Ahmed reveals her favourite areas in the city, where the lanes are filled with surprises at every turn.
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Learn about Dubai's past at these heritage venues

Al Ahmadiya School And Heritage House Dubai
Established in a two-storey building near the Gold Souk, Al Ahmadiya School was the first school in Dubai. At the time, the school attracted the finest scientists and scholars from the region and upheld a high standard of education from 1912 until it closed in 1958. It was renovated and reopened in 1995 as a museum, with each room now offering visitors a glimpse into the past through dioramas and videos.

Traverse Dubai Creek on a traditional abra boat

Boat Riding at Dubai Creek in Dubai
The bustling Dubai Creek has been the lifeblood of the city for generations and continues to attract visitors year-round. For just AED1 (US$0.27), you can hop aboard one of many traditional boats, known as abras, to cross the creek that separates Bur Dubai from Deira, Dubai’s city centre. The abras, or ‘water taxis’ run every few minutes throughout the day across four stations along Dubai Creek.  Every crossing on the now-motorised boats only takes about five minutes. Simply buy a one-way ticket, or you can even hire your own abra for an hour to explore further up the waterway.

Shop for gold ornaments and gemstones in Dubai

Gold Souk in Dubai
A trip to Dubai isn't complete without a trip to the famous Gold Souk, one of the oldest and most fascinating traditional markets in the emirate. Whether you’re just browsing, or genuinely on the hunt for even the slightest amount of precious gold, walk through the glittering Gold Souk to find designs from around the world crafted in a variety of carats.

Spice up your Dubai experience at this vibrant bazaar

Spice Souk
Dubai’s Spice Souk is a colourful, aromatic and sensory experience. Discover new flavours and recipes as you explore the traditional spice market in Dubai's heritage area. Savour the atmosphere of the past as you are introduced to the mounds of aromatic herbs and spices, all spilling from large baskets at every turn. Wander among many different stalls and chat to the vendors who will give you plenty of ideas on how you can use the exotic spices on offer.
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