A very different Dubai tourism, not skyscrapers

 As the fastest growing city in the world, Dubai tourism is associated with a skyscraper. But this time let's go to another Dubai, no tall buildings.

On the surface, the city looks like an ultra-modern adult adventure playground with large shopping malls, man-made islands and glittering marinas. Undeniably, Dubai is one of the consumer capitals of the world. But what if you want something a little different from your Dubai trip ? Here are a few alternatives you can do in a very different Dubai, without the shadow of a tall building.

1. Gold Souk - Jewelry Market

Located in Deira, Dubai's historic commercial district, it used to be a thriving shopping hub. However, it is not possible to keep up with the rapidly growing pace of the shopping center buildings. To get to Gold Souk, you can go by bus, taxi or train. Taxis are the most efficient, comfortable and time-saving, yet the most expensive. If you have plenty of time, take a bus, the bus stop is right next to the market. Another option is to take the MRT Green Line, then get off at Al Ras Station, go to Exit 2 and walk 10 minutes to get to Gold Souk.

Gold Souk is a traditional Arab market with more than 300 jewelry stores. This is where you can buy jewelry at the cheapest price and still be able to bargain for a much better price. Walk through Gold Souk and see corridors filled with sparkling shops with 24 karat gold jewelry. Jewelry here is designed in a variety of creative forms, inspired by cultures as deeply rooted as those of Emirates and India.

2. Deira Grand Souk - Market for herbs, spices and textiles

After walking past Gold Souk, walk to the Exit near the jewelry store with the heaviest gold ring display of the Guinness Record and turn left, a 5 minute walk or less will lead you to Deira Grand Souk. You will know you are on the right track as you start to breathe in an atmosphere with a distinctly unique Arabic scent. Deira Grand Souk is also known as Spice Souk, a vibrant spice market where you can purchase spices, herbs and perfumes. In addition, there are also stores selling textiles, kitchenware and kitchy souvenirs. 

Traveling to Dubai, you should definitely not miss these Arab flea markets. Especially the Deira area, one of the oldest and attractive neighborhoods of ancient Dubai tourism. This place is a mixture of Middle Eastern, Indian, Pakistani, Somali and even Filipino residents who have made their mark in the region.

3. Dubai Creek

Adjacent to Deira Grand Souk is Dubai Creek, a saltwater creek that holds much of Dubai's history. This creek was once used as a fishing grounds and a gateway for merchants. Today, Dubai Creek tourism is a top attraction in Old Dubai. Despite the modern transportation system in the city, traditional wooden boats are carefully preserved here and dominate the waterways. With only 1 dirham / AED (about 6,304 VND) you can take a wooden boat at Deira Old Souk Station. The short boat ride will take you to the other side of the creek - Bur Dubai.

4. The Dubai Heritage Village

From the boat dock up in Bur Dubai, turn right and walk towards the Al Shindagha district which is the Dubai Heritage Village. Please note that walking along the riverbank, you will never get lost. Dubai Diving and Heritage Village is a preserved place that exhibits cultural and traditional character of the city. Here you will probably have a glimpse of Dubai's humble past, a country that excels at fishing and pear. Don't forget to stop by a barasti bar to enjoy traditional Dubai dishes.

From Heritage Village you can go to the House of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum. It is the residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, the visionary ruler of Dubai from 1912 to 1958. It has now become a museum where important documents and images of his life are displayed, for a fee. Entrance is 3 AED (About 19,000 VND).

5. Dubai Old Souk and Dubai Museum

After a journey back in time at the Dubai Heritage Village, walk to the Bur Dubai abra station and you'll find another charming Arab market. The traditional marketplace contains hundreds of retail stores selling Arabic textiles, footwear, jewelry and food. Like all other flea markets, Dubai Old Souk is a "tourist trap", so don't forget to bargain if you plan to buy anything here. 

When you're done with all your souvenir shopping, take a short walk from Dubai Old Souk to the Dubai Museum. As a "portal to the past", the Dubai Museum is located at Al Fahidi Fort. If Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world in Dubai, this museum is the oldest building here. You will be amazed at Dubai's rich history when you visit the museum and all the unique antiques on display. Admission to the museum is 3 AED (About 19,000 VND)

If traveling in Dubai or the Arab Emirates on a Friday, keep in mind that it's a weekend. As a result, most museums and retail stores in the Historical Area are closed in the morning and open in the late afternoon. Opening hours also change during Islamic holidays and on the holy month of Ramadan.

6. The Bastakiya neighborhood

Near the Dubai Museum is Bastakiya, a historic neighborhood located along the banks of the Dubai River. This place used to be a residential area for wealthy merchants. At Bastakiya, you can find perfectly preserved traditional Arab houses. In stark contrast to the architecture that is popular in today's busy Dubai tourist area, these buildings are all brown, with a few windows and small wooden windows. Each room has its own wind tower, which is used to bring in cool air as a natural form of air conditioner.

In this modern era, the narrow alleys in the Bastakiya district lead you to museums, art galleries, hotels and restaurants. To finish off your Dubai tour , sample the exotic Dubai Burger at Local House restaurant, then enjoy a teapot at ArabianTea House.

>> See more: Do not miss these interesting Dubai tourist attractions


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