Forget the seven star properties, the man made islands, the tallest building in the world, the underwater hotels, the malls with ski slopes and the glitzy Marina skyline – it’s all old news and hardly worth a mention in that postcard you send back home.
We all know Dubai knows how to create headlines. But is the city capable of leaving a lasting impression on the intrepid traveller?
This month, FUCHSIA Magazine helps you discover a different Dubai; a more authentic, fresh and fascinating face of this city teeming with centuries old souks, bazaars, forts and mosques where there is so much more on offer than meets the untrained tourist eye.
Here is our list of top 10 recommended things to try on your next visit to Dubai:
1. Explore Bastakia: Start your Dubai day with a taste of traditional Arabia in Dubai’s Bastakia district, located in Bur Dubai (Old Dubai). An exploration of Dubai’s past includes a must-pay visit to the Dubai Museum, housed inside the characteristic Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 as the ruler’s residence which also served as Dubai’s primary sea defence. The displays inside the museum are imaginative and creative including a reproduction of a 1950’s souk and the chance to enjoy the tranquil beauty of a night in the desert.
2.Take an Abra (a water taxi) over the Dubai Creek: Do yourself a favour and get down to the Creek. It is here that you’ll be able to see the original historical Dubai with its glittering souks and old, winding streets with a skyline dotted by minarets. For a truly authentic experience, ditch the tourist boats and take one of the wooden “abras” like the locals take. You can take the boat from the Old Souk on one side of the river to several spots on the other side, including the Spice Souk. This rich experience will only set you back a grand total of 1 Dirham and be one of the best things you do all trip as you make your way peacefully across the cool emerald water, enjoying the sights and sounds of Arabia on both banks.
3. Forget the Malls, Visit the Souks instead: For a quintessential Dubai experience, dedicate an evening to exploring the multitude of traditional souks in the city; the Spice Souk, Gold Souk, Perfume Souk and Textile Souk are the most popular ones to visit. My personal favorite is the Spice Souk; imagine huge, open bags of sweet smelling cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper and even shisha, fill and spill out of tiny stores onto the street. The shopkeepers are charming, the value is great, the colors are intense and bewildering and the aromas are truly out of this world. Don’t miss it – your senses will thank you.