Whenever there’s a friend/relative visiting Dubai who wants to see its cultural side, not to mention the total opposite of its glam metro, I always bring them in the Bur Dubai side of the creek. I’ve been there for a number of times and yet, never get tired of taking photos and exploring it every single time.
The tour starts at the Al Ghubaiba Bus Station. Walk past through it and you’ll get to see an alley of shops selling different kinds of garments and electronics. Gadgets are relatively cheaper here, as these goods didn’t go through the customs (that’s what they say). Note though that establishments usually operate late, around 4pm, on Fridays.
Walk a little further and you’ll get to the Al Fahidi Fort that houses the Dubai Museum. It’s that fortress with a dhow displayed in the middle. Now you wonder where the museum is? Interestingly, it is underground! At a reasonable price of 3 dirhams, you can get a clear understanding of the Bedouin way of life. The museum is filled with life size dioramas, complete with mood lighting and sounds, short films, illustrations and artifacts. At the end of the winding alley is a small souvenir shop.
Next stop is the nearby Bastakiya quarter. First thing that one will notice is the traditional architecture of the place. The wind towers (used for natural ventilation) will surely catch your attention. While this patch of the district is infamous for its round of art exhibits; this area also boasts a couple of museums. You may also not want to miss the remains of the ancient wall of Dubai. There are a few restaurants and cafes around for your tummy’s satisfaction. Try the camel burger at the Local House Coffee and Restaurant.
A few steps from the Bastakiya is the Meena Bazaar (also known as Textile Souq or Souq Al Kabeer). It has a wide selection of fabrics, RTW clothes, traditional Emirati wear and all kinds of shawls/Pashminas. There’s one stall near the abra station that offers Aladdin shoes. A few shops also sell souvenirs for a cheap price. Just always remember to haggle.
To conclude the short exploration, you could walk further and take a peek on the Heritage Village for more cultural experience or take the abra (fare is 1 dirham) and roam around the Deira side of the creek.