The Historical Old Town:
While I loved the modern area of Dubai, which you can read about in my blog Dubai, part 1, I was very intrigued too see what Al Fahidi, Dubai Old town looked like. Visiting the old town gives a small glimpse into life pre oil and the expanded modern city. The Old Town is steeped in history and traditional architecture. We walked through some museums and cultural centers for some historical insights into what once was. Dubai is very hot and humid in summer, so plan your outdoor time carefully!
The interiors are these centers are lavishly decorated with beautiful silk and other ornate fabrics.
I loved the intricate and ornate details on the furniture, such as on this chest below. I has a mystical feel to it.
Dubai Old town, by foot:
If you are able explore by foot, you have a greater chance of finding gems like these beautiful mosaic clad buildings and decorated mosques I absolutely love the colourful tile/ mosaic details and admire the skill of these craftsmen.
Dubai old town, by boat:
A visit to the Arabian markets, known locally souks, are a must. We took an abra, a traditional water taxi to cross the creek to get to various souks. The public abra is an extremely affordable way to cross the creek and are used by locals. The 10-minute boat ride offers a short reprieve from the heat and offers good views of the old town.
Dubai old town, markets:
Wander through the bustling markets is a must for tourists and locals alike. Haggling for better prices at the markets are the norm and adds to the experience! Shop owners are very friendly and keen to invite you into their stores and stalls as you pass by. I purchased beautiful pashmina’s and silk scarfs at very good prices in the textile souks. If haggling is markets does not appeal to you, try the Dubai Mall instead. There is an area which has stores and boutiques styled as traditional Arabic souks.
In my bid to cram in as much as possible in 3 days, we decided to visit the souks late morning. We only managed about 3 hours in the souks and old town, as walking through the market at midday, in 45 degrees, was not pleasant. Visit the markets late afternoon or in the evening when it is much cooler. Temperatures are about 30 degrees at night but it makes wandering through the markets a lot more bearable. The souks are open until 10pm at night but they close for a few hours late afternoon for prayers.
The spice market is a chef’s dream. There is a huge selection of fragrant spices and different types of scented saffron to choose from at the spice market. Safron is one of the most expenses spices in the world and are sold per gram here, varying in quality and priced accordingly. I will be cooking up a storm and baking some arabic delights when I am back home with the spices I purchased. After this memorable trip, where to next?