Discover an authentic side of this charming city that you could not find anywhere else during your transit
THERE’S no doubt that Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. Although Dubai is known for its glamour, extravagance, and luxury, there is a lot of culture to experience with the whole family on your next visit to Dubai. Here are some recommendations for you to experience Dubai’s heritage.
Embrace the Emirati Culture
Most people have some preconceptions or misconceptions about the Middle East. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) should be the first stop to visit as this is the place you can ask any questions on the culture and customs of the UAE. With its motto ‘Open Doors, Open Minds’ – all questions are welcome and answered, no matter how sensitive they are. Since opening in 1998, the SMCCU has been helping visitors gain a better understanding about life in the emirate.
There are four guided tours offered for you to enlighten yourself on the Emirati culture:
Cultural Heritage Tour
Take part in a guided tour of Diwan Mosque and the Al Fahidi Historic District. Al Fahidi district is one of the oldest traditional Emirati neighborhood in Dubai. This tour is composes of a tour of Al Fahidi Historic District, mosque visit, and an open discussion where you will be served with a set of coffee and dates. Available dates: Saturday, at 9am / Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, at 10.30am
This tour will take you to ride the traditional abra across the Dubai Creek, visit gold souk, spice souk and textile souk, and visit the mosques around the area. But just be mindful, you need a reservation prior to join this tour. Other than that, this tour is only available for minimum of 10 persons in a group. Price: AED 275 per person / Duration: 2 hours
Enjoy great conversations over Emirati food and culture. You can choose to partake in breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner or even an afternoon tea.
Cultural Breakfast: AED 120 (Monday and Wednesday at 10am) / Cultural Lunch: AED 130 (Sunday to Thursday at 1pm) / Cultural Brunch/Dinner: AED 150 (Saturday at 10.30am and Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm)/ Fuala (Afternoon Tea): AED 150 (Tuesday to Friday at 4.30pm)
Eat Camel Dishes like an Emirati
Camels played a crucial role in Emirati history, from transportation, to clothing and of course, providing food. The stuffed camel dish is a traditional Emirati delicacy and is only served at weddings and special occasions these days. Although much less common than it used to be, visitors can still try camel dishes when visiting Dubai. Here are some places to try camel dishes in Dubai:
Camel koftah (meatball)
Where: Local House, Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood
Local House has been serving authentic Arabic cuisine for more than a decade. They serve soup, burger, steak, kebab, and biryani where you can choose your desired meat, ranging from the uncommonly consumed camel, zebra, and even deer meats to the common ones such as beef, chicken, and lamb. Price: AED 75
Flavored camel milk
Where: Majlis, Dubai Mall
Camel milk is packed full of vitamins and can reduce your risk of colon cancer, although its strong flavour may not appeal to everyone. Price: AED 18 – AED 26
Where: Switch, Dubai Mall
For fast food without the hefty calorie points, swap your standard burger patty for camel meat. It tastes surprisingly similar to lamb, and Switch offers multiple toppings to make it extra tasty. Price: AED 81
The Amazing Camel Race
In this modern day, you can still find an old Dubai tradition that is Camel Race. You can find this tradition at several camel racetracks, but the Al Marmoom Racetrack on Al Ain Road is the biggest in the city. Watch the heart-pumping, crowd-cheering, camel-racing sport from the comfort of the grandstand. Notes: between October and April / every Friday and Saturday mornings
The Art of Falconry
Falconry is one of Dubai’s oldest and proudest traditions. In fact, training and hunting with birds of prey has been an integral part of Emirati life since the 13th century. Today it’s become the million-dollar sportof sheikhs where some falcons are prized more highly than Porsches. Dubai’s Falcon and Heritage Sports Centre in Nad Al Sheba is the go-to place for all things falconry-related in Dubai. The centre’s traditional souk is the only place where the birds can be legally bought and sold in the emirate and it’s also where falconers go to shop for specialist equipment in the market’s specialist stores.
The souk’s shopkeepers are happy to share their great knowledge of falconry with visitors and there is an outdoor training ground for falconers to take their birds for a spin. There is also a Falcon Museum located in the centre, which showcases the ancient Arabian heritage of falconry.
To learn more about Dubai and to plan your next holiday to Dubai, please visit VISIT DUBAI