Authentic Dubai – Travel Bloggers Recommend

What to Eat in Dubai

Dubai is known for decadence. From palace-esque hotels to sculpted private islands, this desert city can seem insanely luxurious and – at times – a little fake. Trip Advisor’s list of the best things to do in Dubai is full of glittering malls, enormous water parks, and, of course, the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel.

These are all great aspects of a trendy, fascinating and wealthy city – but what about the “real”, authentic Dubai? Is there any history and tradition left to fill your Dubai itinerary with? I rounded up some great input and recommendations from a few travel bloggers who’ve been…

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Dubai Creek

In a fascinating article about The Real Dubai on Grantourismo Travels, long-time expat in Dubai Lara Dunston argues that “there’s so much more to Dubai” than the artificial, soulless city many travellers accuse it of being.

Authentic Dubai - Travel Bloggers Recommend

For an insight into the history, tradition and culture of authentic Dubai, Lara says visitors should head to Dubai Creek, the city’s old town. Make like a local and take a wooden Abra across the river to explore the twisted, narrow streets of some of Dubai’s original neighbourhoods. Dive into the labyrinthine streets of Bastakiya quarter, lined with restored 18th and 19th century mansions, or head to one of the many souqs for a little shopping – try the Bur Dubai Souq for textiles, the Deira Spice Souq, or the tantalising Gold Souq.

Food Tour

There’s no better way to explore a city than by eating it’s traditional cuisine. In Dubai, where restaurants of all kinds can be found in abundance, it can be hard to track down the best local food. Kathryn Burrington from Travel With Kat recommends a food tour with Frying Pan Adventures to explore the food of Dubai – with them she explored everything from camels’ heads to coconut water!

Authentic Dubai - Travel Bloggers Recommend

Dubai Creek by night is another great place to find traditional local food, like shisk kebabs grilled over hot coals or bread served with hummus and baba ghanoush. If you’re looking for an authentic local restaurant in Dubai, turn to travel and expat blogs rather than guide books as these are always great places to find local recommendations.

Al Ain Camel Market

Awesome travel blogger Natasha Amar from The Boho Chica lives in Dubai, and her blog is full of fab posts about her home city. For a fascinating insight into Emirati heritage, Natasha recommends heading to the Al Ain Camel Market, which is about an hour’s drive from Dubai. A genuine working camel market, this is authentic Dubai at it’s best; visit on a weekday to avoid the tourist crowds.

Authentic Dubai - Travel Bloggers Recommend

“It’s a great place to watch market dynamics at play with persuasive negotiations between eager sellers and rich buyers, some of whom don’t even step out of their SUVs, choosing instead to cruise between pens to assess the animals.”

The Grand Jumeirah Mosque

Another Natasha, this one from travel blog Travel Addict UK, tweeted me to recommend the Grand Jumeirah Mosque – saying “it was so beautiful and peaceful”. It’s also easily one of the best and most interesting things to do in Dubai! A medieval Fatimid-style mosque, the Grand Jumeirah is pretty jawdropping, with white domes and minarets, and a dazzling tiled interior. Tours are available from the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding, and are held at 10am from Saturday to Thursday.

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Ways to Experience the Authentic Dubai - Travel Bloggers Recommend

About Emily Luxton

An award-winning writer and travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper, more intelligent travel. Seeking out adventure, cultural exchanges, food experiences and more as she attempts to get to know the world. Lover of the great outdoors, sunsets, good food, and the odd bit of luxury!

10 Comments

  1. yes theres so much more to Dubai! still, its hard to go past that water park it’s awesome! :)

  2. and evening desert safari is awesome too! Not sure if that is touristy activity to do but it would be an awesome experience to spend the night in the desert and sleep under the stars and with the wind.

    • Ooh great suggestion – I bet that’s an incredible experience! I’m not really trying to avoid the touristy things, but more show that there’s another side to Dubai that’s not just malls and 5 star hotels etc. So a trip to the desert sounds like a great suggestion!

  3. Only just discovered your blog somehow. Great list of things to checkout in Dubai here! Having lived there for a bit, I definitely second camping in the desert. Nothing beats the still, calm serenity of the desert at night.

  4. Great article, full of ideas! I would add to this the amazing Gardens!! Dubai is every year in my plans but something happens and still remains in the plans.. hopefully this year I will do it!! Love, from Athens

  5. This post is awesome! I am currently planning a few days in Dubai and love the ideas for an authentic trip. Thanks!

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