Overseas trips are meant to offer a refreshing experience especially when you’re in a city like Dubai that is known for offering dual cultural experiences. Visiting places, meeting new people, and understanding foreign culture can offer you a whole new experience by the moment you leave for home.
But the issue is, where to start your adventurous (and spiritual) journey when you know so little about Dubai, right?
Here’s your timesaving roadmap to understand Dubai’s culture to connect with its people. Also, you’ll find plenty of cuisine options if, by any chance, you feel hungry patrolling the city as a tourist.
Let’s start discussing how you can connect with Dubai’s culture and cuisine, below!
Start by Understanding Dubai’s Cultural Diversity
Dubai is a land of various nationalities and a home to millions of expatriates and Emiratis. But don’t confuse Dubai with London, Paris, or New York where you can dress the way you want. This city has some rules that must be followed in order to be culturally accepted even as a tourist. From greetings, to dressing and more, there are various rules that you must understand before entering Dubai as a tourist.
- Although English is widely spoken around Dubai but knowing a few Arabic words such as “Marhaba” (Hello), Shukran (Thank You), “Na’am” (Yes), and “La” (No) can help you in breaking the ice with the locals in souks and streets.
- Since you’re trying to adopt Dubai’s culture, you must consider dressing modestly which includes covering heads and shoulders for both the genders in Dubai.
- Despite the fact that Dubai has all nationalities, try avoiding showing public affection such as hugging or kissing in public as these kind of acts are deemed inappropriate in local communities.
- It’s difficult to stop yourself from clicking the photo when you’re visiting a city as the tourist but try asking for permission if you find something as an ideal subject that needs to be saved in your camera’s photo gallery.
- Since Dubai is an Islamic country, they prefer doing everything with the right hand such as eating, drinking or holding something so try to adopt this habit while you’re on a trip in Dubai.
- And lastly, when someone invites you to their home, try removing the shoes outside the place as a sign of respect for your host since Emiratis prefer to keep the house clean and leave the shoes/slippers outside the living area.
Visit Culture-Rich Traditional Neighborhoods
Despite making progress in every industry and being the best tourist attraction, Dubai still protects its traditional lifestyle. If you’re seeking to adopt these cultural values as a tourist, you must pay a visit to Dubai’s traditional neighborhoods that are rich in culture and Bedouin lifestyle.
Al Fahidi Historic District
Your first stop, in quest of understanding Dubai’s culture, is Al Fahidi Historic District that has preserved old Dubai in its architecture. Situated along the Dubai Creek, this cultural heritage offers you unlimited avenues to relive the Bedouin lifestyle set in the early 19th century. And if you’re seeking the proof of old Dubai’s lifestyle, you must visit the Dubai Museum that is one famous tourist spot in Al Fahidi Historic District.
In the list of cultural neighborhoods of Dubai, Al Shindagha is another notable name that every tourist must visit. Here, you can visit the famous Al Shindagha Museum that preserves various cultural traces of Dubai’s old lifestyle. Also, you can visit the famous Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House that showcases Dubai’s ruler family’s love for architecture. This historical neighborhood is also situated alongside the Dubai Creek so it could be your next stop after visiting the Al Fahidi Historic District.
If your quest, to explore Dubai’s culture, includes shopping then your next stop should be the Al Seef district situated at the Dubai Creek. Here, you’ll find plethora of shops, art galleries and various options for dining in Dubai. The district is carefully preserved to protect the nearly distinct Bedouin lifestyle. If you truly want to experience the old Bedouin lifestyle while visiting Al Seef, the ideal time is to come here between the months of October to March when the weather is comparatively cold.
These traditional neighborhoods gracefully offer you a glimpse into the past for understanding the Bedouin lifestyle more closely as a foreigner. And you’ll definitely find various occasions to relate with old lifestyle of the city while leaving for home with a hope to visit again.
Understand Dubai’s Vast Islamic Heritage
Your mission to understand Dubai’s culture and heritage will remain incomplete until you explore the Islamic heritage the government has preserved. These Islamic heritage not only allow you to understand Dubai’s roots but also UAE’s love for Islamic architecture.
Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque
One of the must-visit Dubai’s Islamic heritage is the beautifully constructed Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque that is situated on Al Safa. This sacred places is so mesmerizing along with having various calligraphic proofs of Islamic craftsmanship’s competence that will leave you speechless at first glance.
Displaying the architectural wonder and sophistication from a distance, your next stop is the Jumeirah Mosque situated on Jumeirah Beach Rd in Dubai. This famous tourist attraction will surely make you a fan of Dubai and its diverse culture that very strategically preserves a spiritual side along with a hustling lifestyle.
Islamic Art Center
And lastly, you must visit the Islamic Art Center situated in Al Fahidi Historic District. This place is a heaven for tourists having interest in Islamic art and centuries old paintings. Here, you can conclude your quest to understand Dubai’s culture and traditional values.
Explore Tasty Emirati Cuisine
Wait!!! Before you conclude your journey to understand Dubai’s culture, you must discover Emirati cuisine that will make you come again and again to this beautiful city.
- Head over to Al Fanar and order Al Harees, a famous Emirati dish made with wheat and meat,that will leave you spellbound in its unforgetable taste.
- Or, you must visit Baker Street to taste the Al Manousheh, made with cheese, olive oil, and za’atar.
- While your trip to Dubai, camel meat is an unmissable dish that is considered one of the must-haves in Emirati culture. You can visit Seven Sands to order camel meat if dining in Dubai is on your plan.
- And if you’re visiting Al Fahidi Historic District, you must try the Emirati coffee that is made with a unique style and tastes simply amazing.
- And lastly, you must try Al Machboos, another Emirati dish that’s made with rice and meat. Visit Seven Sands or Al Fanar to order your plate of Al Machboos before you end your travelling ventures as a tourist in Dubai.
If you’re seeking restaurants at Dubai Mall (especially on Fashion Avenue Expansion) and planning to taste European cuisine, you must try Colt Courtyard that offers a variety of delicious food options.
And with this, your tour to explore Dubai’s culture and cuisine comes to an end with hopes that you’ll achieve your objectives to familiarize yourself with this city’s dual worlds.
Have a happy trip to Dubai!