A glimpse of old Dubai

Dubai (UAE) is mostly known as a very futuristic and modern city. With some of the world’s tallest hotels and buildings, Dubai is on its way to Expo 2020 and constructing another tall skyscraper (taller than Burj Khalifa, Yes). Besides which, Dubai government has already launched the flying taxis, discussing the plan for Hyperloop and what not.

However, the curious minds might question about the culture, history and heritage of United Arab Emirates. How things were a few decades ago when it was all just a non-lasting desert land.

For questions like these, Dubai has maintained and preserved many of its cultural values, sites and traditions. The Arab hospitality can be seen in most of the places around the city but to experience the architecture and lifestyle once can visit the cultural areas of Dubai. I’ve had a chance to visit some of them in past few years but I realized none of them is so well advertised by any of the tourism companies for the tourists. Many tourists and residents get to visit these cultural sites but a big number of them also do not even get to hear about it.

So here I will write down some of them that you can probably see in one trip to the old side of Dubai.

Old Town Bastakiah: There are many open courtyards and rooftops in this area. Surrounded by small cafes and a lot of art galleries.

Old Dubai
Old Town Bastakiah
Visiting old dubai
Shops in Bastakiah: Selling rugs, hand-made art cutlery, paintings, scarfs and other wearables and souvenirs

There is a hotel nearby too, the XVA art hotel along with the XVA art gallery where you can enjoy some fresh juices and food under the ambient daylight filtered with huge white cloth tents as the ceiling of the cafe

XVA Art Gallery and Cafe

Besides which there are many other guest houses and cafes, surrounded by arabesque architecture and art. Where you can enjoy, Arabic coffee, camel milk ice creams, desserts and fresh juices.

Orient guest house

Another one is the MAKE cafe, with both indoor (downstairs) and outdoor (upstairs) seating. MAKE is made of the same arabesque styled architecture, with arches and sand textured walls where you experience ambience daylight, mostly popular among artists from the galleries around and many visitors. These places around are mostly very quiet, peaceful and never too crowded. So if you are looking for a break from the city chaos, tall buildings, busy restaurants, this can be a nice day-out spot.

Cafes in Bastakiah
MAKE Cafe, Old Town Bastakiah

If you’ll walk around 10 minutes to the textile souq, you can enjoy some fresh great food by the creek at Bayt Al Wakeel Restaurant. It has a nice ambience during the evenings and they serve quite fresh seafood there.

Art galleries in Bastakiah
Bayt Al Wakeel Restaurant

Bastakiah also hosts many yearly art festivals, nights with art, food and live music. One of them being Sikka Art Festival. So if you are a resident or visiting at the right time, I suggest you check out the Sikkah Art Festival as well.

Around the same area (in Bur Dubai) there are many other historical and cultural spots to visit. Bastikiah, Dubai Museum, Heritage village are some of them.
I try my best to experience new places every weekend, for the sake of photography, exploring and trying new food everywhere I can. If you would like to experience along, you can connect with me here on my Instagram. For any questions or suggestions, you might have, feel free to write here in the comments below or drop me a direct message on Instagram as I check it there more frequently.


Sharing is caring

Like this post? Support by sharing it with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

subscribe to my

travel letters

Signup and get Travel Inspiration, Hotel deals and free Photography tips in your inbox.

follow on


This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: API requests are being delayed for this account. New posts will not be retrieved.

Log in as an administrator and view the Instagram Feed settings page for more details.

follow on