The Souks in Dubai are the traditional Arab markets where people have been trading for millennia. From spices to gold trade, from perfume to textiles or bags, souvenirs or lamps. The selection is really huge. And our first stop took us to one of Dubai’s newest neighbourhoods: Al Seef. When we first arrived in Dubai in 2002 and took a boat trip with an Arabian Dau through Dubai Creek, this neighborhood was not yet significantly built up. So we were very excited about what to expect here.
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Things to know about Al Seef Dubai
“Where the old meets the new” – this is the slogan of Al Seef Dubai, which stretches along a distance of about 1.8 kilometers along the shores of Dubai Creek and is divided into different sections. There is an area that is very modern and offers a wealth of shopping opportunities. And there is an area where you can see traditional wind towers, sandstone buildings and charming sikkas (lanes) that look back on the past and unique history of Dubai and the Creek.
The 230,000-square-metre site opened in 2017 and is easily accessible by public transport due to its proximity to Al Fahidi and BurJuman metro stations.
The Al Seef Heritage Souk
We took the taxi from Downtown Dubai to the “old” part of Al Seef and paid 30 AED (approx. 4.50 €). Al Seef Heritage Souk offers a wide selection of traditional handicrafts, souvenirs, accessories and jewellery from local artisans.
Since it was morning, the souk was still almost completely empty. In the late afternoon or evening, the district is certainly better visited. Here you can also find the Museum of Illusion, which opened in 2018. The museum deceives the human mind with fascinating illusions and shows visual, sensory and educational experiences with playful illusions.
And even the Starbucks is housed here in a traditional sandstone building. Do you actually know our worldwide cup collection from Starbucks? 🙂
The Dubai Museum & Al Fahidi Fort
Not far from Al Seef is the Dubai Museum, which was built in 1787 as a fort. Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest surviving building in the city and is now one of Dubai’s few historic landmarks. The thick walls consist of a mixture of clay, lime and shells and served to protect the port city.
The indoor exhibitions show the history of the city and offer an insight into everyday life and life in historic Dubai. You can learn more about the traditional Arab houses, mosques, souks, date farms, desert and marine animals, as well as traditional boats, old wind towers and an impressive collection of weapons. The museum is open Saturday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Fridays from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission costs just 3 AED (approx. 0.70 €).
The Bur Dubai Souk Market
From the Dubai Museum we walked a little through the Bur Dubai souk. Unfortunately, this is not our world, because the things on offer are really not for us. In addition, we don’t like it when you’re chatted at every booth with “Hey my friend” or “Where are you from?” and “Best price, only for you”. This makes a relaxed stroll through the market almost impossible.
Nevertheless, we still wanted to see the gold and spice souk on the other side of Dubai Creek. On the banks of the Creek you will find various water taxis (Abras). Abras are traditional wooden boats with wooden benches in the middle, which carry about 15-20 passengers at the same time and are mainly used by locals. The crossing takes just 5 minutes and costs only 1 AED, i.e. about 25 cents.
The Spice Market (Spice Souk)
Dubai’s traditional spice market is located in the Deira district on Khor Dubai (Dubai Creek), where traders dock with their boats and unload the goods. The souk consists of a series of narrow alleys with many small shops, some of which are open-air and others under one roof.
On the Spice Souk you will find colourful spices from all over the world, all neatly piled up in ornate hills: cinnamon sticks and curry powder, saffron, cardamom, sandalwood, incense, dried fruits, nuts and a variety of dried flowers for herbal teas. A visit should be planned in the morning or in the evening, as some shops are closed around noon due to the heat.
The Gold Market (Gold Souk)
Right next to the spice souk is the “City of Gold“, one of the largest gold trading venues in the world. The real core of the Gold Souk is a long covered street with more than 300 individual shops in a confined space. Earrings, chains, bracelets, pendants, rings, watches or whole capes – all you shine here is pure gold!
It is important to know that only genuine and high-quality goods are offered here. The government constantly monitors the authenticity and quality of the goods offered and thus the Gold Souk is an extremely serious trading venue. But here, too, we should always negotiate. The Gold Souk is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
We found it interesting to walk through the different alleys of the souks, but overall it is not our world 😉
The Dubai Museum of the Future
On the way back by taxi from Deira to Downtown Dubai, you pass the Dubai Museum of the Future. A really impressive building.
A map with all attractions in DubaiOn Google MyMaps we have marked all important sights and attractions in Dubai.
Our travelogues from DubaiDubai is an insanely diverse city and has quite a few attractions to offer. In our previous vacations, we had gotten to know the city only as a classic "stopover destination". Thereby, we didn't really have much time to explore the many sights of the city. And the desert metropolis is a true photo and Instagram paradise. One motif is more beautiful and spectacular than the other. The tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), the largest building in the world in the form of a picture frame (Dubai Frame), the largest shopping center (Dubai Mall), the largest Ferris wheel (Ain Dubai), the largest flower garden (Dubai Miracle Garden), the tallest hotel (Burj Al Arab) to the largest fountain system in the world (The Plam Fountain) and many more.
In addition, Dubai has developed so rapidly in recent years, so that we now had enough time to explore the desert metropolis on the Persian Gulf a little better due to a longer vacation. Here you can find our travel reports about the city of superlatives.
The 20 most beautiful Photo Spots & Instagrammable Places in Dubai
The Swissôtel Al Murooj & our first long-haul flight with baby
Burj Al Arab – Photo Spots & Tea Time in the Skyview Bar
Das Hotel Atlantis the Palm, Lost Chambers Aquarium & Aquaventure Waterpark
Dubai Miracle Garden & the Dubai Butterfly Garden
The Pointe – The Palm Fountain at Palm Jumeirah
Al Seef Dubai, Dubai Museum, Spice Souk & Gold Souk
Dubai Marina – JBR, The Walk, The Beach & Ain Dubai
Dubai Frame in Zabeel Park & Dubai Garden Glow
La Mer – Beach, Shopping & Boardwalk in Jumeirah
Dubai Creek Harbour – The new harbour district in Dubai
Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium & the Underwater Zoo
Burj Khalifa – The most beautiful Instagram photo spots
Burj Khalifa – Things to know, At the Top & Dubai Fountain