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Saturday 24 December 2016

UAE 2016 Day 02: Bur Dubai and Deira Walkabout

After an hour exploring the historical quarter we headed out to the main street and proceeded to walk east along Al Fahidi Street. This is an area we can identify with, as we live in an area called Jalan Masjid India (Indian Mosque Road) in Kuala Lumpur that is dominated by businesses of south Asian descent. Lined with restaurants like Ghizaayat Hyderabad and Mumtaz Mahal Indian Speciality we couldn’t help but feel at home in these surroundings.

Sern taking a photo of the old buildings

Cat eager to go

along Al Fahidi Street

Bur Dubai as we learnt later is a historic district in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, located on the western side of the Dubai Creek. The name literally translates to Mainland Dubai, a reference to the traditional separation of the Bur Dubai area (south) from the Deira area (north) by the Dubai Creek.

there are no more phone booths in Kuala Lumpur :'(

heading to the Al Fahidi Fort

Turning north along Ali Bin Abi Taleb Street we came across the Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. It also houses the Dubai Museum. On this occasion the museum was flocked by a very large group of tourists from China, and we decided against visiting it.

a nautical exhibition

wonder how old this ship is,  or is it a replica?

Al Fahidi Fort

built in 1787

oldest existing building in Dubai

used to guard against the raids of neighbouring tribes

we gave this a miss

served at various times as a palace, a garrison and a prison.

Walking further along Ali Bin Abi TalebStreet we reached a bend headed east that led us to our first glimpse of a proper Dubai souk (marketplace or bazaar). First up, we entered the Textile Souk where a myriad of shops sold all kinds of textile along a long and narrow alley. It’s the subject of a separate post altogether.

bus loads of tourists from China

headed to the Textile Souk

Reaching the end of the alley, we came across the historic and indomitable Dubai Creek, which is also subject of a separate post as well.

headed to the Abra Station

We hopped on a motorised Abra (a traditional boat made of wood) and after a most enjoyable ten minutes or so reached the DeiraWe took an underground pedestrian crossing to get across the busy Baniyas Road, and walk along Old Baladiya Street to where a bevy of traders soon enchanted Cat.

getting across Baniyas Road

we're in Deira

more Souks with the familiar wooden roofs

the fragrances here are alluring

almost reaching the promised Land (aka Gold Souk)

Yes, we’ve reached the mythical Gold Souk a long alleyway that consists of over three hundred retailers, most of whom are jewelry traders. This too is the subject of a separate post. 

After about half an hour of day dreaming Cat managed to tear her away from all the amazing jewelry on display and we headed back to the Dubai Creek for another Abra ride.

headed back from where we came from

along Deira Souk Street

another quiet alleyway

one of a few mosques in the area

we were again mesmerised by the heady fragrances here

old Dubai indeed

nothing like Dubai Mall, but equally fascinating

Walking south along Souk Deira Street we turned east along 10th Street until we reached Old Baladiya Street. Here we found an enchanting old mosque known as the Belhul Mosque which seemed to us quite unlike the usual mosques we’re accustomed to. Nothing much can be found about this mosque which architecture resembled more of a church in our minds.

is it the window frames

or the overall facade

somehow Belhul Mosque resembles a church

in our minds, anyway

Walking further south along Old Baladiya Street we reached the Deira Old Souk Abra Station to catch an Abra back across the Dubai Creek and back to Bur Dubai.

hungry travellers (all of a sudden)
Back at Bur Dubai, we walked through the Textile Souk again and headed back to Al Fahidi Street where Sern had parked his car.

turning a corner

and we're back at the Textile Souk

taking a slow walk while taking in the sights

the gutted shop we mentioned earlier

with a camel mural woven (?) into its fabric

Sern's car parked way, way in the distance

Thus ends our (almost) three hour trek along the area of old Dubai that held us in awe and wonderment. Above all else this will be the area we would most want to visit again if we ever had the chance. Our heartfelt gratitude to our most extraordinary tour guides Ginny and Sern for taking us here, and for revealing to us an entirely difference but equally fascinating aspect of Dubai.

However, all that walking has left us ravenous so it’s another trip to Ibn Battuta for lunch!

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