Dubai is a major tourist stop for people who want to see the world’s biggest, tallest, and richest. The Dubai Mall is the biggest mall in the world. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. Some of the richest millionaires stop by Dubai to soak up the sun and stock up on their gold and perfumes. But there is so much more than this to Dubai, and for those who want to experience the more historical, residential, and sometimes grittier parts of Dubai; here are a list of some of the most underrated places to visit in Dubai:
While many tourists rush to the Gold or Spice Souq for shopping in Dubai, Souq Naif is the market for the more adventurous traveler. From sparkling Arabic inspired dresses to Persian carpets, from local sweets and dates to Indian run snack shops, this enormous souq will give you a glimpse into the local market life for the residents of Dubai.
Mirdif City Centre tends to get dwarfed by the much larger Dubai Mall, but this shopping center is also one of those underrated places that all travelers should stop by! It has a friendly, family atmosphere, and is the perfect place for people watching the local Emirati families and Arab residents of Dubai do their shopping. Mirdif City Centre also has enough brand name shops, cute cafes, delicious restaurants, and touristy shops to fulfill all your mall needs!
Many tourists will stick to the glitzier beaches of Jumeriah and JBR, but Al Mamzar Beach Park is just as wonderful for a relaxing soak in the sun or walk along the corniche. Here you won’t be bombarded by tourists trying to squeeze in a spot on the sand, but instead enjoy a clean beach, green park, local families, and even delicious food stalls! For those who wear the hijab or would rather enjoy the beach without the prying eyes of men, Al Mamzar Beach also has women-only days.
A trip to Dubai is not complete without an excursion into the desert, however it can be hard to choose which tour or which experience you want to pay for. Instead of paying for a tourist-trap trip, why not support the Dubai Desert Conservation Centre, which aims to educate about local wildlife in the desert as well as provide guided tours into the desert to experience the authentic desert and culture of the Emirates. You’ll be able to ride camels, hold a falcon, and even spend a night in the desert while learning about the traditional ecosystem of Dubai.
The UAE desert Flickr
While many tourists see Dubai as a modern and even futuristic city for the most globalized of citizens, many forget that Dubai has a historical and traditional past that all Emiratis are proud to protect and treasure. Instead of getting trapped in the materialistic aspects of the city, why not stop by the Dubai Museum located in the ancient Al Fahidi Fort for an educational experience, find out about the life of Emirati Bedouins, and traditional local culture. You won’t regret this experience and will walk away with a whole new appreciation for the history of Dubai!
Known for being the old quarter of Dubai, many tourists skip Dubai Creek because of the dirtier, grimier image this area holds. However it is definitely worth the trip for those travelers who want to experience what Dubai used to look like before the modern skyscrapers and malls. You can walk by traditional souqs, take a small dow ride (traditional boat used more than a century ago for pearl divers and fishermen) across the river, and walk through traditional houses that are still standing to keep the memory of old Dubai alive.
Finally, this Sikh Temple located in the middle of Dubai is a must for those who want to appreciate the cultures and religions of those who moved to Dubai and helped build the city that too often ignores the contributions of foreign workers. Enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Sikh temple, while appreciating the work that Pakistani and Indian workers have done for the city of Dubai!
While these are only a few of the underrated places to visit in Dubai, for those travelers who want to experience authentic Dubai try to step outside of Dubai Mall and Jumeriah Beach and venture into the more local, less glitzy places to appreciate the depth this city has to offer. You won’t regret it, and you’ll leave Dubai with a wider knowledge of the secrets this part of the Arabian Peninsula keeps for only the keenest!