Dubai offers amazing things to see, both in the old quarters of Deira and Bur Dubai and in modern high-rise areas. This post shows you that sightseeing in Dubai on local transport is a good alternative if you want to explore the area.
Using public transport in Dubai is easy and cheap. Dubai has an efficient metro transport network.
This is a view from Burj Khalifa,the highest building in the world. You can get to Burj Khalifa on metro. It is the same stop as Dubai Mall.
To start with go and buy a plastic transport card. You’ll get it at the metro ticket counter at arrival at the airport or later anywhere else. When you have the card paying your trips is easy and the metro takes you to most sights. And the rest of the sights you can reach by local bus, taxi or abra.
Sightseeing in Dubai on Local Transport: the Map
This is Dubai on the map. I marked the sights we are visiting on the map. We start our Dubai sightseeing in the old parts of the city, Bur Dubai and Deira.
Bur Dubai is south of Dubai Creek. This area has a mixture of Indian and Arab cultures, very much Indian.
In early November the Indian population of Dubai celebrate an annual Dilawi party and all windows and balconies are lit in bright colours.
We walk in Bur Dubai starting from Al Fahidi Metro station. From Al Fahidi station we walk a few hundred meters north towards the Creek, to the ancient district of Bastakya.
The Bastakyia district is the oldest part of Dubai. Walk along narrow lanes and look at all wind-towers that exist here.
Wind-towers are an ancient but still working system of air-conditioning. The towers catch the wind and automatically bring it down to the rooms and make them cooler.
Click on the small photos so you’ll get a photo gallery in a bigger size.
In the Old Souk near Bur Dubai abra station we found a local eatery that we liked. It was hidden behind the corner and standing right on the water.
If you feel hungry you can have a delicious meal here and watch abra traffic on the Creek. At night there are lots of dinner cruisers sailing along the river.
Walk further west along the Creek and you’ll come to an area called Shindagha. The Shindagha area has many interesting museums and Arab restaurants. It’s absolutely worth visiting these interesting museums.
Go and see the Heritage Village where Arab and Bedouin cultures are displayed.
In addition to the Shindagha museums, another excellent museum where you can learn about local culture is the Dubai Museum. You will find it on your way back to Bur Dubai.
Deira is the old part of the town that is north of the Creek. You can cross the Creek with a local abra boat. You give the driver one dirham and he brings you to the other side of the river. Abras are a practical way of transport and very much used by the locals.
In the quarters right north of the Deira abra station you’ll find both the Spice Souk and Deira Old Souk.
In addition Deira has a fish market, a vegetable market, a meat market and much more that offers some a local flavour.
Another interesting souk in Deira is the Gold Souk.
On the narrow lanes of Deira you can also find the Heritage House. It is a former residence of a pearl merchant. In the Heritage House old Arab traditions like womens’ handicraft are presented.
From Deira our sightseeing in Dubai on local transport tour goes to Jumeirah beach. Until now we have been walking but now you need some wheels.
To reach Jumeirah you can take a taxi or a local bus, or take the metro to where the skyscrapers are and then a taxi to the beach.
The beaches in Jumeirah are good. There is a whole row of them, some of them for tourists and others for the locals. It’s good to swim here and the Gulf water is nice and warm all year round. You don’t have to freeze.
Burj Al Arab
On Jumeirah Beach luxurious hotels abound. One of them is the 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel. Burj Al Arab provides its guests with a lot of luxury like a tennis court and helicopter landing platform on the roof. To visit Burj Al Arab you have to make a booking to one of its restaurants or bars.
Air-conditioned bus stops
Distances in Jumeirah are long but you can walk on the beach or on the beach road from one beach to another.
Provided you don’t suffer too much from the hot weather like we did. That’s what these air-conditioned bus stops are for!
Some more photos of Jumeirah and the hotels:
Our Sightseeing in Dubai tour continues to the modern Souk Madinat shopping and dining complex in the same Jumeirah area.
You can explore the artificial islands of The Palm with the new monorail system. The monorail takes you through the stem of the Palm to the luxury hotel Atlantis.
At the top of the Palm there is also a big water park with various water activities and and an aquarium.
The Palm is an upmarket area with many houses and apartment blocks having their own hidden beaches. No wonder many European and American expats have chosen to live in this area.
Mall of Emirates
On the metro line back to central Dubai you can visit the stylish Mall of Emirates shopping mall that has a covered ski slope.
The next mall is the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping mall in the world. In addition to more than 1000 stores it has an aquarium, an ice rink, a waterfall, restaurants and much more.
Dubai Mall is connected to the metro line by a glassed walk-way.
In the evenings there is a spectacle every 30 minutes: a huge fountain show with music.
If you want to watch the show be there in time or even better, book an outdoor table at one of the restaurants in the opposite shopping mall Souk Al Bahar. Souk Al Bahar restaurants have the best views of the fountain show.
Right next to Dubai Mall is Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world.
If you’re not afraid of heights, Burj Khalifa is a must on your trip to Dubai. Take a lift ride to the 125th floor of the skyscraper.
The view from the 125th floor is impressing. At the same time you get a good overview of the whole Dubai area. To avoid queues book your entry time in advance on the Burj Khalifa website.
We end our sightseeing in Dubai on local transport day at Dubai Mall. Hope you enjoyed the day.
I’m sure you will find great things to do for your next days in Dubai. Dubai has a lot to offer tourists and they keep building new sights all the time. Since Dubai in addition to sights has good air connections from almost anywhere in the world it’s no wonder Dubai has become one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
Trip Idea from Dubai
A trip idea out from Dubai is to go and spend one or more days in Abu Dhabi. Read my blog post about how to make a bus trip to Abu Dhabi.