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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Deira

Deira Holidays

Located in the vibrant city of Dubai, Deira offers a taste of traditional Arabic culture in the midst of a modern cosmopolis. Holidays to this lively district can be spent haggling at the local souks, people-watching from streetside cafés and cruising along the Dubai Creek in a wooden dhow boat.

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A historic district in an ultra-modern city

If you want to experience old-world Dubai, Deira is the place to be. Once the city's main commercial hub, the area now seems a far cry from the glitz and glamour of the more recent developments along Sheikh Zayed Road.

Even if you're staying at the cheapest hotel in Dubai, Deira will be able to offer time-honoured culture and charm. You'll find some of Dubai's oldest and most vibrant souks selling everything from clothing, gold, jewellery, perfume and spices. Head down the backstreets to sample authentic local cuisine, relax in shisha cafés and watch local traders load and unload goods on dhow boats at the Dubai Creek.

Quick Tips

  • Islam
  • Emirati dirham
  • Arabic
  • GMT +4

Bustling bazaars

Deira is home to one modern shopping mall, but the traditional souks are where you'll find the most unique and interesting souvenirs. Whether you're looking to buy or you're just browsing, a wander through these markets is worth it to experience the chaotic atmosphere, colourful sights and rich smells. There's no need to worry about the quality of the products either, as the souks are all government-regulated.

One place not to be missed is the Gold Souk, where you'll discover a sparkling sea of gold bars, coins, necklaces and watches. At the nearby Spice Souk, the smell of cinnamon and saffron sticks pervades the air, while the collection of shops known as the Perfume Souk is full of exotic scents and essential oils in decorated vials. If you do fancy treating yourself, don't forget to haggle with the sellers.

Across the Creek

Located close to the Dubai Creek, Deira offers fantastic waterfront views across the city. During the day, head to the Dhow Wharfage to catch sight of Dubai's age-old shipping industry at work. In the evening, there's the chance to view the spectacular skyline and bright lights from the creek on a dinner cruise with an on-board bar and shisha lounge. There's also plenty of bars dotted along the waterfront where you can spend a couple of hours watching the boats float by while enjoying a refreshing drink.

If you fancy a change of scenery, hop on board an abra ferry at the local port and cross the water to the Bur Dubai district. Here, you can visit some of the city's most impressive landmarks, including the world's tallest observation deck at the Burj Khalifa and the super-size Dubai shopping mall.

Nearby attractions

Just a 20-minute taxi journey east of Deria is the Al Mamzar Beach Park. The ideal place for a family day out, the landscaped park includes a host of recreational areas and activities, from sandy shores and swimming pools to playgrounds and picnic areas. There's plenty of sun loungers and cabanas for hire, as well as bike rentals and watersports for those who like to stay active.

If you need a break from the scorching sun and busy bazaars, Deira is home to some fascinating museums. Just around the corner from the Gold Souk is the Women's Museum, which shines the spotlight on some of the United Arab Emirates' most notable women in science, politics, education and literature. On the edge of the Spice Souk you'll also come across the former home of the famous Arabic poet, Mubarak bin Al Oqaili. This well-preserved museum offers an interesting insight into his life and work, with original manuscripts and personal belongings on display.

Where to eat and drink

When it comes to eating out, Deira has a wide range of choice on offer. The district has an eclectic mix of sleek restaurants serving international dishes and backstreet curry houses where eating with your hands is encouraged. There's plenty of opportunities to sample authentic Arabic delicacies packed full of spice-infused flavours and aromas, including camel stew, shawarma, flatbread and falafel.

Party-goers will be pleased to know there's lots of places to enjoy an after-dinner drink too. The Irish Village pub is a favourite drinking hole among tourists in Deira, with occasional live music and pleasant gardens to enjoy a Guinness or two. There's also an assortment of lively cocktail bars and nightclubs that stay open until the early hours.