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An authentic Emirati experience, with budgets

25 February 2019

Dubai is known to be all about the glitz and glam, but have you considered experiencing it through the eyes of an Emirati? It’ll give you a completely different perspective. We take you on an authentic Emirati tour via cultural experiences, food and shopping. Read on for more… 


A Sneak Peek Into Emirati Culture

We recommend you start your trip at The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is a cultural landmark that is a vision of splendor and majesty. The mosque’s beautiful white exterior contrasted against the stunning blue sky is breathtaking – not to mention instaworthy! Tip: Dress modestly since it’s a religious place of worship. However, the mosque also provides abayas and thobe which you can wear over your clothes. The mosque is free to enter, and is open from 9am-10pm between Saturday and Thursday, and 4:30pm-10pm on Friday. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located between Maqta, Mussafah and Shaikh Zayed bridges, and is an hour’s drive from Citymax Hotel Al Barsha at the Mall.


The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi


Follow this serene experience with some excitement. No trip to Dubai is complete without a desert safari! There are lots of options available, but we’d suggest one that provides you with an authentic Emirati experience. Consider booking this Heritage and Wildlife Safari which lets you interact with falcons (the UAE’s national bird), hawks and owls, a wildlife drive in vintage Land Rover jeeps, followed by a traditional Emirati meal in a Bedouin camp! Bedouins were the earliest inhabitants of the desert region, who herded camel, sheep and goats. It’s absolutely fascinating to learn how they lived, since it’s so different to the modern Dubai life that we’re used to. The safari is a unique chance to witness a world-renowned falcon show and learn about the ancient traditions of falconry’s significant in the Emirati culture. You can even spot native animals like Arabian oryx and gazelles and learn about local flora like the fire bush and learn how these were used by the desert nomads for survival.


Did you know that the old Emirati tradition of camel racing lives on in modern Dubai? Yes, it does – at the Al Marmoom Camel Race Track. You can watch from the grandstand as 60 camels fly through the gates as their trainers follow in large jeeps, motivating their camel to keep going. #ProTip: Make sure to carry binoculars so you don’t miss a thing!


Horse racing is an equally important part of the Emirate’s culture, and Meydan racecourse offers a full season of races from November to April. What makes the race most exciting is the AED 1 million cash prize! Delicious dining and packages are available, because after all, it IS Dubai… For information on tickets, click here.


Finally, wind down with an exploration of the narrow lanes and ancient buildings in the Al Fahidi Historic District. Hidden amongst the sand coloured architecture is an assortment of restaurants, art galleries and museums to browse through to get a feel for the historic Dubai life. While you’re there, make sure to check out the bustling Spice Souq across the creek.



Experience Emirati Food

The Coffee Museum

All the sightseeing is going to make you hungry. And Dubai is the perfect place to fix that – it’s a food lover’s paradise, with a variety of cuisines available in every nook and corner of the city to suit the palettes of every expat. Make sure you don’t miss out on the local delicacies that the emirate has to offer.


If you haven’t tried regag bread, you’ve been missing out! Regag is similar to a crepe or dosa and you can choose from fillings such as Chips Oman, cheese, egg or Nutella. Watch your regag cooked live in front of you and gobble it down, piping hot…YUM! You can get your hands on regag bread for only AED 6 at Al Labeeb Grocery, a hidden gem opposite Jumeirah Beach. We’d suggest picking up some Laban from the grocery too – a Middle Eastern buttermilk. 


Some Emirati food looks very similar to Indian food – take their biryanis for instance! However, in terms of taste, they’re worlds apart since the spices used are very different. You can try for yourself at Seven Sands in JBR! The meals are delicious and you can enjoy some lovely Arabic shisha and tea while you’re there  overlooking the beach! A meal for two would cost around AED 275.


If you’re looking for a café, shop and cultural experience rolled into one unique space, you can’t miss The Coffee Museum in the heart of Dubai’s beautiful Al Fahidi Historical District. Not only can you drink the delicious coffee here but also learn all about its origins, check out some very cool antiques and hang out in a lovely majlis. If you want to have a go at making your own coffee creations at home then there’s all sorts of Barista equipment to buy, and there are books on everything from home-roasting to recipes and the history of coffee. The Coffee Museum is just a 5 minute taxi ride from Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai.



Shop Like The Locals

Shopping at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)

No trip to Dubai is complete without shopping. First stop – La Mer, Dubai’s newest hot spot. We’d recommend checking it out for a unique beach front shopping experience. Drop by Glassing Dubai for statement Italian sunglasses if you want to blend in with all the stylish Emiratis! 


Another place to check out if you want to shop like the locals is Jumeirah Beach Residence.  JBR is a lot like La Mer. The Beach has a variety of shops to explore and you can get everything from activewear to cocktail dresses, designer heels to sneakers, home décor and even make up!


Global Village is a multicultural paradise! We’d recommend checking it out for your dose of culture, shopping and entertainment. The current Global Village season is from 30th October 2018 to 6th April 2019, and the perfect weather will enhance your experience. There are massive pavilions for different countries, each offering unique food, spices, jewelry and clothes. One trip here will leave you feeling like you just took a world tour.

Global Village Dubai is located on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road Dubai, just a 20 minute drive from Citymax Hotel Al Barsha at the Mall.



Now that you’ve had the Emirati experience, make sure to check out some incredible places in New Dubai too.

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