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Deira, Dubai Overview

The area between the Dubai-Sharjah border and Dubai Creek is known as Deira. It is an area traditionally known for commercial activities with historical modes of transportation in Dhows being of particular interest to the tourists. The visitors to Deira find it convenient to shop from the Gold, Perfume and Spice souks known for authentic products at reasonable prices.

Deira is one of the oldest inhabited areas of Dubai that stretches right up to the venue for Dubai Shopping Festival. It has many entertainment options with eateries and shopping destinations attracting numerous visitors, both residents and tourists in equal measure. Deira is also the area where the very first shopping mall of Dubai (Al Ghurair Centre) began operating in 1981.

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Places to Visit in Deira

The area of Deira has seen a lot of changes in the recent past that has turned it into a modern, urban hub featuring all kinds of amenities. Known for its excellent shopping areas or souks, tourists make sure to do a tour of Deira to get a touch and feel of the traditions of the Middle East. The top attractions worth a visit include the following.

1. Women’s Museum: Bait al Banat
It is a museum celebrating the contribution of women in the history of the UAE. The first floor exhibits the work of female artists and the Diwan Ousha Bint Khalifa room dedicated to the life, work and times of UAE poets. This museum attempts to break the gender stereotypes and showcase the achievements of women who managed to break the shackles and become successful across UAE.

2. Al Ahmadiya School
This is the very first public school for boys to be established in Dubai. It had been an all-boys school that took the act of educating the students seriously, thus transforming young minds and developing a thirst for knowledge. The classrooms hold several exhibits today, thereby making it easier for visitors to learn more about the history of the progress of education in Dubai.

3. Heritage House
Visitors can get a rare glimpse into a traditional Middle Eastern household at this house constructed by a pearl merchant. The audiovisual displays help to keep the visitors informed about every aspect of old Emirati life. The topmost floor is dedicated to the traditional games that were enjoyed by the entire family in the bygone era.

Heritage House, Deira Dubai
The Heritage House

Activities & Things to Do

1. Seaplane Tour
Tourists are excited to go on an aerial sightseeing tour of the Dubai Creek in a seaplane. Visitors board the aircraft on the water with the seaplane taking off rapidly to present a unique and unparallel view of the entire coastline of Dubai. The landscape of the desert city is shown to perfection with the ancient architectural wonders and modern edifices standing cheek by jowl within the area. The historical trading routes to India, Persia and other Gulf countries are seen clearly from the seaplane as well.

2. Xxtreme Simulation
It is a virtual racing centre in Deira that has numerous visitors rushing in to participate in the activity in real-time. The software used is top class making the audience thrilled beyond measure. It is an addictive car racing game that promotes an adrenaline rush with the participants being on the edge of their seats as their cars rush along the simulated track.

3. Dubai Dolphinarium
This is one of the most popular venues in Deira for families with young children who spend their time watching seals and dolphins in action. The crowd is excited to find the dolphins sing, dance and indulge in breathtaking acrobatic activities. Both adults and the kids can opt for swimming with the dolphins, thereby getting to be up close and personal with the marine mammals.

Dubai Dolphinarium at Deira
Dubai Dolphinarium

Shopping at Deira

Deira is considered to be the shopping paradise of Dubai. There are several shopping malls serving the area along with some of the best souks across the Middle East and stand-alone shops that beckon the tourists with the best products in the land. Some of the must-visit destinations that happen to be a must visit for an avid shopper include:-

1. Gold Souk
This is a market that literally bedazzles the visitors with its array of intricate and exquisite gold ornaments ranging from tiny rings and ear studs to the more ornate and elaborate jewellery including full body armours. People from all parts of the world flock to this market to buy gold at modest prices with many of the shops allowing their customers to bargain as well

Gold Souk at Deira Dubai
A shop in the Gold Souk

2. Spice Souk
Gourmands and food lovers do not miss any opportunity of visiting this souk that stocks all kinds of spices enlivening the place with a heady aroma that hits the tourist as they step into the souk. The spices are arranged neatly in shelves making the visitors gasp in delight at the dried lemons, medicinal herbs, pungent Arabian spices as well as frankincense.

3. Deira City Center
This is a Shopping Mall in Deira that manages to attract people from all walks of life via its clever layout catering to the general public looking for affordable clothing and souvenirs to those looking for high end products. The mall houses a cinema along with several fine dining restaurants where the visitors can relax after a hectic day’s shopping.

Deira City Centre
Deira City Centre

Deira Restaurants

The commercial centre of Deira is chock-a-block with eateries that offer cuisines from all over the world. Some of the best restaurants in the area happen to be:-

1. The Boardwalk
The Mediterranean-inspired menu is highly popular here with many people visiting it for obtaining an opportunity to dine at the terrace while watching over the creek.

2. Hofbräuhaus
International tourists particularly the Europeans are delighted to dine on authentic German fare including beer and the famed Apple strudel

3. The China Club
This is the place to visit when looking for authentic Chinese food. Lunchtime finds the guests enjoying a sumptuous yum cha feast of dim sums and handmade noodles.

4. Ashiana
The huge Expat population of Dubai is seen to frequent this exquisite restaurant offering authentic Indian cuisine with its palatial décor reminding the visitors of faraway India.

5. Laffah Restaurant
This is an eatery suitable for having a quick bite with the restaurant specialising in Arabian and Lebanese cuisine.

How to Reach Deira in Dubai

The area of Deira lies along the Dubai Creek with the Persian Gulf and Sharjah bordering it on the North and South ends respectively. It is connected to Bur Dubai via 5 different crossings including the “Business Bay Crossing and Al Shindagha Tunnel.” Passengers can alight at Deira by taking the Dubai Metro. Visitors can also use the ferry service known as heritage Abra to cross the creek and enter Deira. Motorized ferries available for tourists eager to get to Deira from the Creek Metro Station with tickets priced at AED 2.

Abra at Dubai Creek, Deir
Abra at Dubai Creek

History of Deira

Deira is the oldest commercial area of Dubai. Many historians believe it to be the point from where the city of Dubai grew to become the sprawling urban centre that is today. It is home to the oldest communities and neighbourhoods of Dubai despite the wave of modernity and rapid urbanisation.

The dhows seen by the side of the creek reminds one of the historical trade routes established between Gulf regions with India and Persia. The age-old souks retain their former glory with businesses being carried out similarly even to this day. The oldest school of Dubai began functioning at Deira with the Heritage House being located here as well. The old-timers believe that the name of Dubai had been coined as a reference to two brothers, Deira and Bur Dubai.


1. It is advisable to wear light and comfortable clothing that covers most of the body
2. Public displays of affection are frowned upon
3. It is customary to tip the taxi driver after alighting from the vehicle

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