I spent three days in Dubai, and to be honest.. I think that’s all I needed. The city is built on industrialised and tourism targeted structures. The culture seems almost lost against the sky scrapers that surround the city. Drive just forty minutes outside the Centre and you come across the wonders of the Desert. The endless sand dunes are almost mesmerising as I watch the sun set over the dunes. I feel the sand seeping between my toes and the warm air breezing through my hair. This is the culture that I have longed for whilst sitting in my City apartment. However I can’t help but feel cheated that the experience of Dubai’s hidden culture is charged at a rate of 300 Dirham. Don’t get me wrong, the man-made islands and the Palm atlantis is a fascinating and indescribable feature of Dubai. But I want some culture! I travel to a city or country to see the culture; to live eat and breath like the locals. Instead I dined at many Italian restaurants (Which were amazing by the way).
The bit of culture I did see was beautifully presented, although of course for a fee. Does an excursion really display the real depths of a heritage? The day started with hotel transfers to the deserts where dune bashing took place, followed by forced sun set photos from the annoying man with a camera. Later that evening we set up camp with traditional Arabian food and performances from belly dancers and a guy with a spinny dress. A camel ride which lasted five minutes and sand boarding also took place.
However on the last day we visited the Souk markets. The gold souk, was fascinating, the amount of gold on offer was unbelievable but we were hounded by people selling rolex knock offs. After a long walk and a boat taxi ride along the creek we finally saw the material markets.. which I think is the most beautiful place. The architecture, the materials and the colours were traditional and in turn beautiful.
If you want to see the hidden gems of the Dubai culture, visit the souks and do some of the tours that Dubai has to offer. Remember that this is just my opinion, go out there and explore Dubai yourself.
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