Dubai Souks, Al Bastakiya, Coffee Museum, and Jumeirah Beach

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Against the backdrop of the glitzy and new skyscrapers, there's another side of Dubai that definitely deserves a good exploration. Go forth, travellers! I certainly loved the culturally rich side of the city that demonstrated their elegant trading past through the souks (markets) and Al Bastakiya. Catch the brilliant golden sunset at Jumeirah Beach to end off the day. This is certainly a day itinerary that I would recommend.





Stop at a local mosque
We started the day off by randomly stopping at one of the smaller mosques in Dubai along the way to the souks. It was quite empty and we were really random tourists floating about the grounds. As compared to the Grand Mosque, it was certainly less spectacular but it is still very charming to observe what an average mosque looks like from the inside.


Spice souk
Hidden within the gold and spice souk passageways is the bustle of Arabian marketplaces. Even though we are in the 21st century, it was easy to imagine what it was like decades ago, with shopkeepers shouting and calling out to the market-goers to try out their goods! Those selling clothing would especially try their hardest, by putting some of their hats on you if you were to stop by for a second. They can be really friendly and persistent but it will be all smiles even if you get away without buying anything.


At the spice souk, you will see shops after shops of amazingly huge and colourful bags of exotic spices that never seem to end! Not only is it a visual feast, the mix of spices in the atmosphere will jolt your senses awake as you try to make sense of everything (literally). Here you can sample fresh or sundried organic dates, bargain for some local saffron, and even stock up on your kitchen spices, candied nuts, dried fruits, and locally-blended teas here. They make for excellent souvenirs too!


Explore the souk maze as you would, but make sure you've got your map handy! It is very easy to get lost in there especially if your travel party is big.




Gold souk
The gold souk will dazzle and blind your eyes. Appearing like a scene straight out from a documentary, the gold souk is a sight to behold as you walk through the alleyway, with more gawkers than hawkers than buyers. All of these are real gold so if you're looking to snag a piece, get your money ready. There are other souks such as the Perfume Souks and Textile Souks which were more crowded at narrower alleyways, which were equally interesting to explore and simply to people-watch if you are not looking to shop for anything - though I must say this should be the best place to get souvenirs (in hindsight) in the whole of Dubai.






Abra Boat Ride on the Creeks
 From the souks, navigate your way to the Creeks on foot. This is a natural seawater harbour for ships traversing in the Arabian Gulf region, with a beautiful scenery across the creek. The abra boat ride is the best way to enjoy your time on the creeks, though locals take the abra boat ride (the equivalent of a water boat taxi in Thailand and Vietnam) as a legitimate way to travel to the opposite side of the creek banks. In any case, it was also the fastest way to move onto the next part of our itinerary - the Al Bastakiya.


The boat ride costs 1 dirham (~SGD0.40), making it wonderfully affordable for all. In fact, it was so fun I wished the journey was longer. 


It was hard to take a decent picture of our own boat because it was quite shaky, so here's one picture to show you another abra boat that is exactly the same as ours. Depending on which journey you take, the duration differs - ours from the Deira Old Souk Station to Dubai Old Souq Marine Transport Station lasted for about 10 minutes.


We reached the other side of the bank and walked towards Al Bastakiya.


💎 On the way I spotted this super sleek silver Ferrari!💎


Al Bastakiya

There are plenty of photo opportunities along the way, especially the lovely sandy hues of the architecture around the walls of Old Dubai.



Hijacking someone's tent to take even more photos 😂 We found ourselves at Middle Eastern restaurant Bastakiah Nights, where we had my favourite meal in Dubai! And one of the meals that I would hold dear for the rest of my life. 😋



We had drinks first, and I ordered what had became the tea I loved the most - the Moroccan mint tea. The service was really ace here, and I could still remember how the service staff still helped us take family group photos in two different angles. And the photos turned out so professional too, we were wondering if they all took photography classes. 😅


Check. All. Of. This. Out!!! Just looking at these is making me drool right now. The highly appetizing hummus pureed chick peas blended with just the right amount of garlic, lemon juice, tahina and olive oil is perfect for eating it on its own or with anything else, really. The rest of the mezzahs and kebabs were delicious and addictive, even though we ate so much and I was so so full, I wished I could stuff myself more.


Coffee Museum
Another stop-worthy location is the coffee museum, a must-see for anyone who loves coffee! It is for serious coffee enthusiasts with a wall detailing the history of coffee trading, a coffee bar with a barista to explain the different types of coffee and all the different coffee harvests around the world. It is quite enlightening and definitely for the 'serious ones'! Every corner is so Instagrammable too, and I love how the air just permeates with the fragrance of c-o-f-f-e-e! ☕



Jumeirah Beach
To wind down the evening, we headed to Jumierah Beach where the sunset has cast a brilliant glow against the sky. 🏖 There was a funfair and a lot of beach chairs for anyone to lie on to just chill out on the windy beach. But no, I can't stay still and we walked the entire stretch of the beach to check out everything! It was so beautiful.


As the car speeds back to Abu Dhabi for the night, I do some shadowplay with my camera (Fujifilm X20 for those who asked :)) These are some of the best shots that I liked. That's it for the Dubai travelogues, it has been a long time before I completed everything! The next series that is going up will be the ones on our adventure to Rub' al Khali, the largest continuous desert in the world. Stay tuned, and I'll try not to take too long 🙊

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I share interesting episodes in life revolving around food, lifestyle, travel and inspirational ideas. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on my Instagram on @amie.hu and Facebook page!

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