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Dubai Diaries Day 4: Time Travel Between Old and Modern Day Dubai

Dubai Diaries Day 4: Time Travel Between Old and Modern Day Dubai

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Hello and welcome to my Dubai Diaries series, fellow wanderers! Through Dubai Diaries, I am sharing the experience of my 5-day trip to Dubai, UAE. You are reading the 4th part of Dubai Diaries. I recommend you also check out Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of this series!

On the 4th day of my Dubai trip, I had planned to go for some shopping. On the next (5th) day, I was moving to another hotel and just wanted to relax a bit there. So I made sure I explored the much-talked-about shopping scene of Dubai before that.

I had also booked my Dubai Creek boat ride for the evening to have some relaxing time.

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Trip to Dubai Creek Postponed

My day began with me calling the Dubai Creek dhow ride organizer. He told me that they didn’t get enough number of visitors for their ride today and they were postponing it till the next day.

Now that my Dubai Creek event was canceled, I made a few changes to my plan and decided to spend the evening at the hotel itself.

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Visiting Old Souks of Dubai

When talking about the shopping scene of Dubai, one can not forget about the traditional markets of the city. In the era of economic boom, Dubai (and the whole UAE) has managed to preserve its heritage. Local souks are the perfect example of what pre-oil Dubai looked and felt like.

These markets of Dubai are very similar to what you would see in India and other Asian countries – just less crowded. This is where you can see a completely different face of Dubai, away from glitz and glamor of what we call the ‘modern day Dubai.’

I didn’t want to miss a chance to experience ‘old-school’ shopping and here I was, walking on the streets of Dubai.

Souk Al-Arsa, Gold Souk, Perfume Souk and More

After walking more than three and a half kilometers, I first headed to Souk Al-Arsa. It was built in mid 19th century and used to be a large traditional open market.

Other local markets like Al-Mawaeen (utensils market), Al-Daeyat (herbs market), gold market, perfume market etc. are located near Souk Al-Arsa. This whole area is where you will get just about everything Dubai has to offer.

Inside Souk Al-Arsa Dubai
A random snap of Souk Al-Arsa

My second stop was the gold souk. The biggest market of its kind, Dubai gold souk is worth a visit even if you are no into buying anything. Jewelry made from pure gold attracts thousands of visitors every day and a majority of them aren’t actual customers. Taking a walk surrounded by one of the most precious metals on our planet makes you feel, should I say – royal?

Almost everyone was busy taking loads of photographs here. Most shops encouraged visitors to take photos, while some of them had a sign saying – ‘No Photography Allowed.’

Just Another Day at Gold Souk Dubai
Just Another Day at Gold Souk Dubai

I also visited the perfume souk – where I gave my nose some dose of different perfumes and bought a small bottle of a local fragrance.

I was wandering around, when a guy came near me, mumbling brand names like Ray Ban, Mont Blanc and Gucci. He asked me if I was interested in buying ‘first copy’ of some cool stuff from him at ‘very reasonable rate.’

Exploring the ‘Underground’ Scene

This guy – who was from India – caught my eye for some reason. I didn’t pay attention to him at first, but he was keen that I looked at his ‘collection.’ “Let’s explore something new today,” I said to myself and I started following him.

After taking some twists and turns in narrow streets of the market, we entered a building and climbed two floors. “I better not get robbed today,” I told myself – keeping a safe distance from the guy.

This guy had set up a shop behind a small door on the top floor. He started showing me sunglasses from different ‘brands.’ I could easily spot them as cheap quality fakes.

When I showed no interest in sunglasses, he showed me wallets, purse, pens and other accessories. Those wallets – duplicates of brands like Mont Blanc, Ferrari, Puma, Gucci to name a few – definitely looked better-made than sunglasses. But were still fakes, right?

“How much do they cost?” I asked about those wallets. After telling me their price, the guy told me he was ready for a bargain if I was interested in buying ‘reasonable quality.’

A few moments later, another guy, who looked like the shop’s owner or something, came in. He asked me to make my offer for those wallets – to which I didn’t respond.

As I wasn’t interested in buying, I slowly started moving towards the door and swiftly got out – much to the dislike of those two men.

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Visiting Dubai Mall and Downtown Dubai

After exploring the traditional souks of Dubai (and a petty shop selling ‘first copy’ of counterfeit goods), I went straight to Al Ghubaiba metro station to catch a train to the Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall (along with Burj Khalifa) has its own metro station. You need to take a long walk to reach this grand mall from its station. But it’s worth it, especially when you’re a shopaholic.

The Dubai Mall

When you enter Dubai Mall – one of the world’s largest malls – you forget about the world outside. A transition from old-school Dubai to modern day Dubai almost felt like a time travel to me.

There are hundreds of shops, cafes, restaurants offering you the best of everything. I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) wander around the whole mall. I just went to a few shops and then stopping by Shakespeare and Co for lunch.

After lunch, I walked straight towards the exit.

As you exit from the Dubai mall, you can see all types of luxurious cars parked here. These cars enjoy celebrity status of their own. Visitors desperately click photos of themselves with these luxurious pieces of automobile.

The whole Downtown Dubai area is filled with huge buildings. Some of Dubai’s most visited spots like Dubai mall, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountains etc. are part of Downtown Dubai.

If you had a whole day to enjoy, you can spend it here with shopping, dining and sightseeing.

I didn’t have a whole day, though. It was late evening already and I was really tired as I had walked too much since the morning. My feet were hurting and asking me to head back to the hotel.

I took a metro ride back to Union metro station and reached my hotel, ending my 4th day in Dubai.

Dubai Diaries Day 4: Summing Up

On the 4th day of my Dubai trip, I visited both the old and modern day Dubai. A trip to traditional souks of the emirate was worth the long walk and visiting an underground shop selling fake products was also an experience of its own.

I spent my evening around Downtown Dubai – visiting Dubai Mall and other landmarks like Burj Khalifa – before heading back to my hotel.

That’s it, folks! This was the 4th part of my Dubai Diaries series. I hope you found this travel log worth your time.

I would love it if you share your travel experience, tips and tricks, feedback and suggestion with me.

I will be back with more blog entries soon. Till then, keep wandering and stay tuned!

You may also like to read: Lavish Malls and Traditional Souks: Best Places for Shopping in Dubai

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