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In Search of Dubai’s Other Side

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The iconic skyscrapers that form a glittering skyline looming above the Arabian Gulf, with their gilded restaurants helmed by renowned chefs, over-the-top hotels, and high-end boutiques, is only one side of the magical, age-old emirate of Dubai. To experience the culture and history of Dubai requires a little more homework, but when you find yourself in the desert learning about falconry or enjoying traditional cuisine at a spot in Old Dubai, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
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Dubai - Al Ain Road - Al Marmoom - دبي - United Arab Emirates
The Camel Racing Festival is free and open to the public, and celebrates a sport that has deep cultural roots in the region. Much like the city itself, the current festival has a modern twist (as you can see): robot-jockey-mounted camels gallop...
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For centuries—somewhere around 2,000 years, in fact—traditional Emirati dhows have sailed the waters of the Arabian Gulf, and could be found beyond in the waters of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean as well. While in recent decades traders have...
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Mina a'Salam - Jumeirah Beach Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dubai was long an entrepôt between Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia, both in terms of commerce but culture as well. With the annual Art Dubai fair, held each March, it continues to fill this role. In 2014, the event hosted 85 galleries and...
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Al Awir Road - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dubai emerged from the desert, and every visitor to the emirate should make sure to see the dramatic dunes. While safaris in Africa may be focused on spotting the big five animals, desert safaris are more about the range of exhilarating...
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Safa Park, Gate 5,Shikh Zayed Road,Al Safa - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Bookish travelers to Dubai will want to head to the Archive at Safa Park, a leafy space in the shadow of the city’s glittering towers. The Archive is a specialized library focused on the history of Middle Eastern and North African art and it’s...
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Shop # 245, Al Dhiyafa Rd, Opp. Union Co-operative Society - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Approximately one-third of Dubai’s population is of South Asian origin—the ties between the United Arab Emirates and India and Pakistan date back to the 19th century, when the Emirates (then known as the Trucial States) were administered by the...
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Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Wandering the streets of Al Shindagha, a neighborhood in the historic heart of Dubai, you’ll realize that the emirate’s colorful past and fascinating culture is not limited to a few historic sites and instead can be found around every corner. That...
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Hatta - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Many tourists assume that Dubai, the emirate, and Dubai, the city, are roughly contiguous, but they are not. For the traveler willing to take the time to venture beyond the city, the other towns in the emirate can be fascinating excursions. Hatta,...
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Dubai Media City - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dubai is the home of its own distinct cuisine, with stews of goat and chicken rich with spices including cardamom, turmeric, and thyme. The emirate has long adopted many dishes more familiar in the Levant (roughly the area that includes Jordan,...
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The Arabian oryx was hunted to extinction on the Arabian Peninsula by the mid-1970s, but became the first animal species upgraded from Extinct in the Wild to Vulnerable by the IUCN index when conservation efforts bolstered wild population numbers...