Middle Eastern Culture
Dubai is a great place for an introduction to Middle Eastern traditions. Amidst the sleek modern skyscrapers and luxury shopping, you can still experience traditional Emirati culture in an atmosphere that feels safe, open and comfortable. English is the common language, so it’s easy to communicate, ask questions and learn. The concierge team at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach can coordinate every aspect of your discovery.
Dubai’s tiny Bastakiya quarter was founded in the 1890s by wealthy textile and pearl traders from Bastak, Iran. It’s like stepping into the past! The narrow laneways are now lined with galleries and cafés.
In a fort built in 1787 – the oldest building in the city – Dubai Museum depicts everyday life before the discovery of oil. Galleries recreate historic Arab houses, mosques and souks, and teach about pearl diving.
Enjoy a traditional Emirati breakfast or lunch inside a traditional local house in Bastakiya. While eating, you have the chance to chat with your Emerati host and ask questions about UAE culture, customs and religion.
In Old Dubai, you can experience authentic Middle Eastern markets – with narrow laneways jammed with merchandise – specialising in gold, spices and textiles. Get more specifics in our list of Dubai’s Best Shopping.
Dubai Heritage Village
For an interesting evening, explore this old-style village at the edge of Dubai Creek. You’ll find camel and donkey rides, people making traditional crafts and foods, as well as restaurants along the water.
Visit the only mosque in Dubai that is open to the public and dedicated to receiving non-Muslim guests. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about Emirati culture and religion in a relaxed, casual and open atmosphere.
A short walk from Four Seasons, this newly developed harbour aims to bring back Dubai’s ancient trade and cultural roots. Stroll the jetty and look at the boats, then choose from about five restaurants and cafés.
Breakfast with a Bedouin
Head to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reservation to a traditional Arabic camp where you’ll hear tales of the past from a local Bedouin over a traditional breakfast. Then enjoy a ride through the dunes!
Dhow Cruise Dubai
Board a traditional dhow sailing vessel and cruise down Dubai Creek, enjoying the twinkling lights and fascinating scenery, as well as belly dancing and a barbecue buffet dinner. It’s a remarkably romantic experience.