A few minutes across Dubai Creek from Bur Dubai is the commercial hub of Deira. Port Saeed, the original trading port, follows the creek along Baniyas Road. Take a stroll and witness the commotion of heavily laden dhows being unloaded onto the roadside. Cargo piled high along Baniyas Road is a common sight as are gunnel bumping dhows moored along the bank.For only 1 dirham, experience a close up of Dubai Creek-life onboard a traditional abra. Every few minutes, the flat wooden boats ferry passengers from Bur Dubai to Deira and vice versa. The quick trip takes in the varied water transportation and traffic on the creek.To see more, an hour tour can be arranged by the abra station staff. For 120 dirhams, the driver will take a leisurely cruise upstream allowing photographers to snap the juxtaposition of old and new Dubai. If you prefer comfort and style, Raddison Blu, JA Resorts and other hotels offer dinner cruises. Check Viator for possible discounts.A perfect place for an early start is Deira Fish Market. Not on the general tourist map, expect to see locals haggling for the best price on fresh fish for home or restaurants. The market stocks a plethora of seafood, stacked high, delivered fresh, with ample vendors who will prepare it for a small fee.Bear in mind carrying fish on the metro is prohibited so choose alternate transport to get your catch home. A vibrant fruit and vegetable market is adjacent along with a refrigerated butchers section. Deira Fish Market is a one-stop fresh produce shop.A short walk away, Deira Gold Souk is far more tourist-oriented so you’ll need your bartering skills. Screens with updated gold prices determine price by weight, but savings can be made on workmanship. Black and purple gold are available along with a wealth of precious metals and stones. The narrow, bustling streets surrounding the Gold Souk are teaming with commerce and cart wielding men on a mission. Take some time to wander this vibrant area for clothing, footwear, accessories, handbags, textiles, homewares, and the list goes on.Take a look around Deira Perfume Souk south of the Gold Souk on Sikkat al-Khail Street. Not under cover as the others, but a street of perfume shops also selling incense and fragrant wood. There are plenty of branded perfumes, but look out for perfumers who will make your personal scent, a common practice for many in the Middle East.Back on Baniyas Road, Deira Spice Souk is the place to buy Iranian Saffron. Well priced and plentiful, it is only one of the scores of available spices. Some will be unfamiliar, so take advantage of the vendor’s knowledge and advice on their uses. Vendors are also well informed on packaging and shipping specific to individual countries. Meander through the alleyways to find kitchenware stores. Many are purely wholesale, but some are happy to negotiate on single items. The earthy scents through this souk are intoxicating.The Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club (DCGYC) with its list of venues is a wonderful spot for sundowners. The Boardwalk on the deck is a casual alfresco option overlooking the marina. A quirky BBQ can be arranged on a donut boat (still on the to-do list). Casa de Tapas on level 1 provides an alternate vantage point for the view and on the top floor, Celio has an excellent evening vista taking in the bright lights of Downtown Dubai. All are licensed with menus ranging from quick bites to main meals. The Park Hyatt Hotel, located adjacent DCGYC, is an ideal place to rest your head.Has anyone been on an abra? Wandered the many souks of Deira? Had sundowners by the Creek? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
The sites of Prague are coming up next. Join me to eat, drink, explore, shop and if there’s time, sleep. The excitement of an inaugural visit: it’s a thing we love….