Deira is the neighbourhood that is home to the working class in the city of Dubai, but also home to some notable tourist destinations such as souks and beaches.
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Deira is a district of Dubai bordered to the north by the waters of the Persian Gulf, to the east by Sharjah and to the west by the Creek. Historically, Deira has always been the centre of Dubai’s commerce, but it has recently lost its importance due to the city’s economic boom, which has developed in recent years along Sheikh Zayed Road and the coastal areas.

Nevertheless, Deira remains crucial in the overall picture of the city of Dubai: it is here that the city’s working class lives today, consisting mostly of Indians, Bengalis, Chinese and Filipinos. This makes Deira a melting pot of cultures and traditions, coexisting peacefully with the utmost respect for each other, while still being subject to the written and unwritten laws that govern Arab culture.

Things to do in Deira

From the point of view of tourism, Deira is an important area to visit for those who like to discover the traditions and origins of the city of Dubai. Those who come here looking for luxury boutiques and five-star hotels have totally missed the boat.

In the collective imagination, Dubai means excess, houses from a thousand and one nights and butlers in white gloves. None of this exists in Deira, there is chaos on the streets at all hours of the day and night, but this is the beating heart of the city, the backstage of Dubai.

It is also an experience to be had to realise that Dubai is a living, breathing, eating and sleeping city. However, there are some truly noteworthy attractions worth visiting even if you are locked in a luxury beach resort dozens of kilometres away.

The Souks of Deira

A souk (also sometimes spelled ‘souq’) in Arab culture is an open-air market or otherwise a shopping district. In Deira, there are several souks, the best known of which is the gold souk. Here, the best quality bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings are sold and bought at very good prices compared to European prices. There are jewellery shops one after the other; it really is the right place to give a wonderful gift.

But for those looking for something more traditional, the spice souk in Deira is the winning choice: smells, scents, flavours and colours that hark back to Morocco, North Africa and Arabia. Haggling is a must here, and it will be quite a challenge to extract the best price from the expert merchants in the area.

The Creek

Deira is divided from the rest of the city of Dubai by the Creek, the arm of the sea that was originally where the historic core of the city came into being. Today, the Creek, like Deira, has lost its importance from the point of view of trade, but it is still a remarkable tourist attraction. It is possible to cross it aboard the traditional abra, small wooden boats with a tented roof, or to dine aboard the elegant Creek cruises that are organised daily by various shipping companies, to taste the excellent dishes of Arabian culture while admiring a truly unmissable panorama.

Dhow Wharfages

The Dhow Wharfages in Dubai are a really interesting and unusual area, offering the chance to see the city from another point of view and perspective.

They are located along the Creek, on the Deira side, just north of the Maktoum Bridge, and are the docks where these large wooden boats, used since the early days of Dubai to transport goods by sea between various cities in the UAE and between neighbouring countries in the Persian Gulf, are moored.

Moored at the wharves, the Dhows are so many, and the atmosphere is one of organised chaos: boxes and boxes of goods of all kinds, from groceries to flowers, from spices to furnishings, enter and leave Dubai at all hours of the day and night.

The activity is frenetic and colourful, the area is very lively and characteristic: it is not uncommon to meet workers on their lunch break during their daily tasks or, on the contrary, to see them hard at work while unloading an entire ship. The Dhow Wharfages in Dubai give one the opportunity to admire at close quarters a lifestyle that has remained unchanged since the earliest days of trade in the city.

It is worth taking a walking tour, the friendly sailors may even invite you on board for a cup of tea and a scenic tour of their dhows, assuming you find a common language in which to converse. There are some great spots to take beautiful photos, both on land and from the water, venturing aboard a traditional abra or boarding a ship for a cruise on the Creek.

More things to do in Deira

Wandering around the streets of Deira one can come across numerous things to do and see. A trip to the fish market is a must, a typical and authentic experience, where every morning loads of fish arrive and are then quickly sorted to the city’s restaurants.

Finally, a very interesting, though not very well known, destination is the Women’s Museum. Here one can admire the evolution of the condition of women throughout the Arab world, a thoughtful interlude in a city like Dubai where everything seems to move at the speed of light.


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Deira Gold Souk

Deira Gold Souk

The Dubai Gold Souk, located in the Deira district, is the most famous and visited of the city's souks. One can find gold, silver, diamonds and much more.
Deira Spice Souk

Deira Spice Souk

The Dubai Spice Souk, located in the Deira district, is a covered market where all kinds of herbs and spices can be found and is very popular with tourists.
Dubai Fish Market

Dubai Fish Market

In Dubai to buy excellent fresh fish, there is nothing better than going to the Deira fish market, full of delicacies from the local seas.
Deira covered souk

Deira covered souk

The covered souk in Deira is one of the most fascinating places in Dubai, packed with shops selling everything, and where haggling is the rule.
Naif Souk

Naif Souk

The Naif Souk in Dubai is a place where one can do various shopping bargains. Destroyed by a fire in 2008, it is now totally new.

How to save on transport and entrance fees

City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.

Dubai: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 3 to 7 Attractions
Dubai: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 3 to 7 Attractions
Save up to 50%* off compared to buying individual attraction tickets. Choose from many Dubai experiences including a hop-on-hop-off bus, the Aquaventure Waterpark, the Burj Khalifa, and more.
From 174,28 €