Heritage and Diving Village: a peek of old Dubai


The Heritage Village is located not very far from the city. You can either access it from the Deira side of Dubai by taking an Abra ride from the Gold Souq to cross the creek (a tour in itself!) to Bur Dubai or go directly to Ghubaiba bus station when taking the bus or car.

You know you’re visiting old Dubai when you see a lowly donkey chilling out in the night.


We went to Dubai’s Heritage and Diving Village, a living museum located near the mouth of Dubai creek. Inside, there are houses made of straw.

Heritage Village house

When people hear the word “Dubai”, it’s easy to say that there’s not much history in this city of modern skyscrapers but visiting the Heritage Village will give you an idea of what this place looked like around 100 years ago.

Heritage Village house

This is not a diorama but a real local person! He invited us to his small house made of stones. There was no electricity inside, only a home made fire that lit and warmed the place.

Me with local

He called out my mom and Pristine over. Pristine was so afraid! We always laugh at this photo at home because I told my mom the old man liked her. Look at how he laid his eyes on her!

with local

Wondered why my mom was wearing a jacket and Pristine is pretty much covered too? This was taken during winter of 2007. I just didn’t get around to posting these. Yes, we have a cold season here too. By December-February, walking around the city without a jacket is like invitation for flu.

Then we chanced upon dancing arab men in the main plaza. They were barefoot in the sand, with toy pistols (?) in their hands. They dance to a lively music by turning round and round (not like the Tanoura dance) and twirling the toy pistol with their hand.  I don’t know the name of this dance, if you do, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Traditional arab dance

In the Arab world, men and women do not mingle together. While the men danced, the women were busy preparing traditional food. I am not sure if I was allowed to take a photo but many tourists did so I sneaked in.

local women

The food was like crepe, albeit, Arabic version. There’s a big flat pan where they spread the flour and water mixture, then crack an egg and spread it on top, flip it over and it’s done!

local women

Pristine looked very amazed with the scene!

Pristine with local

Outside the Heritage Village, there’s a sketch of Sheikh Zayed.


Inside the village, you can play dress up and take a photo to take home (if you are a tourist) and show your family and friends.


The Heritage Village provides a glimpse into the history of Dubai and is built upon one of the oldest districts in Dubai. It was the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, former ruler of Dubai and the grandfather of the present ruler.

One note, when you go, go at night. The place comes alive at night, especially during winter and Dubai Shopping Festival. You’ll enjoy the night lights along the creek as well.


  1. Is this the first time I have seen a picture with your mom? I’m thinking it is because I think to myself she looks very young! Like my age!
    Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

    I believe this is the first time I’ve posted a pic of her in my blog. My mom will be 58 next month but yes, she really looks younger than her real age, just like you!



  2. I love living history museums, they really make history come alive. That said, I don’t think I’d have liked to live in one of those straw houses in the days before air conditioning!



  3. Thank you for sharing the more historical side of Dubai with us. The pictures of your mom with Pristine and the local man are just adorable. I am still always amazed when I learn about different cultures and foods. Thank you for such wonderful photos.
    .-= Lorie Shewbridge´s last blog ..Thought for the Day =-.



  4. Hi there,
    Thought I’d tell you what that dance was called 🙂 It’s called “Yolah” and back in the olden days it was sort of a tribal pride. Each tribe would have a line of male ‘dancers’ and they would have a poetry contest back and forth . Nowadays of course, the dance has changed a bit, but its still called the same.

    I think you mean “Rgag” bread – and you’re right, it does look and taste a bit like crepes.

    It’s my first time posting a comment here, but I visit your blog from time to time (blogsuae.com) – You do have quite interesting posts =)!

    Thanks so much for that information! Highly appreciated! Hey, I didn’t know that I’m listed in blogsuae.com!

    .-= Kaleido´s last blog ..Bete Noire =-.



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