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Discover Dubai’s Culture And Heritage
“Nation without heritage is like a tree without roots” (old Bedouin Emirati saying)

Dubai is a lot more than its tall skyscrapers and modern man-made wonders. It has a rich culture and heritage which dates back many decades. To understand that, old Dubai’s cultural heart welcomes you for a glimpse at its heritage.

Souks have always been a part of Dubai and its historical places. These are traditional marketplaces which were designed as narrow alleys right next to each other. They would be crowded with small shops of spices, textiles, silk, and arabian perfumes called oud. These old souks can be found near Dubai creek, the place where the first settlements came into being. Bastakiya, Bur Dubai, and Deira are the three districts which the Dubai creek is divided into. The Al Bastakiya quarter dates back to the nineteenth century and hosts various exhibitions like the Majlis.

The conventional tea houses give you a taste of what the culture of Dubai was like; from the whole environment to the traditional food they serve. 

The Dubai heritage museum holds many answers to Dubai’s cultural heritage. It houses the whole way of living locals used to lead, with all the artifacts, relics, and antiques of old Dubai. Before oil was discovered, trade and pearl extraction was the main form of occupation in this part of the world.

Jumeirah mosque is one of the main spots to give you a feeling of the religious background and how it was and is a strong part of Dubai’s culture and arts.

The gold and spice souks have a variety of rare spices to fragrant oud perfumes and all kinds of gold ornaments you can think of.

The Heritage village is a village made of mud and stone small, traditional houses surrounded by palm trees. It shows you how the old Emirati community lived as well as different aspects of Bedouin’s lives. It takes you back to the 16th century, showing mosques and weapon rooms that existed almost 200 years ago.

Taking a trip to the desert, either to a desert camp or in desert safari, opens up your eyes to the traditional way of transportation Bedouins used to travel across the desert. Not only that, but also the way they lived, ate, wore clothes and how they communicated.

When it comes to art, Arabic calligraphy has been around for centuries and is an intricate and highly valued form of art today, making it an integral part of Dubai’s culture and arts. Sports like hunting, falconry, camel racing, and equestrian sports are major parts of the culture of Dubai and are still practiced today along with modern sports.

Dubai’s culture is full of historical landmarks and practices. Most of those ancient landmarks have been preserved while many places have been built with the same ancient look to get a feel of the old Dubai heritage in present times.

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6 UAE Traditions And Customs Tourists Should Know

UAE is a haven of a diversity of heritage, traditions and customs. These are taken seriously by locals, and tourists should be aware of these in order to respect them. Some customs include actions which need to be followed by tourists, like the do’s and don’ts of the country. Respecting the customs and traditions is necessary in avoiding conflicts or arrests in extreme cases. Here is a list of 6 traditions and customs tourists should know.

Attire

Attire or clothing is expected to be modest according to the country’s dress code. Not following this could cause distress. The traditional clothing for men is a Kandura or full robe usually white in color. For women, it is an Abaya, a black colored robe. It represents the heritage of the UAE through its simplicity yet fine fabric quality.

Greeting

The first interaction between locals and tourists starts with a greeting and knowing the correct way for that is important. It displays respect and builds trust between the two groups. Emirati greetings usually involve genuinely warm welcomes including handshakes, embraces and generous praise.  With women, let the local women initiate the greeting and follow suit. More conservative greetings between men and women are still widely practiced, so when in doubt, just smile. Locals highly regard it when you pay attention and respect these small things. 

Public Behavior

Rules of how to behave in public may be the biggest difference in the culture between locals and tourists. Public displays of affection are frowned upon and regarded disrespectful to the Emirati customs and culture, due to religious differences. Taking pictures of people in public is not tolerated, especially of women, military or government facilities, unless at a tourist location. 

Staying on our best behavior, especially in public, is a very important part of the heritage of UAE. You would be able to see that once you become a part of any of our tour packages with Heritage Express and enjoy Emirati hospitality and culture at its warmest.

Religion

A major role of UAE’s tradition and customs is played by religion. As tourists, you are expected to respect the religion of the locals who are mostly Muslims. Prayer times must be respected, dress modestly if visiting a mosque, refrain from eating publicly in Ramadan during fasting hours and avoid the consumption of pork or alcohol in public.
These are some of the general customs and traditions that tourists must know of. Giving respect and importance to these small things will make their UAE trip a pleasant experience and hopping on one of our buses at Heritage Express will make it even more enjoyable.

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Experience Dubai Like Never Before
From The Most Modern To Heritage

1)    Emirati Hospitality Experience

While enjoying traditional Emirati cuisine and learning about the UAE culture and heritage, get transported in a moving majlis for a wonderful cultural experience that is served in the most authentic neighborhood. The Heritage express tour group will give you insights into how UAE people lived and their heritage, facilitated by one of their Emirati presenters.

 

2)    Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood

 

The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is the place to go if you're looking for authentic Middle Eastern charm in Dubai. Explore the quaint lanes and winding passageways that pass by wonderfully renovated traditional homes made of stone, gypsum, teak, sandalwood, and palm wood. Many of these homes are topped with traditional wind towers, or "al barajeel," which produce cooling breezes. 

 Look for the Wall of Dubai, a portion of a historic boundary wall constructed around 1800 AD, as you explore. Then, join a tour with the heritage express tour group for in-depth insights into the areas that reflect the emirate's changing culture. 

 

3)    Al Seef

On the south bank of Dubai Creek, Al Seef by Meraas is a picturesque 1.8-kilometer waterfront promenade close to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. Discover local and foreign cafes, restaurants, and stores in a diverse area that showcases the best of Dubai's history and culture. 

Dubai's development has influenced the remarkable architecture of Al Seef over the past 50 years, and the area's winding pedestrian lanes and passageways transport you back in time.

A scenic marina, a conventional souk (market), a floating market, floating restaurants, art galleries, and stores selling genuine Emirati handicrafts are also located in Al Seef.
Book your seats on the heritage express trolley if you want to explore a lot in one day.

 

4)    Dubai Frame

 Inside the Dubai Frame, a 150-meter-tall architectural wonder situated in Zabeel Park, you can view the past and envision the future. One of the city's newest cultural attractions, the building, which has views of both old and new Dubai, is distinguished by its shimmering, frame-like form and symbolizes the "connection" between the emirate's spiritual past and its forward-thinking present. 

The Old Dubai Gallery transports you back in time as soon as you enter. Discover the heritage of the Emiratis through impressive 3D projections, and dig into Dubai's fascinating past. 

Although the views are beautiful during the day, at night, they are outstanding. You are prompted to identify places, learn interesting facts, and add your creative touches through interactive augmented reality displays. Finally, there is a café if you want a cup of coffee. 

 

5)    Etihad Museum

 

The remarkable founding narrative of the United Arab Emirates is told in a modern setting at the Etihad Museum, a vibrant museum for the twenty-first century that is sure to inspire you. This 25,000m2 landmark is appropriately situated near the site where the United Arab Emirates was established in 1971. 

With a focus on the years between 1968 and 1974, the Museum's various pavilions showcase an immersive visitor journey, house experience-driven exhibitions, interactive programs, and educational initiatives that explore the fascinating events that eventually culminated in the unification of the Emirates in 1971. 

At the Museum's numerous state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits, you may learn more about the country's constitution, particularly the rights, benefits, and obligations it bestows upon the citizens of the UAE.

 

6)    At the Top Burj Khalifa

At the Top Burj Khalifa, look at the emirates and beyond's unparalleled views. 

With a speed of 10 meters per second, the world's fastest double-deck elevators will take you directly to Level 124. Then, through powerful telescopes, get a closer look at the world far below. Then, head outside to the public outdoor observation terrace to take in the expansive skyline. 

 Visit Level 125, which is 456 meters above the earth and offers 360-degree vistas, to round off the experience. Utilizing cutting-edge green-screen technology, which combines realism and visual effects, you may embark on a virtual journey to the very top of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper and capture your Burj Khalifa experiences for all time.

 

7)    The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall, the most popular shopping and entertainment destination in the world, is situated in the upscale Downtown Dubai neighborhood and welcomes more than 80 million visitors annually. 

The Dubai Mall contains more than 1,300 retail establishments, including Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale's, two main department stores, and more than 200 restaurants and bars with a global reputation. 

With more than 150 new luxury eating and retail experiences, including flagship stores and new concepts, The Fashion Avenue, the high fashion area of the Dubai Mall, which has just been enlarged, establishes the mall as the fashion center of the Middle East. 

In addition, the Dubai Mall houses the first-ever virtual reality (VR) attraction in the Middle East, VR Park, and the renowned Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, home to thousands of aquatic animals and a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel. KidZania®, a cutting-edge children's "edutainment" concept, the Reel Cinemas megaplex, and the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink are other family-friendly features. 

A connection bridge provides direct access to the Dubai Metro and two adjacent five-star hotels, Address Dubai Mall and Address Boulevard.

 

8)    Museum of the Future

The building is a marvel of architecture and engineering. It confidently connects the present and the future by applying cutting-edge technology to time-honored artistic traditions. The building's futuristic design offers a novel detour from the towering skyscrapers that dominate all skylines. Instead, its form represents people, the planet, and the unknowable future.

The Museum elaborates on the progressive culture that propelled the UAE to become one of the most developed nations in the world in less than 50 years. A platform for the forward-thinking, daring, and positive energy that propels Dubai and invites people of different cultural, intellectual, social, and spiritual perspectives. 

Despite being essentially positive, the museum imagined futures are honest about the dangers of the present. They will show how today's problems could provide the groundwork for a better future via books, videos, exhibitions, and other public activities.

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Best UAE Tour Places You Must Visit
Variety From Each City

Skyscrapers, gold shopping malls, and man-made wonders are just a few things the UAE is famous for. However, people tend to forget that the Middle East's economic capital was once one of the world's most popular travel destinations due to its breathtaking natural beauty. No matter what kind of visitor you are, each city in the United Arab Emirates has a variety of natural experiences and places you can explore. This enables the nation to provide each tourist with a unique experience. Whatever your interests, there is something out there for you! Many tourists from around the world pass through these locations, which helps local companies grow because of all these foreign visitors who spend a lot of money on lodging, dining, and transportation while vacationing here. Here are the top 10 hidden gem sites in UAE sites that are yet deserving of a spot on your bucket list!            

 

1)    Gurunanak Darbar Sikh Temple

 

The Gurunanak Darbar Sikh Temple is one of Dubai's most significant religious structures and the most stunning attraction you might not have realized existed. It is a colorful architecture influenced by the Golden Temple of Amritsar in India. If you enjoy taking images of architecture, you will be awed by the elaborate grillwork that covers the façade of this multi-story building.

 

2)    Al Fahidi Fort

 

Visit the Dubai Museum to see vibrant dioramas and educational, historical artifacts. The oldest building still standing in the city, housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, is a must-see if you want to experience Dubai's past. This fort served as the royal base, a fortified home, a weapons depot, and a prison. You may get a sense of daily life in the UAE before the discovery of oil by visiting sites that highlight Dubai's history and original legacy. The Heritage Express tour will take you on an authentic experience to see the UAE's historical heritage and culture, led especially by the entire Emirati team. Visit heritageexpress.com for more info.

 

3)    Al Ain Oasis

 

The only UNESCO World Heritage site in the UAE is one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world, dating back more than 4,000 years. It has a conventional falaj, or water system, which has been used since 500 AD.

 

4)    Umm, Al Quwain Mangroves

 

The untouched mangroves of Umm Al Quwain have a calmness that contrasts with its brighter neighbors. Sea sports enthusiasts of all skill levels can rent paddle boards and kayaks from the Kite Beach Center and venture out on tours of 3 km or 10 km. Those on kayaks or paddle boards can only explore this secret location, and the lush mangroves are best enjoyed from the water.

 

5)    Love Lake Dubai

 

Enjoy Love Lake Dubai's sights and sounds while immersing yourself in nature at the tranquil Al Qudra oasis. The name of this well-known location comes from two sizable, connected lakes that form a heart shape. There is sufficient parking, so visitors can enjoy the greenery while having picnics or setting up barbecues in authorized spots. They can also keep an eye out for the wildlife, which includes numerous bird species. The Al Qudra Cycling Track is not far from Love Lake, and if you're a fitness fanatic, there is also a jogging track on the property. Also, don’t miss to watch the breathtaking sunset from a location where everything is devoted to love. There are sculptures of hearts here, and the trees have even been trained to form the word "love" when viewed from above.

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Dubai's Most Authentic Heritage Bus Tour
The authentic Bus tour in Dubai (heritage experience) (what to eat, where to go)

The Heritage Express Dubai is a fully immersive experience about Dubai's history, traditions, and customs. A beautiful bus called a "moving majlis," and a knowledgeable Emirati tour guide and driver will take you on a trip like no other. It is a unique and genuine experience.

 

What makes Heritage Express the most authentic heritage bus tour in Dubai?

 

Heritage Express is the only Dubai cultural tour led by a team of local Emirati guides. Ambassadors will take you on a sensory experience that lets you see, hear, touch, and even taste the heritage of the UAE. Passengers are encouraged to absorb the bustling sights and sounds of the Al Seef Souq, breathe in the sweet scents of the Emirati perfume houses and interact with a camel. A day out on the Heritage Express will change your perceptions and open your mind. Experience what it means to be Emirati through the eyes of a trolley-riding tourist. Offering a range of morning, afternoon, or evening departure times, the trolleys are fun for all ages.

 

All you need to know about routes and meals

 

From Culture on Wheels to the Emirati Hospitality Experience, pick from a choice of reasonably priced experiences. The bus disembarks in the historically rich Al Fahidi Neighborhood, where you may discover how Dubai was from the middle of the nineteenth century to the 1970s. The routes leading to Al Fahidi are Al Seef, Al Fahidi Fort, Abra, Al Shindagha, the Etihad Museum, and the Jumeirah Mosque. 

 

Visitors may have Emirati snacks and traditional meals based on their selected experiences. One can choose to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on the desired slot of the tour. A great way to start the day is with Shakshuka and other traditional breakfast items, and lamb machboos and other delectable dishes are available for lunch and dinner.

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Facts About UAE
United Arab Emirates

Travelers who claim they dislike the United Arab Emirates almost certainly have never expired it properly, as the UAE is one of the top Middle Eastern tourist destinations.

UAE is a city that should be on every traveler's bucket list since it is vibrant, opulent, wealthy, and flamboyant. Yet, it maintains its simplicity, especially in most of its non-metropolises. The following list of 15 must-know details will help you enjoy your time in the UAE to the fullest if you have any upcoming travel plans to the country.

 

1. It is a place with the best man made marvels

 

Some locations, like the UAE, don't have as many natural wonders as others, so what did they do? Some places are genuinely gifted with natural beauty. They became a benchmark nation in terms of development and efficient resource allocation because they built the best man made wonders in the world. There is nothing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that won't surprise you. Burj Khalifa, the largest handloom carpet in the world, the biggest malls in the world, the largest manmade fountain, the largest man made islands, chandeliers made of Swarovski crystals and 24 karat gold, and the most opulent hotel in the world.

 

2. This desert nation also promises some of the most breathtaking beaches

 

To say that the UAE is a land with the best sun, beach, and sea won't be overstating things. The nation is home to some calmest beaches, including Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, Ghantoot Beach in Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali Beach, Ajman Beach, and JBR Beach. Some are accessible public beaches, but the private ones will provide you with the most abundant beach experience and outstanding service.

 

3. It is more international than you might imagine

 

Although it is undeniable that the UAE is traditionally an Islamic nation, especially in its top tourist areas, it is also true that the country is highly cosmopolitan. Here, it's simple to see people from all over the world coexisting. Only in Dubai, where 85% of the population is made up of expats, has there ever been an incidence of racial violence.

 

4. It might be the friendliest nation you've ever been to

 

The UAE is renowned for its impeccable hospitality. In essence, people make every effort to ensure that the care of their guests is of the highest caliber since they know that most of their revenue now comes from the tourist business. You'll want more of the conveniences, comforts, and indulgences. The UAE never ceases to amaze its visitors, from providing gold-plated iPads to hotel guests to serving champagne on hot air balloons.

 

5. It has a ton of GOLD

 

In the UAE, some ATMs may give out gold bars. What more do you need? Over 10 tons of gold are always on hand for trading in Dubai's gold souk. Due to their enormous gold reserves, Dubai's jewelers are uniquely free to set their gold trade prices. The interior of the Burj Al Arab, the most opulent hotel in the world, is stunningly covered with 1,790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf. In 2013, 354 elephants' worth of gold was traded in Dubai. This was 40% of all the physical gold that was sold around the world.

 

6. Saturday and Sunday are weekends in the UAE

 

You should be aware that the United Arab Emirates has changed its weekend from "Friday and Saturday" to "Saturday and Sunday" as of January 1, 2022, to coincide more closely with the rest of the globe. Visits to malls and other busy locations should be planned properly. Additionally, major cities like Dubai stay open late on weekday and weekend nights, allowing you to enjoy a variety of late-night bars, marketplaces, and food stalls.

 

7. It is among the safest countries to visit

 

With a practically 0% crime rate, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the safest city in the world. The 25th finest city in the world to live in is Abu Dhabi, which is the country's capital. These titles are difficult to obtain; they demand a super alert police force and the enforcement of laws strong enough to reduce crime. However, it should go without saying that wherever you go, you should always be aware of and concerned for your safety. Respecting UAE customs and rules will ensure your safety at all times.

 

8. The UAE is a haven for foodies 

 

Being a multicultural nation, the UAE has a fantastic variety of food. If you're not a vegetarian, Emirati cuisine alone will keep your stomach happy for months. Numerous delicious foods are unknown to many people, such as exotic camel meat, falafel, an enormous variety of seafood, and foods from other cultures, such as Japanese, Chinese, Korean, European, Indian, Pakistani, and more. Chefs from many nations fly to the UAE specifically to add authenticity to the cuisine.

 

9. It is a place where there are thrilling adventures and charming romances

 

If experiencing an adrenaline rush is what draws you to a country, the UAE will undoubtedly be on your list of must-visit locations. In addition to the entire sky experience, UAE offers extreme marine adventures, including shark cage diving, jet skiing, flyboarding, banana boat riding, and many other water sports. Experience hot air balloon rides, skydiving, and paragliding in the UAE with qualified specialists. Even the top water parks in the world can give you a once-in-a-lifetime rush. You won't regret traveling to Dubai because of its breathtaking and enthralling natural beauty.

 

The United Arab Emirates is once again a fantastic destination for those seeking a relaxing vacation. The friendly UAE will go to any lengths—from special romantic candle-lit beach dinners to Dhow boat cruises—to make your special someone feel genuinely unique.

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Pick an experience!

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Culture on Wheels

Enjoy an authentic interactive experience with a professional Emirati guide. Plenty of fun, interesting stories, photographs and life-time memories.


  • Unique custom designed ‘trolley’ experience
  • 3-hour interactive live guided tour
  • Key historical attractions
  • Desert Bedouin Experience
  • Jumeirah Mosque Garden Experience
  • Emirati Snacks
  • Hygiene precautions in place
  • Access to Heritage Express Gift Shop
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Culture on Wheels & Emirati Hospitality Experience

Add to your Culture on Wheels experience by booking the Open Doors Open Minds cultural hospitality program. Enjoy Emirati cuisine in a traditional heritage house.


  • Unique custom designed ‘trolley’ experience
  • 5-hour interactive live guided tour
  • Key historical attractions
  • Desert Bedouin Experience
  • Jumeirah Mosque Garden Experience
  • Emirati Snacks and Meal (choice between breakfast, lunch or dinner)
  • The signature Q&A session with the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding Heritage House
  • Hygiene precautions in place
  • Access to Heritage Express Gift Shop
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