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Jumeirah was once the domain of traditional Emirati fishermen and pearl divers. As Dubai became more and more developed, however, the beachfront region became home to a growing number of expatriates. Today, Jumeirah is a great mix of traditional culture and modern marvels. A self guided tour of Jumeirah allows you to see Dubai’s historic in addition to its contemporary aspects. Here, we offer a self guided tour of Jumeirah, great for any tourist who wants to explore this part of the city.
The Jumeirah Mosque is one of the few mosques in Dubai that is open for public visits. It is the locus for the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding’s “Open Doors. Open Minds” programme. In order to help build cross-cultural understanding, it is open to non-Muslims as well. This is our first stop in the self guided tour.
Here, the tours are carried out by dedicated volunteers. They explain the features of the religious architecture, dive into the history of the Islamic faith and elaborate on how the ancient traditions have been adapted for modern worship. The guides are all bright and friendly and furthermore will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Tours of the Jumeirah Mosque run 6 days a week from Saturday to Thursday. The tour starts at 10:00am, but you should arrive at the entrance of the mosque by 9:45am (which is why we recommend beginning your self guided tour here!). Tickets cost 20 AED each, though children under 12 can enter for free.
Your admission includes water, dates, tea, Arabian coffee and traditional pastries. In terms of attire, modest dress is recommended, so an outfit that covers your shoulders and knees is your best bet. However, you can also borrow traditional attire from the mosque itself at no extra charge (and it makes for a great photo op as well!).
After the peace and calm of the mosque, why not head somewhere that will get your blood pumping? Kite Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Dubai and is known for the variety of watersports that take place across its waves. It is the second stop in our suggested Self Guided Tour. If you want to rent a jetski or try your hand at surfing, this is the place to be. And if you don’t feel like getting out on the waves, there’s plenty to do on the shores as well.
You can try Wire World, and weave your way through an elevated wire obstacle course. You can take a stroll along the paved jogging path. Or you can simply sit on the beach, and watch the kite surfers as they sail upon the waves.
Like to keep active on your holiday? Check out our variety of walking tours!
After the open seas of the beach, it’s time to experience one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks – and one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The Burj Al Arab is a towering hotel shaped like a sail over the sea. Its interiors boast gorgeous fountains and an amazing rainbow atrium.
It is important to note, however, that the Burj Al Arab is not easily accessible. The hotel sits upon a private island, and tourists have to prove they have some sort of business at the hotel to even cross the bridge (wanting to wander around the lobby doesn’t count!).
The best way to see inside the Burj Al Arab is to book an afternoon tea there. Luckily, we’ve written a pretty detailed guide on how to do that here.
If you feel that a trip inside the Burj Al Arab does not fit in with your schedule or budget, don’t worry. You can skip the visit and still take great photos of the hotel’s exterior at Kite Beach and/or our next stop in the self guided tour, the Souk Madinant.
A souk is a term referring to a traditional Arabian-style marketplace. Souk Madinat takes its inspiration from the souks of yore, but with a distinctly modern twist. The winding shopping complex boasts air-conditioned corridors, upscale shops and a variety of restaurants. Unlike many other souks, prices at this one are pretty fixed, so it’s a good option for people who can’t stand to haggle (if you want a more authentic souk experience, check out our Dubai Souk Tour.) Prices are a bit higher compared to the souks near Bastakiya, but you can find some really beautiful pashminas, carpets and souvenirs here.
And if you wander to the back of the souk, you’ll find a great spot to take a photo with the Burj Al Arab rising in the background.
We recommend ending the tour with a peaceful abra ride around Madinat Jumeirah. You’ll have the opportunities to set sail in a traditional wooden boat and also traverse the area’s meandering, man-made waterways. After a long day of exploring, it’s nice to sit back and feel the wind on your face.
Abra tours occur every 20 minutes, and last around 20 minutes each. The boat departs from the Souk Abra station near Trattoria Toscana. You can also buy your tickets at the station – 85 AED for an adult and 50 AED for a child. More information can be found here.
If you’d like to try a more traditional abra ride, our Dubai Souk Tour also includes an abra ride in the price of the ticket itself.
We hope you enjoyed our guide to Jumeirah! The area’s mix of extreme luxury and rather humble traditions makes it a great place to explore and the perfect microcosm of Dubai.