Dubai is a multi-dimensional city. This city has created a perfect harmony between modernity and tradition. Being the most sought-after travel destination in the Middle East, Dubai experiences a huge tourist footfall every year. Spreading across a massive area, Dubai is impossible to be walked like some other Asian and European cities.
We understand your concern as a foreign tourist about choosing an advantageous base for an effortless Dubai vacation. Picking Bur Dubai or Deira can keep you close to most of the touristy things. But which is the best for tourists – Bur Dubai or Deira?
Here comes our analysis of both these places. We are going to compare them on the basis of location, location advantages, things to do, hotels and public transport to assist you in selecting that one neighbourhood for spending a few days in the “City of Gold”.
Both Bur Dubai and Deira are situated right in the heart of the Old City of Dubai. These two well-established districts of Old Dubai are often considered as the favourite accommodation spots for foreign tourists. You can also see plenty of locals inhabiting these areas.
What cuts Bur Dubai off Deira is the Dubai Creek. Surprisingly, both these areas give a similar vibe and we don’t find much of a difference in the neighbourhoods. Composed of narrow lanes, ancient edifices and authentic Arabian markets, Bur Dubai and Deira reveal the real soul of Dubai.
Staying in any one of these two areas doesn’t make much difference. Travelling to the other area needs just an Abra or boat-taxi ride. It takes a few minutes to access one shoreline from the other. Travelling to other parts of the city? Thanks to Sheikh Zayed Road, Bur Dubai can get you there faster!
Our Verdict: Bur Dubai
Sitting next to each other and split by the gorgeous Deira Creek, both Bur Dubai and Deira come with similar kinds of location advantages. But if you are a Westerner and don’t want to stand out in the crowd, we will recommend Bur Dubai for you.
Bur Dubai is a more modernized part of the Old Dubai neighbourhood. With Sheikh Zayed Road running across the area and having Jumeirah Beach on its side, Bur Dubai is accustomed to Western culture and the people.
On the other hand, Deira shows a significant chunk of expats of Asian ethnicity. They work in Dubai and prefer to stay in Deira. Even you may hear them calling Deira the “Mini India” which is an apt phrase to describe the Asian dominant population of this locality.
Whether you pick Bur Dubai or Deira – you would not be far from the cultural, historical and touristy sites from both the areas. But Bur Dubai would be a little bit closer to all these star attractions for sure. You will find more recognizable chain of shops and restaurants in this area along the Sheikh Zayed Road.
Our Verdict: Bur Dubai
Be it Bur Dubai or Deira or any other part of the city, you would feel and be safer in Dubai than even many global cities in the Europe and USA. The whole city of Dubai is quite respectful to foreigners, particularly the tourists because they generate a big amount of revenue for their country. Yes, it’s not oil anymore but the hospitality industry that boosts the GDP of Dubai as well as the UAE!
Emirati rules and regulations have been laid in tune with the Shariya Laws. The legal system in Dubai is very effective in taking quick action against any sort of criminal offense. Therefore, both men and women can enjoy their days in the city without the fear of suspecting strangers all the time.
Just be careful with your drinks and behaviours in public places. Never ever try to take over the driver’s seat if you are under the influence. Don’t even think of taking part in any sort of drug and substance abuse incidence. Dubai Police is very intolerant of such things and you may land yourself in a complete mess.
Our Verdict: Both these places are safe.
Bur Dubai or Deira for Things to Do
If you wish to explore the whole of Dubai in a seamless fashion while staying close to a lot of celebrated tourist attractions from the town, Bur Dubai and Deira can be your saviours. Whichever area you choose to spend your days in Dubai, you will never have a dull moment for sure.
Both Bur Dubai and Deira are like rumbling grounds of the city. Dotted with traditional markets, authentic Emirati restaurants, historical remains, museums, cafes, shopping malls and tons of small retail outlets – these two places are an amazing blend of old and new Dubai.
Let’s check out what you can do or see in and around Bur Dubai and Deira area. We are presenting here the ones that you should not miss to understand Dubai from its core.
Our Favourite Things To Do in Bur Dubai
- Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood: Formerly known as Bastakiya Quarter, this peaceful neighbourhood is a pleasant escape to the bygone eras. Presently restored and maintained as an eminent heritage area, this part of the city features the iconic wind towers, sand-coloured, low-rise buildings, museums, handcrafted souvenir shops and appealing courtyard cafes.
- Dubai Museum: Situated at the Al-Fahidi Fort, this magnificent museum was erected in 1787. Today it is considered as a beautiful example of Emirati architecture in the region. Exhibits of the museum act as a window to picturise the traditional way of living in the Emirate of Dubai.
- Global Village Dubai: This is one-of-a-kind leisure and entertainment venue in Dubai where fun known no limit. Global Village Dubai is a unique cultural, shopping and entertainment destination spreading across an area of 17,200,000 square feet. It gives you a glimpse of various countries and their cultures under one roof.
- Dhow Cruise Dinner: Gliding on the rippling waters of Dubai Creek on a traditional Dhow boat never loses its charm. The banks of the creek look really good and photogenic particularly at night. You must sign up for a Dhow cruise dinner when staying at Bur Dubai.
- Dubai Frame: This oversized, linear and glitzy structure is a beguiling tourist attraction sitting near Bur Dubai. Observation Deck at top of floor of the Dubai Frame lets you take a good look at the stunning views of both old and new Dubai. With a vertical height of 492 feet, this is the largest frame in the world.
- Dubai Garden Glow: There’s nothing more magical and shinier than Dubai Garden Glow. This thought-provoking theme park in Zabeel Park illuminates the night with millions of energy-saving bulbs and recycled fabrics. Your evenings are all set to dazzle when you buy a ticket for Dubai Garden Glow.
- Dubai Dolphinarium: Dolphinarium is the world’s largest contemporary habitat for those beautiful and intelligent creatures that we call dolphins. There are several types of designed encounters suitable for all age groups. This place brings the kid back in you with its wonderful set-ups and shows.
- Shopping at Souks: Shopaholics can’t resist the temptation of going on an endless shopping spree at the Old Souk in Creek area. This traditional Dubai market is stacked with garments, fabrics, footwear, souvenirs and what not! Junk jewelleries are surely a lady’s favourite thing to shop for. There are these Gold Souk and Spice Souk in Bur Dubai and you can guess the things that these markets deal with from their name itself.
Our Favourite Things To Do in Deira
- Shopping at Old Souk, Spice Souk and Gold Souk: Deira’s neighbourhood is flooded with countless shopping destinations, but the traditional Emirati markets are the best places to shop around the locality. Handcrafted products can be bought at reasonable prices if you do sensible bargaining. Gold jewelleries and exotic spices can also be purchased at a competitive price from the respective souks.
- Al Mamzar Beach Park: For a refreshing day out with family in Deira, Al Mamzar Beach Park is the best destination. This beautiful and clean park features all sorts of facilities that visitors can expect. From this park, you can also relish the stunning views of the city.
- Deira Clock Tower: Built in 1965, Deira Clock Tower (also known as Dubai Clock Tower) is the most conspicuous and iconic landmark in the area. This tower symbolizes commercial affairs and it offers a spectacular view day in and out. You must not miss the chance to click some Insta-worthy photos against this fabulous backdrop.
- Saeed Al Maktoum House: Located in Al Shindagha area, Al Maktoum House is a celebrated historic building in Dubai. This was the former residence of Dubai’s then ruler Saeed Bin Al Maktoum. Now it is turned into a museum showcasing the history and heritage of the royal family and the city.
- Waterfront Market: This is probably the best market in Deira to shop for fruits, fish and meat. Everything in this market is freshly grown and you can feel it with your senses. Shopping at the Waterfront Market may look a bit chaotic but you gonna love the way people shop there.
Our Verdict: Bur Dubai
Bur Dubai or Deira for Hotels?
When you have decided to stay either in Bur Dubai or in Deira – you don’t have to face any hiccup to get “your kind of” accommodation. As both these areas are favourite hotspots to foreign travellers when it comes to book accommodation, you will be literally spoilt with choices! Yes, the number of hotels is countless here.
In an attempt to suit a wide range of travel requirements and fit all sorts of budgets, both Bur Dubai and Deira have developed an impressive collection of hotels including the low costing, budget-friendly and 5-star categories.
Before you book your hotel accommodation in any of the hotels from Bur Dubai and Deira, you must do a little bit of research to understand the kind of facilities you are expecting along with the cost you can bear for the accommodation purpose.
We are listing down our favourite hotels from both the areas. This will certainly save your time and effort to hunt down the right hotel from these locations. We have curated our lists for all types of budget categories. Check them out!
Our Top Hotels from Bur Dubai
- Grand Hyatt Dubai
- Palazzo Versace Dubai
- Waldorf Astoria DIFC
- Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton
- Raffles Dubai
- City Season Towers
- Double Tree by Hilton Dubai M Square Hotel & Residences
- BurJuman Arjaan by Rontana
- Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk
- Residence Inn by Marriott Al Jaddaf
- Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel
- Rave Downtown
- Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai
- Suha Mina Rashid Hotel Apartment
- Golden Sands Hotel Apartments
- Raviz Centre Point Hotel
- Rose Garden Apartments Bur Dubai
- Holiday Inn Bur Dubai
- Element Al Jaddaf
Our Top Hotels from Deira
- Novotel Dubai Deira City Centre
- Jumeirah Creekside Hotel
- Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Muraqabat
- Avani Deira Dubai Hotel
- Hyatt Regency Dubai
- Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre
- Le Meridien Dubai Hotel
- Coral Dubai Deira
- Ibis Dubai Deira City Centre
- Movenpick Grand Al Bustan
- Swissoel Living Al Ghurair
- Ramada by Wyndham
- Crowne Plaza Dubai
- Wyndham Dubai Deira
Apart from the hotels we mentioned above, there are a lot more available in Bur Dubai and Deira area. We personally feel that it is always better to book your hotel well ahead of your travel date to avoid disappointment and save extra.
Our Verdict: It’s a Tie
Dubai Creek area is one of the prominent bustling parts of the city. Home to a large number of historical sites and tourist attractions, the hotel industry bloomed here like anything. It is obvious that people, including the residents and tourists, need to visit almost every nook and corner of Dubai on daily basis.
To secure comfortable and effective transportation to and from Bur Dubai and Deira areas, Sheikh Zayed Road is playing a crucial role for years. Taxis and Abras (water taxis) are the best ways to travel across both these areas. Abra rides are also very cheap. It costs around AED 1 – AED 3 per person to cross the creek.
If you aim to avail the public bus services, then the Bur Dubai area can look more promising to you. There are bus stops in the area at regular intervals. Several metro stations will be within your reach if you are staying at Bur Dubai.
Our Verdict: Bur Dubai
Bur Dubai and Deira are the two most authentic places in Dubai to feel the city from its core. We have shared our views about both the places here and we personally feel Bur Dubai is a little better place for tourists than Deira. However, you can always go the other way as personal perspectives vary and we appreciate that.