Dubai City straddles Dubai Creek, around which Dubai first developed as a small fishing village, before its recent and sudden growth. Arabic dhows jostle for space on the water, while on the eastern bank of the Creek is the district of Deira, the most traditional part of the city, also known as 'Old Dubai'.
It was here that many of the original immigrants from the sub-continent and Asia first settled, giving it a vibrancy and bustle akin to other Middle Eastern cities, compared to the sometimes-sterile more modern areas of Dubai. Deira can be navigated on foot and the rambling open-air Gold Souk, full of jewellery stores, is a must-visit during a stroll of the old city.
The perfume souk is close by, and so too is the Spice Souk. There you'll find sacks and stacks of every spice imaginable, from saffron and coriander seeds to dried lemons and za'atar - a blend of herbs used in Arabic cuisine.