Dubai went from a humble fishing village to a megacity recognized by the world, but how and when did it happen? Feed your curiosity and trace the humble origins and way of life of the Emirati people at the Heritage and Diving Village in Dubai, two of the most popular and easily accessible tourist attractions in the city. This comprehensive guide will help you plan your historical and cultural tour at these two villages.
Things to Know Before Visiting Dubai Heritage and Diving Village
Dubai Heritage Village and Diving Village are two separate sites located side by side in Bur Dubai. The attractions, activities, and displays at the two villages can be overwhelming, especially to international tourists. Before you schedule your visit, here’s everything you need to know about the Heritage and Diving Village in Dubai.
What’s in Dubai Heritage and Diving Village?
Dubai Heritage and Diving Village are historical attractions built in 1997. The two sites give a glimpse of Dubai’s past as a fishing village with natural bodies of water, showcasing the traditions and customs of the Emirati people before the city became a futuristic metropolis with tall skyscrapers and luxury shopping malls.
Dubai Heritage Village showcases a collection of items and stories following the wild mountain life in the UAE before. It features the old life of the Emirati people through pottery, weaving, embroidery, camel riding and breeding, and metalwork. Meanwhile, the Diving Village mainly focuses on marine life. It features the old ways of boat building, pearl diving, fishing, and even boat racing.
Who Can Visit Dubai Heritage and Diving Village?
Tourists and locals are welcome to enter the Dubai Heritage Village and Diving Village, no matter what age. The two sites present a historical and educational tour that can help tourists understand the UAE’s rich history, so children are definitely encouraged to visit.
Parents and guardians should accompany young children at all times to avoid accidents and damage to displayed items. For other visitors who need assistance, such as pregnant women and people of determination, it’s best to avoid crowded or narrow pathways while exploring the villages. Overall, the attractions are wheelchair and child-friendly.
Is the Dubai Heritage and Diving Village Safe and Regulated?
The Heritage and Diving Village in Dubai are both managed by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (DCAA), a government organization launched in 2008. The goal of DCAA is to promote and preserve the culture, arts, literature, and heritage of the Emirati people. As such, the local government ensures the safety and security of the two sites—introducing advanced protocols to protect all staff and visitors.
All public places and private establishments in Dubai follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. The Heritage Village, Diving Village, and all their independent establishments are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities to ensure social distancing among visitors, sanitize publicly-used and high-touch areas, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments. Some sites and activities in the villages may limit visitors a day based on local regulations.
Visitors and passersby, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Visitors and passersby should wear face masks at all times, avoid physical contact among other people, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes.
Guided tours at the Dubai Heritage and Diving Village, for one, must only contain small groups that comply with a precautionary framework. The travel and tour company must be registered at the local tourism government of Dubai.
When is the Best Time to Visit Dubai Heritage and Diving Village?
The attractions are open from Saturday to Thursday between 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM and every Friday from 8:00 to 11:00 AM and from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The best time to visit is during the early morning, where flocks of visitors have yet to crowd the attractions. Aim to schedule your visit between 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM to avoid queues. If you wish to see the villages in glittering lights, however, you can schedule your visit from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
How Long Should You Explore Dubai Heritage and Diving Village?
It’s highly recommended to allot 2 to 3 hours of your time to fully explore Dubai Heritage and Diving Village and try the various activities in the area. You can simply roam around the area and view the item collections and attractions in each village. But to maximize your stay, you can participate in traditional activities and watch live shows. The duration of your stay depends on your plans and interests.
Where is the Dubai Heritage and Diving Village Located?
The Heritage and Diving Village in Dubai are strategically located in the Al Shindagha Historical Neighborhood in Bur Dubai, just north of Dubai Creek. The exact address is pinned at Al Mina Road, Bur Dubai, Dubai. Some nearby landmarks you should remember and keep an eye on for your first visit are the Saeed Al Maktoum House (346 meters), Heritage House (389 meters), Deira (620 meters), and Bur Dubai Souk (674 meters).
Preparation Tips and Booking Procedures
The Dubai Heritage and Diving Village is a great place to start learning the history and culture of the UAE as a tourist or a local resident. It offers all the educational tours and lessons you need to improve your cultural understanding of the Emirati people. If the offerings of these attractions have enticed you, let’s head to the booking and preparation part of the activity.
How to Get to Dubai Heritage and Diving Village
The Heritage and Diving Village in Dubai are accessible by the city’s main roads, so you can easily reach it through public and private transportation. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the attractions from the city center or other neighboring areas through Sheikh Rashid Road / E11 or Tariq Bin Ziyad Rd/D78 in approximately 18 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to the Heritage Village, Diving Village, and other surrounding areas. Take buses 21, 29, 8, 93, E306, and X13, depending on your location. The final stations could be the Al Ghubaiba Metro Bus Stop – 01, Ghubaiba Bus Station, or Al Ras Metro Bus Station. It will take you a 12 to 22-minute walk from these stations to reach the Dubai Heritage and Diving Village.
If you want to take the metro, ride the Green Line to the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station. From there, you can take a 9-minute walk to reach the Dubai Heritage and Diving Village.
What to Bring and Wear For a Visit at Dubai Heritage and Diving Village
A visit to the past won’t require much from you, except your curious mind and a few valuables you can’t live without. For your visit to Dubai Heritage and Diving Village, here are some reminders on what to bring, what to wear, and what you should leave behind.
Dubai may be a progressive and modern city today. However, you should still follow the UAE’s general rule for public dressing, especially if you’re going to visit the Heritage Village and the Diving Village. Dress modestly. Avoid shorts, short skirts, sleeveless tops and undershirts, and flip flops. Go for a casual or smart casual outfit, depending on your overall plans for the day.
Food and Drinks
We don’t recommend bringing food and drinks inside the attractions, especially when you’re walking and exploring. There are several cafes and restaurants along the neighborhood if you wish to try local food and beverages, such as Shawarma, Humus, and Iranian Tea.
Cameras and mobile phones are allowed inside the Heritage Village and Diving Village. However, there are some areas and collections that prohibit recording. Make sure to read the signs before taking photographs and recording videos.
How to Book Your Visit at Dubai Heritage and Diving Village
The entrance tickets for the Heritage Village and the Diving Village are free. If you wish to have a guided tour with a complete itinerary featuring other tourist attractions, we highly recommend pre-booking your visit online to pick your preferred schedule.
What to Do at Dubai Heritage Village
The Dubai Heritage Village focuses on the bygone lives of the Emirati people in the mountains and other land areas. You’ll see artifacts, collections, and presentations that focus on pottery, weaving, embroidery, camel riding and breeding, and metalwork here. Given the theme, here’s a list of top things you should do at Dubai Heritage Village.
Admire the Emirati’s Crafts
It is believed that the Emirati people have been practicing the art of pottery, embroidery, and weaving hundreds of years ago. Pottery alone, which can be traced back to 6,000 to 3,500 B.C, has different variations in the UAE. Emirati weaving follows the Sadu technique, a weaving form in geometrical shapes. For embroidery, the Emiratis take pride in their Talli technique, an authentic clothing craft that produces braids by hand. All these techniques and more are visible in the item collection and galleries of the Heritage Village.
Interact With Camels and Other Locally-Bred Animals
Interact with camels, a treasured animal who have played key roles in the food, entertainment, and transportation industry of the UAE. Aside from camels, the Heritage Village Dubai is also home to locally-bred horses and ducks. Adults and children are welcome to ride camels and horses on short-distance walks if interested.
Watch Live Cultural Performances
Aside from tangible materials and crafts, the UAE also takes pride in its rich entertainment history that mostly revolves around music and dancing. At the Heritage Village, you can watch live cultural performances led by talented Emirati men and women in traditional costumes. They perform folk songs and dance numbers inspired by ‘Ayala’ or the stick dance and the ‘Oriental Dance’ or belly dancing.
What to Do at Dubai Diving Village
The Diving Village features all things marine. It mostly dwells on the commercial diving industry of the UAE, a tradition that provided a long period of wealth for the country from the late 19th to early 20th century. Given the theme, here’s a list of top things you should do at Dubai Diving Village.
Learn More About the Pearl Diving Industry
Pearl diving was the driving force of the UAE’s economy before Dubai became a megacity with thriving international relations. For this reason, the village provided special areas showcasing the business and tradition of pearl diving. You’ll get a chance to learn the process, which involves one captain and a crew of divers in a month-long exhibition, and see the different equipment and materials pearl divers used before.
Know The Different Types of Traditional Boats
You can take a look at the collection of traditional wooden boats parked outside Dubai Diving Village, adjacent to the site of the Heritage Village. Most of them are dhows, traditional Arabian sailing vessels with triangular sails and low waists, and Abras, wooden boats used to transport people through Dubai Creek.
Discover the UAE’s Traditional Fishing Gears and Inventions
Focusing more on marine life, the Diving Village also carries a vast display of traditional fishing gears and inventions used by the ancestors of the Emirati people. Traditional fishermen in the UAE use artisanal boats, nets, wired fishing cages, and they are all displayed at the Diving Village.
Final First-Timer Tips to Visiting Dubai Heritage and Diving Village
As a first-timer or tourist aiming to understand the culture and heritage of the Emirati people through visiting the Dubai Heritage and Diving Village, we recommend participating in hands-on and live activities instead of just taking a simple walking tour. Watch live cultural shows, learn simple weaving techniques, and eat local delicacies to maximize your stay and improve your cultural understanding.
What to Do After Visiting the Heritage and Diving Village in Dubai
Learn more about the history of Dubai and the UAE by visiting other historical neighborhoods and establishments in the city. After visiting the Heritage Village and Diving Village, we highly recommend exploring the historical neighborhoods of Al Fahidi and Al Seef. If you wish to see more historical artifacts representing the bygone lives of the Emirati people, drop by the Dubai Museum or Pearl Museum.