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New Dubai may boast high-rise towers and swanky restaurants, but it cannot compete with Old Dubai for its authenticity and ethnic diversity. With dozens of bustling souks and budget eateries, the older side of town is a sensory treat that is rich with sights, sounds and scents, taking you back in time to when life in Dubai completely centred around pearl trade and the creek.
But the biggest draw by far is that you get more for less when it comes to living space. Here’s our pick of Dubai’s top historical neighbourhoods for rentals.
A small residential locality, Oud Metha is home to Wafi City (pictured above) and Lamcy Plaza.
Population: 10,853 (0.47 per cent)
Amenities: Several expatriate schools, including Gems Winchester School and Indian High School; cultural clubs such as the Iranian Club and Pakistani Association of Dubai; Wafi City, Carrefour, Lamcy Plaza, American Hospital and Dubai Healthcare City.
Accessibility: Close to Al Maktoum Bridge and Shaikh Zayed Road; Oud Metha Metro
Parks/Landscape: Nasr Leisureland and Football Club, Al Maktoum Stadium
Travel time by car: Deira (10 min), Downtown Dubai (15 min), Dubai Marina (25 min).
Stretching for 2km between the Creekside diplomatic area and Zabeel Park, Karama’s population is continuously expanding thanks to its central location and proximity to popular landmarks.
Population: 75,780 (3.26%)
Amenities: Lulu Supermarket, Union Co-op, Karama Centre, Burjuman Centre, plenty of supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies and medical centres.
Accessibility: Easily accessible from Shaikh Rashid Road, roads can get congested on weekdays. Easy access to two Metro stations: ADCB and Burjuman.
Parks/Landscape: The 47.5-hectare Zabeel Park (pictured above), a popular spot for sports, Friday markets, and live music. It includes a 4.3km jogging track, ice rink, skateboarding parks, barbecue and picnic areas, a mini-cricket pitch, a boating lake, restaurants and café, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Travel time by car: Deira (20 min), Downtown Dubai (15 min), Dubai Marina (25 min)
Ideally sandwiched between Jumeirah Beach Road and Shaikh Zayed Road (pictured above), Satwa’s strategic location and budget villas, which often include swimming pools, have made it a popular.
Population: 39,990 (1.72 per cent)
Amenities: Satwa Road’s quirky shops sell just about everything. There are also a lot of restaurants, pharmacies, hotels, as well as several primary schools, clinics and hospitals.
Accessibility: Generally difficult to get around due to constant traffic; inner roads are quieter. No Metro access.
Parks: Satwa Park offers a grass football pitch, basketball/volleyball/tennis courts, and a soft-surface jogging track
Travel time by car: Bur Dubai (15 min), Downtown Dubai (15 min), Deira (20 min)
A residential area, Mankhool benefits from proximity to Bank Street and Shaikh Zayed Road.
Population: 37,010 (1.59 per cent)
Amenities: Burjuman Centre, Union Coop, Filli Café, Citibank, Al-Mankhool Health Centre, Deparis Medical Centre, Ambassador School, Cambridgeshire Nursery
Accessibility: Easily accessible from Shaikh Rashid Road; ADCB and Al Fahidi Metro stations is a fewminutes’ walk
Parks/Landscape: The creek-side Bastakiya Village (pictured above) is an eight-minute drive and Karama Park is also nearby
Travel time by car: Deira (15 min), Downtown Dubai (15 min), Dubai Marina (25 min)
Al Rigga features some of Deira’s most modern residences, primarily along Salah Al-Din Road and in Emaar Towers, which offer partial creek views.
Population: 13,227 (0.57%)
Amenities: Ghurair Centre, many shops, restaurants, clinics and groceries.
Accessibility: Connected to NewDubai via Al-Maktoum Bridge; Baniyas Metro, Union Square Metro, Rigga Metro
Parks/Landscape: the Creek bank along the Baniyas is an ideal place to take a long stroll; Union Metro Station Garden (pictured above) is great for picnics
Travel time by car: Bur Dubai (25 min); Downtown Dubai (30 min); Dubai Marina (40 min)
Source: Porush Jhunjhunwala, Special to Property Weekly