City Times

Ramadan in UAE: 'Ride and Iftar' with the Heritage Express

Zubina Ahmed

Last updated on May 4, 2021 at 9.18 am

Many look forward to a sumptuous Iftar after a long day of fasting during the month of Ramadan and food is an expression of the history and culture of any country. What if right before Iftar you get one such experience of an enthralling ride through the historical and cultural hotspots of Dubai? Doesn’t it sound exciting? City Times went on one such ‘Ride and Iftar’ tour organised by the Heritage Express.

Heritage Express is a moving majlis that promotes UAE’s local heritage and immerses the visitor with a truly authentic cultural experience of Dubai. Departing daily at 4.30pm from the Al Fahidi district, it includes a ride around the city’s oldest neighbourhood on a traditional red trolley bus followed by an immersive Iftar experience. The trolley ride offers a culture-packed, unforgettable journey that will leave passengers with fond memories to last a lifetime.

Taking in the fascinating sights of Al Seef, Al Abra, Al Ghubaiba and Al Shindagha, each tour is headed by a local Emirati guide. Our guide for that evening was Mohammed Al Jasmi who took us through the history of Dubai’s rich culture and heritage. Only 21-years-old and proud to be the beating heart and soul of this unique cultural attraction, Mohammed proved to be a talented and engaging storyteller.

He shared facts and tales to answer any questions his passengers might have about Emirati culture and how Dubai grew into the thriving, modern city it is today. The customised red trolley ride had a bewitching and comforting design. The bus takes you to historical landmarks of the city which hold special significance in increasing the cultural richness of the UAE and allows you to get a more comprehensive awareness about the affluent culture of the Arabs.

Through two routes of the blue and red line, it covers prime locations of the city like Al Seef, Fahidi Fort, Shindagha, Abra, Etihad, and Jumeirah Mosque. The red line route starts from the Jumeirah Mosque. There is a 5-minute stop at each point except Al Fahidi where it halts for 30 minutes. The guests are told interesting stories related to each site by the local guide. The blue line route starts from Al Fahidi. There is a 5-minute stop at each site except at Jumeirah Mosque, where it stops for 30 minutes.

Making your way through the historical hotspots of the city, you can get to know more about the backstories of each site which leaves you spellbound with the never-had-before experience.

But the fun doesn’t stop with the trolley ride. Once we returned to Al Fahidi, there was a lavish Iftar programme at the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding. We broke our fast with dates, Laban and Arabic coffee followed by a lavish Emirati meal. The spread included chicken biryani, lamb machboos, fattoush salad, chicken Madru Gaba, veal harees, vegetable biryani and vegetables. The dessert section was packed with Arabic favourites like the Lugaimiat, Umm Ali, Mahalabi and cream caramel. Authentic, sumptuous and delectable, this Iftar was cooked to perfection.

Post Iftar everyone got a chance to visit a traditional mosque, followed by a bedouin desert camp experience as part of the ‘Desert Friends’ programme. The evening concluded with an exclusive Ramadan Q&A session held in an authentic Emirati majlis, a thoroughly enriching and educational experience available only to Heritage Express passengers during this important period.

This authentic heritage tour provides the perfect way of celebrating the month of Ramadan combined with exploring heritage podiums of the city. It is designed to delight, educate and open the minds of visitors and residents and historical enthusiasts. Tickets for the ‘Heritage Express’ Ramadan tour are available from Dh150 per person, timings are 4.30pm to 9pm daily, throughout Ramadan with a 50 per cent discount offered for children aged five to 12 and complimentary passes for those under five.

The experience is not just limited to Ramadan. During regular days, visitors to Heritage Express Dubai can choose from two options, the Culture on Wheels or The Emirati Experience for their journey. The Culture on Wheels tour takes you to the mentioned historical places in the trolley along with detailed explanations by the guide. You will be served refreshments throughout the tour and will also be provided access to the Heritage gift shop. If you choose the Emirati experience, you clearly choose to be a part of the Emirati culture. This allows you to indulge in authentic Emirati essence as along with sightseeing and guide facility, you are also served traditional Emirati cuisine and get to partake in the ‘Desert Friends’ programme as well.

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