Authentic Dubai by Michael Henein in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

These three photos show the contrast that exists today in Dubai. Two of the photographs were taken in the old town in Dubai called “Bur Dubai.” This is where the downtown used to be years ago, before the oil and money came into the picture. Since then, development of the city moved westward, leaving behind the old town and maintaining its authenticity. It’s filled with different souks (or markets) – fish, gold, spices, mattresses, you name it. One photograph was taken in one of today’s most popular spots, the Dubai Marina, where life revolves around big yachts and expensive lifestyle. It’s great to see that Dubai still sticks to its roots and maintains authentic parts of the city, however the old town does not attract many visitors.

Name:Michael Henein

Freelance photographer and travel blogger


Figuring out how to make photography and travel blogging my full-time occupation.

Tell us about Dubai:

Dubai has become one of today’s most popular metropolis, a tax haven destination for lavish consumption and the elite. It’s incredible to see how fast this city has developed over the last 20 years. Although it is a very young city, without a very well known history, people are attracted to the cultural combination of East and West. Being so young, Dubai is struggling to find a place amongst the most authentic cities in the world, yet holds tight to big dreams and making things happen not seen elsewhere. As with most cities, there is a major power struggle and major gap in the social class system between the upper and lower classes. Most cities are not perfect, Dubai is far from perfect, but with a very smart, ambitious and kind ruler, the city is bound to make a dent in the universe more than it already has.

A perfect day?

Go for a run at the boardwalk at the edge of the Palm Island (without melting in the blistering heat), have lunch at the new Comptoir 102 cafe, hang out with friends in the Marina, and go for shisha and drinks in the evening while watching the largest building in the world light up the Dubai sky.

What is the best thing about Dubai?

The variety of offerings from beaches to bars, shisha cafes, coffee shops, shopping, or tourist spots showing authentic Dubai.

What is the worst?

You can’t really walk around anywhere.

What would be surprising about Dubai to an outsider?

The fact that there are three extensions of land in the shape of palm trees in the middle of the Arabian Gulf and islands in the shape of the world continents and countries.

Who are three of your favorite artists?

Paola Franqui, Parikshit Savalia, Casey Neistat.



Name:Michael Henein


Favorite place to eat:


Favorite place to drink:

1897 Bar and Comptoir 102 cafe.

Must Do:

Visit the old town of Bur Dubai where you’ll find nice museums, the fish, spice, and gold markets, and the Heritage Zone where a small village was created to depict how life in Dubai used to be.