Karama is one of the oldest areas of Dubai. Covering an area less than a square mile, it is also one of the most densely populated districts. Tens of thousands of expatriate workers live here; mainly from South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan.
Karama is an Arabic word meaning ‘dignity’.
Karama is a built-up area with hundreds of low-rise buildings; typically 3 to 5 storeys. Recent years have seen many of 1970s buildings replaced with contemporary developments (Wasl Hub etc.).
The upper floors of each building are typically residential apartments. The ground floor is typically taken by shops and other small businesses. Apartments are usually studios/1-3 bedrooms.
Along with areas such as International City, the area offers some of the cheapest rents in Dubai. Property here cannot be purchased by expatriates.
Cheap Indian restaurants dominate the dining scene in Karama.
Most are independent and not attached to hotels. Consequently, restaurants licensed to serve alcohol are few and far between.
The list was last updated on Saturday 14th of December 2019.
|Calicut Paragon||20B Street|
|Indian, Seafood||$$||Specialises in fish dishes from the Kerala area of India. Opposite Karama Park.|
|Kris With a View||Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel|
|Asian, International||$$||All-day dining restaurant at the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel. Menu includes dishes from Thailand, China, India, Malaysia, Japan, and Europe. Licensed to serve alcohol. Good views including Burj Khalifa.|
|Maharaja Bhog||Hamsah Building, Za'abeel Street|
|Indian, Vegetarian||$$||Restaurant specialising in vegetarian thali (platters) from Gujarat and Rajasthan areas of India.|
|Mumbai Express||8C Street, Sheikh Hamdan Colony|
|Indian||$$||Cafe serving vegetarian, Mumbai-style street food.|
|Rasoi Ghar||Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Street|
|Indian, Vegetarian||$$||Vegetarian restaurant offering Gujarati and Rajasthani thali. Located opposite BurJuman.|
|The Meating Room||41st Street, Al Wasl Hub|
|Indian||$$||Indian BBQ restaurant.|
Hotels and places to stay in and around Karma include:
- City Seasons Towers Hotel Bur Dubai
- Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel
Shopping and Amenities
Retail units occupy the ground floor of almost every building in Karama. They are occupied by hundreds of shops and small businesses; grocery stores, clothes shops, pharmacies, florists, opticians, medical centres etc. Most are independent and aimed at local residents. Large, international chains do not have a significant presence in Karama.
The area has a reputation for selling fake designer goods. They are not brazenly displayed. Ask the right questions in certain shops and a selection of counterfeit items may be brought out of a storage room.
There are no tourist-orientated shopping malls within Karama. The closest is BurJuman.
There’s a handful of smaller shopping malls in Karama itself. The Karama Centre and Al Attar Shopping Mall are on Kuwait Street. Both are packed with small shops and cafes.
Karama Market in an indoor market with shops selling fish, meat, and vegetables.
The area boasts plenty of supermarkets. There’s a LuLu Hypermarket on Sheikh Rashid Road (opposite Zabeel Park) and a LuLu Supermarket next to Karama Park. There’s also a Nesto Hypermarket near ADCB Metro Station.
Ansar Gallery is a supermarket/department store at the north-eastern corner of Karama. In addition to groceries, it also sells clothes, textiles, household goods, furniture, toys, electronics, and many other items. There’s also a currency exchange here.
BurJuman features a Carrefour Hypermarket.
Emirates Post’s Dubai Central Post Office is located on Za’abeel Road, near Karama Park. Emirates Identity Authority’s Al Karama Centre is in the same building. This is the federal body that issues Emirates ID cards; mandatory for all UAE residents and citizens.
Tourist Attractions and Things To Do
There are no major tourist attractions in Karama itself. Things to do can be found in neighbouring districts.
The most central is ADCB Metro Station (previously named Al Karama Metro Station). The station is on the Red Line. It offers direct services to destinations such as Dubai International Airport, Deira, Sheikh Zayed Road, the Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, and Jebel Ali.
BurJuman Metro Station is located at the north-western corner of Karama. BurJuman is a transfer station, on both the Red Line and the Green Line. Green Line destinations include Al Qusais, Al Twar, Deira, and Bur Dubai.
Karama Bus Station offers a number of services around Dubai. An intercity bus service to Sharjah also departs from here.
Photo Credit: Markus Mainka/Shutterstock