A stroll through Bastakiya, the cultural heart of Dubai, and a haggle in the gold and spice souks will get you some good, cheap souvenirs. By night Deira lights up with dive bars and live music, and some of the best Iranian food in the city. The long history of Iranian traders in Dubai gravitates around the creek, its wooden boats crisscrossing the modest waterway between Dubai and Iran's southern coast. One of the best old eateries, Ostadi Khas, serves hearty kebabs for just over $10 a dish. For a fuller meal, especially during Ramadan, try the authentically Persian dinner buffet at Iran Zamin in the Emirates Concord Hotel (+971 4 223 0003).
If you want to get out of Dubai and see the region, there are two names to know in low-cost carriers: Air Arabia out of Sharjah, and FlyDubai out of Dubai's Terminal 2. With a good safety record, they skim prices by charging extra for seat requests, checked baggage, and sometimes spotty customer service (good luck with that lost suitcase). Still, they'll leave you satisfied with Dubai's reputation as a transit hub, and make it easy to make the most of your vacation time and dollars.