Dubai was our last stop of our 15 day honeymoon before heading home to Mumbai. My first impressions of Dubai was “manmade city.” To me it looked artificial , nothing seemed real. But Dubai had its way of getting me to love it. As days passed the city started growing on me. It was no more the man made city I thought of. Or maybe I simple got used to it. Morning in Dubai was mostly spent checking out the tourist spots like the Burj Khalifa, Emirates mall, Dubai mall, Atlantis, Dhow cruise, Jumeirah beach, etc. and evenings were spent with friends & family. So I was lucky to see both the touristy and the non touristy side of the city.
These are a few things I would recommend doing / seeing in Dubai :
1. Offcourse, the Burj Khalifa, time it with the musical fountain and wallah!! Make sure you check out the show timings in advance. If you want to go to the top of Burj Khalifa make sure you book your tickets in advance. I was unlucky as I missed it due to serious miscommunication between friends wanting to take us there. Also pay a visit to The Dubai Aquarium at the Dubai Mall.
2. Take a Dhow cruise with dinner at the Dubai creek and see the city at night. It’s beautiful.
3. Obviously, The sand dune bashing & the desert safari . It was the highlight of our trip. We got an amazing Pakistani driver with whom we had struck a rapport, he gave us 15mins more than the actual time. Plain lucky I say!! Don’t miss the sand dune bashing you’ll absolutely love it.
4. Enjoy Belly dancing & Tanoura Dance Performances by professional dancers. It’s worth every penny. I absolutely loved the Tanoura. The food at the camp however, is nothing to talk about. We hogged once back at the hotel.
5. Take a trip to the Atlantis hotel , apart from the architecture and the beautiful murals on the ceilings..there was nothing much that interested me…but a lot of people love going to the Atlantis. If you have time spend the day at the Atlantis water park. A trip to Atlantis will let you see a new side of Dubai with beautiful buildings, roads and the palm Jumeirah Islands but from the ground level…wish we could see it from top.
6. Open Jumeirah beach wanted me to go back to Maldives. Clean, white sands so little crowd, perfect.
7. The one hotel we liked visiting as a part of our itinerary was Mina A’ Salam, at Madinath Jumeirah. More than the Atlantis , it was this hotel that mesmerised me. The architecture, the Arab style markets inside the hotel, the little boat that takes you from one part of the hotel to the other and the various restaurants. I highly recommend this place.
8. A visit to the global village at the DubaiLand Area. It’s a big cultural extravaganza all under one roof. There are 36-37 pavilions (or maybe more) dedicated to each country from Asia & Africa and some major countries of Europe. Stall holders from that particular country sell local products ranging from accessories, kitchenware, spices, perfumes, clothes, artifacts etc. There are pavilions dedicated to Lebanon, South Africa, Turkey , Spain , of course India and many more. It took us more than 3hours to go around (we skipped a few because we were tired) And at the end we were exhausted after so much walking. Even if you don’t buy anything, visit the place to see the different cultures, regions bought under one roof. Apart from the food court, there are lots cultural activities and music shows etc that take place from time to time, but be prepared to Walk Walk Walk…the place is huge. Its a temporary setup which lasts for 6 months between Oct-March, so check the dates before going.
9. A visit to the snow world/Ski Dubai at the Emirates Mall. Ski Dubai is the worlds largest indoor snow park with 3000 sq meters covered with snow.You would absolutely refuse to go the snow world at Phoenix marketcity, Kurla, its not even 10percent of what this is.
10. If you have days in hand, make sure you take a day trip to Al Ain, the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Its known for its greenery and landscape and hence called the Garden City. I especially like the entry to the city…full of flowers, so clean, so well maintained , like our friends said its a place where the rich people stay. The houses there are beautiful. There’s a Zoo, a park , a palace , fort, museums all of which are worth a visit.
But we skipped all of that for the “Jabal Hafeet”, the best drive up hill. For people who love driving this place is magical, with steep curves, hairpin bends , this place which I believe is 3000 ft above sea level gives you some amazing views of the city. The whole drive up the hills was mind blowing. If not for anything else , just go there for the drive. There is a cafe on top which serves delicious food. Once you come down, head straight to Mubazarra Park to soak your legs in the hot springs. Its an absolutely perfect day trip !!
Unfortunately my battery drained out by the time we reached Jabal Hafeet and hence i dont have any pictures from my camera. So i borrowed these two from Google.
11.Shop shop shop. Dubai is a city of malls. You get everything from branded stuff to perfume testers to local shopping. The options are galore. Emirates & Dubai mall for all the branded stuff.Meena bazaar for perfume testers ( try Ratans they are quite well known in the area) , Deira for local shopping, Dragon mall for good branded stuff at reasonal price. Take your pick.
12. Dubai nightlife is also something to talk about, we enjoyed ourselves for the time we were there thanks to our local friends.
If your visiting during dec -jan make sure you carry your jackets. It was freezing when we visited. But it’s still one of the best months to visit as I love winters. Oh and Jan is also the Dubai shopping festival month. So , happy planning.