Road to my trip Australia, well… more than just a trip, a move in! The best flight-option I could find was to fly with Emirates Airlines making stop over in Dubai: it was going to be “only” about 10hs but then I said… why not 4 days? The price of the tickets was almost the same, opening the window to get to know a whole new country, completely misteryous until that point!
To enter the UAE, some countries require a visa and depending on the nationality you can do it on arrival or you must process it online through the Emirates Airlines website. Here I leave you the link where to find all the requirements and if your country is in the selected list that allows you to get your visa when stepping in Dubai’s airport. (Click here)
Once the visa is issued you are good to go! There best way to get from the airport to the center is by metro, the city has two lines: the red line crossing from north to south and the green line uniting the most important points of Deira and Bur Dubai. You can combine these lines at Union Square and Bur Juman stations! Depending on where you stay you can choose the one that suits you most! And if not… you always have taxis! Which, to the surprise of many they are quite cheap… the journey can cost about 50 AED, which would be approximately 10 euros. Fair enough?
TIP! Remember to double check that the Taxi is a public one! They are usually yellow with the Dubai City logo. Avoid by all means riding the private taxis… where drivers try to charge you stratospheric amounts of money… Just. DON’T!
Something very important to keep in mind… always go with a health insurance! Although Dubai has a very good health system that’s also super expensive… so to avoid any headaches better safe than sorry!
Dubai is a super cosmopolitan city with people from all over the world… noy only tourists but lots of expats living there, I can’t deny that! But remember that’s a Muslim country with very strict rules, for example it’s forbidden to give affection in public, meaning no kisses nor holding hands, being drunk on the street is also extremely offensive to their culture.
Be cautious or remember what happened to Samantha in Abu Dhabi for inappropriate behavior. (Wink to those who watched the movie Sex and the City).
Dubai is not only a place to see but also to enjoy, is a new world built to have the best of the best and satisfy every need, majestic buildings, extravagant shopping centers with the high end international brands, top hotels, fancy restaurants, I mean… everything!
At first it seems to be an elite destination that not everyone can access to… However, the reality is that everyone has the possibility to go! With hotels for all tastes and prices, as well as places to eat, from western fast food brands to exclusive restaurants with gourmet food. So whether you want to have a luxury experience or you are on a Budget… in Dubai you will find options for you.
I know, four days is not much (is it?)… but during these time you will be able to cover the most important sights and even take a few hours of rest on those beautiful beaches! However, if you are lucky enough to have a week to spend don’t miss the amazing experience that Wendy has to share at Worldwide Wendy.
Here’s my top 10!
The Burj Khalifa
Of course the rock star of the place… like missing the tallest building in the world was even posible! It has an observatory on the 134th floor with incredible 360 views of the city. I recommend going right before the sunset keeping in mind that Dubai is a city with a lot of fog! So choose your day wisely or you may not have a great view! Well it’s a matter of luck after all. Something important! Book your reservation a few days before to secure your Access and get ready to make a looong queue.
Right next to the Dubai Mall, you will find this spectacular fountain where the light show starts daily at 6pm every half hour. Hey! Arrive early to find a good place to enjoy it! It’s going to get croweded, believe me.
It is the biggest shopping center in the world! More than 1.000 stores and an spectacular aquarium, an ice hockey among other things, be prepared to walk a lot but … if you get tired remember that you are in Dubai and everything is possible! You can buy a golf cart taxi to take you around the place. Fancy!
One of the most famous postcards! The almighty 7-star hotel (which is symbolic since there is no more than 5) is located very close to one of the public beach areas, from which you can take lovely photos and (obviously) enjoy a while from the calm and crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Persia. Is not news that access to the hotel is restricted to guests – unlike many other hotels in which they allow you access to the lobby and some common areas.
Hey! It’s not necessary to pay those 1.800 euros per night to visit the hotel! You can enjoy a lunch, afternoon tea or a dinner in one of its restaurants! By reserving in advance online or even at the door of the hotel there are some very nice attendants that will gladly take your reservation! Of course it’s not at economic at all, be willing to pay a sweet sum of money.
One of the most exclusive areas of the city, croweded with luxurious skyscrapers, restaurants, bars and shops of all kinds. An excellent place to go for a walk and be surprised by the architecture of the place and of course the sea front! A great place to go out at night!
Very close to Dubai Marina appears the most popular in town, surrounded by luxurious hotels and restaurants, with excellent facilities like solarium, changing rooms and even showers! You can also find a wide variety of offers to practice all kinds of water sports, from jet ski to boat rides!
It’s a sea branch that goes inland and divides the city in 2, Deira in the north and Bur Dubai in the south. Very close to the gold and silk markets, which are also worth a visit if you have some time left! You will inmediately notice a great contrast with the high and luxuriant buildings that adorn the center of the city, since this area was one of the first in the region and is inhabited by locals, mostly construction workers.
In spite of being more modest and traditional it is really worth taking a walk to get a taste of their living, don’t miss crossing the river from shore to shore with the typical boats!
If you are looking for a bit of adventure, definitely this desert excursion is an excellent option! You can hire the tour in your hotel lobby, they usually have some selected agencies that provide the service! They pick you up at your hotel door, after half an hour you arrive at the sand dunes where the “dance” begins, tighten your seatbelt and get ready for a memorable (and bumpy) ride!
There are different options of time schedules, in my case (and the most common) we decided to go at dusk! With the sunset bathing the desert… to then have a barbecue while watching typical belly dances. Take advantage of the desert to shoot some beautiful potos! A cons: The dinner wasn’t very filling, it is a buffet with some “typical” dishes but without many options.
Al Farooq Omar Ibn Al Khattam Mosque
This mosque inspired by the famous blue mosque of Istanbul was sculpted by Moroccan craftsmen all by hand! Its ceilings are truly beautiful! If you still have time, even one or two hours free… do not hesitate to visit this place, super worth it: One of the few within the Arabian Emirates that is open to the non-Muslim public.
Really a place that pleasantly surprises you, a huge garden full of flowers of all possible colors combined in a great way and applied to different structures… there is even a full scale flower covered plane! Just… wow! It’s amazing to appreciate this place while being in the middle of the desert… How they managed to apply the best technologies to save water in order to maintain the garden in the best way possible!
It’s 20 km away from the city center! You can easily get a taxi, but do not worry! As I said before taking taxis in Dubai are cheap, for about 10 euros they will leave you at the park gates.
REMEMBER! Always use the public taxis to avoid future headaches! Aim for the Dubai City logo! No logo, not a taxi! Stay away from private ones!