The first time I went to Dubai, I was 10 years old. We were on our way to Europe and had a few hours of transit in Dubai. I still remember glimpses from that night – the brightly lit trees on the streets, the heat that slapped me as we left the airport and the amusement park we went to inside a mall that was open even at wee hours of the night. This was back in 2001.
My next trip to Dubai was when my parents moved there – December of 2013. I have been going back yearly ever since, each trip duration about 2 weeks. Then, in 2015, I got an internsip to teach at an international school just blocks away from my parents place and I took it. I packed up my belongings (once again!) and moved across the world to teach in Dubai. I was there for 6 months and so much happened in that period – I met my husband to be for one! But that’s a story for another time 😉
The next (and last) time I was in Dubai was in December of 2016. This time I was there with my husband, and since it was his first trip, I took it upon myself to be his personal tour guide! We visited all the tourist spots in Dubai and even took a short trip to Khor Fakkan.
I will be sharing some of my experiences below so enjoy the pictures and read about the our sunny Dubai adventures. Enjoy!
Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa
I am sure we have all heard about Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Dubai. The mall has over 1200 shops; name any brand you can think of and you are sure to find it here. It took me several visits there to cover most of the area so make sure you have comfortable walking shoes on (and plenty of cash!). While getting lost is expected, each twist and turn will lead you to discover something new so take it as an adventure. 🙂
Then we have Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, standing at almost 3000 ft! The two are located right next to one another, which makes it much easier for tourists to see both in one day. It’s usually a good idea to stay inside the mall during the day, in the AC instead of being out in the scorching sun. And in the afternoon, when it’s cooler outside and the sun is about to set, go outside and watch the sunset by the lake. Stick around until after Magrib to catch the water fountain show, which is on every half an hour.
It’s a good idea to spend an entire day here, if your trip permits. Another helpful tip is to take a taxi to Dubai mall instead of your car as parking and getting in and out of the lot can get really hectic!
Global Village is said to be the world’s largest tourism and entertainment project. It is one of my favourite events in Dubai, and I make sure to go back every winter I am there. The village is only open from September to April, so if you are visiting during the summer months, you will unfortunately miss out.
The village is what the name suggests – it’s a place for cultural entertainment and a shopping destination featuring stalls from over 50 countries. I would again suggest wearing comfortable shoes because the village is spread over an area of 17, 000, 000 sq ft! That’s a lot of walking, and especially harder when it’s crowded, which happens during the weekends (which is Friday and Saturday in the UAE) as more local families will tend to visit.
While shopping is the primary attraction, there’s a lot more to see in Global Village. Food, for one – you can get food from the individual ethnic stalls if you want something specific as well as from food trucks and the outdoor food court. The roasted corn, spiral potatoes and churros are some of my personal favourites. 🙂 After food, (or before because we don’t want any accidents 😛 ) there are amusement park rides for the brave of heart – from roller coasters to bumper cars, they have it all.
All-in-all, Global Village is one the top destinations for me and one I would highly recommend for you to visit. Whether you are in Dubai for a short visit or a long one, with friends or family, you will find something to enjoy because of the many options available.
P.s. If you are there with a special someone, make sure to go on the gondola ride. It’s extremely romantic to cruise along the river and to watch the water dancing show at night 😉
Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach
Now believe it or not, I am not really a beach person. I don’t like going to the beach, unless it’s for a cruise or during the sunset. I guess it’s got more to do with the hot temperatures that I can’t tolerate. Now, many tourists will spend hours at Jumeirah beach, and I can understand why: the clear blue water, the white fine sand, the view of Burj Al Arab and many cafes and restaurants alongside the beach are all very inviting without a doubt. But personally, the crowded beach is just not my scene
Dubai Marina is an artificial canal city. We took a cruise along the river and I was left gawking at the talent of those who transformed a piece of sandy land into what it is today. As we sailed along the river, slow romantic beats playing in the background, beautifully crafted buildings passed by us. One building more unique than the last, and with lights hitting just the right areas, I couldn’t keep my camera away. The architecture is simply breathtaking and I highly recommend going on a cruise to see what Dubai Marina has to offer. It would be wise to invest time and money into one that has good reviews and one that serves good dinner – I’d say stay away from the ones serving Indian cuisine because the quality will not be worth what you pay.
Deira is part of old Dubai. It’s very different from the rest of Dubai but it’s worth a visit! Things are cheaper here, including hotels. So if you’re trying to save on that, look into staying in one of the many hotels in Deira. The train stop is not too far from the center so it’s easy to travel to the rest of Dubai.
The many colorful markets and souks are a major attraction in Deira. Make sure to take a picture in front of the blinged out gold stores in gold souk. Get some of the world’s best spices for a very reasonable price and walk through the fish market if you’re into seafood.
Don’t forget to have shawarma for lunch. While the food stalls in Deira are not the fanciest, the shawarma is authentic and the best I’ve had in my life! I also like having fresh coconuts because all the walking and shopping does get exhausting! 😛