This is long overdue, but I have to say Dubai was a lot of fun! I really had a good time there. If you are the type that likes to “turn up” and have a good time then this is the place for you. I just want to give you guys some quick tips or suggestions about your future trip to Dubai.
- Hotel: First things first, do NOT make my mistake and book someplace far from everything. Due to the fact that me and my friend booked so close to departure we had to go with cheaper over location. When you go make sure to stay in either the Marina area or Jumeirah Beach. Those places are central to everything and close to the metro and let’s not forget the stunning views. You may want to look into Airbnb also because I found so many people that live in these high rises actually rent their apartments out through Airbnb and Homeaway. I spent so much money on taxis because we were so far that I was disgusted with myself. Don’t follow in my footsteps!
- Flights: I ended up booking a package deal for this trip through Expedia. However, Emirates & Eithad always pop up with deals to Dubai & Abu Dhabi so be on the lookout. If you find a cheap fare be sure to book it and then worry about your accommodations later. Tickets are usually about $700 or so from JFK. During Thanksgiving, Emirates had a sale to Dubai for $500.
- Of course you must go to the World’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa (which I didn’t get a chance to do *sad face*). For a smooth $500US you can also bungee jump from a building and see it that way too, but I am absolutely not about that life!
- You should also do the Desert Safari tour but I recommend booking once you get to Dubai versus booking a prepaid tour online. I found that we saved a significant amount of money by waiting to do it when we got to our hotel. The desert safari tour was the most fun I had while being out there. You get picked up in SUV’s and they take you on a roller coaster ride (literally what it felt like) to the middle of the desert where you can ride a camel, ride ATV quad bike (which I did for the first time), eat a BBQ dinner, see an Arabian show, smoke hookah, get henna tattoos, you name it and they got it!
- Both the Dubai Mall & Emirates Mall are overwhelming. The Dubai mall being the most overwhelming due to the fact that it’s one of the largest in the world. Put your walking shoes on that day. There is an indoor skating rink and underground aquarium in the Dubai Mall and if that isn’t enough you can head over to the indoor ski resort and do a Penguin encounter at the Emirates Mall.
- Being that Sunday is the start of the work week in Dubai, everyone starts partying Thursday and on Friday it seems like everyone was at what’s considered one of the most exclusive brunch spots in Dubai, the Saffron Brunch. It’s located in the Atlantis hotel. I have NEVER paid over $40 for a brunch in the states, yet this brunch is about $145US and it is worth it. Or at least I thought it was worth after I ate and the liquor started flowing. It includes a delicious buffet that includes every type of food you can think of and unlimited top shelf liquor and a shuttle to the after party at NDulge. *Please keep in mind that public intoxication is illegal in Dubai and they are super strict when it comes to drinking and driving so do NOT get too crazy. FYI : For my ladies …every Tuesday is ladies night in Dubai which means ladies drink and get into the nightclubs free. And they don’t pour cheap liquor either!
- Visit the Global Village for cool souvenirs and gifts for yourself. This place was an experience in itself. It consists of all these buildings & each building is named by (after?) a country or continent and inside they sell things from that particular country/continent. I bought a lot of cool knick knacks in Egypt & didn’t even have to fly there. ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS negotiate the price you will end up paying whatever you think the price should be. Trust me!
- Last but not least, you absolutely cannot leave UAE without taking a trip to Abu Dhabi and visiting the Grand Mosque. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Please keep in mind that you have to be covered from head to toe. I bought an abaya (robe worn by women) and a shayla (scarf) from the Gold Souk shops before I went, but you can also rent both free of charge at the Mosque when you get there.
Dubai is not as conservative as people think. While we did see very few woman walking the street by themselves, especially in Old Dubai where I stayed, it is not as strict as everyone thinks. You do not have to walk around covered head to toe but be mindful that dressing provocatively may offend others. I wore fitted jeans and t-shirts while out there and I was just fine and not to mention that is what everyone else had on. Don’t let the propaganda fool you.
Before I left for Dubai a friend of mine described Dubai to me as “Vegas on steroids” and he could not have been more accurate. Everything is so luxurious and gaudy. In terms of architecture and technology they are years ahead of their time and kind of makes the US seem primitive. However, if you are looking for culture, you will not find it here folks. I was there for a week and did not meet anyone that was actually from Dubai! It seems like that is where a lot of people go for work. I met a few people from India and Pakistan and I learned a lot about their culture and traditions though, which you all should know by now, excited me very much.
Well, that is the scoop on Dubai. Now go ahead and book your trip and don’t forget to tell me how it went.
PS. I met a lady from India on the plane to Dubai and she gave me the best travel advice ever; “Start on the outside and then work on the inside”. And just like that I scrapped my plans to do the Grand Canyon this year. Next stop Greece!