I’ve been taking a little break from blogging. Between work and personal life, I haven’t had much time to update. But I’m back!
Lately I’ve been really counting my blessings. I’m so grateful for the things I have in life – my family, my job, and instances where I can take an overseas vacation. My mom came up with the idea of going to Dubai, and I couldn’t say no. We packed our bags, and went to Dubai for 5 full days, with 2 days of traveling.
To simply describe Dubai – extravagance (at least in the modern areas of Dubai). Everything is grand, large, and beautiful. This city is continually being built as construction was everywhere. In 5 years, this city will be a different kind of beast.
If you’re thinking about going – definitely check it out. You don’t need more than a week in Dubai for tourist attractions. To be totally honest, I don’t necessarily think that Dubai should be a trip on it’s own, but it would be a fun pitstop if you’re on your way to Europe or Asia.
Here are some of the things we did on our trip. Feel free to use this list for your own vacation!
- Shopping! The Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall are some of the world’s largest shopping malls
- Ski Dubai (this was my favorite activity)
- Burj Khalifa – Tallest building in the world
- Visited the public beach near the Burj al Arab
- Walked the Souks (this is the marketplace) for gold, spices, and tourist goods
- Private boat tour
- Camel riding!
- Cruised in the sand dunes
- Visited the Jumeirah Mosque
- Went to the Palm Islands to walk around the Atlantis hotel
- Hired a private driver to take us to Abu Dhabi to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Incase I didn’t sell it enough, here are pictures to prove that this trip was amazing!
First off, this was the view from our apartment on the 43rd floor. Every morning we would wake up to the Burj Khalifa. Isn’t that awesome? We stayed in Downtown Dubai, right across from the Dubai mall. Is it recommended to stay here? Absolutely. It’s the center of town.
Inside the Dubai mall, you’ll find an ice rink, an indoor theme park (it’s an arcade and there are also rides!), and an aquarium. Right outside, there is a fountain show that occurs daily, every 30 minutes in the evening.
In the Mall of Emirates, you’ll find Ski Dubai! I’m not a snow activity type of person; I don’t know how to ski/snowboard. But I know basics for skiing, and Ski Dubai was perfect for me! It’s basically 1 slope which bends in the middle, and it has 2 levels of steepness. For about $50 USD, you can ski/board for 2 hours and the cost includes equipment and gear. We knew about this indoor ski arena but never thought to go, until we found out the cost. We can’t even ski in Tahoe for that amount! The snow is beautiful and perfectly groomed. It’s cold but consistent. And really fun to look up to see ceiling and lights. What a great experience! If you want to have a great ski adventure as well, there are a multitude of ski resorts, like the skier paradise, where you will have an amazing time.
My second favorite activity was the Burj Khalifa. The elevators will take you up to the 124 floor in 90 seconds. MG, my dad, and I all decided to go to the very top (because when are we ever going to do this again?); the very top is 148 and employees provide refreshments and snacks. We went in the evening, saw the day-view, saw the sunset, and then was able to capture the night-view as well.
MG and I also took an afternoon to enjoy the beach. The waters are crystal clear, and the sand is made with a million seashells scattered across the sand. One word, gorgeous.
One of the mornings, we visited the local mosque to experience the culture. We also walked the marketplace to do some local shopping too. Spices, fabrics, and gold oh my! Lots and lots of gold…
After walking around all day, we were tired and found a private boat to take us around for an hour so we could relax. For about $6 a person, this was totally worth it. However, you can easily get across the water on water taxis for $0.36 a person!
Some of the desert things that we did – camel riding. This was a lot of fun! I can now say I’ve been on an elephant in Bali, and now a camel in Dubai! We also rode a Land Cruiser and went off-roading in the desert. What’s amazing is the background. The view is miles and miles of desert. My parents really enjoyed this part of the trip.
On the very last full day of our trip, we were able to hire a private driver to take us to Abu Dhabi for a day trip (only $45 per person). It’s about a 1.5 hour long drive between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The most awe-inspiring part of the trip was the Mosque. It’s so grand and every detail is beautiful.
^^^ And yes, we had to wear hijabs into the Mosque and dress appropriately to enter (women had to cover up their shoulders and dress to cover up to their ankles/men must wear shorts below the knee).
^^^ This is the world’s second largest chandelier, made with Swarovski crystals.
^^^ See how there’s a man’s forehead next to my mom? The security was coming over to let us know to stand further apart. Displays of affection are frowned upon in a religious environment. Whoops!
And then the city line near the water in Abu Dhabi is breathtaking! I love water, and can’t ever get my toes quick enough into the sand.
Just some funny tidbits:
You know how in the US, you take a road trip and you see cows alongside the road? Here you see camels! Haha! Can you spot them?
This was also my first time smoking with my dad. Everyone does shisha there!
If you have to ask me about a downside of Dubai, I would say the food. There is no local food there. Dubai is a city of mixed nationalities. They flourish on having a bit of culture from everywhere. In that aspect, we were only able to eat Indian, Lebanese, and Syrian food. All very delicious, but I was hoping for something more “local.”
But my all time favorite thing about this trip – experiencing the difference in culture. Most of the city is of Muslim culture; prayer calls happen 5 times a day, and you can hear the reminder to pray throughout the city. Women are conservative, while men are more prominent. Men can have up to 4 wives, and for every wife you receive an apartment and 50,000 Dirhams. With government supporting their locals, we didn’t come across any crime or homelessness. It was a major culture shock! These kinds of things always prove to me that other countries in fact do live differently, and it’s always nice to be placed into a new environment and learn.
I’ve been so lucky to travel to many countries this year; First our Europe to trip, to Rome, Florence, and Venice, then Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, and London. Then we went to Asia to visit Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. And now the UAE. I am ever so grateful to have the life I live now.
Count your blessings every day. What are you thankful for today?