Dubai is one of those cities that either you love or hate. To me, it was love at first sight when I first moved in 2012, than it turned into hate, than love-hate when I left in 2014 and now that I went back again on holidays is love again. I have fallen in love with Dubai again.
View over Burj Al Arab from Madinat Jumeirah beach.
New York is the city that never sleeps, but Dubai is the city that never stops. There is always something going on, something extraordinary that goes far beyond our imagination. Dubai is cosmopolitan, is young, is fast-forward, is sunny (!), is one of a kind. And to me, it will always be my home in the Middle East. The comment that I usually hear from people is that is a fake city and that everything is just a show-off, which is true to a certain extent, however here is my opinion: Dubai is not Rome and is no Los Angeles either and when visiting you have to keep that in mind. Dubai is the perfect location if you are looking to enjoy a couple of days of total indulgence and pure relaxation, nothing else.
I don’t really agree that it’s a fake city, I would rather say that it is the result of what wisely invested money and a bright and innovative mind (read H.R.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s) can do in less than 20 years. In the 1990s, there was nothing, just one large road and a couple of buildings here and there. Now there are skyscrapers, a financial centre, the most over the top hotels, the Malls and of course the tallest building of the world, the Burj Khalifa. Not to mention all the other remarkable projects, like the Palm, the World and many more.
Top 10 things to do in Dubai:
1. Go to Al Bastakiya, take the abra and make your way into the Souqs
2. Enjoy a lovely dinner at the Lebanese restaurant Al Nafoorah or, if you really want to dine like the locals, go to Reem Al Bawadi
3. Go shopping at the Dubai Mall … and be ready to get lost!
4. Go up the Burj Khalifa
5. Stay at least one night in one 5 star luxury hotel (my choice: Four Seasons Dubai at Palm Jumeirah – Suq buffet breakfast review coming soon)
Picture from my instagram (and yep, that’s me!)
6. Smoke shisha, drink Arabic coffee with dates in the desert, stare at the stunning sunset … and don’t forget to take a picture of the camel!
7. Loose yourself in the stunning Madinat Jumeirah
8. Walk along JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residences) and admire the gorgeous Dubai Marina
9. Observe the fantastic fountain display in the evening
10. Go to the palm and loose yourself in the opulent Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
My tips to enjoy Dubai at 360 degrees:
- Always have cash with you, especially when you take a taxi, since they don’t have credit card payment
- If you plan to go up the Burj Khalifa, book your tickets online in advance and it will be cheaper.
- The best months are from October until March, where temperatures are around 20°/25° … if you love the heat and don’t mind 35°/45°, then go anytime from May until September and your stay will be cheaper!
- If you travel during the holy month of Ramadan, please note that you are not allowed to eat or drink in public (e.g. in the malls or in the street) during day time.
- For best dates, go to Bateel (there is also a Cafè in London in New Bond Street).
- If you go to the Souq (‘market’ in arabic) bargain is the magic word. They will do anything to sell you something, even the smallest fridge magnet, at some ridiculous price.
For all the rest, enjoy your time in the UAE and I am sure that Dubai will become one of your top favourite holiday destination. Besides, who doesn’t like waking up with this view …
… enjoying the sunset with this
… and going to sleep with this?
All three pictures – taken from Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach – are courtesy of my favourite photographer, my boyfriend 🙂