My best friend moved to Dubai 18 months ago to work for Emirates airline and ever since she moved Dubai has been on my list to go to and with so many iconic buildings and places we were busy trying to fit everything in in 6 days but i did manage to see everything i wanted to plus a bit more so here’s what we got up to and some inspiration for your visit.
Ok so we can’t ignore the elephant in the room. The Burj Khalifa is by far Dubai’s most iconic building, it took 5 years to build and opened in just 2010 and with it being the world’s largest building and visible from most places in the city i can see why. We didn’t go to the top, my friend had been there up there a few times already and i wanted to save some money but i loved seeing it from ground level.
Every night from 6:00pm at 30minute intervals there is a fountain show outside which can be accessed via the Dubai Mall and is indeed the largest musical fountain show (move over Bellagio!!) so don’t miss out on seeing this either as it was pretty impressive!
Right next to the Burj Khalifa is Dubai Mall and this being Dubai means it’s no ordinary mall.. oh no, this Mall has a waterfall in it, a huge aquarium (which i don’t agree with so lets not focus on that for too long), high street shops, high-end designer shops and so many food outlets. There’s even an Angelina cafe with outside seating so you can eat your macaroons and pretend you’re in Paris while in the Dubai Mall (strange i know!), however we just opted for Frozen Yogurt!
The Marina is where you’ll get the iconic skyscraper shot from. This is a truly an area that you just want to move to. The huge buildings gleam in the sun, there’s crazy huge yacht’s and some very fancy restaurants (but also a Costa coffee if you’re on a budget!). The Marina was lovely to see during the day and a few days later we went for dinner at Asia Asia and it was even better sitting 6 floors up and seeing it in the dark.
Barasti Beach Bar
Dubai’s coastline holds many beaches but some are private beaches for the hotel behind them and others although free to the public are part of a bar of some sorts.
My friend took me to Barasti Beach Bar which is a really awesome place. During the day there’s huge beds and sun loungers you can lie on (but get there early to ensure you get one!), there’s a bar, they serve great food and there’s music pumping and this carries on into the night. Some people were dressed pretty casual like they were going to the beach and other’s like they were on a night out but either way its a good place (and a free place) to go, the water was bath temperature and a lovely colour and while the heat defeated us within an hour or so i was glad i got to see a beach and have a very yummy Halloumi salad there.
When my friend moved to Dubai she kept talking about going to ‘Brunch’ and i couldn’t work out what this was! For most of us it’s a mid morning meal yet she was always dressed up and drinking in her photos.
After further questioning i found out what it was and booked my flight around being there for a ‘Brunch’!
Basically every Friday many of the hotels in Dubai offer ‘Brunch’, it tends to start around noon, you pay an entrance fee which will depend upon where you are and then you get unlimited drinks and indeed get a buffet of food. In the UAE the weekend’s are Friday & Saturday so it’s basically a good excuse to have a day drinking session.
We went to Double Decker’s Brunch as it’s one of the cheapest and full of British expats (with the buffet being a Sunday Roast!) but definitely check out whats on offer near you, i heard the one in the Atlantis is pretty awesome!
Atlantis Hotel & the Palm
While on the topic of the Atlantis hotel, this was another building i really wanted to see as i would say for me its the second most iconic building in Dubai and i also wanted to go onto one of the man-made Palms (although once on there it doesn’t feel much different!).
It’s take’s awhile to get to especially via Public transport as we had to get the Metro to the Marina, swap onto the Tram for a few stops and then take the Monorail through the Palm (note that you can’t get on this with your normal metro ticket, it costs an extra 25 AED/ £4.50 for a return trip), where you get a great view of the hotel just before you reach the hotel’s station.
The Atlantis hotel is right at the top of the Palm and was only opened in 2008. We had a little walk around the hotel but the main reason for us visiting was so we could be big kids and go to the Waterpark- Aquaventure.
We did consider not going as it’s pretty pricey at 315 AED/ £57.00 (although if you prebook online you can get it cheaper- which i just found out now researching the price!!), but we did get it a bit cheaper because of my friends UAE resident card and I’m so glad we went! We got a double tube and were on the rides for a good 3-4 hours, there are lots of slides which mainly you have to be in a tube for and then there’s a lazy river which connects some of the rides and has rapids and we were just like kids screaming and rushing from one ride to another!
If you’re looking for another night out in Dubai then definitely plan in Ladies Night on a Tuesday Night. We got all dressed up and went to a restaurant- Asia Asia in the Marina where we were automatically given 3 tokens for 3 free drinks there (we did have some dinner too but i think we still would have got them even if we didn’t eat), and then we got a taxi to bar 360 which sits just across from the Burj Al Arab, the third iconic building i wanted to see.
360 was a brilliant bar, it’s all outdoor, has some awesome music and we got tokens for 4 free drinks on arrival!
So basically on Ladies night you just have to pay for taxi’s and that’s it.. and guys you don’t get free drinks but they’ll be lots of girls out!
A popular trip to get away from the city is to do an evening Desert Safari. We booked the trip online with Desert Safari Dubai and paid 185 AED/ £33.00 which i thought was really reasonable.
We got picked up at our accommodation at 3:00pm, the drive there was a good hour or so and then we were in for some stomach dropping, dune bashing (make sure you don’t eat before leaving!). There were lots of screams but i felt totally safe and it lasted just long enough and we then got out for a photo opportunity.
The itinerary say’s that you’ll be able to watch the sunset but unfortunately it set while we were driving to our next spot however on arrival the sky was a lovely colour. Here and included in the package were camels to ride (although you only get about 5 minutes on them walking in a circle with them having to sit up and down so it’s not very nice for them or you), henna which you could have painted on your hand or foot, shisha to smoke (a very Middle Eastern thing to do) and even the opportunity to try on traditional Muslim dress- this could be taken quite offensive to some people but I’ve always wondered what its like to wear the full dress with most of my face and head covered so I’m glad i did.
Following this is a 2 course dinner which was surprisingly suitable for vegetarians and a pretty impressive dance to watch between both courses. After the belly dancing we were back in the jeeps and were home by 9:00-9:30pm.
This is something i would highly recommend doing when in Dubai. Of course it’s not particularly traditional and has been changed to meet Western standards but it was a great evening out.
Dubai isn’t all huge, fancy skyscraper’s (i promise!), located in the North in Bur Dubai and Deira separated by the creek is Old Dubai.
We only spent a hour or so here but it was all we needed to get a feel for the area. There are lots of souks including a Spice Souk and a Gold Souk. You do get hassled quite a bit but if you want to do some cheap market shopping this is the place! There’s also the Dubai Museum which we didn’t go in but sounds quite interesting
We took a boat from one side to the other which was a good way to see the creek and get a feel of what it used to be like.. plus it cost 1 AED/ 0.18p so we couldn’t go wrong!
Sheikh Zayed Moque
Lastly and although not technically in Dubai but in the neighbour city of Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque which is well worth the journey to visit. There’s a separate post on my visit there but its safe to say its the Grandest Grand Mosque i have ever seen, its free to get in with a free tour and you will leave feeling amazed at the beauty of it!
As you can imagine my 6 days in Dubai were very full and busy but i wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂
I knew that Dubai was big but one thing that really shocked me was just how big it is, there is a public metro system which is cheap and easy to use but it doesn’t go everywhere so taxi’s are a must in this city- although there is an abundant of them and they are also very cheap so take this into account when planning your trip.
**If you have any questions just drop me a comment!**
**There’s a little video on my YouTube channel of my time in Dubai, check it out here! :)**