In February Carrie and I headed to Dubai for white week. We were in need of some warmth and sun. We left on Friday night and flew for 7 hours to Doha, from there it was a short hour long flight to Dubai.
It was a pretty amazing view of the city as we flew in. You could easily spot the Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building.
We were lucky enough to stay with a former coworker who now lives in Dubai (Thanks Virginia!). We arrived at her apartment and were in need of a nap. So that’s exactly what we did. We woke up and decided that since we were tired and we didn’t want to do anything that required too much effort. We decided to head to the mall. Malls are huge in Dubai. Since it can get to be over 100 degrees, this seems like a place to come and hang out in the air conditioning.
We hopped on the metro and headed to The Mall of the Emirates. This mall was really nice. It had stores I would never even consider stepping foot in. The crazy thing about this mall is that there is a ski resort in it. Yes, you read that correctly. It also has live penguins. Unfortunately you can’t really see too much without paying to enter. We wandered around for a while and neither of us bought a thing. We decided we may as well go to the other mall, since it was only a few metro stops away.
The Dubai Mall is the tenth largest shopping mall in the world. This mall was insane. First of all, we got off the metro and proceeded to walk to the mall entrance and this felt like a a mile or so away. They have moving walkways everywhere in Dubai and while we were walking to the mall I was grateful for that. It made the journey go a bit quicker.
Walking around the mall we were amused by all of the American restaurants, it seemed like Dubai has almost any place you would want to eat from America (besides Chipotle and Chick-fil-a, sadly). We wound up eating dinner at PF Changs. Hey, when you are an expat things like this are exciting.
This mall also has an aquarium and an ice rink on top of a zillion stores, restaurants and of course a movie theatre.
We headed out to the fountains and caught our first glimpse of the Burj Khalifa.
Standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft) it is nearly impossible to get the entire building in one picture. We watched the fountain show then headed home.
Our second day we decided to take a bus tour and see more of the sights of Dubai. We headed towards Old Dubai to the souks. Carrie and I have both experienced various souks around the world and were a bit unimpressed with these ones.
That night we met one of Carrie’s friends for dinner at Souk Madinat. The vibe of this area was really chill with lots of different restaurants all along the water. We actually had to take a boat to get to our restaurant, Pai Thai. It took us a minute to figure out that we didn’t have to pay for this boat ride since we had a reservation. This restaurant was delicious. I would gladly eat there again. The views weren’t so bad, either.
The next day we had a beach day. The water was gorgeous. It wasn’t exactly warm, but I’m used to the chilly waters of New York, so it didn’t feel so bad to me.
That evening we were heading on a desert safari. We decided on this desert tour with dinner. I thought it was pretty good. Our guide was really nice and dinner was delicious.
On our fourth day we took a trip to Abu Dhabi. We went to go see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It was gorgeous.
As far as the rest of Abu Dhabi.. let’s just say we wished we headed back to Dubai earlier. Certainly way more happening in Dubai.
That night we met up with another former coworker, Julia. Julia has lived in Dubai for two years now and loves it. We went to The Observatory for a drink and a bite to eat. There were such lovely views. After we headed to Barasti on the beach for some shisha. It was so great to see Julia and hear about Dubai from a person who loves living there.
The next day we were up early. We were heading in completely different directions. I was heading to jump out of a plane and Carrie was heading to a beautiful Starbucks. Skydiving was amazing. This was the second time I had been skydiving, the first time being with my Dad in New York. It was weird being by myself but the views were so incredible I didn’t care at all.
My life saver, Anas, was awesome. At one point after we landed he said, “better than your morning cup of coffee, right?” Little did he know that my friend spent the morning doing just that. : )
Carrie and I met up at the Dubai Mall to head to the top of the Burj Khalifa. We booked our tickets about a month in advance and they cost a whopping 125 euro each.
The weather wasn’t exactly ideal, it was quite overcast and not exactly optimal sunset conditions, like we had hoped. We headed back down to watch the fountain show. The first night we watched it and were highly unimpressed, but we were told we need to watch again. Our second viewing was much better and we quickly changed our opinions.
With the Burj Khalifa sparkling in the background, it truly was a beautiful sight. Certainly a must do in Dubai.
The next morning we headed to Oman for the day. Now.. I have mixed feelings on this choice of ours. For most of the day I thought we made a poor choice and didn’t feel like it was worth the amount of time it took to get there. We got picked up at 6:30am and traveled in a van with a couple others for about two hours until we got to the border of the UAE and Oman. Our guide took all of our passports and in we went. We waited around for a while, then we headed to the next stop, for more paperwork and checking our passports. After a while we finally all received our stamps and headed into Oman. We got to Khasab and got on our boat.
We sailed around, had time to swim around, ate lunch, lounged about. The sun was bright, the sky was blue and the water was refreshing. I was annoyed we spent so much time at border control, but being on the boat was nice.
The landscape was unlike anything I’ve seen. It was just all brown and rocky. It was pretty awesome. And then..it got even more awesome. They had told us we may be able to see dolphins and we spent some time searching.. with no luck. Finally they showed up and it was incredible.
I was literally hanging over the bow of the boat to see them. It was easily one of our highlights of our trip.
When we got back from Oman we had time for a quick change and then it was off to the Dubai Jazz Festival. We bought tickets to see David Gray, Chris Botti and Sting. We figured we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Sting in Dubai.We were beyond exhausted but it was a lot of fun and we were glad we went.
Our last day we decided it was only appropriate to spend it at the beach. We headed to the infamous Atlantis to hang out for the day at their beach. However, the view wasn’t exactly what we wanted so we decided to head to beach near the Burj Al Arab. It wasn’t exactly ideal conditions, but we were hopeful.
We were enjoying people watching and just chatting about Dubai. All of a sudden we see a crowd on the beach and a man laying on the sand and someone is performing CPR. Ambulances showed up and to this day we aren’t entirely sure what happened to that man, but we had a guess. It wasn’t exactly the last day we planned. Then it started to drizzle and we left.
We headed to Souk Madinat for lunch and we felt like a drink was necessary.
We ended our week by meeting up with Julia and her friends for dinner at Poco Loco. Delicious Mexican with the worlds most awkward waiter and funny conversations. We then headed to the Pier for some more drinks. We wound up at Cargo and it was a great way to end the trip.
Overall.. I loved Dubai. When we travel to new places we often ask ourselves..”Could I live here?” So we spent the week debating that. I think I could. I’m not sure how I’d handle the +100 degree weather, though. I thought it was such an interesting place, very safe, lots to do and the people were very nice. I may have penciled in Dubai for my next stop after Milan.. Don’t worry Mom, I still have a while before that happens. ; )