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Dubai Travel Highlights
(in no particular order) 🙂
1. The Cheesecake Factory
Walk through the front doors of The Cheesecake Factory and you will know you are in for something special.The Cheesecake Factory menu boasts more than 200 selections made fresh from scratch daily in each restaurant including Small Plates & Snacks, appetizers, pastas, fish, steaks, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. And what’s the draw? All things cheesy!
And they have like 50 legendary cheesecakes and specialty desserts!
Dreaming in a cheesy-land yo!
2. Eat a Kebab @ Al Halabi, Mall of the Emirates
Cos that’s the only kebab we ate! So sad we didn’t have the time to try more! But if you’re in a mall and looking out for Kebabs, Al Halabi can be one of your choice 🙂
Al Halabi is a concept that blends elements of Lebanese and modern Moroccan and Damascenes décor, with fine Arab cuisine. We were hankering for an authentic Middle Eastern meal so this could be your place 🙂
3. Be adventurous on a Desert! 4×4 Sand dune bash, Camel riding & Sandboarding
A trip to Dubai is incomplete without a Desert Safari. Experience all the flavours of Arabia in one half day trip to the desert for a memory in the making! And I’m glad we made our way there.
We engaged with http://www.northtours.net/ for a Private Desert Safari Tour as we’re quite tied down with work schedule. It’s best to go either in the morning to enjoy a cooler sand dune experience or evening for the desert sunset scenery.
Our desert safari guide Mohamed picked us up in a 4×4 vehicle and set off for a journey into the mysterious Dubai desert. The journey takes about 40-45 minutes from Dubai downtown which was about 80km away.
The experienced safari guide with skilfully ride the rolling sand dunes for a 30 minutes adrenaline rush before stopping in the middle of the desert for a fantastic photo opportunity of the desert (best during sunset of course).
After that, we arrived at their Desert safari campsite for camel rides and sand boarding.
If you’re keen they have additional package which include henna painting, shisha smoking, BBQ dinner, complimentary refreshments, a mystique tanoura show, an enchanting belly dance performance and so much more. Well, this Desert Safari tour of Dubai will give one the chance to experience all things Arabian in one comprehensive session.
**We paid 1300 AED for a 4X4 vehicle that we shared among 5 pax: inclusive of sandboarding, camel rides & pick up to and from hotel**
4. Camel Milk Ice Cream
Sounds gross? But must try!
We had ours from the Majlis Dubai: the first and finest camel milk café merges the best of modern Dubai with a blend of Middle Eastern culture. The Majlis is a cafe inside of Dubai Mall, serving ice cream and other dairy products made from Camel’s milk.
It doesn’t sound appealing but the texture was both really smooth. It tasted a but salty almost resembled to caramel but I just didn’t like it. Oops!
Maybe you should try and let me know what you think? Haha.
Coffee lovers will also find flavoured coffees, Turkish coffee, Arabic green coffee, “Qahwah”, served from a traditional Dalla coffee pot and other characteristic beverages from the Middle East.
And again, all The Majlis Dubai baked goods are made out of camel milk.
5. Go on top of the world @ Burj Khalifa
A mega tall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it is the tallest artificial structure in the world, standing at 828 meters (2,716.5 feet). It’s three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building.
Aside from holding the World Record for being the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa holds six other World Records: tallest freestanding structure in the world, highest number of stories in the world, highest occupied floor in the world, highest outdoor observation deck in the world, elevator with longest travel distance in the world, and tallest service elevator in the world!
One can enjoy the highest outdoor observatory in the world, spread across levels 148 and 125 of Burj Khalifa. We opt for Level 124 in which we are allowed up till Level 125 as well. We booked the admission tickets prior to our trip online. It’s advisable to do so as their tickets are selling fast especially during the peak slot of sunset session between 4.30-6.30pm. Plus, it’s always cheaper to do so than buying on the spot. We got the tickets for AED 130 per pax (Level 124)
It’s like playing SIM CITY with this view from the top!
Tickets can be purchased HERE
6. Dubai Aquarium
Located inside Dubai Mall. A key centerpiece is Dubai Aquarium, one of the largest tanks in the world and featuring one of the world’s largest viewing panel. Dubai Aquarium has more than 33,000 living animals, representing more than 85 species including over 400 sharks and rays combined. Gasp!
We went for their Researcher Package at AED 100 which includes Aquarium Tunnel, Underwater Zoo, Back of house tour & Underwater Observatory.
7. Jumeirah Beach, Burj AL Arab & Dubai Marina
Located in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence, the city’s first outdoor shopping and dining promenade was built in 2008. It is laid out with an attractive mix of family-friendly restaurants, cafes, shops, supermarkets and boutiques has also drawn scores of tourists and residents from other neighbourhoods.
Also overlooking the distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, which is more than just a stunning hotel. It is a symbol of modern Dubai. Repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel, this magnificent destination offers one the finest service and facilities throughout: right down to an optional chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. That’s what I’ve read about… OMG! I so wanna stay here!
Dubai Marina: The most luxurious man-made marina in the world.
8. Exploring Old Dubai – Bur Dubai and Diera
Contrary to a lot of misconceptions, Dubai is just not all about new construction, high-rise buildings and high-end malls. There is another part to this city which lends it a different character.
Now Old Dubai mainly comprises of 2 parts, Deira and Bur Dubai which are separated by the old and historically important Dubai creek.
Dubai creek is a wide saltwater inlet which divides the two main city-centre districts of Bur Dubai and Deira and provides a scenic thoroughfare for traditional wooden dhows, abras (water taxis) and the occasional ship.
Now an abra is like a local bus for the numerous locals crossing the creek everyday and the ticket is just 1 dirham.
A visit to both these places is a must 🙂
The doors here are all wooden with intricate carvings and elaborate arches. Today this area is the artsy side of the city with narrow galleries, numerous small museums, art galleries, heritage houses, souvenir shops, spice stores, cafes and more.
If only we had more time to go inside. But you could do so!
Though this is a very small museum, a trip to this place is highly recommended as it gives tourists an idea of Dubai’s journey from a small fishing and pearl trading town to the heights that it at today! This museum is housed in the Al Fahidi fort, the oldest building in Dubai and gives you an insight into the Dubai culture, tradition, history and an insight into the life of the olden days.
In fact the cool aircon would also be an added draw. Haha. It was really hot outside!
9. Spice Souk & Gold Souk @ Deira
The Spice Souk is one of the most popular souks in Dubai. Its narrow passages are lined up with small stores selling herbs and spices under the sun. The air if filled with pungent aromas emanating from colourful sacks of cinnamon, tumeric, cumin, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, saffrons, dried fruits and many more!
The Spice Souk is located Deira, close to Deira Old Souk Abra Station and the Gold Souk.
The souk is open everyday: Saturday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm (Closed 1-4pm in between) & Friday: 4pm – 10pm
Al Ras Metro station is just less than 400 meters away from the souk.
The Gold Souk is in the Deira part of Dubai. A trip to the Gold Souk truly demonstrates why Dubai has earned itself the title City of Gold. It’s worth visit even if you have no intention of buying, just to soak in the atmosphere of shop windows glinting with 18, 21, 22 & 24 carat gold, showing-off the abundant riches of this part of the world.
Gold prices here are among the lowest in the World and are largely determined by weight; also varying depending on whether it is machine-made or by a craftsman.
Also located in Deira (near Baniyas Square) Sikkat al-Khali Street, Dubai, UAE.
Direction : It’s best to go down to Creek in Bur Dubai and take an ‘Abra’ (water taxi). The trip takes 5-10 minutes at only 1 Dirham
10. The Dubai Mall
Also known as the home of the Dubai shopping festival, is one of the world’s largest shopping malls in UAE! And they are still expanding right now! Lots and lots of brands that you’ll love.
They even have a world’s first hydrogen-powered trolley system that is just launched in Downtown Dubai.
The first phase of Dubai Trolley covers 1km around Dubai Mall.
The region’s first hop-on, hop-off Dubai Trolley will tour 7 km across the entire breadth of the 500-acres of Downtown Dubai once completed.
The Dubai Trolley provides a quick and easy access to Emaar’s flagship developments including Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, The Dubai Fountain, Souq Al Bahar as well as Manzil Downtown, Vida Downtown, The Address Downtown Dubai and The Address Dubai Mall.
Also, experience the Dubai Fountain outside Dubal Mall!
Set on the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake, the fountain shoots water jets as high as 500 ft (150 metres), equivalent to that of a 50-storey building!
It’s the World’s largest dancing fountain! And in sync with classical, Arabic and world music.
Daily: 6:00pm to 11:00pm (Every 30 Minutes)
What to Wear in Dubai?
Dubai is a land of contrasts and a lot of that has to do with the mixing of cultures there. After all, between 70 and 80% percent of the population are expats so this is to be expected.
I would be lying if I said I had my shoulders completely covered at all times, but I tried my best to be modest. I wore sleeveless and dress that doesn’t cover my knees too. But make sure they are covered if you are to visit places like the mosque.
For those who do choose to ignore the spoken and unspoken standards, nothing will happen to them. At most they may get a few extra stares.
There are no real consequences, but personally, I would feel strange walking around in my short shorts while many of the women around me cover up from head to toe.
In my humble opinion, respect is always of the utmost importance but even more so when traveling. Just wear decently. And stop worrying about packing for a Dubai holiday! 🙂
Ladies, you can definitely wear a bikini when you’re swimming!
I left my heart in Dubai 🙂