Abound in wealth, tradition, and creativity, Dubai has undeniably become a futuristic city in its own right. Home to the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s skyline is what Coruscant is to Star Wars, while its barren deserts, Tatooine. Okay, enough with the Star Wars references. The point is Dubai is a city like no other - on one end striving to be where no man has been with its architectural masterpieces while on the other end preserving its long standing culture and Arabic roots.
In our short three-day trip in Dubai, we were happy to see the best of both worlds in this side of the Middle East. Here’s a list of the things we did while in Dubai.
Boat ride to Old Souk. For 6 dirhams, we took a boat ride from Baniyas Station to Dubai Old Souq Station. It was refreshing to be sailing along Dubai Creek on a very hot day. We had lovely views of wooden boats, modern buildings, and clear blue skies. Alternatively, you can hop on the city’s more traditional abras or water taxi for just 1 dirham.
Old Souk Dubai. Dubai is well known for its souks or Arabic markets. Getting off the boat, we headed to Old Souk Dubai also known as Textile Souk or Bur Dubai Souk. Walking around the market felt like Aladdin would just turn up in one of the shops with Abu and his magic carpet! The market is very old-fashioned and the air smelled of spice herbs and incense.
Merchants attract tourists with souvenirs, Arabic clothing, sun-dried dates, exotic spices, handwoven fabrics and footwear, and colourful trinkets. We spent an awfully wonderful time here looking for pashminas, gifts to take home, but of course it was Dexter who scored a traditional Middle Eastern headdress or ghutrah! Make sure you know how to haggle when you come here and beware of those who'll just grab you to sell you something! Oh and look at all these colours!
Late lunch by Dubai Creek. At the end of the market are a few more shops and gladly we found a restaurant that has a bathroom and wi-fi. Al Bait Al Qadeem Restaurant offers a beautiful view by the river. We ordered pita bread, mixed grill, and fresh fruit smoothies.
Your highness, Burj Khalifa. Ah, there is absolutely nothing like it. At 829 metres tall, it is the tallest manmade structure in the world. We had this amazing view of the city and Burj Khalifa from our hotel room at The Oberoi.
Up close in Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa is all the more beyond impressive. With 70,000 LED bulbs, every night is a performance of lights, laser beam displays, and music. This parade of audio and visual effects should not be missed!
Dubai Fountain (near Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar). The world’s largest dancing fountain system, Dubai Fountain is set on manmade Burj Lake. With waters shooting up to 140 metres high accompanied by lights and music, Dubai Fountain is a thrill to watch. If you like Celine Dion or opera music grooving with high water fountains, then you’ll love this.
Morning dip in between skyscrapers. Our stay at The Oberoi was no short of grand. After a hot steam bath at the hotel spa, we enjoyed taking a swim at the outdoor pool. It isn’t very often that we get to swim at a pool in between buildings with a view of other skyscrapers (including Burj Khalifa!) so I’d say this experience was one of a kind!
Evening Desert Safari. We booked an Evening Desert Safari online just a week before our trip. The package was worth 100 dirhams and includes a hotel pick-up and drop-off, drive through the desert (dune bashing), an extremely short camel ride, evening entertainment, and barbecue dinner.
Late night drinks at The Oberoi. With five restaurants and cafes, we managed to unwind with some wine and cocktails at The Oberoi. An open-air lounge and restaurant on the 27th floor, Iris is a hip and happening bar where the nightlife is at! A quieter, more demure option is The Lobby Bar where you’ll hear yourself talk.
Beach day pass at Anantara The Palm. Located on the Palm Jumeirah, we spent a whole afternoon at Anantara on our last day in Dubai. Lined with luxury hotels and beach resorts, a majority of them offer day passes. Our day pass at Anantara granted us access to the beachfront and winding lagoon pools. It was a lovely sunny 28 degrees and to be chilling at The Palm felt like paradise!
Food trucks and photo-op by Atlantis, The Palm. After a long afternoon swimming at Anantara, we decided to grab a bite to eat at food trucks parked right outside Atlantis.
One last hurrah at Dubai Mall. One of the largest shopping malls in the UAE, the mall’s total area is equivalent to 200 soccer pitches. With more than 1,200 retail shops, a day isn’t enough in Dubai Mall.
Where we stayed
For three nights we had the luxury of staying at The Oberoi located in Business Bay, a 5-minute drive to Dubai Mall. Read more about our elegant honeymoon experience at The Oberoi's Deluxe City View Room and Deluxe Suite With Private Balcony in our previous blog posts.
Read more about Dubai in these articles
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