Dubai was always somewhere that I had wanted to visit; it looked like a place that would blow my mind and I wanted to experience all of it.
So when my partner and I flew to London, it was an obvious choice to fly with Emirates and do a stopover in Dubai so we could explore this interestingly extreme city that we were itching to see.
We stayed at the Ibis Mall of Emirates which was conveniently located near the Mall of Emirates. Coming from New Zealand (where shopping is average) this was an absolute dream for us and we spent a LOT of time here. A ski field in the mall? Get out of town. This was nothing like anything I’d ever seen.
We also went to Dubai Mall which is such an experience. It’s HUGE and even has an aquarium in it. The fountain display is really beautiful to watch so make sure you time it right to see this.
I normally wouldn’t be a big advocate for recommending to make time for shopping when travelling, but when the shops are this good, and with all the cool added extras, shopping in Dubai is a MUST.
We also did the Desert Safari where you travel by 4 wheel drive in the desert dunes then finish up at a campsite. At the campsite you can ride on a camel, dress up in the local attire, try some shisha, sample some tea, coffee and dates, watch the belly dancing performances and there is also a big buffet dinner feast to enjoy. You can take some beautiful pictures as the sun sets too – there’s nothing quite like a picturesque sunset in the desert.
This was a really fun experience with a really cool vibe. I’d definitely recommend it!
If you’re looking for a free beach to go to and you like cool bar scenes then I would recommend going to Barasti Beach Bar. This is a hot spot for party goers at night, and in the afternoon its a nice place to have a few drinks or just a nice spot to lay in the sun.
We spent the afternoon here, laying on the sun loungers with a drink in hand – bliss!
While I can only ever dream of staying in some of the amazing hotels in Dubai, we were however lucky enough to go to dinner at Pai Thai in Madinet Jumeirah with friends. Going on the boat ride at the hotel, cruising along the canal to dinner passing through the beautifully lit up trees, was the most amazing experience ever. I absolutely love Arabian nights and I completely soaked it up here. The food at the restaurant was also outstanding. This was a night I will never forget.
Wild Wadi Waterpark, Jumeirah was a lot of fun too. I would highly recommend this – especially if you’re travelling as a family. Not only will kids love it, but adults will too. We had hours of fun here and I’d totally go back.
Old Dubai is worth a visit. It gives you a look inside the older, more real side of Dubai. You can ride the “abra” along the Dubai Creek then shop the Souks for spices, jewelry, beautiful textiles and much more. It is quite a sensory experience with vibrant colours and aromas with some beautiful old buildings. It’s definitely worth checking out.
If you have the time, Abu Dhabi is also a good place to plan a visit to. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is must-see. While it doesn’t have that authentic feel of a mosque, the grandeur of this place is truly beautiful.
They can provide an abaya for women to cover up to enter, so this makes it easier when factoring in what to wear. Note: it would be wise to take sunglasses, the stunning white can be a little blinding.
While we were in Abu Dhabi we were fortunate enough to spend a night in the 5 star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, which was such a luxurious place to stay. A private beach, pool, spa, restaurant and bar for us to enjoy while staying there. It was fabulous! We had an amazing stay here and didn’t want to leave. I would highly recommend if it’s within your budget.
We managed to tick off all these things during our stay, but there really is so much more to do!
And while Dubai is best enjoyed if you have the funds to experience the luxury that this place has to offer, you’ll still have a good time on a budget. Visiting the malls is an experience in itself. Going to Barasti and having a nice drink in the sun or a dip in the beach is a nice simple thing to do also. And riding a camel is pretty exciting!
There is something for everyone here, whether you’re into adventure, fun parks, museums, culture, or if you just love to shop – there really is something for everyone.
And the ultimate thing to do in Dubai is… brunch! Being a food lover, this has my name written all over it. All you can eat buffet and champagne – could it get any better than that? This is a must-do!
Dubai is like no other place and is a great place to visit for the sheer extremeness of it. I will definitely go back to this intriguingly, lavish place.