How to truly experience Dubai in 6 days? PART I

Everybody has a dream destination he or she dreams about and can’t wait to cross from the bucket list. I would lie if I say United Arab Emirates were on mine, or Dubai to be more specific. I have always been more into Moroccan style and culture. Exactly like this it all started, Morocco or Dubai...Dubai or Morocco, maybe better Morocco...but in the end, the city built in the last twenty years in the middle of the desert won my ‘next trip contest’, at least this time. And now when summarize everything I can say I don’t regret it at all. There will be time for Marrakesh as well 😊
Dubai…what to write about this city and not to be something we have already read in the travel magazine, heard on TV, or seen in one of many music videos made by our pop artists here. I can tell you one thing: if you have been told, like I have: “There are just skyscrapers and a desert, sea is not the best for swimming and it’s extremely hot, it’s not worth going”, they are wrong. If you have encountered with similar critics and impressions before, please read the post, I am sure I am going to change your mind. I hope you are going to enjoy it 😊
* Before you start reading, I would like to give you one useful tip if you are planning on visiting Dubai any time soon – Do not book a hotel online! The price you will find on Booking.com for a certain hotel is not the final price. On that price, you should add 20% for “fees”, so in the end it turns out to be much more expensive than you were hoping for. I wanted to emphasize that since it is not something you would usually encounter when using Booking, it is typical for UAE. Therefore, my strong recommendation would be Galaxy Blue travel agency which will find everything you need for a reasonable price. 😉
1. First dayDUBAI DOWNTOWN - Burj Khalifa + The Dubai Fountain + Dubai Mall (Aquarium & Shopping)


If you want to truly experience the new, luxurious Dubai from the first day, my advice would be to go the very center of the modern part of the city – Downtown Dubai. There you can find many attractions out of which definitely the most famous one – queen of the skyscrapers – Burj Khalifa, officially the tallest building in the world reaching the height of amazing 828 meters. The interesting thing is that wherever you are you will see it, which can help you orientate easily, but in the same time it also gives you an illusion that you are very close to it while you are actually miles away. 😊




Interesting facts: If the sky is clear, from the top (125th floor) you can see Iran; Inside the building there is the Armani Hotel, which was designed by Giorgo Armani himself; It houses the world´s highest swimming pool (76th floor), the highest night club in the world (143rd floor) and the highest mosque in the world (156th floor).
Tip for Burj Khalifa: make sure you book your tickets online because it is cheaper and you can spend hours waiting in line if you directly purchase them there.
From the top of the Burj Khalifa (picture above), and when you go out of it, you will have an amazing view on the Bujr Khalifa Lake, in which you will find world’s second largest choreographed fountain system – Dubai Fountain. If you would be lucky to see it in person at least once in your life, you will realize why it cannot be described by words or photo.




Tip for Dubai Fountain: come some minutes before 18 p.m. (to catch the sunset) and to take place at one of the many cafes or restaurants surrounding it. My recommendation would be – Fortnum & Maison, famous English tea shop. This is the perfect opportunity, and only one outside UK, to sit in this restaurant of great tradition which dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. From its’ balcony you can enjoy an afternoon tea and a stunning view on the fountain. 😊 Fountain starts playing and dancing between 18 p.m. and 23 p.m., every half an hour. You can find a repertoire of the songs online.

The Dubai Mall – for the shopaholics it’s enough to say the largest shopping mall in the world! Imagine any store, any brand, and you will find it here. Besides shopping you can do many other stuff here as well, from the wide choice of restaurants, cinema, indoor ice-skating to the Dubai Aquarium.




Tip for Dubai Aquarium: You can buy the ticket for the aquarium online together with the ticket for Burh Khalifa (see link above), it is cheaper than buying it separately or on-site.


2. Second day – SOUKS DAY : Old Town (Gold Souk, Spice Souk, Textile Souk) + Cruising across Dubai Creek + Al Bahar Souk


After the first Arab restful night and early morning Arabic coffee, it's time to get to know the other side of the city. At only about 20km drive from the luxury and modern architectural constructions, like through the time-machine, we are flying over the Dubai Creek to another Dubai –  Dubai which existed before the discovery of oil, the old part of the city that kept the luster and Arab tradition which was cherished long before the new attractions were built. This part of the city is called Deira.
Similarly, as Istanbul has the Spice Bazaar or as they call it Egyptian Bazaar, Dubai has Spice Souk. Here you can find all the spices of the world, from the distant Asia, Middle East, Europe, the ancient civilizations of North Africa, but many other herbs and Arab specialties as well. Being a huge fan of Arab cuisine, I couldn’t resist not to try, at the very heart of the old town, baklava, and their specialty – dates stuffed with almonds and topped with chocolate. They are delicious!

If you continue following the main street you will get to the Gold Souk. Like all the other Arab cities, also Dubai has its own Gold Bazaar, a labyrinth of covered walkways home to hundreds of retailers offering a huge selection of jewellery made from gold, silver, diamonds, and other precious metals. After that you can take a traditional abra water taxi across the Creek to get to the Textile Souk. There you can skim through an endless selection of raw silk, cotton, and many other fabrics you will find on this market.




Tip for the Souks: Since you are here at the authentic Arab bazaars, bargain, as much as you wish and can, on the price of everything you wish to buy! Don’t feel uncomfortable, here it is natural, so don’t be afraid to engage in this unique experience common for all Arab countries 😊
If you don’t have enough time or simply you don’t like old bazaars, but would still like to feel like in a “One Thousand and One Nights”, then you could go and visit the modern souk next to Dubai Mall – Al Bahar Souk. However, if you find yourself again in Dubai Mall, it is good to know that you have a modern souk there as well.

Tip for Al Bahar Souk: Here you will find many beautiful restaurants, both inside and outside looking at the Dubai Fountain. Therefore, if you didn’t like my suggestion about Fortnum & Maison because you want something more original and Arabic, I would suggest you go to Abdel Wahab – great restaurant with Lebanese cuisine.
Tip for a dinner in Dubai Mall: Traditional turkish restaurant Mado.
Tip for women readers: If you didn’t have an opportunity to do it so far in any other Arabic country (or India), you must do Henna tattoo! It is a traditional temporary tattoo which doesn’t cost too much and is a real fashion trend now (Beyoncé was recently at the top of the news with her Henna tattoo all over the pregnant belly – Be trendy 😉)



3. Third day – Day for chill on the beach (Hotel Jumeirah Mina Al Salam) + Madinat Jumeirah + Burj Al Arab Hotel
After two days of constant sightseeing and walking, finally a relax day has arrived. It is enough to say Hotel Jumeirah Mina Al Salam. The most unforgettable and best day I’ve spent in Dubai was at this amazing hotel which is located exactly next to the Burj Al Arab – one of the world’s most luxurious hotels, counting 7 stars out of possible 5.




The Hotel Mina Al Salam has its own beautiful private beach with white sand spreading to the turquoise blue sea. But the best of this hotel is its location and the interior design. It is located, or it’s better to say it makes together with the Hotel Jumeirah Al Qasam, Madinat Jumeirah – an authentic recreation of ancient Arabia, capturing the natural beauty of the region. Madinat is the Arabian Venice. In translation, it means “Arabian city”, and truly it is, here again you will find the bazaars, the souks, and many traditional restaurants.





Tip #1: take a gondola ride through Madinat, it is worth every minute and dirham (local currency in UAE). I believe that in this case a picture speaks a thousand words, so enjoy 😊


I understand it can be easy to get confused with all these names of the hotels, so I would like to repeat that my choice is Mina Al Salam Hotel – because here you combine chilling and swimming at the Persian gulf, Madinat Jumeirah, and Burj Al Arab Hotel.
Tip #2: If you decide to go to Mina Al Salam Hotel you must know that the entrance is not free. You will have to buy the entrance ticket for the beach, which is valid for a whole day and you get food & drink voucher of AED 150 included which you may spend at the hotel’s bar and restaurant.
Tip #3: It is much cheaper if you go on the Weekdays (AED 450) than during Weekend (AED 595)!

That would be all for now. I hope you have enjoyed reading my post and stay tuned because next week I am going to write about Dubai Part 2, with a lot more useful info, tips and of course photos 😉


Until next time,
Ninockar
مرحبا. أراك


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