Dubai. Any thoughts? I know what a lot of you are thinking… Sex and the City 2, the desert, the high life of the rich and famous and one of the most recognized buildings in the world, yes, that looks like a sail boat, the Burj Al Arab. I had traveled to Dubai about ten years ago and of course at that time, your typical ‘high school girl’ was much more interested in and focused on what was going on with the drama back home and the confusion as to why MySpace was restricted in the UAE, talk about first world problems, am I right? I think its safe to say that I have grown up quite a bit since then and am feeling very grateful that I was able to make a trip back to Dubai!
We live in a day where oftentimes the media paints a distasteful divide between the West and the Middle East. Prior to this trip, many conversations consisted of people saying “Why Dubai?” “Please be careful” and worst of all, ”Don’t end up in jail”. Over time, some of these comments had me feeling apprehensive of both the fear and curiosity of the unknown. What did they mean by “Don’t end up in jail?”
So many conversations, a little confusion but most importantly, getting to truly experience that unknown. Five ladies, ten suitcases and we are more than ready for takeoff!
I have listed some of my ultimate highlights of must-sees and dos!
Madinat Jumeriah, which means city of Jumeriah, is a stunning little area which resembles a contemporary Arab village. Along the strip you will find luxury hotels, fine dining and some of the most breathtaking views of the Burj Al Arab from various lookout points.
Mall of Emirates/Mall of Dubai
One word, INSANE. Growing up in a family where we consider shopping part of our daily cardio, I think if we ever made the move to Dubai we would be in the best shape of our lives! These malls are incredibly large (I am talking about 1,000+ stores large). The design and architecture that were put into these malls are completely mind blowing. The Aquarium and Underwater Zoo in the Dubai Mall is a 10 million-liter tank filled with all sorts of beautiful fish, sharks, stingrays and stunning artificial coral. I highly recommend checking this out!
Safari and Camel ride
The Desert Safari and Camel Ride is a must. We were extremely fortunate to have had the most incredible tour guide named Dauhd. We booked our tour through a company called Desert Safari Adventures. They picked us up at our resort and we drove straight into the Desert where we began our unforgettable ‘Dune Bashing’ adventure. For those of you who have sensitive stomachs this may not be the best idea for you, however this was an experience that I will never forget! The safari ended with a camel ride through the desert and a traditional dinner under the stars with a belly dancing performance.
This was by far one of my favorite things we did. This 15 minute Helicopter Tour soared above The Atlantis Resort, Islands of the World, The Palm Jumeirah The Arabian Gulf Coastline and other landmarks. All five of us were completely speechless once we landed and would have loved to gone on a second flight!
Captivated by the history and culture of Dubai, I feel like I discovered a whole new world and just like any country you are expected to follow and respect certain customs within. I feel so grateful that I was able to see this beautiful city once again and of course seeing and spending time with family. Beautiful city. Beautiful people. Beautiful memories.