MUCH MORE TO DUBAI THAN JUST SHOPPING

I visited Dubai for the first time in 1998 and how it is changed! I went back in September 2015 – 17 years later and WOW! There is so much for the whole family to do, see and experience. This is a must visit destination.

Dubai’s aim is make everything bigger and better than elsewhere in the world and they certainly are very close in most aspects. They have the biggest shopping malls and tallest buildings. The malls have all the top brand shops from all over the world and many fun and educational experiences for everyone.

The Mall of the Emirates has a genuine ski slope (Ski Dubai) where you can go snow skiing tobogganing and playing in the snow. There are even penguins in the snow at Ski Dubai. One of the hotels has “chalet rooms” overlooking the slopes so you feel like you are in a ski resort in Europe when in fact, you are in the middle of an extremely hot desert.

Dubai Mall has “Kidzania” which is for children aged between 4 and 16. Here one can role play a profession e.g. be a fireman, doctor, chef etc. It is a mini city with buildings, paved streets, cars etc. It will keep them entertained for a whole day.

“The Palm” is a man-made island created from reclaimed land from the sea. It looks like a palm tree from the air and has fancy hotels and apartment blocks on it. The famous hotel built by Sol Kerzner, “Atlantis The Palm” is on Palm Island.

One of the excursions I did on my last trip and did again this time, is the Desert Safari. It is a MUST DO when in Dubai. We were collected from our hotel at 15h30 and taken out to the desert. Our first stop was a falcon show and then on to do some “dune bashing”. It is not for the feint hearted. It is like being on a roller coaster except you are in a 4x4 going up and down the dunes for about 20 minutes before stopping to see the sunset over the dunes. Once the sun set, we were taken over a few more dunes to a huge Bedouin Tent where it was set up for a relaxing evening with a delicious BBQ dinner and drinks. There were camel rides, shisha pipes and mehndi tattoos available. At about 21h30 we left the desert and were taken back to our hotel. It was a perfect evening outing and one that I can highly recommend.

Whichever city I travel to, I like to do a hop on hop off bus tour, so of course I did the one in Dubai. It is the best way to get an overview of a city. Dubai has 4 routes. The red and blue routes being the main ones and the pink and gold if there is enough time. You can get a 24 or 48 hour ticket. I recommend the 48 hour so you can really get around and do all 4 routes. The bus literally takes you everywhere around Dubai and you get off wherever you want to and get back on when another bus comes past. They run at 20 minute intervals. It also includes a free dhow cruise on the creek which runs through the city of Dubai.

The “Old Souk” is my favourite shopping place in Dubai. Here you can bargain as much as you like and pick up some good deals from pashminas to name brand rip off hand bags to souvenirs. It is very important to bargain though as the prices are inflated. It is loads of fun making sure you get what you want and at the right price.

There is also a Spice Souk and Gold Souk which are great to go and visit and if you are looking for spices or good jewellery. Even if you aren’t looking to buy jewellery it is still nice to go and have a look and see what is on offer.

Jumeirah Beach has beautiful beaches and I can highly recommend a visit. If at all possible and the budget allows, I would definitely choose to stay in a hotel in this area. I love it. Madinat Jumeirah has canals like Venice and a lovely Souk. Most of the hotels in the area, get free access to “Wild Wadi”, the water park which has amazing water slides. The Burj al Arab is the 7 star hotel built just off the coast line and is an all-suite hotel with a helipad on top, underwater restaurant as well as a host of other very special things. Many celebrities frequent this hotel.

I hope this has whet your appetite and that you are ready for a fun holiday in Dubai. You will love it.

Visited September 2015

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