Let me start by saying that I genuinely don’t think you need more than a week in Dubai. If you are considering going somewhere in the area for longer I would recommend you spend a week in Dubai and a week somewhere else (The Maldives and the Seychelles are only 4/5 hours flight away… Just saying…).
Now about the city itself, I thought I would really dislike it, but let me take a step back first and explain.
My husband and I were looking for a cheap-ish vacation somewhere hot. As we know a lot of people in Dubai and as I have never been, Andrew suggested we go there, stay at some friends and make it a beach-vacation. At the time I had a lot of prejudices against Dubai, it would be artificial, polluted, busy and overall not very relaxing. Anyway, as our budget was limited* and I couldn’t come up with anything else I followed Andrew’s lead and hop on an Emirates plane to the city of sand.
*Note to the Londoners – flight to and from Dubai are not very expensive and there are plenty each day.
We landed as the sun was rising and what came next was pretty surreal. We drove through a jungle of skyscraper on an empty 6-lanes motorway. If you think Manhattan’s towers are high, well think again!
It was, and hard for me to admit, breathtaking!
After a few hours of sleep we woke up to the amazing view from my friend’s 60th floor flat. We stayed in the Marina, which I would recommend if you fancy walking to restaurants and bars, while still being close to the beach.
After taking about a hundred pictures of the Marina’s skyline we went down to the building’s pool area. It is good to note that most residential towers have a pool and a gym so if you are on a budget have a look at Airbnb as the facilities are comparable to hotels’ and all you have to do is a little shop for breakfast/lunch/dinner.
The afternoon of day one was dedicated to swimming and napping, followed by a tasty steak in one of the hotel’s restaurants around. And of course another million pictures of the view were taken once back at our friend. I mean that view…
We woke up on the second day, bright and early and headed to the beach right by the Marina. The water in the Persian Gulf is ridiculously turquoise and the sand whiter than white. Also good to note that the water is at ‘bath temperature’ so no hesitation here, even the least brave people like me can just jump in!
After a few hours splashing around and burning in the sun we headed back to get ready for a desert safari. I looked around a bit for the best company to go with and decided to book the Sundowner experience with Emirates. Maybe not the most authentic (Jordan is the place to go if that is what you are after, more info here) but really well organised and very entertaining!
We were the firsts to be picked up and went to find the rest of our group, in the process drove to different hotels, one involving real size golden horses. Because, why not?
Once our group was complete we headed to the desert and made some friends on the way!
We eventually arrived to the camp where we were given a presentation on the desert life, Bedouins and falcons training. Just seeing that beautiful bird flying around and hunting worth the trip!
We then all hopped back on the SUVs and headed to the dunes for some roller-coaster sensations. This part is so much fun! At times you wonder how we will go up or down and you may even close your eyes a bit!
After all these adventures, we stopped in another camp for dinner, served with a side of belly dancing and a mandatory shisha.
We headed home late at night with shoes full of sands and heads full of stars.
Overall some great experiences, and I was slowly but surely falling for Dubai… More adventures in the next episode!