Full disclosure: I thought I would really dislike Dubai.
Well that is a weird way to start a blog post, isn’t it? I have always been very honest on my blog about things I like or don’t, I am also very open to the fact that sometimes I may judge a book by its cover too fast. So 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 I have never been before, 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 or charming. Anyway, as our budget was limited* and I couldn’t come up with anything else so I reluctantly 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 many each day.
It is good to note that you won’t need more than a week to explore Dubai, so 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 Seychelles are only 4/5 hours flight away… Just saying…).
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-lane motorway. If you think Manhattan’s towers are high, well think again!
It was (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 tower’s pool area. 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. Also, here are more accommodation options in Dubai you can check out!
The afternoon of day one was spent swimming and napping, followed by a tasty steak in one of the hotel’s restaurants around. Of course, another million pictures of the nighttime view were taken once back at our friend. I mean that look at this…
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 in the water and burning in the sun we headed back home to get ready for a desert safari. I did my research 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, we 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 at 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 at another camp for dinner, served with a side of belly dancing and a mandatory shisha.
We headed home late that 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!