Travel

Dubai: Dazzling City Oasis in the Desert

April 3, 2016

Dubai has always been in my top five “must see” places. At the outset I confess that I do love modern, fancy and over-the-top places. So what better holiday than Dubai: a pastiche of Las Vegas meets Disney world with traditional souk markets alongside towering malls in the shimmering Arabian desert.

I spent my Easter break in Dubai – all too short to experience the sights and attractions of this city oasis. We stayed at the Cayan Tower, which is the highest residential building situated in the Dubai Marina with its many boats and sleek white yachts. The Cayan has a 90 degree twist, so is very famous for its design.

On the first day we visited the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The design is visionary and was inspired by the Spider Lily, a regional desert flower. It is a colossus of steel and glass that comes alive at night with a dazzling dance of lights, water fountains and music. The tower is just over 800m high with 163 floors. They used 31,400 metric tons of steel to complete this icon of Dubai. Laid end to end, all this steel would extend a quarter of the way around the world. Prepare to be mesmerised and awed!

The following day, my friends and I went to the Fairmont Hotel beach on the man-made Palm Jumeriah. We swam and suntanned with amazing views of the Dubai skyline from the beach. We also did some paddle boarding, which was a bit challenging for me as it was my first time.

The next day we went to discover the Jumeirah Beach Hotel – lots of people enjoying the sunshine and warm waters of the Arabian Gulf. Later that afternoon we went to Barasti, Dubai’s most popular beach club (along with Zero Gravity). It reminded me of Ushuaia club in Ibiza – only smaller – with lively music and people enjoying sundowner cocktails.

We also visited the Burj Al Arab – the only 7* hotel in the world. I will write a separate post talking about my experience. We also packed in a visit to the astonishing Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark and a desert sunset safari compete with camels and falcons.

Overall I had an amazing experience in Dubai. I was dazzled by the big sky scrapers, how big and modern the city is and by the never ending shopping malls and attractions. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark

View driving on the way to the Atlantis The Palm

The Lost Chambers Aquarium

Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

At The Top, Burj Khalifa

Paddle Boarding at the Fairmont Hotel

Safari at the Arabian Desert

Burj Al Arab, the only 7* hotel in the world

My top travel tips for Dubai:

  • At The Top, Burj Khalifa. Get ready to enter the record books as you ascend to the world’s tallest building. Experience 360-degree sweeping views from level 124. Views from waters of the Gulf to the Arabian Desert and beyond.
  • Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark. The number 1 waterpark in the Middle East full of water roller coasters, never-ending rapid river, spectacular rides and thrilling glides. The most daunting ride for me was Poseidon’s Revenge!
  • The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Imagine exploring the mysterious ruins of Atlantis, lost for thousands of years deep beneath the sea. There are 20 impressive marine life exhibits including a touch tank and an interactive Aquaventure show. There is also the Dubai Aquarium located inside the Dubai Mall.
  • Paddle Boarding at the Fairmont Hotel at The Palm Dubai. It’s easy, fun and can be enjoyed by everyone. There is no better way to experience Dubai’s marine environment. I confess that I fell off the board a few times – thankfully no sharks in Dubai!
  • Desert Safari. Experience a thrilling desert ride and see the sun set in a true Arabian spirit. There are a variety of packages including different experiences including camel riding and pictures with desert falcons.
  • Souk Madinat is a popular open air marketplace. Great for shopping and meeting friends for dinner.

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