Dubai

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My second visit to Dubai was during Ramadan, (last time was December 2012 – 24°C) and this time the temperature was well over a scorching 41°C! If you are planning to visit when the temperature is moderate, the best time to visit is November – March. Summer, while blistering, is increasingly proving popular with budget travellers and families for the bargains that can be found from June to September.

Below I have added recent pictures and videos from my trips.

Interesting rules apply in Dubai:

  • If you want to be accepted and value the opportunity to befriend locals, dress modestly: women should wear skirts to the knees or longer, tops with sleeves, and nothing too tight or revealing; men should wear trousers/jeans and tops with sleeves. While you’ll see foreigners wearing less, this is highly offensive to Emiratis and it reduces your chances of meeting locals and getting the most out of your visit. Don’t even think about wearing swimwear away from the beach or hotel swimming pool. Do so and you risk being fined or, at worst, jailed.
  • Don’t display affection with the opposite sex in public, especially during Ramadan when it’s forbidden (along with eating and drinking in public during daylight hours); and don’t share a hotel room with someone of the opposite sex you’re not married to, unless it’s a parent or child. Both can land you in jail.
  • Don’t use rude gestures or swear in public, no matter how angry you might be with the guy who just cut in front of you! Again, this can get you in serious trouble in Dubai.
  • It is against the law to drink in public, or to be intoxicated in public; so always take a taxi directly to the hotel after clubbing or boozing at a pub. Alcohol is available in hotel and club restaurants and bars; restaurants outside hotels are not allowed to serve alcoholic beverages.
  • Never shake hands with an Emirati woman unless she offers her hand first, and don’t photograph women without permission.
  • If visiting someone’s home, remove your shoes at the door, don’t show the soles of your feet when sitting down, and avoid eating with your left hand.
  • Don’t photograph Sheikhs’ palaces, police stations, military buildings, ports or airports.

My thoughts on Dubai: There are too many shopping malls in my opinion, but there were also many adventures and visits to the beautiful Dubai Creek. I couldn’t believe how cheap the taxis, metro, food and markets are. For example, one gallon of water only cost 2 dirhams (about 33p!).

Ferrari World is a themed amusement park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The central park is situated under a 200,000 m² roof making it the largest indoor amusement park in the world!

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Global Village is open from November to March/April after 6 pm. 29 or more different countries have their own pavilions with many stalls selling popular cultural items and food. These countries include Iraq, Pakistan, Omen, Europe, China, India, Brazil, Africa, Afghanistan, Vietnam etc. They even display cultural dances.

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Ibn Battuta is the world’s largest themed shopping mall. They have 6 different themes in each area of the mall. This mall is not only beautifully designed, it has absolutely everything you need. The journey through the countries was incredible.

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Mall of the Emirates – Ski Dubai/the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park. Just remember, it’s 80 degrees just 10 feet outside those walls. It was the world’s largest indoor skiing resort. The resort is located in the Mall of the Emirates, one of Dubai’s many large indoor shopping complexes.

Dubai Mall – Endless shops here! You will see a huge Aquarium display – if you like, you can pay to see inside the aquarium tunnel and discovery centre. There’s even an ice rink! Check out the restaurant at the end – the jungle-themed Rainforest Cafe; I found the moving animal statue and jungle sounds very amusing.

The Diving Man Foundation, Dubai Mall

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As for the aquarium itself, its 270-degree acrylic walk through tunnel makes for incredible close-encounter experiences with  some fascinating underwater creatures: I have created a video to show you the awesome size of the shark! 

I suggest you try the Safari – ask the hotel for a map which will have all the famous tourist attractions.

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Burj Khalifa and Dancing Water Foundation follows after the Dubai Mall. It starts at 6pm with both classical and popular music, lasting a few minutes but with a repeat performance every half hour. Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 2,722ft (approx. 1/2 mile tall) http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/language/en-us/observation-deck.aspx

From left, the dancing waters of the Dubai Fountain at the foot of the world's tallest building; dining at a Lebanese restaurant overlooking the indoor slopes of Ski Dubai.

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Left – Burj Khalfa. Right – The Address Hotel, (4 of these hotels, all with the same name, are found in Dubai)

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Dubai Gold Souk/Spice souk 

These traditional markets near Deira can be visited using the water taxis on the Dubai Creek which are incredibly cheap at 1 dirham for a single trip, roughly 16p. Unlike anything you have seen in the world, Dubai’s Gold Souk is a market that showcases seemingly endless amounts of gold jewelry.

With over 300 jewelers on site to accommodate all your gold related needs, the streets during the day are swarming with visitors from all around the world enjoying the spectacle of wall-to-wall gold, and course, the souk’s phenomenal prices.Whether you are looking to buy or just peruse, the Dubai Souk is certainly worth your visit. With an average of 10 tons of gold available on the premises at any given time, you are sure to be impressed with the glimmering displays, with gold makes in virtually any style you could imagine—and even available in an array of colors including white, yellow and pink.

If you are feel like making a purchase at the Souk, be prepared to haggle, since it is expected that you negotiate prices. Don’t be afraid to keep exploring if you aren’t happy with the price of an item.

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I wonder who would wear such an expensive and heavy necklace?! Below I have shared a picture of a ring which has been made out of 30 tonnes of gold and which holds the Guinness world record!

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Burj Al Arab – VERY expensive if you want to dine there, though apparently its worth it. 500 Dirham per head, that is £89! I heard Wild Wadi is an excellent waterpark according to what I’ve read on google.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (all very white) – I’ve never seen so much marble in my life, biggest mosque i ever see.

This carpet below measure 5,627 square metres and weight 47 tonnes, hand – made by 1,2000 weavers who used 2,268 knots in its creation.

To the Very Top – View from the Jabel Hafeet mountain from Al Ain City,  part of the mountain straddles the border with Oman. Though it takes 2 hours to get up the mountain.

Pictures

Dragon Mart market (cheap!) provides a gateway for the supply of Chinese products in the Middle Eastern and North African Markets, offering Chinese traders and manufacturer. 312439_10151404285736241_1694263987_n

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Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi – Very nice walk around the marina with massive skyscrapers all around. I love that it’s a pretty pink palace!

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 My sister took that amazing shot while sun came down (last picture). 

Jumeira Beach is a white sand beach that is located and stretches along the coast south of the city’s historic district to the junction with The Palm Jumeirah. It is very clean.

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Also at the Dubai Creek is the opportunity to visit Shindagah, site of the original settlement, which is being renovated and rebuilt. You’ll find museums, Heritage Village, Sheikh Saeed’s House and several great open-air restaurants.

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Snapshots during my time

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Madinat Jumeriah Hotel – Browse amazing ancient shops and beautiful surroundings, I felt as if I was in a fantasy world.


Epic fireworks on New Year Eve  – worth the six hour wait! When the clock struck midnight, I felt like a child again, awe-stricken by the sight of fireworks for the first time. With a live orchestra, and water show with live actors, it was hard to not consider this event something more than a firework display.

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Palm Jumeirah (especially to see the sunset). There are another 2 palm islands called Palm Jebal Ali and Palm Deira which is currently being built. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Islands

Most extravagant aquarium I’ve ever seen!

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The Lost city of Atlantis Aquarium – my favourite! It also has a water park where you can swim with dolphins.

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The most amazing information was about a catfish that has been around some 13 million years! (my jaw dropped).

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Crazy – check out this Marina – the twisted tower link at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2341082/The-skyscraper-twist-Dubais-Cayan-Tower-bends-90-degrees.html

The World Islands is an artificial archipelago which is interesting, it has various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map, located 4.0 kilometres (2.5 mi) off the coast of Duabi.  The World islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai’s shallow coastal waters, and are one of several artificial  islands developments in Dubai.

My experience in Dubai – I love the relaxed vibe and how well people cope with the heat in the summer, they make it look easy! Also it is a very safe place to go everywhere in the night, we were lucky to have a 24 hour convenience store right next door.

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