Back in the month of February, I took off to a place which had fascinated me for years, through glossy magazines and tempting Instagram pictures. So I did a quick check on my work schedule (and my bank balance, of course :p) and when everything looked good, I booked my flight and soon landed in the country of UAE, super excited to start my Arabian adventure.
To anyone who hasn’t visited Dubai as yet, do not believe anyone who tells you that Dubai is all about malls and skyscrapers, because that is not what it is! Dubai is much much more than that. Passing through the old spice souk, the daily life in that street looked as if it was pulled out from an old ‘Arabian Nights’ tale. The child in me, who grew up reading stories of Aladdin, the genie, the old Arabian street markets, was excited to see these come to life! Old Dubai, new Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, every single place that I visited during my stay, holds a special place in my heart. The night lights fascinated me as much as the unexpected rains amused me. The cold dessert winds only brought joy along with the chills. Visiting the UAE has opened up so many emotions in me which I never thought existed.
So if you haven’t been to this part of the world as yet, I’m confident that you might want to pack your bags and leave at this very moment. And if you have visited it already, I hope the pictures take you back in time and remind you of the good memories.
1.Miracle Garden: If you are someone who loves plants and flowers, then this is THE place to be! I almost felt like Alice walking through Wonderland, surrounded by colourful flora, cute little bees and of course I had a mini tea party!
2. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: The grandest of all, this huge mosque is a work of art. It houses one of the world’s largest chandeliers made from 24-karat gold and thousands of fine crystals. This renowned mosque is also home to the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet! Apart from this, it is well maintained and organised.
Travel Tip: Women have to cover their heads before entering the mosque. You can choose to carry your own scarf or rent an Abaya which is available at the entrance for free.
3. Dubai Frame: Separating old Dubai and new Dubai, this humongous frame stands tall at 150 meters and showcases a handsome view of the city. The fun part about this place is the see-through flooring! Definitely not a sight for the faint hearted.
4. Burj Khalifa: Do you know what the world is from the 125th floor? The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa allows visitors to catch a glimpse of the city which stretches far and beyond. It is connected to The Dubai Mall which houses luxury brands and visitors can also witness the fountain show (located right outside the mall) in the evening.
5. Desert Safari: Go sand dune bashing, ride a camel, get beautiful henna on your hands, enjoy a performance of belly dancing and let the cold winds of the Al Avir desert teleport you to a magical land, only heard about in the folklore.
6. Global Village: My most favourite place in Dubai is The Global Village. For those who love to see different cultures and shop for products from different lands, this is THE place to be. Shopping for slimes from China, Avocado cream from Africa, sparkly joothis from Pakistan, a few perfumes from Europe and binging on some local Thai food all in one place was the highlight of my trip.
7. Al Qudra Love Lakes: Located in the Al Qudra desert, Love Lakes is still under construction but has already become a hot camping and cycling spot for the local residents. If you’re lucky enough, you can also spot the Arabian Sand Gazelles in this region.
8. The Gold Souk: Have you ever seen gold being sold like vegetables on the road? It’s definitely not an unusual sight here! A must must go-to place to visit something that you don’t get to see often.
9. Palm Jumeriah Broadwalk and Dubai Beach: Catch the view of the Dubai coastline here. Witness the world famous, sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel from the Dubai beach.
Travel Tip: I went to the beach in the month of February and the beach was super windy and cold. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wearing warm clothes, and hence I couldn’t be here for a long time. Make sure you check the weather before going.
Other attractions in Dubai:
- Al Bastakiya: Get a taste of old Dubai in the streets of Al Bastakiya. The narrow lanes also consists of a number of cute little cafes.
- Dubai Museum: Located near Al Bastakiya, this place contains pieces of artifacts from the old Arabian history and also shows a side to the rich culture of the land.
- Al Seef: Situated on the banks of the Dubai creek, Al Seef is home to a number of restaurants and offers a spectacular view of the city at night.
- Belad Al Sham Retaurant: For the best Shawarmas and other local Syrian food.
- Souk Al Jubail in Sharjah: The huge building contains three sections divided into the fruit and vegetable market, fish market and meat market. A good, clean place to pick-up some fresh produce.
I hope to travel to the Middle East again some day. Where are you heading to next?
Oh also, I totally forgot to mention to try the delicious RED VELVET CHEESECAKE from The Cheesecake Factory in The Dubai Mall.