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Abu Dhabi & Dubai – Exploring The United Arab Emirates
The Emirate of Dubai is the second largest of the seven United Arab Emirates. It has the largest population with just over 2.1 million inhabitants.
Dubai’s dynamics are ever-changing – here everything is exaggerated in the hopes of being bigger and better than the rest.
Of course the influence of traditional Arab culture is prominent in its museums, festivals, music and national attire.
Deira is on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south along with the top tourist destination of Jumeirah. (It is beyond beautiful there!)
A lot of beaches here are awarded the Blue Flag certification for adhering to strict international standards.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates lies on a T-shaped island which is home to the Abu Dhabi Emiri Family and the President of the UAE.
There is so much to do and see here that I will only cover just a little part of my experience.
The Atlantis Dubai
The Atlantis Dubai is a hotel like no other I have ever stayed in, It is a HUGE hotel with an endless amount of things to do. This comes at a price!
The queue for breakfast is long, you get a badge upon check in which you have to show the staff at every corridor of the hotel. Annoying yes, but for security sake, why not? I stayed here for three nights on my very first trip to Dubai.
After that I have stayed at two other hotels in Dubai. In an apartment hotel, and honestly loved the apartment more than the Atlantis experience. That said, I would still recommend staying at the Atlantis for at least a night. The view is simply amazing, Out of this world.
So yes, Dubai is over the top exaggerated but it is a place I would advice everyone to visit at least once in their lifetime.
There are many expatriates in the city, and you can really enjoy a great holiday here.
The reason I have returned to Dubai on so many occasions is that I love the feeling of being able to live this lifestyle for a few days, then returning to my simple reality. I cannot imagine living here, nor would I want to.
I found the people to be always friendly and welcoming.
Never did I get the feeling of being “out of place” or being clearly a tourist as I have in other places I have visited.
Moving around in Dubai or Abu Dhabi is easy with a rented car.
Getting around is faster than public transport and fuel is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!!!
The metro system works similarly to the European metro systems that I am used to ( colour coded and easy to navigate).
The Desert Safari
The experience lasts for roughly seven to eight hours! It is a fun experience which begins with a 4X4 picking you up at your hotel at around 14:00, and will drop you back off at about 22:00.
The desert safari costs approximately 120 Euros (135 USD) and includes:
- Camel caravan through the desert
- Sun Set Photography
- Henna tattoos – Not permanent
- Live bread- and coffee-making displays
- Emirati entertainment ( Belly Dancers, Shisha)
- Traditional costumes
- Unlimited soft drinks, tea coffee and mineral water
- Buffet Dinner and B.B.Q. (vegetarian food also available on request)
The Burj Al Arab
Can you visit the United Arab Emirates without seeing “The Burj”?
Now there’s The Burj Al Arab and The Burj Khalifa.
The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah was the first real great symbol of modern Dubai.
You can arrive here by either a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce’s or by a helicopter transfer service.
It is a wonderful experience and this beautiful hotel boasts nine restaurants and bars.
You will not eat here without reservations! Don’t even bother trying your luck!
The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is extraordinary and it is no wonder it has been repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel.
The Burj Khalifa
When you hear people talking about the United Arab Emirates, the conversation will always lead to The Burj – the most iconic destination in Dubai!
The Burj Khalifa is 828 metres high (2,716.5 feet) and the tallest building and highest outdoor observatory in the world.
The Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
- Tallest free-standing structure in the world
- Highest number of stories in the world
- Highest occupied floor in the world
- Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
- Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
- Tallest service elevator in the world
It is advisable to book your tickets online and well in advance. I have seen people waiting in line for hours on end to get to the top. This could cost you a half a day during your trip so plan wisely!
Base Jumping In The United Arab Emirates
We tried the skydiving experience while in Dubai. Here is something a little different.
On 21 April 2014, with permission of the authorities and support from several sponsors, highly experienced French BASE jumpers Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen broke the Guinness World Record for the highest BASE jump from a building.
After they leapt from a specially designed platform, built at the very top of the pinnacle, at 828 metres (2,717 ft).
Watch the fantastic video! It’s awesome!
Great Places For Shopping
Mall Of The Emirates
The Mall of The Emirates is the largest mall I have ever been to. This place is fantastic. From lifestyle, fashion, sports, make- up, electronics, and home furnishing products.
This mall has over 600 stores so you will find everything your heart desires. It is also Home to the Ski Dubai slopes, the Magic Planet indoor entertainment centre (great for children) and the Dubai Community Theatre and Art Centre.
Dubai Marina Mall
The Dubai Marina Mall is not as large as the Mall of The Emirates, it does have a large range of international retailers as well as affordable high-street shops, fashion and beauty services.
located along the shores of the marina it is great for outdoor seating along the water’s edge.
The Ibn Battuta Mall gets its name from the explorer, was a Medieval Moroccan Muslim traveler and scholar, who is widely recognised as one of the greatest travelers of all time.
The mall has six courts its inspiration and from Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China. The lush outdoor tea gardens are gorgeous!
Other Malls and Places For Shopping
Dubai Festive City Mall
City Centre Mirdif
Dubai Outlet Mall
FIVE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT DUBAI
- The Dubai police fleet includes a Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bentley. This is to allow them to catch speeders who can outrun other cars.
- There are ATMs in the UAE that dispense gold bars.
- Dubai has no address system, no zip codes, no area codes and no postal system.
- The capital of the U.A.E. is Abu Dhabi (nope, not Dubai). Bigger in area than all the other 6 Emirates combined.
- Dubai ranks third in cities with highest number of skyscrapers (148 skyscrapers in Dubai), and Abu Dhabi ranks 27th (30 skyscrapers).
Have you been to the United Arab Emirates? Or planning to visit soon? What did you experience or what have you heard about the Emirati? Please share with me in the comments section below.