So after seeing photos of my trip to Dubai last year, a couple of friends asked if I would plan a week there for them and take them. The reason I said yes is that my daughter lives here and my friends are fun people to travel with - and it’s the right time of year! :) They wanted to see the “opulent” side of Dubai (which isn’t hard). So my choices below were based on that, while also trying to balance cost. I thought I would do a quick report again, although many things are a repeat from last year…..
Day 1: Slow start after a 1 am arrival.
Pool sitting - then Shopping at Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a maze of small cute shops inside a building designed to remind you of elaborate tents. Good views of the Burj Alarab.
Dinner at Arabian Teahouse Jumeirah Beach: restaurant chain featuring traditional not very expensive Arabic food. This one was small with no inside tables and about 8 or 9 tables outside right on the beach. I do love this chain.
Day 2: Devoted to the extremes that are the Dubai Mall.
Shopping (I watched), followed by an afternoon elevator ride to the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa for 360° views. But the mall has an ice rink, huge wall fountain feature, aquarium, dinosaur, plus every kind of store you can think of - and a LARGE food court.
Evening abra (traditional wooden) boat to watch the Dubai Fountain Show from the water. I like water, so even though it was short, it was my favorite part of the day.
Day 3: A day for a bit more of old Dubai.
Heritage Express tour: This bus tour, decorated to resemble elements of a traditional tent home, leaves from the Al Seef area and drives by some of the older areas of Dubai (none of which qualify as old in the European sense). It ends with a stop for tea and dates next to a mosque. However the part my friends liked the most is your guide is an Emirati and open to all kinds of questions about the culture. Emirati make up only about a tenth of the UAE population and you really will rarely come in contact with them.
Abra (boat) across Dubai Creek (10 minutes) and a wander through the spice, gold, and fabric souks (markets).
Global Village evening: one friend described it as Epcot on steroids. It is a fantastically lit up collection of buildings meant to evoke many different countries, each one selling products their country is known for. There are lots of inexpensive food stands for dinner and coincidentally we ended up there on family night.
Day 4: Abu Dhabi and dinner
We checked out of the first hotel, taxied to the second where we dropped luggage.
Abu Dhabi: I opted to pay for a half day tour instead of renting a car. Another option would have just been to book a taxi both ways. All viable options. The tour picked us up at our hotel and returned us there, along with about 5 other people.
The mosque itself is beautiful. I had been last year and was happy to go again. It’s free but you have to make an online reservation if coming on your own (which is easy).
Al Hadheerah: A beautiful outdoor restaurant at the Bab Al Sham resort in the desert. There is a dizzying array of dishes: meats, fish, salads, vegetables, breads, rice, soups, and desserts. The entertainment includes instrumentalists, singer, dancers, and camel/horseback show. Not cheap but really nice. My daughter joined us so she drove, but even at an hour away, a taxi is an easy solution.