I’ve been wanting to visit Dubai for more than 5 years now. Initially it never worked out because I wanted to travel alone and Dubai Visa rules didn’t allow women below 25 to travel alone. Later, nothing materialised in my favour. But then in 2017, I felt like the curse was over and I finally landed in the dessert city with a long list of to-dos. While I wasn’t able to everything on the list, I did manage to do most of the things – which is great! So if you are aiming to make a trip to Dubai, these are the things I did, and you surely should too!
Desert Safari: You can’t miss the desert safari when in Dubai. It’s by far the best experience. The whole drive in the sand dunes is breathtaking in a way that there are so many chances you can topple. Adventure at its best. Plus after the ride the entire program where there are other cultural shows like belly dancing, henna artists, free sheesha, exotic Arabian food and photo booths, all makes for a great way to spend your evening.
Pro tip: In the car, take the window seats especially if you have road sickness as this one isn’t going to be anything short of a roller coaster ride. Also the camel ride isn’t worth it at all so don’t waste your time in the long queue. You can get better camel rides in India.
Atlantis Water Park: The day we headed out to Atlantis, we were just two of us (we were supposed to be joined by friends) and we ourselves were wondering what we are going to do there alone. But the water park is such a wonderful place, we fell in love with it. In fact so much so that we did every ride twice and some even three to four times. The Lost Chambers aquarium was also amazing and every fish in there will have you amazed. By far the best water park experience ever! Also, entry to the water park also let’s you enter the beach which is splendid. If you’re a beach bum like me, you’ll totally love it there with clear water, white sand, clean shacks and soft music in the background.
Pro tip: If you’ve always dreamt of wearing that bikini, this is the place to flaunt it. This place is filled with foreigners who sport bikinis with so much ease that you won’t be awkward either, whatever your body maybe like. Also, carry your own towel as they are chargeable – 30 AED
Also, we didn’t get a locker to keep our bags in and totally recommend not wasting money on it. Dubai is a very safe place and so is Atlantis. Just get hold of a shack and put your bags on it while you roam around and no-one’s gonna touch your stuff.
Note: We got the combo tickets for Atlantis water park and the lost chamber Aquarian at AED 275 and that’s a great deal of saving. Would recommend taking it as both are equally good and not worth missing.
IMG Adventure Park: IMG is a marvel themed adventure park that’s got all the rides and shows keeping the theme in mind. It’s a great place to chill out for a day especially for the kids and fans of marvels and superheros. There are a number of restaurants here too and some really cool rides to take your breadth away. A great experience.
Pro tip: Buy the tickets in advance to save time when there. Eat the chocolate donuts and butter corn inside. Truly delicious.
Dubai Citywalk mall: Dubai is full of malls. You’ll find one in every knook and crany but this one was a favourite as the vibe there was quite different and carnival-ish. That could also be because it was the weekend but we still liked this one better. Something about its layout and open-air cafes did it for us.
We went to Farzi Café here which was a delight! Totally loved the food and the ambiance of this place.
Pro trip: Farzi café, Dubai is one of their best outlets and if you plan to visit book in advance. We made reservations a week in advance.
Jumeirah Beach/ JBR: This entire locality transports you to a western world with foreigners flocking around everywhere. The beach is pristine and lined with shops, restaurants and recreational activities. It’s also surrounded by high-rises but the vibe is amazing. This is also where you will get to see the crème de la crème of Dubai’s social circle in all their glory and also find the most expensive and popular brands of the world.
Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa: It is the world’s tallest building and no doubt it makes for a stunning sight. Especially when glittering with fancy lights this one’s a stunner with people staring at it from all angles. The Dubai mall is a large, large mall and there is no way you can see all of it in a single visit. It also houses an aquarium and the best of brands and restaurants but you got to choose what you want to do.
Pro tip: The aquarium here is not worth it if your visiting the lost chambers in Atlantis. Totally missable. You can book passes to the top of the Burj online and they have good discounts. But if not, you can buy them on the spot as well. The best time to visit is between 4PM and 6PM just before sunset when the view is spectacular.
We ate at The Cheese Cake Factory in Dubai mall and it was mind-blowingly awesome. Just pay attention before ordering because their portion sizes are massive! But the good part is they have a lunch meal size which is comparatively smaller but still quite large. So two people can easily eat from one dish.
Also the BurjKhalifa lights up every hour putting up a stunning light and sound show for viewers. This is followed by a water fountain show with lights which is a must watch.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi: This surreal mosque that’s made of white marvel is a printing place so beautiful you’ll be charmed by its beauty. The marvelous architecture of the mosque is note-worthy while the entire drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is also delightful. While in Abu Dhabi, you must also visit Ferrari World which is like a adventure park with the world’s fastest roller coaster ride. We gave this one a skip because we did too many adventure parks and were really pressed for time.
Pro tip: Wear full sleeved clothes if you don’t want to wear an Abaya over your clothes as your not allowed to enter in any clothes where your hands or legs are shown. So preferably put on a Kurta or full sleeved shirt but if you’re a little adventurous out on the abaya. It makes for good pictures and is a ones in a lifetime opportunity.
We are going to put down a list of all the eateries we visited when in Dubai next. For more updates Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram, Snapchat (@globalfoodies / @zahra_motor), Facebook & Twitter.