26 January 2011

My Visits to the Land of Sand, Dubai (UAE)

Dubai International Airport
With all my travels abroad flying with Emirates Airlines I must have passed through Dubai's International Airport over a dozen times. But if Dubai's International Airport is anything to go by then one can only imagine the wonders that awaits you beyond it's walls. I think the people that designed Dubai had one common concept in mind "Go Large or Go Home". I say this because this city houses so many of the "biggest, largest and tallest" icons in the world. 

My visits to Dubai were strictly for business but I always made sure that I did as much sight-seeing as I possibly could. What immediately struck me on my 1st arrival was the efficiency of the airport staff and the airport shuttle service. I'm not really a fan of the Arab people, I find them to be very arrogant, but I am most definitely a huge fan of efficient service. Dubai is not a huge city so the ride from the airport to almost anywhere in the city is not really that long, and on-route to your hotel you can enjoy the sights of the amazing architecture that Dubai is famous for.

Dubai Mariner

Pic taken at the Dubai Mariner Mall

Me at the Dubai Mariner

View from the Radisson Blu Hotel at Dubai Mariner

On my first visit to Dubai I stayed in an area called Bur Dubai which literally translates Mainland Dubai. Its the older part of Dubai filled with many Souks, small markets, the Dubai Museum and a small port called Port Saeed. I stayed at the Arabian Court Hotel which was disappointing as a 4 star hotel. The hotel had all the necessities but was rather old and failed hopelessly with the image I had of this modern city. So if you're looking for a real 4 or 5 star experience don't stay in Bur Dubai. February is a good month to visit the city as the temperatures are cool and pleasant and to experience Dubai at night is an absolute pleasure. My second visit was in May, Do not visit Dubai in May month!!! The Souks in the area are a must see for great bargains in jewelery and fine watches so be sure to pay them a visit, I sure did. Other than that and a few shady clubs there's not much to see in Bur Dubai. 

View from the Radisson Blu Hotel
As a tourist you find yourself taking taxis everywhere which is not a problem really because they're so easy to find and not that expensive, but I think it would be taxing as a resident to be using them everyday though. When I stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel on the Dubai Mariner I found this hotel to be of a superb quality all round and very well located. Getting around from here was easy and visits to malls were but minutes away. Definitely a hotel that I would recommend. I visited many malls in the city but 2 specific malls definitely stood out amongst the rest, firstly the Dubai Mall, being the largest mall in the world, is without a doubt overwhelming to say the least, and secondly the Mall of the Emirates being the first mall I had ever seen with a built-in Ski slope! Another spectacular sight at the Dubai Mall is the massive aquarium found inside the mall. Other than that, all the malls shared many similarities like indoor ice rinks, huge food courts and all the top brand named stores. The Ibn Battuta Mall, however outclassed the rest when it came to food courts. The mall was named after a Moroccan traveller and had 6 courts representing each country or region he travelled to. So you can imagine one would be quite spoiled for choice! At the Dubai Mall you'll also find the infamous Burj Khalifa (previously known as the Burj Dubai), the tallest building in the world. At 828m (2717ft) the Burj Khalifa towers of everything in the city. It truly is an amazing sight, so tall that I couldn't fit the whole building in my camera's view.The Burj Al Arab standing at 321m is the 4th tallest hotel in the world and most certainly in my opinion is the most beautiful hotel i've ever set sights on. It's also the world's only 7 star hotel and just for the record, even though the Burj Al Arab is only the 4th tallest hotel in the world, the buildings that hold 1st, 2nd and 3rd place can also be found in Dubai. 

Radisson Blu Hotel

Aquarium at the Dubail Mall

Ice Rink at the Dubai Mall

Aquarium inside the Dubai Mall

Aquarium inside the Dubai Mall
Aquarium inside the Dubai Mall

Exhausted after a day of shopping at the massive Dubai Mall
Other than the amazing architecture Dubai has a really cool night life. Malick and I checked out a few clubs in the city and "WOW!!!" would definitely be an understatement. Zinc, 360 and Sanctuary are but a few names of the hot clubs to checkout in Dubai. I loved 360 the most for its open air circular bar and perfect location with views of the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and luxurious yachts docked nearby.

Me at the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Al Arab Hotel from Jumeirah Beach

The Jumeirah Beach Hotel

View from Mina A Salaam

Inside the Ibn Battuta Mall

Me at the Ibn Battuta Mall

My friend in Dubai, Masnoena and I
 As said before, every time I've visited Dubai it was for business but I always managed to squeeze in as much sight seeing as possible. I still feel that there's still much for me to see here, and since Dubai is always changing, I don't think I'll tick her off my "been there, done that" list just yet. 

Still to come:
Desert Run
Wild Wadi
Buddha Bar
The Address

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