Middle Eastern Gem
Dubai - the most famous Emirate known for its luxurious lifestyle and man-build miracles. The city that is so artificial that this makes it unique in its artificiality. The place that has it all and offers vast choices for your enjoyment, and the one that knows how to make the most of it.
Let's start from Downtown, the home of the spectacular Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the World and true architectural masterpiece. The building is dressed in million lights which play with your eye by displaying unforgettable light installations in the evening, only to be interrupted by now famous (and of course World’s largest) choreographed fountain which performances run every half an hour.
Since you are in the area, book dinner at Asado restaurant, located in The Palace Downtown hotel - the best Argentinian food (tested by Argentinian guests in town). Cozy, fine dining restaurant with life music and fountain views. Try their specialty the baby goat with a glass of rich red wine.
Speaking of alcohol, despite the fact that this is a muslim country, getting properly drunk is not a problem, just make sure that you are selecting a restaurant with an alcohol license. Normally they are located in the properties belonging to the hotels or resorts, and even if now and then you can come across dry venues, it is not hard to find. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to buy any alcohol in the store (most likely you won’t even find one, as they are very well hidden) without a special alcohol license, which is issued to residents only, so if you plan on getting you buzz on this vacation then stop by tax-free shop on your way out of the airport. Meanwhile we keep on exploring.
Up for some cultural experience? Newly built Dubai Opera, is an unique, top-edge performing-arts venue that incorporates all latest technologies. Every seat has a non obstruction view, thus guaranteeing even the cheapest ticket seats to enjoy the performance. Flawless acoustics achieved through architectural trick of the special way the interior reflects sound, unforgettable stage settings are paired with special effects and all the novelties together take the experience to completely new level.
Arrive a bit earlier to enjoy the surroundings and order a glass of champagne with snacks for a break time just before the show starts, this way you won’t need to queue and waste valuable time that can be spend with some bubbles in good company instead.
Complete contrast to the modern Downtown will be the Old Dubai Creek - the place where Dubai was born. It has kept its old, traditional architecture and is worth a visit to walk the narrow streets and its corners full of treasures like art galleries and small cafes. Take a ride in old wooden boat, called abra, to cross the creek and have an arabic coffee with sweets in one of the not-so-fancy street cafes.
Moving on toward the sea. The Palm Island - famous World’s first artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, there is nothing special to see from land, but I would advise to go for a late lunch on the tip of one of the Palm’s stems at 101 Dining Lounge and Bar, located at luxury One and Only Hotel resort. If you are into fishes and friendly sharks - take a hit at the Atlantis Aquarium, where you can either check them out from behind the glass or book an actual dive and swim along.
Should you wish to see The Palm in its full beauty, take a helicopter ride above Dubai. The 22-minutes of your life you won’t ever forget and money never regret. Killer Instagram shots!
Once in that area, plan a walk along Dubai’s Marina, offering vibrant atmosphere of multiple restaurants along the water and protected by very creative skyscrapers.
Next we are moving to the desert. Have you ever taken a ride on a hot air balloon? What about doing it above the dessert? The experience not to be missed in Dubai. Pick up normally happens around 4 a.m., so plan an early evening the day before. Meet the sunrise in the desert while your hot air balloon is being prepared. Remember that early mornings can be quite chilly in the desert, so take a light jacket. After getting instructions on how to land, you will slowly start to rise above the sand and travel across the sand dunes going up to 1200 meters high. This is a meditating experience, complete silence in the air and waves of limitless sand below you, crossed from time to time by gazelles.
Another striking desert adventure is the Desert Safari. This excursion is typically planned for the afternoon to catch the sunset in the desert. Convoy of Jeeps ride on top of sand dunes similar to a roller coaster, and is a real adrenalin kick, followed by a relaxing dinner in the recreated bedouin village where you can enjoy belly dancing and very local sword dance by men.
If you ever get tired of modern city and wish to have a short getaway to the serenely of green oasis, plan a lunch at Al Barari’s Farm, organic restaurant in the middle of nearly a rain forest on the coast of golden fish inhabited pond. The place also has well-known Heart and Soul Spa that invites for complete relaxation.
These are just a tiny drop of attractions Dubai has to offer. This city is so generous and diverse that it never stops giving away excitement and unforgettable experiences. And don’t forget about great beaches, wide choice from private beaches accessible through hotels to just rolling-out your towel at the public Kite Beach; not to mention versatile night life, but that’s going to be a subject for another post.
Always luring you back. Dubai.