Dubai: The Land of Luxury

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My preparation for Dubai began long before packing or even booking my ticket for that matter. The minute a fellow Xavierite invited me, I immediately started researching this land of luxury. Considering its laws & traditions, I knew I was in for a culture shock. Well, I experienced plenty of culture but minus the shock. Yes, it took some adjusting to but it’s actually pretty liberal and its modern environment offers a sense of familiarity despite being in the middle of the desert. If I had to describe this forward-thinking city, I’d say it was a mix of Miami meets Vegas in the year 2025! It was very cutting-edge while maintaining its Islamic essence.

Look at how far it’s come and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon

Look at how far it’s come and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon

After booking a great deal on Emirates Airline, I immediately started putting together a great loose itinerary (if I do say so myself).  This cosmopolitan city has a lot to offer!

FOOD:  Our 1st full day in Dubai started at the beautiful Atlantis Palm Jumeirah for what tourists call the “Drunk Brunch”. Hundreds are gathered dressed in their best to indulge in stations and stations of cuisines from all over the world and in between each food station is in fact an alcoholic beverage stand.  ~3 hours, 10 stations and 8 drinks later, I was full and feeling good cha-cha sliding and wobbling with people from all around the globe.  Well worth the $130 fee. #DrunkInLove
I also fell in love with VEAL BACON (remember they’re Muslim, so no pork found here), there’s LAMB galore and I learned to embrace HUMMUS (tastes different there).
Dessert Bar New Friends Station 

 

 

 

 

NIGHTLIFE: Upon arrival, as soon as I dropped my bags in my room at the Amwaj Rotana and hugged my girl for trekking 16+ hours to join me, I had like 30 minutes to get dressed for our 1st night out on the town. A bit nervous about the “dress code”, I soon learned that Dubai not only has a pretty diverse population but the locals are very tolerant of Western culture and the night vibe is the same as pretty much anywhere else; in fact, Dubai offers a very vibrant nightlife. We enjoyed an evening of meet-&-greet, conversation, food and shisha (hey, when in rome…) at Reem Al Bawadi Restaurant and Café before jetting off to XL Beach Club at Habtoor Grand. Supper Club was our spot the 2nd night (yep, there’s one in L.A.). While the drinks were quite pricey, perhaps due to Dubai’s sin tax, 2 doubles and 2 shots later, we were still there enjoying the good vibes! #WorstBehavior            
World Travelers 
Beach at Night Dope Dubai
 

 

 Supper Club

 

 

 

 

 

ATTRACTIONS: We arrived back in our hotel room at 4:20am. 10 minutes later, showered up, running off pure adrenaline, we were in the lobby about to get on a shuttle to our Hot Air Balloon Ride. This magic carpet ride was one of the most beautiful and serene things I’ve ever done. The air at 4000 feet is so clean and pure and to watch the sunrise over the desert was amazing. Definitely a bucket list activity….and we almost “kick the bucket” during our crash landing but we survived and we have flight certificates to prove it!Sunrise SerenityCertified Me

 

Then we went to claim our spot on Top of the World at the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building! The view was breathtaking and attests to Dubai’s vision to offer world-class luxury in every aspect. Next up was our Safari Desert Tour. This was soooo fun! It kicked off with Dune Bashing, led to Camel Riding and ended with an International Buffet dinner, Tanoura & Belly Dancing and Henna.

View from the Top

Burj Khalifa Dope Desert

 

 Traditional Desert Safari Dinner Belly Dancing

 

 

 

Although time did not permit, check out the WORLD’S LARGEST WATERSHOW (similar to the one in Las Vegas at the Belagio Hotel), DUBAI MARINA, JUMEIRAH BEACH, THE PALM and if you have the cash, the BURJ AL ARAB (the world’s only 7-star hotel). #DeliriousinDubai

SHOPPING: Home of the world’s largest mall (Dubai Mall) and the world’s most extravagant shopping! Even if you don’t have the funds to enjoy, the malls will blow your mind simply from a design standpoint. Dubai Mall offers over 1200 stores & a multi-level Aquarium and The Mall of the Emirates offers over 200,000 sq meters of shopping ground & an indoor ski resort! Make it a must to visit. We, however, made our way to the Gold Souk (market) – note: they don’t really bargain much on the jewelry but everything else can pretty much be negotiated. Be sure to check all of it out – the malls and the Arabic souks. Oh yeah, and there’s an outlet mall in Dubai as well! #AED (get you some) Gold Souk Souk Fashion

 

 

 

 

ABU DHABI: We spent our last full day in the UAE’s capital city to check out the Grand Mosque. Out of respect and a desire to immerse ourselves more in the culture, we made our way to Abu Dhabi in full, traditional, Islamic attire – Abayas and Hijabs for the women and Thobes combined with a Ghutra and Egal for the men. Glad we did because we would’ve become too consumed in what NOT to wear; we instead focused on what NOT to do. Abu Dhabi doesn’t play and a bit more conservative than liberal Dubai. The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque was nothing short of amazing and grand.  We returned to a more modern souk in Abu Dhabi and snagged more souvenirs, great food (at Tarbouche Al Basha), tea and spices! #Respect

Grand Mosque foyer Grand Mosque Grand Mosque me

 

 

 

Us and the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi_2 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience the Emirati culture. And please do not let the 15+ hour flight deter you from experiencing it yourself. Surprisingly, traveling 8100+ miles wasn’t bad at all. I’ll blog how I got through it very soon ;-)

Dear Dubai, “my friend”, my adult playground, I shall return. Truly a Trip of a Lifetime! 

Dubai SouvenirsTrip Recap

 

 

 

 

 

  • GOOD STUFF
  • Very clean; Very Safe – it’s one of the world’s safest cities (calling all solo travelers)
  • Most places here will take USD
  • Nightlife is very ‘laxed. Enjoy!
  • The Food – vast variety from all over the world and full of flavor
  • NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Decorum – visitors/expats should know to treat the locals with high regard. Be careful not to offend them either by your attire, behavior or desire to snap pictures of them without permission (that’s just rude)
  • BAD STUFF
  • Humid Climate – avoid completely in July and August!

DID YOU ENJOY THIS ENTRY? HAVE YOU VISITED ANY PART OF THE MIDDLE EAST BEFORE? HAVE QUESTIONS? COMMENT BELOW!

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Posted: April 14, 2014

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Category: About, Blog, Home, Travelista Tips, Uncategorized

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+10 Comments
  1. Angela Heidel says:

    You look like you had an amazing time, but did you sleep? It seems like you need a vacation from your vaca, but I dont blame you. Live life to the fullest!

    • World Travelista says:

      I didn’t sleep initially. lol. But, yes, eventually. It was too much there to soak up. And I got much needed rest on the 15 hr flight coming back. :-)

  2. Nichole Edwards says:

    So glad you had a great time!!! Thanks for sharing your experience ! :-)

  3. Susan says:

    Sounds fab! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. CoCo Puff says:

    this was an amazing post you have inspired me to definitely look further into making this trip for myself. All travelers seek to expand their map and you have done just that with this wonderful experience.

  5. LaSarah says:

    I truly enjoyed reading about your trip. Very exciting. I can’t wait to go myself. I look forward to reading about your other adventures!

    • World Travelista says:

      Thank you LaSarah! Feel free to browse my other posts on Europe, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. More to come! :-)

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