Dubai, is my husband’s backyard. He grew up there for a good 16 years and he’d been wanting to take me to his “hometown” for a while now. So there we were on our first anniversary, flying Emirates to this luxurious city.
We have family and friends living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and that helped us a lot to plan the trip and get some exclusive access as well. So I saw first hand the luxurious life, the local people and their culture and was pleasantly surprised to see that Dubai was more than what I had thought it would be.
I’d heard so much about the Dubai Shopping Festival that I was really looking forward to it. And boy! did I go crazy shopping across amazing malls, with so many options to buy anything and everything that is trending in the world, eating some amazing food, and just being part of the vibe of the people. There were tourists and locals in equal number, everyone in their best outfits, shopping their hearts out and making merry in the festivities. The Dubai Mall is one impressive mall. It’s in-house entertainment is one of the best in the world, a huge aquarium, artistic installations, the dancing fountain show and so much more.
Abu Dhabi is another gem, Yas Marina circuit, Ferrari World, some really unique buildings, Corniche-the promenade and of course the beautiful Grand Mosque which I couldn’t get enough of.
We also did a day-trip to the Barracuda Beach resort which is 60kms from Dubai on the edge of the Umm Al Quwain lagoon. You can soak in the sun and enjoy a variety of alcohol under the sun-shade.
Through our trip here we stayed with family in Dubai and at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi.
Dubai caters to every kind of traveller. You have the Desert camps and safaris, the enormous malls filled with every brand there is, the Global Village-encompassing the whole world and so many cultures within it, marvels of modern architecture- the Burj Khalifa, Burj-al-Arab, any food you can think of, beaches, amusement parks, man-made lakes, Butterfly garden, I could go on and on. It truly is an impressive place and a must visit once at least. Makes you realise that man can create some amazing things.
By the end of it, I felt like I belonged there, may be because of the personal connection or may be because Dubai absorbs everyone and makes them it’s own. So go now and visit MyDubai (and while you’re there, Abu Dhabi too)!
Here’s a look at my 8 day itinerary
Day 1: Dubai Shopping Festival at Dubai Mall. Shopping, shopping and shopping…break for a meal and back to shopping. Later we saw the Dancing Fountain Show and the sparkling Burj Khalifa.
Day 2: A fun day at the Global Village. There are just so many experiences here. I loved the African Pavilion. The music, dancing, all these amazing curios, we couldn’t have enough of it. There were Turkish coffee and ice-cream vendors doing their li’l tricks. The Thai Pavillion with so much colour. There were Pavillions from every country and life-sized monuments from all over the world. Truly, a unique experience.
Day 3: Desert Safari and dune bashing, which is one of the best in Dubai. Live performances of the famous belly dance and Tanoura or the whirling Arabic dance. Fire dancers, hookah and camel rides. Dune buggies and a quintessential sunset with the backdrop of deserts far and wide.
Day 4: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. You could spend a whole day and still not get done with all the rides. I had a thrill on the world’s fastest roller coaster and another really high one. There are a lot of live shows and some good restaurants too.
Day 5: We got a personalised tour of the gorgeous and enormous Emirates Palace. It actually is less of a hotel and more of a Palace!
Next we landed at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. If only I could share the feeling of experiencing this beautiful place! It’s at places like these that you realise why faith is the biggest thing humanity holds on to. The sunset was magical to say the least. A well kept secret is that it also houses the tomb of the former Sheikh, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the father of the nation.
On the way back we stopped at The Last Exit, which hosts a bunch of food trucks. An insta-worthy place for sure!
Day 6: On to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. It might be a very touristy thing to do. But I don’t shy away from being a “tourist” when the view from above is so great.
We then head to Umm Al Quwain for a relaxing day at the Barracuda Beach resort. Right before the resort, there is an abandoned plane in the middle of the desert with quite an interesting backstory!
Day 7: We had a wonderful, personalised tour of the Burj-al-Arab. It is so rich and glamorous! A beautiful huge porch on which the hotel stands with a personal beach and an uninterrupted view of the sea. We also had a delicious meal at the Kaftan right-across the street. The ambience is very impressive and so is the food.
Day 8: I had a whale of a time clicking every little thing at the Dubai Miracle Garden. It’s a sweet family place with life size flower-art installations. Right next to it is the Butterfly Garden which is such a beautiful place. Imagine butterflies in their natural surrounding, just flying or lazing around on the flowers, no cage or nets. If you’re wearing a bright colour, one might just come and flutter on your shoulder. Keep an eye out!
We ate at some amazingly exquisite restaurants during this trip. Junoon by Michelin-star Chef Vikas Khanna is were we choose to have our anniversary dinner and I must say, it was one we’ll remember for a long time.
We also dined at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Richness is food-ified when your pastry has an actual edible gold leaf on top!
All-in-all it was a whirlwind of a trip. I’m definitely going again!