If there is one thing I learnt from visiting Dubai, it is that you must visit a destination to draw your own conclusions and to create your own perceptions of that destination. There are so many misconceptions about Dubai that if you tap a few common entries into Google ‘Dubai travel tips/Dubai dress code’, I can guarantee that you will be a little bit skeptical about visiting just like I was.
All I can say is that I urge you to pack your bags and go and explore the wonderful land of Dubai! It left both my boyfriend and I speechless, and is by far my favourite city I have ever visited to date, and I am sure it will blow your mind too.
Our trip was made extra special thanks to Booking.com whom provided us with a voucher that gave us free access to top attractions such as Yellow Boat tours, Dinner Cruises, and the Aquaventure waterpark. They provided the offer for a limited time period for loyal customers and without the offer I can certainly say that we would not have been able to do half the activities we did without the code given that we added a 5-day stop over in Dubai on to the end of our month-long travel around Thailand and Vietnam (hello broke bank account!). Thank you Booking.com! This made my boyfriends birthday extra special as we where able to spend the morning at the luxurious O2 Spa at the Millennium Plaza hotel for an hour-long Swedish massage before heading over to Jumeriah beach to try our hand at Flyboarding with Hydro-Water Sports.
Our instructor was incredibly patient given that we where absolutely useless to start! My boyfriend got the hang of it after a while however the same cannot be said for me, but the experience was unforgettable and flyboarding is certainly something I would try again. The instructor was persistent in reminding us “it is not difficult, it just takes time and practice”. I would recommend the company if you are thinking of giving flyboarding a go whilst you are in Dubai, they also offer the Jetpack experience but we where informed the Jetpack is even more challenging than flyboarding. Having said that, we met a couple of girls from Germany having a go toon and they where awesome at both!
After this we jumped on to the tram and back to the metro line to our hotel. The metro and tram is super easy to use in Dubai. There are only two metro lines and one tram line. A day pass for travel on all forms of transport including the metro, tram, bus, and water bus costs only 22AED, which is approximately 4.50GBP, and the ticket allows you to hop on and and off as much as you can until midnight. The metro runs every couple of minutes so you can easily squeeze in a visit to several locations in the same day without the hefty cost of taxis. It is almost impossible to walk further than 300 yards in Dubai in the height of summer and the extreme Dubai heat, so walking is pretty much out of the picture. We attempted to walk the length of the marina in 43 degree heat and almost passed out! We later found our that the water bus runs often from one end of the marina to the other…
At 4pm we where picked up from our hotel by Me and My Tours in a 4×4 for our Desert Safari experience, complimentary from Booking.com. The experience was unforgettable and I highly recommend the safari experience on your visit to Dubai. All tour groups seem to offer the same experience as when we arrived at Desert Camp there was an array of other companies that had arrived and the guests where provided the same services.
Once arriving in the desert we sped up and down sand dunes, the car covered in sand, and with arabic music blasting it really set the scene. We shared the car with another couple from Pakistan whom had received the same Booking.com offer as us so could not resist a stop-off in Dubai prior to travelling home to Pakistan from London. The car was joined by three other cars of tourists too, so you get to watch the other 4×4’s ride the dunes too. We then arrived at desert camp with many other group tours and was assigned our table that was laid with arabic textiles around a stage that was later graced with local arabic dancers and performers.
We had the chance to ride a camel for a minute or two, and the option to ride for longer for as little as 20AED, however, my boyfriend and I had spent up all our AED as we where travelling home at 7.30am the following morning and where not made aware of the extra cost…
Still, riding the camel was a great (and bumpy!) experience that I will treasure forever. Later, a buffet dinner was served offering traditional arabic dishes such as curries, rice, fresh salads, pitta breads, couscous etc, along with free water and juices. Free henna was included for ladies only, and a free shisha, which is shared amongst everyone (with individual mouth pieces), and the opportunity to purchase your own shisha is available too.
Overall, our trip to Dubai more than exceeded my expectations and it will definitely not be my last visit, I would maybe even live here one day. Yep, it is THAT amazing. After all the negative hearsay it just goes to show that you have to experience something for yourself before making any judgements.
Dubai is a modern, cosmopolitan city that welcomes people from all corners of the world. The streets are filled with a diverse range of local arabs in traditional arabic dress and westerners in anything from shorts and t-shirts, to jeans and vests. I remained in long dresses and jumpsuits to respect the local culture, however, so long as you are not walking around topless or in swimwear in public areas, your normal dress will be fine.Finally, the arabic people are the most welcoming and friendly people I have come across, a true match for the wonderful city that is Dubai.