Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dubai, UAE

Hi there! Last week I had a week off, and as I told you in my previous post, my mom and I went to Dubai for a few days! We drove to the Netherlands Saturday and Sunday evening our plane departed from Schiphol. We had booked our flight pretty last minute and were quite lucky to still get tickets. Surprisingly, for some odd reason, we were Premium Comfort Class, we had not booked this and have no idea how this happened but it sure was nice, haha! (Also our hotel was more luxurious than we had expected, for instance we had a mirror in the bathroom which was heated so it wouldn't condense... We had a massive room with a separate kitchen and living room. But hey I ain't complaining!). We landed Monday morning and left Friday morning. Despite having only three full days, I think we saw quite a lot of Dubai.

Monday morning we arrived at our hotel at around 8am. We were really tired, under the influence of jet lag, and therefore took a short nap. At noon we went out to discover the city. Our hotel was located in the modern part of Dubai, Internet City, and we took the metro to the rather poorer part. We walked around for hours there, enjoying the sun and getting "attacked" by dozens of salesmen wanting to sell their "real" Louis Vuitton, Prada or Gucci handbags, if not watches or shoes. The poorer areas, Deira and Bur Dubai, really differ from the richer areas like Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. The rich areas are filled with skyscrapers and everything is neat and tidy. In the poorer areas however, people try to make a living by selling cheap products to the several tourists who pass by. There weren't a lot of tourists at all in those areas, but in places like Jumeirah there was no one but tourists.

View from our hotel

Tuesday morning we went up the Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world. The view from up there, about 800 meters high up, is truly incredible! Going up to the second level on the Eiffel Tower I already felt like I was quite high up, but now that just seems like nothing! Afterwards we went to The Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world, in which they have the second biggest aquarium in the world. (it even has a snow hall?) (In Dubai they tried to make everything the largest, biggest, highest, and most expensive..!). After our brief visit to the mall, we went back to Bur Dubai. Again we walked around a lot, and also visited some souqs. And again, every 2 meters someone asked us whether we wanted to buy one of his pure cashmere/wool/silk shawls. A few times they put a Keffiyeh on our heads, persuaded us to take photos with it and then dragged us into their little store. Most of those shops in the souqs were filled with shawls from India and also owned by Indians, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, etc. It's pretty interesting how there are so many different nationalities in Dubai, it seemed like the biggest part of the population were Indians, and in general you saw a lot more foreigners than locals.
When the sun was about the set, we went for a short boat tour on the Creek, which was really beautiful! The Sunset was just amazing!
At night there are water fountain shows in front of the Burj Khalifa. After the boat tour we quickly went back to the Burj Khalifa to see the show (but it turned out there are shows every 30 minutes). The fountains were massive and it was really pretty to see!

It was hard to get a photo of the entire tower, this is the best I could do... haha

The Creek

Wednesday we went to The Dubai Museum, which is situated in the restored Al Fahidi Fort. In here you can see a traditional house, lots of small scenes with Bedouins and they also explain how the modernization of Dubai over the last 80 years. Later we visited the Heritage and Diving Villages. We went inside the Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House, where you could see lots of different things. Old coins, photographs, documents, and typical Arab rooms. In the afternoon we went to Deira, walked through more souqs, gold souqs, textile souqs, etc, and yet again, dozens of men came up to us asking, no, persuading, us to buy their items. Again we went during sunset on the same boat trip, I suppose you get the hint of how pretty it was! :)

Heritage House

The only camel we saw!

Textile souq

New buddy

These are small chocolates believe it or not

Gold souq

Thursday we decided to explore the modern parts of Dubai. We decided to walk from our hotel to the monorail station, a metro which goes to Palm City, where Atlantis is situated as well. That walk though, I would definitely not recommend. First of all we were walking quite a bit in the burning sun, and second of all, there are roadworks going on at a lot of places, which prevents you from crossing the road, and trust me, it was a disaster getting to the monorail station! But the trip with the monorail and the visit to Atlantis is really nice though! The houses on the arms of the Palm are so beautiful, they and are all situated on the beach and, for me, those would definitely be dream houses! If you are not staying at the hotel or visiting the water park, there is not a lot to do besides shopping in expensive stores or having lunch, but it is definitely still worth a visit! Later we went to Jumeirah, visited more souqs, the Burj Al Arab and took photos with it like real tourists, haha :D. In the afternoon we went to Dubai Marina, this time we took a bus, however the bus didn't go to Dubai Marina directly, so we ended up walking a huge distance again...
Somehow we ended up taking boat tours at every sunset. This time we took a small ferryboat, which sailed past Palm City again. You got a really magnificent view of the skyline of Dubai Marina and the sunset was absolutely gorgeous as well! See for yourself below :).


Burj Al Arab

Pretty building

Dubai Marina


Gorgeous sunset, please take me back!

Dubai is definitely worth visiting once in your lifetime, it is so different from other countries. I think it's a beautiful city and I look forward to visiting other emirates from the UAE!

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