“We are living proof that when human beings have the courage and commitment to transform a dream into reality, there is nothing that can stop them. Dubai is a living example of that.”
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Why Long-Term Travelers Should Include My Favorite Resort City Dubai On Their Itinerary
One of the fun things about traveling is discovering things about yourself you didn’t know before. In my five-year, round-the-world trip from 2011 to 2015, I enjoyed resorts, festivals, cruises, and other mass, commercial tourism much more than expected.
In visiting resort cities and amusement parks, I discovered that these cities, seemingly artificial on the surface, were much more interesting in reality than most people (including myself) assume.
Nowhere was this more true for me than in Dubai and its environs. I was awe-struck when I went to the Dubai Museum and saw an exhibit about the history of Dubai. It is incredible to see photos of Dubai just 60 years ago. Dubai was just a small town of pearl divers. Now, one of the world’s most impressive modern skylines lies just steps away, not far from the museum. Imagine how much creativity, imagination, and sweat created modern Dubai.
I couldn’t help but admire the place and be captivated by its many fun and interesting tourist attractions like the Burj Khalifa, Dhow Cruise, the Dubai Mall, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Islamic Art Museum in Sharjah, and the Desert Safari. In addition, I would love to go back and explore some of the attractions built since my visit nine years ago, including the new Louvre Museum and the Dubai Miracle Garden.
In April 2022, Neha Singh offered to contribute an article to Fifty Plus Nomad about Dubai. I gladly agreed to publish her article. I have wanted to include articles about my favorite places worldwide in the blog for a while. Yet, honestly, when I wrote an article nominating Mumbai as the World’s Most Surprisingly Interesting City in 2021, I found writing the article tedious. (I prefer writing travel advice articles rather than articles about details about sights, restaurants, etc.). However, I would love to publish articles about my favorite places in collaboration with talented contributors like Neha Singh.
Dubai is My Favorite Resort City
Neha Singh is a postgraduate in Mass Communications. Traveling is very close to her heart, and writing naturally came to her. She is an avid trekker and explorer, she often takes out time from her busy schedule to indulge in mountaineering. She likes meeting new people and is keen on exploring new cultures and visiting as many new places as possible, and she is a strong believer in Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of simple living and high thinking.
Whether you are drawn by its glam facet or, alternatively, its untouched desert allure, everyone leaves Dubai with the most treasured moments, and our trip to Dubai is not an exception. Dubai was on my bucket list for quite a long time, and our recent trip to this Arabian city simply exceeded our expectations. It was a short trip of not more than six days, but we managed to strike off all our favorites in this limited time.
Read on to know what made us fall in love with this charming city which is more than its stylish architecture and extraordinary leisure attractions. That said, this holiday also took us to interesting places outside Dubai.
When Did We Travel To Dubai, And Where Did We Stay?
Although we (my husband and I) planned to visit Dubai in 2020, our trip got delayed due to the unexpected pandemic storm. So, we got to visit Dubai only in February 2022. We had booked everything in advance, including accommodation, airport transfers, and tours, including Burj Khalifa entry tickets, desert safaris, dhow cruise, sightseeing tours, etc.
Given our love for classic structures, we chose Al Seef Heritage Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, for our six-day stay in Dubai. We had comfortable accommodation in a room set in one of its 10 Arabian-style homes that deftly merges traditional Emirati hospitality with high-end in-room comforts and facilities in a rustic yet captivating ambiance. More than that, what really appealed to us was undoubtedly its timeless location by the historic Dubai Creek and amidst the region’s bustling souks!
What Did We See And Do In 6 Days In Dubai?
We managed to squeeze in as many attractions and experiences as possible in this whirlwind Dubai holiday. This mainly included:
We initially thought it was a tourist gimmick, but it’s certainly not! It is the world’s tallest building; an ascent to its ‘At the Top’ observatory on 124th level was definitely worth it. It gives you an overall view of Dubai’s cityscape, along with its desert, ocean, and beyond. The elevator ride to the observation deck is simply splendid; there is also a multimedia display on the region’s astonishing emergence from a fishing settlement to a high-tech emirate.
This massive mall, next to Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, is more than a place to shop. Needless to say, it is a must-visit even if you are not a shopaholic. We went to one of its latest and absolutely fascinating attractions, Infinity des Lumières. What we got to know is that it is the Arabian world’s first digital art gallery. We also got to ride advanced yet environmental-friendly go-karts at Ekaart Zabeel, besides some action-packed fun at the largest-of-its-kind VR Park Dubai.
We have been to Singapore Flyer in Singapore, but Ain Dubai is certainly its higher-up version, being the world’s tallest and largest observation wheel. The ride within one of its enclosed and spacious cabins was awesome, and its unfolded views were even endearing. Located on Bluewaters Island – one of the city’s most stylish waterfront neighborhoods, it is a must-ride during your Dubai visit. The ride lasts for about 40 minutes.
Placed in the vicinity of Ain Dubai at Bluewaters Island, this unusual museum is the ultimate place to see all your favorite superstars under one roof, with the life-size wax models of celebs from all realms of stardom! Not to mention, we almost crammed our device by clicking endless quirky pictures with the Queen (Elizabeth), Victoria Beckham, and Justin Bieber, among many others.
Visiting Palm Jumeirah was on our Dubai checklist. However, we thought that the only way to catch this view of the stupendous man-made, palm-tree-like Island is to take a helicopter ride. Thanks to our service provider, who recommended us to visit this observation deck, the View at the Palm on the (52nd level of Palm Tower) has been exclusively created to give visitors a full view of the island and its surroundings. Yes, it is cost-effective too.
Due to time limitations, we took a morning desert safari! All we can say is that this off-road journey to the city’s secluded desert sands was an out-of-the-world experience. Starting off with a pre-dawn hotel pick-up, we reached here right in time to catch the breathtaking desert sunrise views. This was followed by various other activities, such as the super exciting 4X4 dune bash, camel ride, and quad biking.
We wanted to make our last evening in Dubai truly relaxed and special, and this cruise along Dubai Creek perfectly fitted the bill. The main highlight was the vessel itself – a wooden dhow with the atmospheric aura of a bygone era. Add to this fantastic views complemented by decent buffet dining and traditional Tanura performance onboard.
Dubai is a shoppers’ paradise with some 70-plus mega malls. But, we completely avoided them and instead wandered through the narrow alleys of Dubai’s souks or traditional bazaars. It was a feast for our senses, with all colorful offerings and aromatic flavors of local foods wafting through the air. Yes, be sure to try these culinary specialties, especially Shawarma and Falafel wraps. They are both affordable and lip-smacking.
Where Did We Go Outside Of Dubai?
Dubai is home to some fantastic water parks and epic theme parks like Dubai Parks and Resorts and IMG Worlds of Adventure. But, as we aren’t fervent about crazy rides and slides, this gave us enough time to discover its nearby emirates, such as:
It is the UAE’s largest emirate as well as the capital city. About two hours drive away from Dubai, the place instantly won our hearts for its mesmeric attractions and low-key appeal. We made stops at Qasr Al Watan (presidential palace), Emirates Palace (a five-star hotel), Abu Dhabi Corniche, and mostly Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which took our breath away with its sheer size, enormous majesty, and unparalleled tranquility.
It is probably the closest emirate to Dubai, less than 50 minutes away. With its blend of heritage sites, enlightening museums, and traditional bazaars, Sharjah is a haven for history and culture lovers. We saw all of its major attractions on a guided Sharjah City Tour, such as King Faisal Mosque, Central Souk (Blue Souk), Islamic Art Museum, and Sharjah Corniche.
What Made This City Our Favorite?
- Amicable Setting: You would never feel you are away from your home once in Dubai. After all, the city has a heartwarming appeal that helps it effortlessly accommodate people of all nations, religions, races, and traditions.
- Attractions for Every Taste: Dubai is a city for all preferences. Whether you are inclined to culture, history, or heart-racing actions, Dubai has many choices in every category.
- Endless Dining Choices: Whether you wish to dine in an extravagant setting or looking for affordable street foods or anything in between, you will find it all here in Dubai. With its multicultural setting, the best thing is that you get to sample culinary delights from different parts of the world.
Dubai is a city of both superlatives and surprises, which deserves a visit at least once in your lifetime. So, plan your Dubai holiday; you would be blown away by its unequaled modern grandeur, vast pristine desert, and some hidden historical gems.