What comes to your mind, when you think of Dubai?
I have heard the weirdest: Camels walking down the town, tallestbuilding – yes, but how do you get up to the top? I hope they know how to operate a lift! Emirates Airlines: do they have seats in there? For others it is the photographers paradise for architecture, the city of superlatives with luxury made accessible.
To me Dubai is intriguing and a combination of different worlds and times. At the Bastakiya and Dubai Creek you get the feeling of times when there was a Dubai, before Dubai became Dubai – a small town in the desert, Bedouins, camels and fishermen dominating Dubai- then!
This history is presented to you not only in the Dubai museum and Bastakiya, but also with presentations at the walls of the Metro Stations and on your way to the world’s fastest lift – yes the lift to the world’s tallest building, the Burj-al-Khalifa.
And with this you are in that Dubai, which presents to you the most modern technologies, entertainment, marketing, luxury, sports and opportunities!
Time out in Dubai?
Yes, we have done it and will do it again: taking long flights to distant destination with a stay over in Dubai.
Walking through Dubai, here and there. Here are some of the impressions, we collected
Arrival at the airport: Only change a small amount to UAE Dirham or get the amount you need from an ATM, says an expat living there. For more cash: go to the exchange offices in the malls, where you will get a better exchange rate. Taxi to the hotel may cost around UAE Dhs 100.
Metro: There is a green line for old Dubai (mostly underground) and a red line for new Dubai (overhead tracks). At every Metro station you can get the NOL Cards (red card advisable for tourists, prepaid cards). These cards also can be used on the local buses
Note: The Metro doesn’t run on Friday mornings till noon, they start at 1 p.m (13:00h).
And there are quite a few things for which you can be fined: e.g. placing the feet on seats – Dhs 100, carrying alcohol costs 200 Dhs, sitting on a special category designated areas costs Dhs 100, eating and drinking in prohibited areas is 100 Dhs worth! (I LOVE it and would endorse the use of all above in the Swiss public transport!!)
Tourist City Bus line: The information will be available at the airport, hotels and the malls.
Taxis: They are metered, government owned and there are the so called pink taxis, which have a pink hood and are primarily for ladies travelling on their own.
And now let’s go around the Dubai!
Bastakiya down by the Creek
Its old style buildings and exhibitions by artist from around the region quite often takes place here.
- Dubai museum ( you can learn a lot about Dubai’s perle and fishing industries from old days, and about the way in which the Bani Yas tribe used to live)
- This is still a “to do” for us!
Feel free to go inside the shops and taste the nuts and spices. They appreciate it. We have bought almonds, saffron, apricots and cashew nuts several times and brought home, also as gifts. They don’t start getting rancid, esp. the apricots and almonds hold very long!
I am often asked, if it is safe and trustworthy to buy Gold in Dubai and esp. why it is so yellow. In Dubai, they sell Gold, which has 22 Carats. In Europe usually only 18 Carat Gold is sold. You can also buy a Gold souvenirs at Gold ATMs.
Jumeira Mosque and The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
It is the only mosque in Dubai, which is open to public and tourists are welcome. Information events are organised to inform people about Islam. Modest dress is advisable.
Burj al Khalifa and the Dubai Mall
The access to the Burj al Khalifa is from the Dubai Mall, a famous mall in Dubai. This mall also houses the Dubai Aquarium. The malls in Dubai seem to me the places, where social life happens.
To visit the open air observation deck of the Burj al Khalifa is on the 124th floor (in the collage, the bottom picture in the middle). It is advisable to buy the tickets them online in advance, where you can also choose the time slot, you want to go to the top. However once up there, you can stay as long as you like. Sunset is the favourite time to go. It is not a must do, however a nice to do and fascinating to ride in one of the fastest lifts of the world (and hardly feel it!)
Dubai fountains: I regrettably don’t have a picture to show you, but a video, which I will upload once I workaround the technical jumble!
Another mall with entertainment factor is the Mall of the Emirates e.g. Skiing in Dubai and Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre – DUCTAC and an old library on Site.
The Jumeria Medinat is opposite to the Burj al Arab and has a collection of shops, which are assorted in the old souk style. However,these shops have exquisite prices and stuff! I had a hard time getting out of there!
This 7 start hotel where also all is gold that glitters (gold platings) is an Icon for Dubai. I read, that they serve delicious tea and cakes. Anyone? I will stick to taking photographs of it!
The Ibn Battuta mall is far from the city center, but readily accessible with the metro. Besides being a mall, it is a walk through museum about Ibn Battuta’s travels and other Muslim icons and their discoveries, like the water castle clock below:
Another beautiful site to visit, is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. From the Al Ghubaiba Bus station in Bur Dubai (Close to the creek) and from the Ibn Battuta Metro Station, Busses leave for Abu Dhabi.
This mosque has the layout of the Mughul construction of mosques (e.g. Lahore in Pakistan, Dehli in India), Moorish designs, German chandelier, Turkish ceramics, Italian marble. The mosque is open to tourist except Friday prayer time (I think, it is closed from 9 am – 1 p.m.). Modest dress is advised, and Abayas (Modest covering dress) are provided if required. No, you ware not sent away for concern of dress!
And yes, also Emiratis enjoy and celebrate! This was the preparation for the National day. For this occasion, the Burj al Khalifa was lightened up in UAE colors
Dubai seems to be an open minded society- traditional and yet embracing modern life aspects.
When have you been there? What have you seen and enjoyed? What are your impressions? Do share!