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DUBAI


We spent 3 days in Dubai in December 2006. If you're flying to Asia with Emirates, all flights go via Dubai so it is an ideal place for a stopover. Dubai has fantastic beaches, brilliant shopping centres, lots of 5 star hotels and lots of traffic.

Generally we weren't really impressed with Dubai, to be honest. We'd expected it to have more of a middle eastern feel to it, more of a buzz, but it left us a bit flat. There's no denying the beach is beautiful and if you are a shopaholic you'll love those malls, but we were ready to leave after 3 days and although it helped us avoid jet lag on our Far East trip, we have no real desire to return. It just seemed to be high building after high building, shopping centre after shopping centre, and so very money orientated.


We stayed at Chelsea Tower on Sheik Zayed Road, which was an ideal location but if you are going to be in Dubai for more than a few days or plan to spend a lot of time at the beach, it would be preferable to stay at one of the beach hotels. All the main hotels have their own stretch of beach.

 

The public beach is very nice, but doesn't have much, if anything, in the way of facilities. There are no cafes, restaurants, etc. and we didn't even see anywhere you could buy water.

Transport in Dubai

Dubai is expanding at such a rate, the roads are suffering. We found almost permanent traffic jams throughout the busiest areas and huge queues for taxis at rush hour. Taxis are cheap, however, which is just as well because Dubai isn't a place where you can easily walk. You'll find that you have to take taxis most of the time.

There is now a metro system in Dubai which is hopefully helping the traffic problem. This site and this site give some useful information about the metro system.

Taxis from the airport cost approximately 50 dirhams to the centre*. Visit this website for more information about Dubai Airport.

Things to see and do in Dubai

Dubai Big Bus Tour - Because we were just in Dubai for a short time we decided to see as much in a short space of time by doing the Big Bus tour. It costs 150 dirhams each* and there are 2 separate tours, the red city tour and the blue beach tour. Tickets are valid for 24 hours from the time you start using it. Unfortunately we didn't time the tours very well, because we we decided to go to the souks and then on a creek cruise, but just as we were approaching the souks at 2.30pm the tour guide informed us that all souks were closed between 2.30pm and 4.30pm!! If we'd known that before, we'd have changed our plans and would have got off the bus at the Dubai Museum. We were still able to do the cruise (one of the highlights of Dubai for us) but it would have helped if we'd been advised in advance. Visit The Big Bus Company's website.

The beach tour goes along the road back from the beach so you don't actually see a lot of the beach. There are some more nice shopping centres along that road, including the impressive Mercato Mall. The bus turns down the opening to the 7* Burj Al Arab Hotel and although it's not officially a stop, they let you get off the bus to take photos. This seemed to be the only opportunity to actually get on to the beach from the tour.



Hover over the thumbnails to change the large picture

Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai

Burj Al Arab Hotel
Dubai public beach
Dubai public beach
Burj Al Arab Hotel
Dubai Public Beach
Dubai Public Beach
Boat pier, Dubai Creek
View from Dubai Creek
Boats on Dubai Creek
Boat Pier, Dubai Creek
View from Dubai Creek
Boats on Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates
Gold Souk
Mercato Mall
Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates
Gold Souk
Mercato Mall

 

 

Mall of the Emirates - An incredible shopping mall, huge, modern, spotlessly clean with some very nice shops including lots of designer shops. Our favourite shop in the Mall was a gorgeous furniture and home goods shop called 'The One' - a bit like a bigger and more upmarket version of The Pier in the UK.

 

The most amazing thing about this mall is the ski slope! There are actual ski lifts and slides like helter skelters which looked a lot of fun. You can rent skis, snowboards and snowjackets but you have to bring your own hat and gloves. Entry is 120 dirhams*. Visit the Mall of the Emirates website.

 

Wild Wadi Water Park is another big attraction in Dubai, a huge water park with 23 water rides. Visit their website here.


Some useful sites about Dubai:

Time Out Dubai - Lots of useful information about Dubai here including a comprehensive 'what's on'
That Dubai - A very concise travel and tourist guide with lots of information about everything that is Dubai

Dubai.com - More information on Dubai, including news, accommodation, shopping and restaurants
24 Hours in Dubai - Some useful things to do if you have a short stopover in Dubai
The Guardian - Dubai - Some useful articles from The Guardian about Dubai

Trip Advisor - Reviews from other travellers and a useful forum

Hotels in Dubai - Book hotels in Dubai, read travellers reviews of those hotels and earn rewards worth 5% of your booking to use against other reservations.



HotelClub - Discount Hotel Reservations in Dubai

 

 

 

*Note: Prices quoted above for tours, etc were accurate in 2006.