Travel updates from my 5 days trip, February, 2013
Dubai shall always remain a synonym for the word money in my mind’s eye. Right from the moment one lands here a sense of gigantism prevails in everything that one sees or does, be it a line up of stretch-limousines or the uncountable skyscrapers or even the huge shopping malls where you can shop till your legs can walk no more. But no city wants foreign tourists unless they have a wallet full of currency notes and fully loaded credit cards, but what you’ll really need is a heart strong enough to survive the shock of the bill once you are back home. Dubai wants a little more, it perhaps expects its visitors to have a money tree growing in their backyard or even an oil well or a gold mine is just fine. Exorbitant is the word and it’s still just an understatement.
All said and done I’d still say the city is worth experiencing, if only once, to marvel at all that man-made ridicule that money can offer. It is in fact for the very same reason that I ridicule this city that I say I had a good time there. Quiet ironically though, but does it not only makes sense to check out and marvel at the expensive covets of this city when one can’t really afford it. You may wonder what changed my tone since I wrote my last piece ‘Dubai-Day1‘ . The former was my expression of awe at the first sight, five days into the city and my impression changed from that of astonishment to sheer bewilderment.
If I’ve really already puzzled you with my contradictory account let me now be fair and note the reasons why it was a fun trip to me. I ate awesome food at some of the awesomest places (indeed expensive but that’s one thing I don’t care splurging on, read about them here), a thrilling dessert safari ride followed with the scintillating Tambura & Belly dance performances, hypnotic view of a sunset in the dessert that expanded out to the horizon, the unparalleled excitement of looking down from the top of the world’s tallest building, man-made yet breathtaking sea-view from the Palm Jumeriah, spotting Ferraris or Porsches or Lamborghinis vroom across the freeways every 2 or less minutes , a relaxed stay at my good hotel that offered healthy & delicious brunch each day, the walk across the JBR (Jumeriah beach residency).
Despite all my rants, I might consider going back to the City for there were many a things we could not experience. The City was in a romantic mood as the valentines fell during our visit and we just could not find any reservation around most of the places that we wanted to experience. Then came Friday, the weekend and yet again we had no hope for the glamour obsessed populace of the city was out shopping or dining or just strolling. So an obvious take away note is that it’s smart to travel with all your reservations made beforehand to this city of man-made dreams, of affluence and of a beauty of a kind like no other, so go explore.
To provide a comprehensive travelogue of my Dazzling Dubai trip I’ve itemised them in fewer than three heads which you’ll know as you read on.
Things I really enjoyed and highly recommend:
- A visit to the viewing deck on the 124th floor of Bhurj Khalifa called At The Top.
- Dinner at a Sky Bar, there’s one at the 7-star Bhurj al Arab or even the one we visited at Hilton, JBR (read about them here).
- The Dessert Safari, it’s a an experience of its own kind, bashing through the sand dunes in a 4X4 SUV was quite an adventure.
- The man -made Island Palm Jumeirah which offers a breathtaking view of the blue waters. The palm Atlantis is one of the best hotel options here. (check some pics here)
- The musical fountain show that begins just before the sunset near The Bhurj. Illuminating and dancing gigantic fountains make it quite a sight to watch.
- Car gazing or super car gazing while taking a stroll across Jumeriah Beach Recidence, which is the city’s night-hotspot with restaurant lined across the lane quite appropriately called The Walk.
- Window shopping at The Dubai Mall or The Mall of The Emirates if you have time and energy.
Things Missed, and might get me back to Dubai (that is only if I get rich enough someday):
- Dinning at the much acclaimed 7 star hotel, the Bhurj Al Arab. Also at some others like Ossiano or Nobu at Atlantis the Palm, or
- A visit to the spice souk, although I’ve been told that it has lost its authenticity by the day.
- To go out on the Gulf on a Yatch.
- Hot air balloon ride across the desserts.
- Dhow Cruise, especially Bateaux Dinner Cruise.
Some travel tips, a takeaway from my experience:
- Pre-book your Bhurj Kalifa viewing deck ticket, unless you are okay with paying AED 400 at the last minute against the regular AED 123 on online booking.
- Google and make restaurant bookings before hand to avoid disappointments later.
- Get currency exchanged in India itself, you’ll get a far better deal in India.
- Do carry your light jackets, for the weather though dry usually is windy and gets cold at night or atop a high rise.
- Travel the well connected metro, helps save many bucks.
- Keep reserve cash if u can’t resist the temptations of the shopping malls, or should I rather suggest that it’s best to leave your credit cards at hotel itself to avoid repenting later.
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