Last year, my travels took me to the exciting city of Dubai, along with a group of Warwick Travelers. We were on our way to Southeast Asia and made a stopover in Dubai for a quick two-day adventure.
Dubai, located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, is one of the seven emirates that compose the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the largest and most populous city in the UAE.
Famous for the high-rising architectural wonders and excellent collection of resorts and spas, Dubai is the fourth most visited places in the world. It was once the “talk of the town” for its stellar tower Burj Al Arab Hotel, uniquely designed to mimic the sail of a ship, only to be replaced by the Palm Jumeriah—and today the staggering Burj Khalifa skyscraper, completed in 2010, and now considered the world’s tallest building. At the foot of the building lies the Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. It sits on a 30-acre man-made lake at the center of downtown Dubai.
The Palm Jumeirah Island, viewed from above, resembles a stylish palm tree, built from reclaimed land mass and a series of artificial archipelagos, the first of the series of Palm Islands in Dubai. It is well developed with roads, tunnels and public transportation so one can easily access the glitzy hotels, global restaurants and many attractions on the island. A beautiful replica of the Atlantis Hotel sits at the helm.
The Dubai Frame is an architectural landmark in Zabeel Park, Dubai. Looking through the Frame, an eye-catching landmark, it captures the perfect picture of either downtown Dubai or Old Dubai. It has been described as “the biggest picture frame on the planet,” a unique sight to behold.
Located in the heart of downtown Dubai is the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls and entertainment destination, offering an unparalleled retail mix combined with world-class dining, entertainment and leisure attractions. Inside, you will find one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world, housing thousands of aquatic animals and comprising more than 140 species. More than 300 sharks and rays live in the tank, including the largest collection of sand tiger sharks. You can walk through the 48-meter aquarium tunnel and explore the rainforest, Rocky Shore Living Ocean environments and UAE night creatures at the underwater zoo. It is a totally amazing experience.
The city has many souks (markets) but Deira, the oldest part of Dubai, is the ideal destination where we enjoyed our visit to the Gold Souk, Perfume Souk and the Spice Souk. A labyrinth of covered walkways is home to hundreds of retailers offering a huge selection of jewelry made from gold, silver, diamonds and other precious metals and stones.
It’s a fascinating place that should be on every tourist’s itinerary, even those with no intentions of making a purchase.
One afternoon, we traveled outside the city in a 4×4 air-conditioned vehicle to the desert, where we had an exhilarating six-hour safari adventure, riding Dubai’s desert dunes. It was a thrilling experience for all. While in the desert, some of us enjoyed a camel ride and some even experienced a henna tattoo.
As the sun was setting, we enjoyed a delicious barbecue dinner followed by a live belly-dance performance around the campfire—an experience that could be straight out of One Thousand and One Nights.
Yes, Dubai is a dazzling and fascinating destination. This city never stops growing and is on a rapid rise, building futuristic towers as well as fascinating attractions.
It is a holiday experience taken to another level, where there exist the world’s largest gardens and markets, an entertaining venue filled with cultural shows, indoor aquatic world and lots more.
Cruise lines are now cruising to and from Dubai, where you can enjoy a pre-night or post-night land adventure—an excellent opportunity to visit and enjoy this popular destination.
Contact your favorite travel advisor and add Dubai to your next travel adventure. It will be an experience of a lifetime!