With our last two trips (Hawaii and Dubai), The Pilot and I have really pushed how far we're willing to travel for a long weekend. Hawaii was an 11-hour flight and Dubai was 13. Dubai was actually pretty easy to do. We lost a day on the way there and gained a day on the way back, making this short trip totally doable!
Our flight landed around 7:30 in the morning. We checked into our hotel in Deira, which is near both the airport and Old Dubai, and headed out to explore.
Assuming that Dubai was like every other city, we headed "downtown" toward the Burj Khalifa. Unfortunately, Dubai doesn't really have a "downtown" and heading to this area really just brought us to the Dubai Mall, but we made the best of it! We stopped in the Mall and had a quick bite to eat before heading outside to explore.
The Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building. It sits at the base of the Dubai Mall surrounded by the Dubai Fountain and the Souk al Bahar (home to one of the many Shake Shacks in Dubai).
It seems obvious to say, but that building is tall. It shoots straight up into the sun and looking up at it on a bright, sunny day, makes you feel like you're staring straight into the sun!
We wandered around the Souk and the Mall a bit before hopping into a cab and heading to the Jumeirah Mosque. There are nearly 1,500 mosques in Dubai and this is the only one open to non-Muslims. When we got there, we were greeted by the staff and invited to share some camel's milk ice cream and relax a bit before we could go inside the actual mosque. I was given an abaya to wear inside the mosque and asked to cover my head (the only time I needed to do so while in Dubai) and we went inside. The mosque is beautiful. It's very simple, but still a beautiful place for worship.
We left the mosque and headed back to our hotel for dinner. By this point, we had been awake for nearly 36 hours and were exhausted. Before heading to bed, we were able to catch this incredible view of the sun setting over Dubai from our hotel's roof.
I wish I could tell you that we woke up on Day 2 and seized the day, out to explore at the crack of dawn, but the reality is, that I was exhausted. We lounged around for a good bit of the day before heading into Deira and Old Dubai to wander around.
Deira is Dubai's commercial district and sits on the Dubai Creek, across from Old Dubai. The way across is via boat, in tiny little boats called abras that have been used since Dubai was a tiny finishing village without 7-star hotels. We took an abra across to Old Dubai and spent the evening wandering through the Old Souk and the general area.
We left Old Dubai and headed back to the Dubai Mall to san ee the Dubai Fountain show. It was much more crowded than the day before and we found a spot near the Mall and waited for the show to begin.
On our final day in Dubai, we did wake up at the crack of dawn and seize the day! We bought tickets to a hop on/hop off tour and spent the entire day seeing every part of Dubai that we could! I've always been slightly skeptical of these tours, but with limited time, this seemed like the best option to really dive in, and it was an exceptional way to do so! Dubai isn't the type of city that you can just walk around and explore. It has much more of the LA feel, where everyone drives, so this was perfect.
We went to Palm Island, saw the Burj Al Arab, went to Jumeirah Beach, visited the Financial District...we really just did everything, and had plenty of time to hop on and off and explore. Our flight wasn't until almost midnight, so we had a full day to really see Dubai and it was awesome!
In 3 days, we definitely skimmed the surface of the city, but I wouldn't have it any other way. There are cities that you visit and by Day 3, you're ready for a change of scenery, and others that leave you craving more. Dubai definitely fell into the latter and I would love to go back and really dive into Dubai. While I was disappointed to see more Shake Shacks, Cheesecake Factories, and TJI Fridays then Middle Eastern restaurants, I was amazed to see just how well Dubai has been able to hold on to their culture while welcoming the western influence.
What do you think of Dubai? Would you travel there?
If you've already been, what was your favorite thing to see or do?