Full day sightseeing in Dubai

Dubai Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 14 › view all entries
Islam, our guide for the day

And so, our full (well almost full day, we had time till 6pm) to see Dubai. Fabulous magnificent Dubai. Hot hotter hotter-than-hot heat filled Dubai. Rather than take the Big Bus tour available here, we spoke to our Hotel Concierge on fixing us up with a private taxi. Our taxi driver, whose name was Islam is a Pakistani, originally from Peshawar and has been living in Dubai for the last 20 years. He's an expert in showing people the sights whilst giving people the flexibility they need.

Our first stop that day was to the Currency Exchange to get us more dirhams. The one glaring point I overlooked in my blurb on Dubai a few pages earlier was how expensive the damn place is! Well worth it though, considering how cool it is.

Entrance to the Gold Souk
Cool Dubai, lovely Dubai, magnificwerarwrarerre... <Vikram's stuck record playing the Cool Dubai tune again>.

Anyways, we got our money, first stop of the day was to the legendary Gold Souk. This is the gold market in Dubai, it's been around since the Jurassic era and is utterly amazing as you can see in the photos. You've got all kinds of carat gold being sold, and there is virtually ZERO security, some stores are the size of my bathtub, some stores have the gold in open for display, it's amazing. One wonders just how much of money transactions occur every day here. My mum was in  bad need of gold, she bought a pair of hand bracelets and a necklace (and gold being gold, and my mum being my mum did take a long time choosing), and after this, we headed back to the Al-Ghourair Mall for lunch at Nawab's and some electronics shopping that we needed to do.

Gold Souk

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel, checked out (it was around 3pm) and left our luggage in their storage area, and headed out again. Islam, our driver cum  guide was utterly brilliant and very patient. Our first stop was the much talked about Ajmer district which houses a huge European population. The houses here looked very California to me - fine architecture, big lawns, high rise compound fences, etc. We spent some time driving around the neighbourhood. From here, we headed to the bluest beach in this side of the world, the Jumeirah beach. Like the notorious Bondi Beach, this beach attracts holidayers and expat residents on weekends, the blue water and the quiet friendly nature makes this a very attractive place to get some tan.

But the real highlight of this beach wasn't seeing Europeans in their togs, but it was that one building built on the sea, and the building which has now come to symbolise Dubai the same way the Clock Tower does for London or the Statue of Liberty does for NYC, none other than the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Gold Souk
Designed to resemble a billowing sail, the hotel soars to a height of 321 metres dominating the Dubai coastline. And obviously, for such a high price hotel, one would expect a heavy tag as well. And rightfully so... a night in the deluxe rooms will set your wallets back by about 2,500 US$. Even entrance to the hotel itself is a velvet rope thing and will cost you around 500$ or so. This was a move taken to keep the stray tourist buses off the area hence keeping its exclusivity. We drove around this place for a while, parked by the beach for a few good photos and we headed to our final destination of the day...

The Mall of the Emirates: The mall that is in a unique position of being the largest in the world outside of the US, and also home to the biggest (and only?) indoor ski slope in the world.

Gold Souk
Here you find people of all ages, races and regions shopping in a totally tax-free environment for some of the best brands in the world. For me personally, it was like being inside an air-conditioned Oxford Street, London with all the British trademark names - River Island, Topman, French Connection, Debanhams, etc having outlets here. The crowd that visits this place is also primarily British.

We spent about 1 hour walking around the mall (it's so so big!), there was a live Emirati band playing which we quite enjoyed. We left the mall around 6pm and headed back to the hotel. Throughout our drive, we could see all the construction work going on in this city - the high rise buildings, the huge highways, etc. The city is one of the most "new age" cities I've seen in my life.

Panoramic view of the Burj Al Arab by the Jumeirah beach
We quickly headed back to the hotel, picked up our luggage, and headed to the airport.

Checkin at the airport was a breeze. Our flight was on time and *yawn* - food was hopeless as usual! Our Emirates EK flight touched down Bengaluru at about 2:30am local time (somebody please change the timings!!) and we went straight home after a great great holiday.

I really cannot wait to visit Dubai again. It's changed so much in the last two decades and the way things are going, the only way really is up. I guess the REAL question is - will I someday be Dubai's newest resident???! *wink*

ganku says:
Vikram, I finally booked my tickets... EK242 from Toronto to Dubai on A 380 arrive in Dubai ar 7:20 pm and on to Banglaore at 3:40 am. I have about 8 hours in the airport.
REturning on a thursday from Bangalore 10 am in Bangalore in Dubai at 1pm. Leaving for Toronto the next day 9:20 am. What can I do in an afternoon? Do you recomend the half a day tour or just go around on my own? What do you think I should budget for a private cab tour? Are there public transit options? thx in advance.
Posted on: Jan 19, 2010
Eric says:
Dubai sounds great! I was supposed to go with a friend this summer, but it looks like that might not work out :( Sounds like you had a blast though.
Posted on: May 28, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Islam, our guide for the day
Islam, our guide for the day
Entrance to the Gold Souk
Entrance to the Gold Souk
Gold Souk
Gold Souk
Gold Souk
Gold Souk
Gold Souk
Gold Souk
Panoramic view of the Burj Al Arab…
Panoramic view of the Burj Al Ara…
Burj Al Arab side view
Burj Al Arab side view
front view of the Burj Al Arab
front view of the Burj Al Arab
Holidayers and locals on the Jumei…
Holidayers and locals on the Jume…
the highrise of Dubai - present an…
the highrise of Dubai - present a…
Mall of Emirates
Mall of Emirates
inside the Mall of Emirates
inside the Mall of Emirates
Reminder #3 to Vikram: VISIT LONDO…
Reminder #3 to Vikram: VISIT LOND…
Wherever we go, we all need a bit …
Wherever we go, we all need a bit…
local band
local band
Ski Dubai at the Mall of Emirates
Ski Dubai at the Mall of Emirates
Al Ghurair district
Al Ghurair district
Dubai
photo by: vances