Full day sightseeing in Dubai
Dubai Travel Blog› entry 14 of 14 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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*