Heesun and I are extremely excited for this week’s festivities. Why, you ask? Because we’re going to Dubai for the first time! After purchasing our plane tickets in March, our anticipation has built up so much throughout the year as we’d watch amazing videos like this on YouTube. With indoor ski resorts, gold vending machines, gold plated cars, and McDonald’s delivered via Lamborghinis and Ferraris, this city is bound to surprise us with its extravagant, and almost excessive inventions. Our excitement is amplified just knowing that we really have no clue what to expect with this luxurious city.
To get a better sense of Dubai, we asked a few travel bloggers about their experience in Dubai and their favorite things to do. Here were their answers!
What to Do in Dubai
Atlantis Water Park
“I’m not usually someone who visit water parks or amusement parks when travelling, but this changed when I visited Dubai on a 2-day stopover. After spending the first day day exploring the usual sights of the city from a hop-on hop-off bus tour, my husband and I could think of nothing better than chilling out at a water park the next day – it was very hot and it wasn’t even the middle of summer! We choose to go to Atlantis (there’s also Wadi Wadi), and caught a cheap taxi ride out onto the Palm. It was great floating around on inner tubes on the flowing “rivers”, and yes, bikinis are completely acceptable inside! The highlight though was going on the “Leap of Faith” – imagine a tall water slide so steep, that at first you’re plummeting vertically, before you reconnect with the slide, passing underneath a fish-filled tank!”
“After visiting some of the world’s highest buildings in Asia like the Shanghai Tower and the Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur, we had to visit the mother of them all: the Burj Khalifa. We visited Dubai in October 2015 and booked our climb up to the tallest artificial structure in the world standing proud at 829.8 metres (2,722 feet). You can imagine the views!”
“But you better get up there quick before the Azerbaijan Tower (in Kazakhstan) opens in 2017 and takes the crown from BK: it will be 1,050 metres (3,445 feet) high when completed.”
Hot Air Balloon Riding Over the Desert
“If I need to pick my favorite Dubai experience, that is the hot air balloon ride over Dubai’s desert I got to try last Spring.
Very worth the early wake up and the hour long ride to get out of the city, you will be able to witness how the sun rises over the vast dunes. And that is something that, if you are like me, you’ll cherish forever.Thank me later!”
“Yes, I love Dubai – despite all the craziness that is going on in that city. A new skyscraper emerges every day and you cannot anymore the luxury hotels in this melting pot. I definitely enjoyed climbing the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building – as well as shopping in the giant Dubai Mall but my personal highlight was a visit of the Dubai Creek area, with the Bur and Deira neighborhoods. Here you can still get a feeling of how this city looked like over 50 years ago. Take a boat trip in one of the old dhaus, visit the busy souk with its friendly vendors and bargain for gold, jewelry, silk and other nice things. Smell the many exotic and colorful spices. Soak in the Arabian atmosphere with all senses. This part of Dubai is particularly nice when the sun goes down, the sky turns into a pinkish color and the muezzin calls for the evening prayer. You may have dinner on one of the boats – a very special atmosphere guaranteed! And you can see the impressive city skyline from far, although you seem to be in a different world. My personal recommendation: have a look at the Oriental Guest House, a small boutique hotel with a wonderful patio and lots of modern art, right in the middle of the old Bur district. You should have a coffee or tea in the patio and who knows, you may wish to stay at this place during your next visit to Dubai.”
Sand Surfing and Camel Riding in the Desert
“One of the most memorable activities I did while in Dubai was a combination of sand surfing and riding camels in the desert. Sure, all of it is a bit touristy, but it’s also something you can’t do in all parts of the world. My group was picked up at our hotel and brought out to the desert, where we first went dune bashing, an activity that will test even the strongest of heads and stomachs. After, we strapped ourselves in to snowboards and slid down the sand dunes.
If you have any doubts on sand surfing, don’t worry. The sand is incredibly soft if you fall, and the speed is nowhere near the speed you would go if you were on a skateboard or even sliding down on snow. Even I, who am rather uncoordinated, managed to make it all the way down the hill!”
-Amanda Lundberg, blogger of Another Travelin’ Song
Thank you to all the bloggers who participated in this post on what to do in Dubai! It’s really exciting to learn there’s so much to do out there. I’m about to board my flight, so wish us good luck!