I planned a stop over in Dubai on my way back to states from India. I Was super excited about this trip at the same time scared to death as this is going to be my first travel to a foreign land all by myself. Got advice from family and friends why this is not a good idea. Some even suggested I should get married soon and travel with my husband (I don’t get the logic).
Finally, the day of travel came and I was nervous and excited, After saying bye to parents and family in Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad got on to my flight to Dubai. Last one hour in flight my heart was pounding so heavy with excitement and fear of how my trip will go.
Finished immigration without any hazel as I got my transit visa online 3 weeks before my travel date. I exchanged money in airport and the guy at counter suggested to put some money in a prepaid master card as lot of places in Dubai has special discounts if you pay with Master Card [Tip 1.]
Raj picked me up from airport Terminal 3 and we went to his place. Raj and Saran (Raj’s roommate) served me to lunch which is quite interesting Idly with chicken curry, I was busy eating and forgot to take a picture. It was yummy I never had that combination before.
After taking rest and chatting about a wide range of topics they took me out to explore Dubai-a city built on sand. In June average daily temperature is above 45 deg C. To avoid the heat we went to watch ‘SPY’ at VOX cinemas. As we stepped into the theater I wondered why seats were spread out so much, then thought maybe sheiks need privacy while watching the movie. Here comes the best part those seats turned into a bed and I had pillow and blanket in my chair. This is the start of experiences Rich Dubai!
After the movie, we went to Dubai Mall. All along the drive, I kept on clicking pictures with wide open mouth and eyes popped open.
Burj Al Arab- As they say ‘the world’s most iconic hotel’ Looked like a fancy high rise building until I watched the documentary on the construction of this magnificent structure. Being an engineer myself I couldn’t stop admiring the team who designed and built it. Sheikh Mohammed knows how to use technology in developing countries infrastructure and took the meaning of developing to a whole new level. Here is the link to youtube video on construction of Burj Al Arab:
I purchased the ticket for Burj Khalifa observation deck online before hand it cost 125 AED for “At The Top Level 124” at 9 PM as I wanted to get a view of beautiful city decorated for Ramadan in the night. Tickets are very expensive if you buy it at the entrance so plan ahead and get tickets online [Tip 2.] Here is the link to Ticket booking page: https://tickets.atthetop.ae/atthetop/
As expected it was beautiful and while I was on the top floor of observation deck water fountain show started. It was spectacular to watch the whole show from Top View. Evening Shows Starts daily from 6 PM to 10 PM (Every 30 Mins) so plan accordingly [Tip 3]
After walking in Dubai Mall without getting lost (it’s very easy to get lost) all credit goes to Saran, we were on our way to Dyar Al Sham authentic middle eastern restaurant in International City. They had the best hummus I ever had. I ordered Pomegranate Juice and Lamb kabab. Everything tasted Yummy.
Next Day morning I packed my day pack with snacks and water bottle. As it’s Ramadan time eating, drinking and smoking in public places between sunrise to sunset is prohibited. Respect their culture and don’t get in trouble [Tip 4.] I took a taxi to the nearest metro station and purchased a day pass for Dubai Public transportation which includes Metro and Bus. After spending a morning Skiing in an indoor Ski resort with 85mts indoor mountain slopes (Ski Dubai it is a part of The Mall of Emirates) I went to Ibn Battuta Mall.
It is amazing how we get to see different cultures in place. Each court in the Mall is designed to represent a particular culture like Chinese Court, Indian Court….my personal favorite is Persian Court.
From there I went to the Arabian Desert for the most awaiting adventure of the trip sand dunes safari in a 4×4 vehicle. It is the most incredible experience I had in my life so far. It was like sitting in a 4 wheel roller coaster.
After Safari headed back to Raj’s place and got ready to catch my midnight flight back to the US. This trip has awakened the wanderlust inside me. Within a month, i booked my plane tickets to Costa Rica. Wait for my next post on Costa Rica!
Arise! Awake! and stop not till the goal is reached – Swami Vivekananda