I was frozen in terror for a good few minutes when I realised that I was actually about to write my first blog post ever as I had no clue how to open it! However, I soon reminded myself that this blog is all about being open and being bold and that I would not be judged on how badly written the opening paragraph of my first blog post is because I am just… well… being me!
Anyhow, now that the hard part is over, let’s get straight to the point, shall we? So as you will already have guessed, I am going to share with you my experiences from my recent trip to the city that never sleeps, Dubai! This was my second visit to Dubai, in fact, I got to watch the 2018 NYE displays at the Burj Khalifa during my previous trip! The fact that the actual displays were underwhelming is a topic for another day but there’s just something about this place that leaves you wanting more, and that’s the exact reason why I returned merely 12 months later.
This time, the trip was all about re-visiting all those places that we loved the most as well as ticking off other attractions on the list. My 7 hour flight landed at 7.50am and it was about 10am by the time we checked in to the hotel (we stayed at the same hotel last time and the staff recognised us so checked us in earlier than usual) and despite being jet lagged, we left immediately to start sight-seeing (after grabbing breakfast at the nearby mall). Our first stop was the spice souk in Deira, which is basically a traditional market (souk means market) which sells all kinds of middle-eastern herbs and spices as well as dried fruits, dried tea leaves and fragrances. My senses were in for a real treat the moment I stepped into the souk by the myriad of colours and fragrances coming from all the spices and herbs being sold there. Everything was kept in large sacks outside each stall and no matter which way I looked, all I could see was narrow lanes filled with a plethora of colours! Right next to the spice souk was the gold souk, the largest gold market in the world! It took a moment for my eyes to get used to the glitzy yellow gold that I was surrounded by (imagine seeing sparkly deep yellow coloured objects in EVERY direction). 22 carat gold is commonly used in Dubai which is quite a bit deeper in yellow in colour than the gold I am used to seeing here in England. The window displays were packed with golden bangles, necklaces, earrings… you name it but the one display that really caught my attention was the one in the photo below. Have you ever seen a necklace that’s that big?! Is that even a necklace?! Or a costume?! Well regardless of what it is, I for one know that I’ll never get my hands on one of those (even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to carry it off). The final destination for day 1 was the Dubai creek, which is a short walk across the road from the spice souk. Deira, Dubai creek and the surrounding areas make up a part of old Dubai, which once used to form the heart of the city and housed the old financial centre. There are no skyscrapers or high-end malls which is what Dubai is known for in the present day (however, they are currently building the Dubai Creek Tower which is set to be the world’s tallest tower in 2021), but the area is instead composed of old buildings, souks, a historical district and Meena bazaar, a neighbourhood predominantly inhabited by South Asians. Dubai creek is a 14 km stretch of water where I saw many dhows (boats with masts) and abras (traditional wooden boats which serve as water taxis). Abras provide the main mode of transport to cross the creek both for locals and tourists. The ride only costs 1 AED per person and they operate on two main routes. We boarded the abra at Dubai Old Souq station, and arrived at the Bur Dubai station a breezy five minutes later. The sun was at its peak which helped us to make the most of the scenery we were surrounded by. After wandering around the area for a while, we decided to have lunch at the food court in Carrefour hypermarket located close to Shindagha. By the time we had finished having lunch, we were too jet lagged and exhausted so decided to head back to our hotel. On our way back, we went past the Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood which is where the ruling family used to live over a century ago but has now been converted into a museum. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and strolling down the streets near our hotel.
On the following morning, we headed to the world’s largest artificial island, the Palm Jumeirah. I had been dying to visit this place since its inception so it was like a dream come true for me to finally be able to go there. Dubai is beautiful and when you’re there, you think you’ve reached a point where there can no longer be wow moments. But boy was I wrong! The rows of beautifully laid out posh villas and hotels welcomed us as soon as we entered Palm Jumeirah and my eyes could not believe what they were seeing. I mean, don’t get me wrong but being a traveholic I’ve been to many posh places but this was just something else. We stopped at the apex of the palm, in front of the extravagant Atlantis the Palm hotel only to be bedazzled further (I had seen it during the yellow boat trip last year but it was so much more breath-taking up close). The pink sand coloured building which has two central towers joined by a bridge in the middle is intricately detailed with Arabian designs and spreads its arms proudly as it faces the sea. We spent a good two hours taking photos outside (the heat and direct sunlight did not help) following which we visited the boutiques housed next to it (which also provides the entrance to the famous Aquaventure Water Park which we gave a miss due to time constraints) and boarded the Palm Jumeirah monorail as it enables you to get a proper view of the palm as it travels down its trunk. We hopped off at Ittihad Park station for a quick photo stop. Ittihad Park is predominantly used by the residents of the island, and it has a jogging track which is framed beautifully by palm trees and surrounded by a few restaurants and villas. After a quick monorail ride out of the island, we boarded a metro (finding the actual metro station took about 20 minutes because of lack of directions and the fact that you have to walk down a multi storey car park to get there) and headed over to Dubai Marina Walk, which is a place we had visited last time, for a late lunch. Dubai Marina Walk is a waterfront where yachts bob up and down all day, bordered by innumerable high-end restaurants and a mall, lined by a beautiful skyline, i.e, a sight to behold! We decided to eat shawarma at a well-known restaurant, and a few photos later, we walked back to the metro station and off we were to the luxurious Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)! JBR is a large posh waterfront community which oversees the Persian Gulf. We took our time to enjoy our casual stroll down the boardwalk, had Turkish ice cream for the first time ever, and finally ended up at The Beach, the part where you can actually see the sea, surrounded by restaurants and places that offer plenty of entertainment. The sun had begun to set by the time we got there so the sand wasn’t as warm as it would’ve been during the day but it was still warm enough to help my extremely worn out feet to relax. A taxi ride back to the hotel and dinner later… I was super tired yet excited deep within for what day 3 had in store!
Bye for now!