2 days into our amazing Dubai trip, we knew that day 3 was going to be a hectic day so we hopped into a taxi super early in the morning. We were about to visit one of the most iconic hotels in the world, Burj Al Arab. Burj Al Arab is a 7 star hotel located on a private island and is shaped to resemble the sail of a ship. With there being many luxurious hotels around the world, you may be wondering what sets this one apart. Well, the interiors are embellished with 24 carat gold, the finest materials were sourced from all over the world to decorate the hotel and it has the world’s tallest atrium!
With the sun shining in its full glory, we started regretting our visit to Burj Al Arab the moment we stepped out of the taxi because we had to walk a good 15 minutes to get to the beach to be able to get a proper view of it! My dehydrated self was set for further disappointment when I realised that the sun was going to wash out our photos and we didn’t have time to wait for it to set. Anyways, we took our photos, went to a local shop for ice cream and drinks and set off back towards Burj Al Arab. On the way back, we stopped over at a mall which was conveniently located across the road from the wave shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel and we then stopped by the traffic lights across the road from Burj Al Arab because the lighting was near perfect to take some good snaps of it. All in all, I was quite disappointed with my visit so far because there was nothing extraordinary about the hotel from the outside (in fact, it looked much smaller in person than what I had anticipated).
We then proceeded to walk to Souk Madinat Jumeirah which was located close by. Souk Madinat Jumeirah is an opulent recreation of ancient Arabian market places, with earth toned buildings, intricately detailed wooden ceilings and waterways which resemble Venetian canals. We walked around the souk which is full of boutiques, cafes and restaurants and then parked ourselves on beanbags placed on the steps overlooking Burj Al Arab and the artificial canal as the sun started to set. We then decided to head over to the Mall of the Emirates which was a short taxi ride away for dinner, following which we hopped on a metro to Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world!
When I think of Dubai, I think of the Dubai Mall. Why, you may ask? Well, during my last trip I spent most of my time there; the first day was spent exploring and shopping whilst we waited there for the whole of the second day as we had booked tickets to watch the NYE displays with Five Guys. Memories were refreshed once we got there but we had to rush our way to the Dubai Fountain (which overlooks Burj Khalifa) as the main purpose behind our visit was to take some night time photos in front of the Burj. As you can imagine, taking photos against a backdrop of the world’s tallest building is a complicated process, along with the fact that 100s of people gather around the fountain for the fountain show every half hour, so that took more time than we anticipated. We then took a taxi ride to Rigga Street, which is THE PLACE to find all sorts of fast food restaurants. With two of the main metro stations located close by, this road never sleeps! You’ll find 100s of people crossing the road at any time of the day! We first headed to one of our most favourite places in Dubai, Juice World. Juice World is our favourite place for fresh juices because they taste better than any other juice place we’ve tried. We ordered our favourite freshly prepared mango juice and were lucky enough to be able to dine alfresco (as their seats are always fully occupied). Apart from the juices, what also garners plenty of attention is their elaborative fruit display (using REAL fruit, can you believe it?!). There are bunches of beautifully arranged mangoes, avocados, pineapples, oranges, apples and pomegranates in the freezer room where you will undoubtedly find people taking photos and selfies because it’s something they’ve probably never seen before. Two rounds of mango juice and deep fried chicken and fries later, we decided to call it a day.
Day 4 was the day we visited the place I was absolutely buzzing to see (especially because we cancelled going there last minute last year), the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi! I’d seen many photos of this mosque before and it had been on my bucket list for a long time, so I was thrilled to finally visit it. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates (and third largest in the world). Covering 30 acres, this mosque was designed to incorporate Persian, Mughal and Egyptian designs in mind. We left our hotel just before midday as we wanted to stay at the mosque until dusk so that we could see it both in the sunlight and after the lights went on at night. One and a half hours later, the marble white façade of the mosque finally came in sight! The mosque is HUGE, and so is its car park! You enter the mosque through the entrance located on the other end of the car park, and walk underground for about 10 minutes until you finally ascend the escalator and are immediately mesmerised by the beautiful surroundings as you step onto the grounds of the mosque. A dress code must be adhered to as it’s a place of worship, so I wore an abaya and a headscarf (as did most others) and after a few adjustments of my headscarf, we proceeded to walk around the mosque, with several photo stops along the way of course! The tall columns, the beautiful domes which had verses from the Holy Quran painted in gold, the huge courtyard, the main prayer hall which has the third largest chandelier in the world and the Swarovski crytals which were used to decorate it were more than enough to leave me gobsmacked! I really wanted to experience the blue lights at night because the blue against a black backdrop looked very dramatic and beautiful in the photos I had seen prior to my visit. However, I later learnt that the colour of the lights were lunar dependent, where white light is used during a full moon and 14 different shades of blue are used as the moon wanes. As my luck had it, it was a full moon the day we went so white light was used instead of blue, but it was an enthralling experience nevertheless.
After our return to Dubai, we headed straight over to a restaurant for food because there are no cafes/ restaurants/ places to buy food at or near the mosque so as you can imagine, we were very hungry! We then went to the Dubai Festival City waterfront for a breezy walk along the canal as we awaited our final two days in Dubai.
Bye for now!