The pleasant warmth we feel in the first moment we get out of the strong air conditioner at the airport, under which we tremble while our documents are checked and we are photographed on at least two cameras, disappears in just a minute. It is becoming unbearable heat that follows us until the end of the trip to the United Arab Emirates.
Well, it depends, of course, exactly what time of year one will get there. In general, from May to September the average temperature is around 40 ° C, and we end up in Dubai in June.
Even as we drive at breakneck speed in the multi-lane Sheikh Zayed Road, located longitudinally and practically connecting all parts of Dubai, we realize how justified all premonitions were that we would end up in a place other than the usual destinations we love. to travel. There is nothing old here, nothing traditional in the true sense of the word, because the city is so new that it is difficult to talk about customs and traditions… Skyscrapers shine everywhere, competing in their claims to engineering, advertising, lights, new flawlessly marked roads on which the latest car models race. Huge office and retail space alternates with the headquarters of world-famous technology companies such as Oracle, Dell, Apple… .. We knew it was not for us from the beginning. We just have to forget about winding narrow streets with small cafes and authentic Arab architecture. But curiosity is stronger than reason?And in every place you will find landmarks in one sense or another. Let’s see what they mean in Dubai by the words “attractions” and “landmarks”:
We start with one of the most emblematic attractions of Dubai:
Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world at the moment with its 828 meters. For comparison, the Empire State Building is “some” 381 m high. ?Tourists climb to the middle floors (over 400 m) and the glass windows show the true face of Dubai – a city in the desert. The building is super modern, and the elevator takes us to the top in a minute, moving at unreal speed. It is much cheaper to buy the entrance ticket online than in any other way, and on the spot you risk waiting indefinitely, because the visit upstairs is reserved and of course, the convenient ones are booked in advance. The entrance for visitors to the Burj Khalifa is predictably in the Dubai Mall itself(Dubai Mall) to the delight of local traders. It is really huge – as it is explained everywhere, it is the largest mall in the world – and you can’t go around for a day if someone has such intentions. Inside is an Aquarium and an underwater zoo, and the braver ones can enter and swim with sharks in one of the pools. The emblem of the mall are the giant artificial waterfalls as part of the interior. Many other attractions lurk to impress the modern tourist, who, however, seems to find it increasingly difficult to marvel at such megalomaniac ideas.
Since the malls in Dubai are among the sights, we should not forget to mention the Mall of the Emirates (Mall of the Emirates) with its ski slope.
If we have to say something about the shopping in the listed malls, it is that Dubai is too far away if someone has decided to leave Bulgaria only for this sole purpose. Nor could it be said that the prices for world-class middle-class brands are much cheaper. In the more luxurious sector, things seem much more affordable than in Bulgaria, and the choice is incomparable, but it is still better to combine shopping with something else, as we will travel so many miles.
So let’s go back to the tour of other attractions and landmarks – as they are understood in Dubai:
Jumeirah Beach and especially the area around Dubai Marina is a place where you can see people walking, which is a rarity in Dubai. The most pleasant area – at least among those we saw during our trip. All the most famous hotel chains have a site in this area. Fortunately, we stayed right here. The hotel is immaculate, but there is a lot of construction going on around it, apparently with the idea of turning the whole strip into a forest of skyscrapers in the shortest possible time.
The beach itself is white and fine sand, but because of the heat we realize this only in retrospect after returning to Bulgaria. While we are there, we only think about how to survive the heat, and the phrase “I’m going into the sea to cool off” loses its meaning in the unbearably warm waters of the Persian Gulf. Special signs on the beach recommend swimming parallel to the shore – once because of dangerous currents and the second time – because of… sharks ?Ah, how we miss our Karadere at the moment…
Palm Island is another peak in the achievements of urban architecture and construction in Dubai. Unfortunately, from the ground it cannot be seen and appreciated completely. It is well visible from the air, so one of the most common attractions is a helicopter ride. We are lucky to see the palm island from the plane on the way back to Bulgaria. Interesting and impressive view indeed. Hotel Atlantis The Palm, one of the most expensive in the emirate, rises deep into the sea as a crown of luxury. It has a separate entrance for tourists who come to see it, and one of the attractions offered is swimming with dolphins in shallow or deep waters…
Burj Al Arab – the famous super luxury hotel allows you to see it only if you book breakfast, lunch or dinner there in advance for a mandatory envelope. The most affordable option is a cocktail in the lobby or the skybar, and from the latter the view is truly unique and memorable. Gold, fountains, aquarium walls with fish – this is the lobby of the Burj al Arab. You can’t go in flip-flops from there while coming home from the beach…
What else can you do in Dubai?
Typical excursions that are offered to tourists – guests of Dubai and for which we have an opinion from our own experience, are:
Dhow cruise dinner – with pick-up and drop-off from / to the hotel. A pleasant walk in the Gulf of Dubai (Dubai Creek) with a traditional wooden boat with a chance to find yourself among the most colorful international environment. You will have the pleasure of having dinner on board with representatives of basically all races and religions.
For nothing in the world do not go to the historic village (Heritage Village) in the area of Deira. Advertised as a “landmark that will reveal the historical charm of Dubai”, you risk being in a place from which there is no escape – nowhere to take a taxi, and the tourist bus passes at best in an hour, which is too dangerous in the heat . Guided by the naive motive to discover some authentic atmosphere from the emirate’s past, we find ourselves in a small fenced yard with ten souvenir shops and two other deluded Americans, caught like us on the bait of “historical charm”…
Alternative – Dubai Museum , which is located in the same area and which is actually part of the oldest building in Dubai – the fortress of Al-Fahidi.
The one-day trip to Abu Dhabi , the capital of the UAE, leaves fantastic memories . The third largest peninsula in the Arabian Peninsula after Mecca and Medina, the mosque is truly magnificent with its white domes, exquisite chandeliers and stained glass windows.
Female tourists should be warned that they will have to wear a black hooded robe despite the deadly temperatures in order to enter from another entrance, separate from the men. A walk along Abu Dhabi’s promenade (The Corniche) comes as a breath of fresh air after the crowds of tourists in the mosque. If you wish, you can sit down for lunch or choose to shop at the nearby Marina Mall. It is full of interesting and different shops, and somehow it is more cozy and quiet compared to the crowded Dubai malls.
Much greener and less glassy and metallic, Abu Dhabi looks more hospitable and natural to us, without being intrusive with claims of modernity and luxury. And the Sheikh Zayed Mosque even deserves the whole distance from Bulgaria.
With its “overdose” of artificial and modern attractions, Dubai is definitely not our dream destination. But falling right here, we have the chance to feel the power of human will to turn a city from the desert with almost no historical and architectural heritage into one of the most visited and popular tourist destinations in the world. And one has much to learn from this. Whether you love Dubai or not, of course, depends on your point of view. We will be happy if you share it with us!