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Dubai, UAE - Sep 2023

Updated: Mar 4

Well, what can I say about Dubai… wellll, I can start by saying it’s probably the best place I have ever been to!

Alan and I were originally meant to be going to Austin TX, but after some research, found that it was in the middle of a lot of building works where we wanted to stay and therefore have put it off until a future date.

We then decided to go to Dubai as a we had put this location off in the past for the same reason as Austin! Although Dubai is a constantly evolving city, the main parts a pretty much built.

Decision made, flights and hotel were booked (we choose a hotel just on the outskirts of the city – Mövenpick Bur Dubai).

We flew with Emirates, which in itself was a fantastic experience due to being on a A380, which was absolutely gigantic – so much so that from the back to the plane, you couldn’t see clearly to the front of it :D

Upon arrival at Dubai Airport, we were already blown away by the sheer scale of the place and by how beautiful the airport was – yes you read correctly, it was actually beautiful!!

Our hotel was fantastic, we had already booked an Executive Room and they upgraded us to an Executive Deluxe Room which had a little seating area etc was it always handy.

Next day we went out to explore and could not believe how nice everyone was, everywhere. How spotlessly clean everything was, everywhere. How safe everything was, everywhere. You get the picture!

We ventured to the Dubai Mall (biggest Mall in the World) – OMG I have never seen anything like it. It even had a gorgeous smell (we noticed that all public buildings, hotels etc seemed to have this going on!). No expense was spared in the building of the mall, every area was beautiful. The mall contains a full size Aquarium, a full-size Ice Rink, Multi-Sports Complex, 26-Screen Cinema, a beautiful indoor Waterfall etc etc! Oh, and also a zillion shops, restaurants and supermarkets – it is completely unreal. Bearing in mind this is just one of Dubai’s 96 malls.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Lost Chamber’s Aquarium (largest aquarium in the world) which is part of the Atlantis hotel situated on the Palm Jumeirah Island.

To get there, you need to you the Metro and Monorail, both of which ran like clockwork and you could have eaten your dinner of the carriage floors! Even the Metro stations are a thing of beauty and again totally safe and spotless!

It was pretty amazing travelling in the monorail along the spine of the Palm towards the Atlantis – what a site! The Aquarium itself was pretty spectacular as you can see from the many photos I took.

On the way back, we had timed it to go up to The View at the Palm at sunset. It is situated at the start of the palm (bast of the trunk!!) and is 240m high with a observation deck with a 360-degree panorama looking out over the entire palm and the Arabian Gulf as well as JBR and most of the city. Due to the weather be off-the-chart HOT (40s) there was a bit of a heat-haze going on which meant the sunset wasn’t very clear, but still, a fantastic experience none-the-less.

Right next to the Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain and if that wasn’t enough, the Burj Khalifa (yes, you’ve guessed it – the tallest building in the World!!!). So, it’s really nice place to spend time. The Fountain show is every evening from around 6pm (every 15 mins) and involves a music a light show with the fountain itself and the Burj Khalifa. It’s great.

We decided to do the 2 Tall things in one day – first up, The Frame, which is essentially a giant golden photo frame. You ride up in an elevator on one side and once you are at the top, you can walk across it, with part of the floor being glass – see my video here! It is spectacular views – one side being a view of old Dubai and the other side being the ultra-modern city with all the skyscrapers and the Burj Khalifa taking centre stage. WOW!

We had heard many good things about the JBR area (Jumeirah Beach Residence) – this did not disappoint! Just a very pleasant easy-going area along the beach with restaurants, clubs, hotels, apartments etc.

Close to JBR is the utterly stunning Dubai Marina, again the marina is surrounded by restaurants, hotels, apartments, as well as the Dubai Marina Mall. One yacht is bigger and better than the next! The skyscrapers here are beautiful and include a building that is on the twist!

Like most of Dubai, when you look around, it seems so futuristic and somewhat unreal.

Talking for futuristic… we also visited the Museum of the Future. I absolutely loved the shape of the building; it looks like a Pandora Charm!! Inside was just as impressive with a floating robotic whale, robotic dog and state-of-the-art elevators. It’s a hard place to categorise / put into words… It talks about the UAEs space programme and you go on a mission – all good fun with stunning visuals!

On our last day, we visited Bluewaters Island which is just across from JBR. Due to the very hot weather, we arrived there at sunset and walked around. It contains shops, restaurants, beautiful feature lights and also the main thing, Ain Dubai (basically a massive version of the London Eye). It is not operating just now but is it constantly got a light show going on. From here, you can walk back over to JBR via a bridge and boardwalk which gives you fantastic views of JBR and the surrounding areas. It was such a pleasant walk, even though it was still very hot, as you got a breeze being next to the sea.

As far as the restaurants go, all were brilliant, and service was perfect and all spotless. The restaurants, Coffee Shops etc are mainly made up of all the American/British chains – same with the shops. There are also lots of Lebanese restaurants which were hugely popular and we intend to go next time!

As far as prices go, we found everything to be essentially similar in price to the UK with the exception of alcohol, which is expensive and not readily available everywhere. Most hotels serve alcohol and there are a few others like clubs that do also. This was never really a problem to us as we were too busy drinking water constantly due to the extreme heat.

Talking of the weather, I personally found it far too hot in September (late 30s / early 40s), but saying that, everywhere is air-conditioned. Just meant it wasn’t comfortable to be outside during the day for any length of time. A taxi driver told us it hit 50s earlier in the summer!!

I also have to mention how amazing all the public transport is – Metro, Trams, Monorail as well as the taxis (incl. Uber) – all very cheap and easy to find your way around / book.

When we got back, we loved it sooooo much that within a couple of weeks, we had booked up again for next April (we have never done this before!). The weather in April should be in the early 30s, which should be more bearable. We are already counting down the days…

Alan and I at the top of The Frame with the Burj Khalifa in the distance.

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