25 degrees Celsius felt cold as I arrived back in Cluj from Dubai. A few days after our trip and I was still rocking that long sleeve in June. I got so used to being in 38 to 40°C weather, that summer in Romania wasn’t summer for me anymore. To be honest, when we arrived in Dubai in the evening, I was pretty shocked to see that it was over 30°C outside. The first day I felt a bit hopeless and thought we wouldn’t be able to finish doing everything that we had planned for in Dubai, considering the hot weather. The 5 min walk to the metro station felt like a sauna session. But we got used to the weather pretty quickly and we ended up enjoying it.
The midnight swim in the rooftop pool at our hotel was one of the best parts of our trip. I thought a week in Dubai is long enough in order to visit and do everything that we had on our to-do list and that we will even have some extra time left to spend at the beach. We could only dedicate one full day to the beach. Kite beach is one of the best choices because of the constant blow of wind and the fact that it wasn’t crowded. Dubai beach life is not as refreshing as you’d think during the end of May. The water is hot and just forget about taking a refreshingly cold shower because we burned our backs with the water coming out of those heated pipes :)). Honestly, the late swims in the sea, after a day full of exploring, are one of the best things on earth. We spent the rest of the week doing touristy stuff in and around the city.
What did we see?
- Desert Safari – There are lots of companies offering the same kind of package. They pick you up from your hotel and go directly into the desert. Here’s where the fun begins. Dune bashing was the most fun thing we’ve experienced during our trip. After arriving at the camp you can get a “micro” henna tattoo, smoke shisha, have some dinner, watch a belly dance show and also ride a camel. We didn’t ride any because I felt sorry for them, for some reason. They didn’t seem happy, so trust your instincts when it comes to activities which involve animals. #giveashit.
- Burj Khalifa– If you’re in Dubai and are not afraid of heights you HAVE TO go up the tallest building in the world: Burj Khalifa. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go up the stairs, there’s an elevator that takes you up to level 124 in under 2 minutes. Impressive, right? Just like everything else in Dubai. The view is amazing, as you can probably imagine. You can even go up to level 148. The tickets for Burj Khalifa can be purchased online and the entrance is inside the Dubai Mall (important information right here).
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi reminds me of Sex and the City 2. That image of the girls in the hotel lobby… Anyways, the mosque has absolutely nothing to do with it. We don’t usually like to go on guided tours but we decided it was the best option in order to get to the famous mosque. Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is mesmerising. Be sure to check the dress code before hitting the road. It’s pretty strict. We also got to learn more about the city, their culture and religion from our guide. I found it very interesting. Obviously (this is the reason why we don’t really like guided tours) our tour guide took us to places we wouldn’t normally want to see, such as the heritage village, where there was a long stop and not so much to see. They obviously wanted us to spend some cash at that restaurant. And we also got to visit a man’s shop, who makes beautiful but useless gold embroidered carpets.
- Butterfly Land – We got here by accident to be honest. We wanted to visit Miracle Gardens and Google said it was open (except it wasn’t) so the taxi driver told us about this Butterfly place which was right across the street from Miracle Gardens. It was cute.
- Souk Madinat Joumeirah is a traditional market, where you can find lots of different souvenirs, Persian carpets, bronze camels and Aladdin shoes. It is indoors, so you don’t have to worry about the heat. You can take beautiful pictures of Burj Al Arab from outside the market as it is situated pretty close to the hotel.
- Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. You’ve certainly heard of their famous, huge malls. At the Dubai Mall you’ll find a huge aquarium and at the Emirates Mall you can go skiing on their crazy indoor ski slope.
- The Dubai Fountain Show. The Fountain show begins every 30 minutes and it’s magical especially in the evening, overlooking the Burj Khalifa.
- Public beaches: Kite Beach – windy and uncrowded. JBR Beach: very popular, no big waves, Sunset Beach – it’s perfect for taking photos with the Burj Al Arab, but you can’t swim here. To take a dip you have to walk a few meters to the next one.
- Gould Souk and Spice Souk. The Gold and Spice market is situated in the Deira area of Dubai and honestly, it was pretty underwhelming. I expected the Gold Souk to be more spectacular and at the Spice Souk we could only find a few stalls selling spices. But if you want to buy any counterfeit designer bag, that’s the place you’re looking for :)) jk.
- In your hotel room and in public spaces you’ll find a black arrow on the ceiling. It indicates the direction to the Mecca Cube. Muslims pray facing this direction.
- 5 times per day you’ll hear prayers from the speakers in any public areas.
- As a woman, you’ll be asked to wear decent clothing (covering your shoulders and knees) at the malls.
- You can’t buy alcohol from any shops.
- The unemployment rate in Dubai is zero.
- The crime rate in Dubai is also zero.