For a couple of ladies who were used to the cosmopolitan lifestyle, Dubai certainly felt like home. The food was great and getting around was so easy. Well…At least that’s what we expected. And for the most part, we weren’t disappointed. We thought, How challenging can it be, right? Boy, were we wrong.
We travelled in December, which is winter time in Dubai. Before long, on our first night exploring the city, we were shivering under our abayas and had to make a desperate dash to the nearest mall to buy a thick coat. Lesson learnt: do not skip your research before you make the trip.
Finally armed with the proper outfits for exploring, we soon found that Dubai certainly knew how to pamper its visitors – our daily itinaries were packed, and a week flew by in a jiffy before we can say halas (which means “done” in arabic).
For those who have more time and money to spare, you can treat yourself in a myriad of ways. That may include splurging in all of the iconic malls (check out Wafi, which had a huge underground, airconditioned version of a Dubai souk), or having a close encounter with a falcon in the middle of the desert. Take some time to explore the city via the Dubai Metro, if not, cab rides are pretty affordable too.
Since our trip was pretty short, we made sure we covered the basics:
1. At The Top, Burj Khalifa – you just don’t visit Dubai and not check this out. From $34, you can have bragging rights to have seen the world from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. You can top up and go for the 148th floor, which has been dubbed the highest observation deck in the world.
2. Gold Souk – it’s easy to get lured into the airconditioned megamalls, but we think the souks, or traditional markets, have their own rustic charm and are certainly every shoppers’ heaven. Being fans of all things glittery, we made sure we paid a visit to the Gold Souk, which was located at the Deira business district. The key word here is to bargain – if you don’t know how, at least do a bit of research so you can save a few dirhams. The souks are huge, so bring a comfortable pair of footwear. When you need a break from all the shopping, you’ll be happy to know the place is littered with food stalls selling street food (think chicken kebabs selling for $2).
3. Venture out to a desert safari –
For fuss-free sightseeing, check out BigBus Tours – which includes a trip to a desert sanctuary. Once there, you can enjoy camel rides, henna art, and view the magnificent Arabian sunset over a romantic dinner. You can purchase tickets online from $60. Take note that the desert sunset tour operates only on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Let us know your wintery Dubai experience!