Dubai by Marion Hogg
I visited Dubai earlier this year for a short break and as I had never been there before I was looking forward to experiencing the city and seeing how it compared to what I had read and heard about it.
We spent a fun filled day at the Aquaventure Waterpark at the Atlantis Hotel, located on the man-made island of The Palm, whose artificial fronds jut out into the Arabian Gulf. Aquaventure has dozens of water rides from family-friendly to seriously scary, feeding sessions with manta rays and close encounters with dolphins.
When you decide you are just too water logged and want to dry out – you can always join the locals in one of their favourites pastimes – shopping! The shopping malls are like miniature cities in themselves, and while you won’t find many bargains its worth taking the time just to wander through them and be amazed at the variety of shops and different things you can do in a shopping mall – like go skiing in the Mall of the Emirates!!
Whilst at the Dubai Mall don’t forget to visit the Dubai Fountain, the biggest and most impressive dancing fountain in the world. Performances are every 30 minutes between 6pm and 11pm, with choreographed water jets shooting 150m into the air, ‘dancing’ in time to well-known classical tunes and world music. Did I mention Dubai Mall has an Aquarium with a walk through tunnel? These aren’t your run of the mill shopping malls – nothing is run of the mill in Dubai.
Or before leaving the Dubai mall, take one of the fastest lifts in the world to the 124th floor of the tallest building in the world. ‘At the Top’ in Burj Khalifa provides unparalleled 360′ views of the city set against the stunning backdrop of the desert and the Arabian Sea.
If you aren’t all shopped out its well worth a visit to the Gold Souk located in the old town of Dubai. The gold is of a high standard and you can also buy silver. Bartering is expected and better still most little shops are air conditioned!
One of the “must dos” is going on the Desert Safari where you are driven out into the desert across the dunes by four wheel drive, watch a falcon show and then sit down at a Bedouin camp to enjoy a desert feast complete with Belly dancing, henna tattoos and of course a camel ride.
I enjoyed Dubai but keeping in mind it is a Muslim country with very strict dress codes and standards of behaviour – always a good idea to read up on a country’s local laws and customs before visiting and remember your travel agent can also give you some guidance.