Dubai is one of the fast growing cities in the world and has developed to a global city and business hub in the last 25 years. It’s known for its skyscrapers including the tallest building in the world, its huge malls and the enormous wealth of the sheikhs. On my way to Taipei I had the chance to stay two days in the city of Dubai. Saying yes to this possibility to see this buzzling city was definitely a no brainer. So I booked my flights and an Airbnb apartment in a couple of minutes and said to myself, see you soon, Dubai!
I arrived after a comfortable flight with one of the new Emirates’ new Airbus A380s at midnight in Dubai. Size matters in Dubai. This can be felt immediately after arriving at the airport. The arrival halls, passport controls, etc. are just huge! After a little walk through the halls and picking up my luggage, I took a cab to my apartment, which was close to the airport and simple, but clean and comfortable.
After a couple of hours of sleep I was ready to explore that gigantic place. My first stop was The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, which is a non-profit organisation and it strives to raise awareness and demystify the local culture, religion and customs. I booked a seat for the so called “cultural lunch”. During the lunch aspects of the religion and customs are explained and of course local food is served. You can every question you have on your mind and no will be offended or laugh about that question. I can’t recommend the lunch enough. It was really interesting, delicious and hilarious.
During the lunch I met a nice American couple and we decided to explore the city together. So our next stops were the souks in the creek area. To get there we used one of traditional boats called dhow to cross the creek. After wandering through the souks and seeing a lot of gold, we decided to take the metro to the Dubai marina.
Dubai marina is an artificial canal city, which shall contain in the future around 120000 people in skyscrapers and high-rises. This part of Dubai is really astonishing and actually really quiet (for Dubai). Walking around the Promenade and having a look on the surrounding Skyline is amazing. I had always the feeling that I’m on a science fiction movie set, which is based in a city in 2100. After that you can go for a swim at the beach or just enjoy the sunset and wait till skyline is illuminated in the night as we did.
After the beach my American friends went back to their hotel, while I took the metro to the Dubai mall to wander around and have close look on the Burj Khalifa. The mall is huge, you can buy everything you want there and also getting lost is really easy J. The mall is also known for its sea life aquarium with sharks, stingrays and corals. The aquarium is impressive and full of life even for a scuba diver like I am. I ended my journey through Dubai after having a short look on the Burj Khalifa and went home to my apartment.
My next day started with a bus ride to the Jumeirah Mosque, where you can take part in a guided tour and visit the mosque. It was really interesting to learn more about rites in the mosque and to Islam religion. Afterwards I also enjoyed an exceptional delicious camel ice cream, which they offer at the visitor center, before I went to the financial center of Dubai.
The financial center is unfortunately not that interesting, but you have a nice view on the skyscrapers, which are situated on sheikh zayed road.
From the financial center I went to the Mall of Emirates to see a curiosity: the indoor skiing hall. I wasn’t disappointed. It is really strange to see somebody skiing in a hall, which is right in the desert. But a detail made the hall exceptional weird. There are real penguins next to the ski track and you can watch how they are more or less pushed into a small pool…
After that curiosity I went to the Dubai mall, had a small after noon lunch there and was waiting to get up to the Burj Khalifa, which was the last part of my visit in Dubai. If you want to go up to the top, it’s a good idea to save money and buy the tickets in advance. Even though it’s not cheap to go up there, it’s definitely worth it and probably THE highlight of a dubai visit. The view on the skyscraper, desert and sea is stunning and you are really above everything else.
Having a lot of pictures and impressions of Dubai in my mind and camera I went back to my apartment and got ready for my flight to Taipei. My conclusion of Dubai? It is definitely worth a visit, because it’s showing some extreme aspects of the modern world. The Dubai marina looks like set of a science fiction movie and the malls are commercialised version of a usual shopping district with places to eat, shop and landmarks.