We were up early in the morning to get breakfast before we began our hour or so coach drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Edna, our tour guide, met us in the lobby of the hotel and once the whole group was aboard we departed to Dubai. We weren’t going straight to the hotel we would first be heading to the Dubai Mall for a short tour there before heading to the Dubai museum and then the ‘old town’ via a short boat trip.
The Dubai Mall is situated next to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 828 metres (2,717 ft) tall. A fact I recently learnt about the Burj Khalifa is that it is built completely on sand foundations. The friction in the sand caused by the weight of the building means it will not sink. Soon the Burj comes into view and we know we are getting close. The Dubai Mall is certainly a spectacle in itself, as we approached we saw stores for likes of Cartier, Gucci and Coco Chanel. The road outside the main entrance is lined with supercars and luxury SUVs and the place is swarming with groups of tourists.
We we enter the revolving doors were met by the huge aquarium and a tall model of The Tower at Dubai Creek, which when completed will be the tallest tower in the world.
We spent an hour roaming around the mall before meeting in front of the fountains to see the display. Each evening (when it is darker) the fountains put on displays to music every half an hour, they are spectacular. They are the world’s largest choreographed fountains and are designed by the same company responsible for the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
After we had seen the fountain display we headed back to the coach and onto the Dubai Museum. The museum showed the history of Dubai and it was interesting seeing it as just a desert and not the monopoly of skyscrapers that now grace the city. The oldest skyscraper in Dubai built in 1973, the Dubai World Trade Centre is still standing!
The old markets were something to behold, the stall holders come over and really want you to buy from them, they can be quite forceful. One of my friends was bundled into a shop and dressed head to toe in robes and head wear before he could escape. They really don’t take no for an answer! They sell everything from spices to soap.
After the museum and markets we got back on the coach and were taken to our second hotel of the holiday, the Time Grand Plaza. This hotel was a little smaller than the hotel in Abu Dhabi and wasn’t licensed to sell alcohol. We had a couple of hours at the hotel before our dinner cruise that evening around the Dubai marina. We managed to get on the top deck to eat our meal to have the full sight seeing experience. The architecture is amazing! It’s that long ago now I can’t remember exactly what we ate but I remember it was lovely. Before the start of a meal everyone is offered a date to start. Dates are a tradition in Emarati culture as the date tree is said to be the ‘tree of life’ in Islamic tradition.
The following day would be our last in Dubai and we would be heading to the Burj Al Arab, which many people will recognise as the 7 star hotel. Some rooms cost in excess of £20,000 a night! The hotel has its own fleet of Roll Royce cars all with the registration plates 7, 77, 777 and so on. As it is an exclusive hotel we would not be allowed into the ground however we got to stop at the gates and see it in all its glory. There was an option to have a tour of the hotel and a drink in the bar at an extra cost but that included the tour of the Burj Khalifa which my friends had already paid for before we knew it was an option with the travel company. The group we were with were due to have their tour of the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab that night.
After our stop at the Burj Al Arab we made our way to Jumeirah Palm and Atlantis The Palm Hotel. We were then given a tour of the aquarium at the hotel and allowed free time to roam and get some pictures and something to eat. Jumeirah Palm is completely man made.
Once we had explored the aquarium we met back at the coach to head back to the hotel. All the quests who had paid for the tours that evening would have a meal included whereas we didn’t. We decided that we would head to the hotel pool and spa for a bit of a chill out before working out our plans for the evening. We asked our tour guide if she could recommend anything for us and she told us about the Irish Village that was full of bars and restaurants inspired by Ireland so we headed there. We had a lovely pub lunch and a few drinks before retreating back to the hotel. This was our last night staying in Dubai as tomorrow we would be off to Sharjah.
We had a bit of an escapade on the way home from the Irish Village. We were trying to find a taxi that had room for 5 adult passengers. We waited and waited but only saw regular cars passing. We asked one of the drivers if they could call for a minibus for us and he said it would be ok and he would take all 5 of us in his car! We had 1 in the front and 4 in the back (one of my friends way lay across the 3 of us in seats keeping her head down). Not ideal but it made us all laugh. Our time in Dubai had been incredible and we were all excited about what the rest of the trip would bring.