UAE United Arab Emirates
Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the UAE, United Arab Emirates, a country that only came into existence forty one years ago.
The discovery of vast oil reserves soon after rapidly created a millionaires’ paradise. Twenty five years ago Dubai was a small desert town famed for pearl diving, but with the help of oil revenue the city many love to loathe erupted from the desert. Gleaming skyscrapers, obscene luxury and extravagant mod cons, Dubai presents itself as one of the financial and tourism capitals of the world, and with over 80% of the population expatriates (the majority from India, Pakistan and the Philippines), the city certainly has a global feel… but there a dark side if you choose to look.
According to www.tripadvisor.co.uk there are over 600 hotels in Dubai – this may not sound like many for such a major tourist hub, however this equates to over 100,000 rooms. The Atlantis itself has over 1500 rooms! Not our idea of fun, but we were lucky as we had a 12 day trip to Dubai with no hotel costs as Judiths daughter and son in law had just moved to a Villa in the desert. The cost of a hotel in Dubai varies greatly, from a basic right up to the worlds only 6 star hotel the Burj Al Arab where rooms can be £6000 a night!
The downside of staying in the desert was that the only transport is by taxi – we used Uber but at £15-£20 a time, each way, it severely limited our days out. Here are the places we visited:
Dubai Marina Dhow Cruise
We booked and paid for this through Trip Advisor which meant we had a record of the booking and didn’t have to worry about printing off a ticket as it as on our phone. Another good place to look for deals is www.groupon.ae.
It was an extremely hot evening and very busy on the boat, but we got a top deck seat and the views were absolutely amazing. We paid for a really nice photo of the two of us which was around £5 but worth it!! The entertainment is a man dressed up in lights who spins so make sure you don’t have epilepsy as it might be a trigger!! However it is a great way to see the Marina, all the amazing yachts and you go out to sea just for a bit so you have the view of the skyline as you come back into the Marina.
Again this was a trip booked through www.groupon.ae – you don’t necessarily get a great discount but you get a good seat in the restaurant aptly called Atmosphere – the best time to go is just before sunset so you get to see all the lights of the City come on and you can see over to the Burj Al Arab and onto the Marina. There is a minimum spend of 200 UAE dhs (£45) but that is easy to do and in fact we spent less, but they didn’t say anything!!
The three main malls in Dubai that we visited was The Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall and the IBN Butatta Mall.
The Al Qudra lake, located in the middle of the Seih Al Salam desert and Bab Al Shams, was created and managed by the civic body as part of a project to green and enrich that part of the desert of Dubai
Access is via a sandy, stony road with no clear signage so it is best to have a good look at a map or read some reviews before you go. The temperature here in May was over 50 centigrade and you could actually hear your skin crackle with the heat!
In May the average daily temperature was between 42-46 degrees centigrade (although in the desert it pushed 52!) We aren’t sure what the temperature of the sea was but it was rather like a warm bath. The sand is really hot and is impossible to walk on so remember your flip flops! To rent a sunbed and umbrella it is around £20 so the best thing to do is take your towel. Along the area known as JBR (Jumeriah Beach Resort) there are many cafes and shops so you will never be short of things to do!!