Hello Dubai! Hello, Summer 2017 (a very early summer for somebody who is living in Central Europe)! It was March the 10th, 2017. We arrived at DBX airport from Munich at 7:00 am in the morning after a 6-hour flight. At that time, the airport was relatively empty, we went through immigration (a very easy procedure, but we looked at the officer as serious as possible 😀 Even the 5l Beer Can from Munich Airport was no problem…), we got our bags and spent another 15 min with looking for the MRT Station. Unfortunately, the MRT doesn’t work before 10:00 am on Fridays (Saturday – Thursday 6am-11pm; Friday 2pm-12pm, because Friday is a “prayer day”). So we spent another 30 min and ca 35 € on a taxi which brought us to our fabulous hotel.
But let’s talk about “Why” choosing Dubai? To be honest, this place hasn’t been on my bucket list, but it was definitely on my “Transit-to-Southeast-Asia-To-Do-List”. So, travelling to Malaysia this year, gave me the opportunity to make a fat “checkmark” on the second list. Having in mind all the stories and superlatives about this city, which I bumped into the last couple of years, my expectations about the city “where everything is possible” (but only if you have some money in your pocket) got higher and higher. So high, that I was expecting a good mixture between Las Vegas, New York, and Singapore. But (unfortunately) it was not. Probably, if Dubai was one of the first destinations to visit in my life, I would have been more “wowed”. But I felt no “magic” or what so ever during the three days which I spent in the desert city.
With or without the “magic” which I was expecting, Dubai offers plenty of amazing things to do and see: the biggest skyscraper on Earth, the biggest shopping centers, an audacious and unconventional architecture, giant man-made islands, clubs and bars, the flourishing art scene, and last but not least – amazing weather and beautiful beaches! I can hardly believe, but 40 years ago, there was almost NOTHING here. Before the Metropolis became one of the biggest metropolises on Earth, here was only the Desert to remind of some existence. And look at it now – Dubai is by far the most liberal of all emirates and most modern entertainment capital of the Middle East!
Despite the fact that Dubai is a modern metropolis – the word “modern” has (for me) some meaning in a context of using it when comparing it to some other countries of the Middle East.
Here is my manual for visiting Dubai as a Guest:
- Dress modestly: skirts to the knees or longer, top with sleeves, covered shoulders and knees, or overall nothing too tight or revealing. There are many foreigners who don’t obey the “unwritten” dress code and in some situations, this could even offend the locals!
- Wear swimwear only at the beach, hotel swimming pool or aqua parks!
- Getting too cosy with your partner could be a problem in public. With getting cosy I mean even holding hands or kissing.
- I don’t think homosexuality is legal.
- If you’re travelling couple, let your husband/boyfriend talk to strangers (taxi drivers, waiters, shop assistants). In some cases, after Me asking something, they just looked at my husband (totally ignoring me) and gave him the answer to my question.
- Don’t drink in public! It is illegal. (But no problem – you won’t find alcohol that easy as it is available only in hotels and clubs.)
- Don’t do drugs!
- Never shake hands with a local woman!
- Never take a photograph of Sheikhs’ palaces, police stations, military installations and random women without permission (the last one is considered rude and intrusive).
- Loud music and dancing are forbidden in public places (no belly dance at the beach, please!).
- And, please – be sure you’re in the right cabin when travelling with the MRT – there are some Women-Only cabins and if you are a man travelling in one of those, the trip will become really expensive for you.
We stayed at Atana Hotel for three nights and I could definitely say, we had a nice time here! The building is very modern and luxurious. The breakfast is mega good! The WiFi, parking, fitness centre, as well as the spa center, are for free. You will be close to the new Dubai attractions (as Marina Bay and the Palm Jumeirah) and additionally the hotel offers free shuttle services to JBR Beach, The Mall of Emirates and other attractions. The Hotel is also located near a MRT Station and a few minutes of ride to Burj Khalifa. I can only recommend staying in this hotel as it has a really good price-quality ratio!
JBR Beach in Dubai is one of those rare attractions in Dubai which you can do for FREE. Here you can bring a towel and enjoy the sun and the warm water of the Persian Gulf without having to pay a massive bill afterwards. This is a beautiful location for beach-lovers (like me) and probably one of the best places to spend some time outdoors in Dubai! But if you’re keen on beach clubs you can choose among e.g. the Meydan, Hilton and Sheraton Beach Club (of course not for free).
There is a lot you can do at JBR Beach – you can go for kiting or parasailing, eat at some upscale restaurants, walk through the world best boutique hotels and shopping centres! Jumeirah Beach has a trendy 1.7-kilometer strip: for many “The Walk” is the coolest outdoor tourist attraction in the city!
Palm Jumeirah is one of the two artificial islands of Dubai, which offers a supremely luxury experience including best resorts and beachfront villas, restaurants, aqua parks, shopping facilities and more! Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali are among the most unique and supreme estate projects in UAE, but at the same time, with its 60 kilometres of shoreline, it is the biggest man-made island in the world as well.
More than 94 million cubic meters of sand and 7 million tons of rock from the ocean’s floor were used for the enclosure of Palm Jumeirah. Each of the two unrivalled islands represents a covey of numerous smaller islands which look like a palm tree from above (and therefore the name). Interesting fact is that more than 100 studies took place and even some of the best specialized divers were employed before the beginning of its construction.
How to get there? Instead of taxy, take The Palm Monorail from the Monorail station. The station is located at the very beginning of the bridge, which connects Atlantis Hotel with the mainland. The prices for the Palm Monorail tickets are 15 Dirhams (ca 6 EUR for a single trip) and 25 Dirhams (ca 4 EUR to Atlantis Hotel and back).
Meet the second most Instagrammed hotel in the world – Atlantis The Palm (the first one is “The Cosmopolitan” in Las Vegas. You can have a look at my Las Vegas posts here)! For the construction of its 1.373 guestrooms and 166 suites were used more than 58.000 km of steel bars and 2.200 tonnes of marble and stone! There is nothing you cannot find here: more than 40 boutiques and shops, plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, aqua world, the Dolphin Bay, interaction lagoons … etc … etc … – actually you could live here for a while! More than 3.000 people from 42 different nationalities can serve ca 5.000 people at one time in a single day! Crazy, isn’t it?!
Last attraction on our “To-Do” list for “Day 1” was the Marina Bay. Located not far away from the hotel, the so called “Manhattan” of Dubai was a good way to end the first day of our stay here. The artificial bay is the most beloved place for romantic walks among foreign tourist and guests from all cultures, nationalities and religions. Here you can find numerous shopping centres (most favoured among the Marina Mall), great international restaurants, cafes and walking areas.
The Bay of “New Dubai” is the most modern area in the metropolis which stretches over 4 km and is home to 200 brand new skyscrapers (probably half of them were completely empty! But if you’re keen on investing in Dubai, you could even rent a whole building – there is enough empty space here!). The waterfront promenade is a great place for spending your afternoon or evening. Even better, you can enjoy your dinner in one of the sky bars that offer some scenic views of the Persian Gulf …
Have you been to Dubai? What is your favourite secret place here? I’m really curious to read all about it!
Enjoy the day!
*This post contains Affiliate Links. I only recommend high-quality items and services I am confident about. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.