Easter at City of Gold – Dubai

It was another impromptu holiday adventure. Thanks to the great last-minute offer by Cathay Pacific Fanfare, I finally made my way to the City of Gold, Dubai.

Dubai fascinated me with all its iconic mega structures and glamorous attractions. The city is so new, modern and clean, it’s like a trip to Tomorrowland. Over 70% of the city is occupied by international foreigners. It is so colourful and rich in diversity that I overlook the flaws of this fabricated and superficial world. It is easy to forget this is a Muslim city. For a second, I thought I was in the City of Sins. I asked the taxi driver to bring me to the casinos and naughty joints. Of course, he reminded me I was in an Arab world.

I love the Arabians – both men and women. Sharp features, big eyes and long eye lashes, I was so attracted by their good looks. It was rather intriguing for me to see a family of multiple wives traveling with an alpha male. In this unique world of polygamy, how do these women live peacefully together?  I must say the Arabian men are gifted.

Tracy and I spent a total of 5 days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is extremely easy to navigate around the city. The metro is so efficient and comfortable. City-planning is excellent here. Most of the attractions are found around the metro stations.

Beside the usual desert and mosque tours, I enjoy shopping in Dubai downtown. Their malls are so big that I can spend one full day exploring them. There are just too many nice stuffs to buy here! There are many things that I don’t see in Singapore or Hong Kong. The selection is pretty wide here. And best of all, we enjoyed the great customer service here!

On our first day, we woke up at 5am to catch sunrise at the top of the world’s tallest building, Burg Khalifa (named after the ruler and sponsor of UAE). The place was so big that Tracy and I got lost while trying to find our way to its entrance. What an adventure to roam aimlessly around the giant mall at 5:30am in the morning.

The view from the top (at 124th floor) was magnificent! It was very cooling and there weren’t many people. We sat by the deck for over an hour to capture some really nice time-lapse. It was a good idea to come here first. From above, we were able to look around the city and got familiarised with the key landmarks. What a great way to start the holiday!

Next stop, we went to visit Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Located just beside the 7-star hotel, Burj Al Arab (aka The Sail), Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a re-creation of an Arabian shopping street. Mostly air-conditioned indoor with a couple of shaded outdoor alleys, it was quite enjoyable to shop here. At noon, we went to another mega mall (Mall of the Emirates) nearby to have lunch. There, we spent a bomb shopping.

We ended our first day back at Dubai Mall (located at Burg Khalifa). We visited the world’s famous Dubai Aquarium and the Dubai Fountain. Having visited the world’s largest aquarium tank at Zhuhai Chimelong, the mall aquarium didn’t impressed me that much. It was actually pretty small and old, I feel. The Dubai Fountain was also overstated. It was just a big musical fountain with endless crowd.

On our second day, we signed up for a half-day desert adventure where we rode desert buggy and experienced some insane 4WD dune drive.

This was the first time I set foot on the desert. The super-fine sand was very soft and comfortable. It wasn’t as hot as I had expected. What I hated most was the desert wind. The wind picked up the fine sand particles and rained them hard against my body. It felt like a million stings “sandblasted” on the exposed area of my legs and arms. Now I understand why the Arab dresses like that. It was too late to ask for a full-body sand coat. (Later that evening, I spent a great deal of time to dust the super fine sand off my camera, shoes and phone!)

The desert buggy was super fun, especially going up and down the steep dunes. The 4WD dune drive was intense. I wouldn’t recommend this to my wife and son who suffer from motion-sickness. One of the tourists in our car vomited after the insane ride. For me, I truly enjoyed it without any problem. Despite the rocking and violent ride, I felt very safe in the car. Truly enjoyable!

We spent the late afternoon exploring the old Dubai streets by the Creek. The underground air-conditioned Dubai Museum was a good treat. We had late lunch at one of the many river-side cafes.

On our third day, we signed up for a full-day tour to Abu Dhabi. We took a 2-hour car ride to the infamous Sex-&-the City. There, we visited the majestic and beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Ferrari World. Our tour guide also brought us to Etihad Tower where Fast & Furious 7 shot the impossible flyover stunt!

With so little time and so many things to see, I decided to slow down our pace on the 4th and 5th day. Due to the nature of my job, I spent the last 2 days exploring new malls and retail concepts.

Overall, it was a very rewarding and eye-opening trip for us. Dubai is a dream city for many foreigners who come to realise their dreams. The city is still in transition and has so much untapped possibilities to offer. With good governance and talents, I am sure Dubai will continue to flourish and prosper as the world’s top iconic city.

2 Responses to Easter at City of Gold – Dubai

  1. Adel says:

    May I know which hotel did u stay in Dubai? As I’m planning to go in march.

    Thanks in adv

    • Wahbiang says:

      I won’t recommend you my hotel as I find it overpriced. I personally like the location around the Dubai Mall, as it is near the subway station and the big shopping mall (plus the tallest building!). Check on booking.com for your favorite hotel around this location. Taxi can be problematic during late afternoon like 3-4pm and peak hours, the subway is more reliable and it is super fast and clean!

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