What to do in Dubai

If I were to visit Dubai again, I would have planned some things differently. Our first two days in Dubai we spent frantically running from one activity to the next, not fully aware of what we really want. So it is our third day in Dubai and now we are finally in track and I’d like to share some experiences and recommendations.

First day should start with a city tour. We did an evening tour with Book Dubai Tour for about $110 USD (plus tip for the driver) which suited our needs perfectly. The tour gave us a quick overview of the city and we got to see places we would never have seen on our own.

From there, one can easily figure out what site one wants to explore in depth. For us it was Burj Kalifa, Madinat Jumeirah, and Palm Island. Ironically, we already went to Burj Kalifa and went up top. We went during daylight so we missed out on the fountains, which was fulfilled during city tour. We also went to Madinat Jumeirah to the Madinat theater and the Gold souk. Now we definitely have to come back there again.

The second day I’d go to Abu Dhabi for an all day tour, to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and do some sightseeing around the city. During the tour we were left at the Ferrari World Center for an hour, which would have been a complete waste of time, have we not found and amazing restaurant Al Fanar, serving Emirati cuisine. I especially recommend Samak Tanoor which is served with a large plate of basmati rice, as well as arabic coffee.

Day 3 I’d spend in the desert, doing some sand dune bashing, riding camels and enjoying some barbeque at the beduin camp setting. Sand bashing was by al’ means the highlight of our trip. Wear comfortable clothing, suitable for camel rides and sitting on the floor. Oh, and they do serve alcohol at the camp!

The rest of the days
I would dedicate to in depth exploration of the sights favorited during Dibai city tour and in the evening exploring some dining options.

I highly recommend not eating around the hotels in JBR, as the food was mediocre, overpriced and the atmosphere was lacking. The only two places I liked were Lebanese restaurant (name starts with J) off Al Mamsha road and Emirati restaurant Seven Sands. I became quite a fan of Emirati cuisine during our stay:)

There is also an amazing restaurant I want to point out – Local House restaurant in the Old Dubai, right next to the Dubai Coffee museum and in the proximity to Meena market and an abundance of the local shops. They serve a variety of burgers: camel, buffalo, ostrich… you name it. As well as amazing milk shakes made with camel milk. The burgers are around 50-60 dirhms and the shakes 30-35, based on what milk they are made with.

After dinner we had a cup of coffee at the Dubai Coffee museum, which was truly amazing. It is a must see place if you are a fan of coffee.

Maldives day 1

The flight was really long, about 17 hours in total plane time with layover in Dubai. The layover was supposed to be 2 hours, which we were planning to spend degustating local foods in the lounge, but since our flight was considerably late, we spend about 20 munutes, running through Dubai airport, accompanied by a stewardess and 3 other guests. Luckily we made it on time. The flight to Male was short and pleasant since we got plenty of leg room.

Upon arrival we picked up our only suitcase and headed outside where we were greeted by our hotel representative and taken to the boat.

The boat ride was about 40 minutes and was beautiful – surrounded by clear waters, sun and wind.

Once we arrived and checked in, we were driven to the far side of the resort, to where they had the over the water jacuzzi villas. It was nearly 6pm and it was not hot at all and the winds were pretty strong, walking on the wooden deck I had to take care not to fall overboard, to keep company to the variety of fishes, swimming back and forth under, feeding on some water bugs.

Our room was nearly at the very end of the deck – next to last villa in the lineup.

After dinner we headed straight to the room to rest up and were settling in to get to bed when I got a great idea – to put on my bathing suit and take a dip in the night waters.

The stairs from our jacuzzi room led straight into the waters beneath the villa.

One gotta take care as the very bottom of the steps is quite slippery. I was hesitant to swim far from the steps but the water was marvelous – felt like slightly warm milk. It also did not feel like an ordinary ocean water that leaves your skin a bit sticky, it felt on my skin no different than a tap water would.

The fish was swimming back and forth and we even saw a few large turtles and a small grey shark.