Let’s be honest! Like me, you too, want to see how the future would look, right? Well, you can just imagine the future. However, to experience it, you must visit the ‘Vegas in the Middle East’, which has undergone some of the boldest futuristic projects.
My opinion about the Dubai trip from India was simple- a city with the broadest roads, soaring skyscrapers, ambitious architecture, and a starkly evocative desert splendor. But I took a trip to Dubai, and my opinion changed.
This city of contrast is trapped between two worlds; It is bold enough to make the audacious decisions to make Dubai a megalopolis and is conservative to the core to adhere to its cultural and traditional roots. This is what makes it a city of contrast.
When I first decided Dubai to be my next destination, I only had a few places in mind. But when it comes to a vacation, things go differently than planned.
I had an afternoon flight to Dubai, which was delayed for no apparent reason. I was hopping from one corner to another, sipping cups of coffee to kill time. After a 3-hour delay, I finally heard the good news; it was time to board and fly to Dubai.
Finally At Dubai Airport
I saw Dubai’s opulence and sheer grandeur from above the sky. That was enough to make me fall in love with this beautiful city. As our flight touched the ground, trust me, I felt an adrenaline rush in my veins, not because of the sudden gravity but because my days with Dubai had just started.
As I entered the Arrival Gate, I already got an impression of Dubai. It handles 181,000 passengers daily, making it one of the world’s busiest airports. The airport is divided into 3 terminals, each catering to specific passengers, airlines, and routes.
Terminal 1 receives all international flights and can accommodate more than 20 million passengers annually. Terminal 2 handles international flights, charters, and special interest flights.
Terminal 3 is dedicated to all the Emirates and Qantas flights and can cater to more than 43 million passengers. Each terminal is well connected by public transport.
T1 has its own train, which takes passengers to and from the gates. Even the check-in stations, immigration counters, E-gates, and baggage carousels were equipped with the latest technology, which helped me through this usually lengthy process within a few minutes. I assumed my Dubai trip from India was going to be a great one.
Dubai Duty Free
I didn’t have the strength and time to spend at duty-free shops in Dubai on my arrival, so I saved it for my departure day. Dubai Duty-Free Shops has an impressive collection.
You find everything here, whether you talk about luxury brands, makeup kits, expensive perfumes, electronic gadgets, food, or liquor. The Dubai Duty-Free shops are the world’s largest travel retail operator.
The shopaholic in me pushed me to buy some, and I did on my way back home.
I booked a cab, which dropped me at my hotel. It was an hour’s drive from the airport. Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, 911 Porsche, and Range Rover were common sights on the road.
This flashy city never shies away from showing off, no doubt! It is a multicultural city with a rich cultural heritage to flaunt and take pride in.
However, I was already exhausted, and the day was almost over. I checked in and went straight to my room for sound sleep. I wanted myself prepared for the next day.
Our first day in Dubai began with a trip to Dubai Miracle Garden, located in the Dubailand district. This floral garden was launched on Valentine’s day in 2013 and is spread across an area of 72,000 something square meters.
It is the world’s largest natural flower garden, boasting over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants. To make the floral extravaganza even more opulent, they have built a replica of Burj Khalifa, arcs, tombs, huts, and an Emirate A380, all decorated with colorful flowers.
No doubt, it was a sight to behold. The replicas of a genie, a baby elephant, and a pair of swans make it look like you have entered a floral wonderland where everything is green or colorful.
The Dubai Miracle Garden ticket price was AED 225 for 3 people, including all taxes. As you enter the heart-shaped passageways, you will understand that it is worth the penny.
To make the visit even more fulfilling, they have added a butterfly garden, where you will have the toughest time spotting and tracking 15,000 butterflies.
We were undoubtedly hungry after roaming around, and we had other plans for the evening. We went to one of the food stalls and killed our hunger. The garden also has some international food stalls to check your appetite.
Can you imagine a trip to Dubai without giving Burj Khalifa a visit? Undoubtedly, it is the signature landmark of Dubai’s skyline, which attracts millions of visitors from all over the world annually.
We were no exception and hence decided to spend the evening there. As we visited this man-made wonder that pierced through the sky at 828 m, I knew that of all that Dubai has to offer, Burj Khalifa surely takes the spotlight.
We booked the entry ticket online, which helped to save a lot more time. Though timed tickets are available at the counter, they sell out quickly. It costs AED 154 per person and can go up during prime hours. It has 164 floors, with offices, residential units, restaurants, bars, observation decks, etc.
It takes more than two hours to cover the trip. With so many awe-inspiring architectures and impressive sights, I was overwhelmed by my Dubai trip from India.
Since we had enough time before the laser show started, we decided to head to Burj Khalifa’s observation deck. Admiring the cityscape from the world’s tallest building is a crave-worthy experience, and we couldn’t resist the urge.
The observation deck that we visited was on the 124th floor. Some high-powered viewfinders and telescopes use HD cameras, which bring distant views into focus.
I am a bit acrophobic, but with some push from my buds and the inner urge to see something so spectacular, I took a step and enjoyed the spellbinding view of the city.
After that, we came down to witness the famed laser show from the edge of Burj Lake. Burj Khalifa’s laser show is the largest on a single structure. We waited eagerly for the show to start, which displays thousands of lights and lasers that paint out elaborate patterns and colors, creating a magical sight in the sky.
The Burj Khalifa fountain show timings are from 6 pm to 11 pm daily. The show is different every night. Most of the time, it showcases national and international celebrations, festivals, and social awareness or pays homage to the rich history and heritage of the country.
After a few minutes, the laser show and the Burj Khalifa fountain show started together with soothing Arabic music. We were so fascinated that we couldn’t decide whether to watch the spellbinding laser show or the fountain show. Both of them were out of the world. It has 25 colored projectors, 6,500 lights, and 20k gallons of water.
How could not anyone get captivated by this beguiling combination of light and music? Those wanting a closer look at the fountain show can take a traditional Abra ride too.
While processing what we had seen, we decided to visit Dubai Mall, a 4-minute walk via Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Blvd. It is the world’s second-largest mall after Iran Mall.
It is home to 1,200 retail shops and is a paradise for shopaholics. From luxurious apparel brands to electronic gadgets, it has everything you need. The mall is so vast that we couldn’t explore everything.
The hunger kicked in, and we decided to take a seat somewhere. However, we were overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of restaurants and cafes it has.
From world-famous outlets like The Cheesecake Factory, Gia, Tribe’s Carnivore, and Indian restaurants like The Indian Palace Express, Dubai Mall has all flavors for all taste buds.
We were a bit extravagant and decided to visit Gia, which offers rooftop seating. From there, catching a glimpse of the Burj Khalifa fountain show was easy.
Our second day in Dubai was dedicated to endless sands, dunes, and desert adventures. Since the desert is more than 35 km from downtown Dubai and takes more than 3 to 4 hours, we had to start early.
We only realized we had left the city behind when we started driving through the desert. Excitement already gave me goosebumps, as I knew it would be an experience for a lifetime.
An Adventurous Day
There were a plethora of adventurous activities awaiting us. The ultimate Dubai best desert safari had everything from bashing the dunes to quad biking, desert skiing, and camel riding.
We instantly hopped on a quad bike and sailed through some of the most dramatic dunes of the Arabian desert. As we bashed the high-rise dunes, we saw some tourists enjoying skiing in the sands.
Enough to try our skill. Although I have tried ice skiing before, sand skiing is something I wasn’t sure about. But as destiny has it for me, I waded down the dune, and the experience was thrilling.
For adventure junkies, it is the best desert safari in Dubai, where you can have all kinds of thrilling activities you want. The next adventure for me was riding the ‘vehicle in the desert’. You guessed it right. Camel riding.
A bumpy camel ride up and down the dunes will take you back to the medieval time when deserts were a popular trade route in the Middle East.
It was a 45-minute ride, which gave us an opportunity to explore Arabian wildlife. The vastness of the lonesome desert will make you feel like a tiny soul, as it did to me. I was so fascinated by the bewitching landscapes until one of the camels thought to bring me back to my senses.
An Eventful Evening
Watching sunset views in the desert is another popular activity. Tourist groups were gathered to admire the splendid beauty of the setting sun behind the dunes.
Finally, the sun set and the cultural events were about to start. We all sat on the chairs surrounding the stage. The event began with a fire show, where professionals synchronically danced with flame cannons and displayed their highly-skilled moves.
The next to mesmerize us was the traditional Tanoura dance. It is an Egyptian folk dance danced by a male dancer. It originated in the 12th century from the Sufi fraternities. The skirt worn during the Tanoura dance is well-crafted in the Sufi order.
The performer spins continuously with five traditional shields (I don’t know what it’s called) in hand. They skillfully change the moves, which makes it difficult to navigate how it was done. We were awed!
And when it comes to relishing Arabic cuisine, the best desert safari in Dubai never disappoints you. Food was an overwhelming affair, from barbequed meat to lamb ouzi, chicken shawarma, and Lebanese bread. The spread includes warm appetizers such as falafel, hummus, and fattoush.
From the grill, you can pick lamb kebab, Chicken drumsticks, shish tauk, etc. We had an amazing desert safari with a bbq dinner Dubai night in the deserts, which will live on to our taste for a long time.
The total Dubai desert safari cost was just AED 250 per person, which I believe is fair enough for such a lavish fun filled day.
Gold Souk Dubai is a traditional market in Deira, Dubai’s commercial district. It has over 380 retailers, most of which sell gold jewelry. It is the largest and oldest gold market in the world.
One interesting fact about this one of the most expensive markets is it has no security outside the shops. Another fact is it has the world’s largest gold necklace, which is on display here.
No doubt, it is a paradise for women and all gold lovers. We crossed the Dubai Creek in one of the Abras, which frequently runs to Deira.
As we entered the market, we saw a large number of visitors window shopping, bargaining, and admiring the gold ornaments put on display. Each shop displays the standard market price of gold and continuously updates it whenever there is a change in the price.
No matter what your budget is or which design you are looking for, these shops offer mixed 18-carat to pure 24-carat gold ornaments of all designs. You will find expensive diamonds, rubies, pearls, and other precious stones besides intricate gold jewelry.
If you are here to buy gold, you do not have to worry about the quality and authenticity of the products, as the Dubai Government continuously regularizes these shops and makes frequent inspections.
Since we were not interested in Gold, we decided to visit other shops. Some retail shops sell incense burners, saffron, spices, textile items, handicrafts, shisha pipes, traditional rugs, etc. You will easily hit the jackpot if you are best at a bargain.
We traversed through the narrow roads for half an hour and bought some Middle-eastern spices and a traditional rug as a souvenir.
Another must-visit place in Gold Souk was the perfume Souk, located at the east corner of the main market. The air of the market was filled with fragrances, which can inspire you to buy one.
From exotic to traditional Arabic Itar, you will find thousands of fragrances in these shops. No doubt, it is a difficult task to choose the best fragrance. We ended up buying some traditional perfumes and headed back to our hotel.
Meena Bazaar in BurDubai is an iconic shopping hub where you can buy everything and anything at the best prices. It is a perfect place to buy electronic gadgets, including iPhones and watches.
I was so disappointed that I paid more for perfumes at Perfume Souk the other day, as I was getting the same product at a cheaper rate here.
The shops of Meena Bazar have numerous items of interest, such as hand-embroidered apparel, imported textiles like authentic Pashmina and rayon textiles from India. Apart from the clothing section, you will find antiques, unique gemstones, silverware, etc.
Although there was a huge crowd in the market, most visitors gathered around the snack vendors selling Indian and Pakistani snacks. We squeezed ourselves through the crowd and bought some to bring back home.
Returning With Memories to Cherish Forever
So, finally, the fun was over, and it was time to return home. We booked a cab from our hotel, which picked us up on time. We reached the airport 2 hours before our scheduled departure time, which gave us some time at the airport’s Duty-Free shops.
These Duty-Free shops are the best place to buy liquor; we did the same. Finally, it was time to board the flight, and we left Dubai with the best memories of this ‘Vegas in the Middle East’.
- Public transport in Dubai is popular. Taxis are available within every five minutes.
- Tourists who buy gold and electronics, can get the VAT refunded at the airport (VAT is 5% and the refund will be 3.5%). However, they need to present an invoice and goods which they purchased.
- Having a great bargaining skill can save you a fortune.
- Always buy gold from the retailers of Gold Souk. avoid street vendors, who claim to sell authentic gold jewelry.
- Try to book tickets for the attractions online. Dubai is a tourist destination, and is always crowded. There are always long queues outside the top attractions, and tickets sell out quickly.
- Dubai is hot throughout the year. So wear something light and comfortable.
Meta: Book a flight now and take a Dubai trip from India. Learn about various sights, places, and desert safari in Dubai. Shop in its bustling markets.