This time last year, I spent ten days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Dubai was so much more than I ever expected. Dubai is nestled in the desert and connects to the Persian Gulf. It is one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is not a country itself. I am grateful for all of the adventures & surprises! The people are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and the city is remarkably safe. The food, architecture, and art were intricate and breathtaking.
Mouhalabieh is a traditional Arabic dessert with rose water and orange blossom.
Biryani is rice, meat or veggies, saffron, served with fried onions and nuts.
Burj Khalifa inside Dubai Mall: Two birds, one stone. The world’s tallest building. If you’re going to go the Burj Khalifa, you absolutely must go to the Sky Observation Deck. As someone with a fear of heights, this was an incredible experience. The panoramic views will leave you speechless. Pushing limits and challenging yourself outside of your comfort zone is how you grow.
Safari / Dune Bashing: For the most part, the entire country is a desert, but doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience this! Dune bashing is incredible and just being there is astonishing. When people ask why do it, my question is why not?
Uber Chopper: Never knew this was an option until I got to Dubai. It is available for Dubai city tours only. Complete game changer. DO IT!
Souks: Gold souks, spice souks, perfume souks, textile souks, oh my!
Old Town: If you like things off the beaten path, this is definitely for you. None of it is glitzy. It’s more of a cultural experience.
I stayed at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City; it was never a dull moment with so much to do and see.
Atlantis, The Palm: This is great if you want to be on the beach all of the time, but as a FL native, the beach and all of the traffic was not for me, especially on vacation.
Burj Al Arab: The ONLY 7 star hotel in the world… Need I say more?
The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City: This hotel was perfect because it was far enough from the beaches but close enough to all of the activities.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque: The women are required to wear an abaya and headscarf to cover up.
Emirates Palace Hotel
Louvre Abu Dhabi
I will do another Insider’s Guide on Abu Dhabi, but until then, here’s a little snippet. Enjoy!
Verizon Travel Pass: Game changer, lifesaver. Seriously. $10 per day on top of my original phone plan, genius.
Emirates: This airline is beyond impressive. Nothing is overlooked and everything is done to perfection. The ceiling lights up as the night sky (honestly, this might have been my favorite feature aside from the reclining beds and champagne).
“The smile, for us in the UAE, is a part of our personality, our identity, and our way of dealing with people.”