Friday, 28 June 2013

Definitely Dubai

The Gulf’s most bustling city has a piece for everyone, especially tourists. Take a walk around JBR or hop into a car and enjoy a rollercoaster like experience in the sand dunes or walk through Bastakia Quarter for knowledge of traditional Dubai as opposed to the sky-high buildings and buy Gold at the Gold Souk or ski at Mall of the Emirates or simply shop till you drop. There is so much to do in Dubai. I give you a list of top 10 things to do.
1. Burj Khalifa
The planet’s tallest building is impossible to miss. Soaring above the city like a giant, it looks like a spaceship ready to take off. It truly is a wonder of modern technology and design. You could view the whole city in from the viewing deck at the 134th floor. Day or night, the view remains picturesque.
Tip: Book tickets a few days in advance, online. Visit in the evening and get a glimpse of the beautifully lit Dubai Mall fountain show, from atop.
2. Dubai Mall
Dubai is popular for its malls. This mall isn't simply huge but offers you so much more that you will find shopping and the food area, side attractions. With a 22-screen cinema; an indoor theme pa

rk, called Sega World; a world for children, called Kidzania; a giant Aquarium with an underwater zoo; and a full-sized ice rink you, will want for little. Just be sure to be wearing comfortable shoes. The icing on the cake is the Dubai Fountain, which has shows every evening starting at 6 p.m. that easily rival the Bellagio in Las Vegas has to offer.
3. Skiing at Mall of the Emirates.
Telling your friends that you went skiing in a desert is quite a boast. The skiing experience at Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates is quite real. With the longest run at around 1,300 feet, Ski Dubai gives you a genuine skiing experience. You can rent skiing gear and enjoy, don’t worry if you can’t ski, simply play in the snow park and squeal in joy.
4. Desert Safari.
A visit to the desert isn’t as peaceful as you would think. The desert safari tours are extremely popular. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride up and down the sand dunes in a jeep, touristy BBQs, belly dancing performances and henna painting services and lots of other tourists- the desert safari is the place to be.
5. Traditional Dubai
While chunks of the city have been demolished to make way for the future, one neighbourhood still remains the quiet fishing village that it once was. The Bastakia Quarter, which squeezes itself between the Dubai creek and the buzzing Bur Dubai district, is a mini maze of wind-towered buildings, most of which have been converted into art galleries and cafés. Weave through the textile souk- where you’ll find magnificent blots of fabric- and on to the Creek where you can either join the commuters for a AED 1 (Rs 12) Abra (water taxi) ride across the water or hire your own boat for a scenic tour of the waterway. Back in port, head to the small but interesting Dubai Museum to see how oil and ambition mixed to make this modern oasis.
6. The Walk- Jumeirah Beach Residence.
The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence is a 1.7 kilometer strip at the ground and plaza level of the Jumeirah Beach Residence complex. It covers a wide range of world renowned brands strewn across the stretch, including restaurants, clothing stores, boutiques, department stores, cafes and gyms. It is the perfect place to treat your eyes to various luxurious automobiles- Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Jaguars, Harley Davidsons-which are driven by the Arabs who are the original residents of Dubai. The Walk is one of Dubai’s outdoor and tourist attractions, with activities such as street painting, recycled art displays, comedy shows, sand sculptures, photography displays, and booths selling fashion accessories and crafts.
7. The Beach
You will definitely want to see the shore while you are in town. Try the Al Mamazar beach, a public beach near the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah, which means it is frustratingly inaccessible on working days. You could enjoy family BBQ’s on the beach during summer months.
8. Gold Souk
Dubai is known for really cheap gold. But you’ll have to quibble for it. Even if you do not wish buy any gold, a walk through the gold souk is a must. Your purchases will be guaranteed genuine as the Government keeps a tight control over the quality of merchandise sold. The shops also offer platinum, diamonds and occasionally silver. If something in the window catches your eye, be sure to barter.
9. Burj Al Arab
The only seven star hotel in the world, cannot escape the must see list. Agreed that there is no such thing as a seven-star rating; the world’s tallest hotel dominates Dubai’s skyline and the tourists imagination too. With dancing fountains in the foyer, the only way to get inside without paying for a room is to book a table at one of its costly eateries. Al Mutanha is on the top floor, with bafflingly bright interiors that prevent you from seeing the views outside. Al Mahara is a fish restaurant with an aquarium larger than most people’s homes. If you cannot afford to enter the hotel, admire its exteriors which are quite frankly more beautiful.
10. Food for the soul.
If nothing excites you, go to Dubai for the food. Give your taste buds a different experience than the regular Indian palate and try Arabic food. Eat everything from Shawarmas, Fattayehs, Faloodas (different from what we get in India), Falafels, Fatoosh, Tabbouleh, Shish Tawouk, Labbneh, Hummous-eaten with Khaboos, Arayes Kafta, Samke Hara and much more.
Tip: Try the Shawarmas that are available in small roadside eateries rather than in restaurants. Try Zatar (an Arabic herb)

Before you start booking your tickets, remember Dubai is an Islamic state and their laws need to be respected. Alcohol is freely available in a number of restaurants, however that doesn’t permit you to walk completely drunk on the streets freely.