“Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jaime Lyn Beatty
For this new year, I decided to empty some of my pockets and embark on a trip to Dubai with a travel group. Unlike most people, the travel bug bit me quite late in life- about two years back to be precise – when the work trips to the US became commonplace. I was deployed to multiple cities in the States and with nothing else to do on weekends, I pushed myself out to explore the cities I was in and before I knew it I was looking forward to the weekends just for that. More on that later as in this blog I am going to focus completely on my most recent trip to Dubai.
Although, I was told that Dubai as a city is filled to the brim with man-made wonders, I was least prepared for the infrastructure marvel that hit me from the moment I landed- – right from the fancy airports to the tall buildings to the beautiful (man-made) islands to the equally overwhelming neighboring cities and to everything about UAE – especially given the fact that most of UAE geographically is a desert which in its raw state may not be a very livable place. To see the endless possibilities of things that could be accomplished in a desert was mind blowing to say the least.
The first place we checked out was a Cruise on the Dubai creek (which entirely is man made by the way). I sat beside one of the windows with my plate of food and was staring outside, my attention being diverted by the beautiful lights, the skyline and other beautiful boats and ships. My food remained untouched for God only knows for how long, but I still managed to gulp down the cold food when my co travelers engaged me in a conversation that went on for a couple of hours. The good thing about traveling with unknown people is that you get to hear many an interesting story and become more appreciative of different ways of living. So I knew I made a good decision by signing up for this trip in the very first outing.
Cruise @ Dubai Creek
With the new-found friends, we then headed to the “Miracle Garden” the next morning. It lived up to its name as it was truly miraculous to see such beautiful flowers in gargantuan proportions beautifully blooming on the arid desert soil. Every nook and corner were filled with flowers adorning different kinds of decors. There were giant Disney characters, castles, animals, airplanes and what not. Every one of them were beautiful in their own way. The best part was that garden had a million spots for shooting pictures and what better way to lure Women travelers than give them a bunch of beautiful selfie spots :). Here are some of them;
That evening we were offered some taste of adventure, in form of bike rides and Hummer bashes in the endless sand dunes. The mélange of colors the sunset offered at the backdrop of the never-ending desert plains was nothing short of spectacular. Being thrown up and down while dune- bashing and the motion sickness that ensued was worth it after all.
Sunset in the Desert
The next day was one of the best days of our trip – The shopping day!!!! What is a trip to Dubai without some shopping right?
The heavy bags each of us carried back to our rooms that evening filled with branded goodies, gold, dates, nuts and flavors of Dubai had enough stories to tell I am sure. Give women the chance to shop and we would buy the entire world!
While we did visit the largest malls in Dubai – The Dubai Mall and the Mall of Emirates, which also happens to be among the largest in the world – I personally was more fascinated by the shopping spree that the streets of Dubai like Meena Bazaar and Gold Souk offered. The boat ride to the Gold Souk offered us new sights to enjoy the world-renowned Dubai skyline from the waterfront.
On the way to Street Shopping
I realized that in Dubai people take their infra structure development to not just the next level but to the next 10, 100 and 1000 levels when we went to Palm Jumeirah the next day. If the concept of going through the underwater tunnels to the Atlantis fascinated us, the concept of man-made islands which houses fancy hotels and villas (the owners of which are seemingly selected based on their popularity among masses) had us dumb founded. And the bird’s eye view of these islands which is identical to a palm is amazing and worth the price people pay for it. Just to set the context, in USA a sky diving can be done under $250 while in Palm Jumeirah, its ~$800. Check out the image below that I picked up from internet, as I did not have enough guts at that point to go for sky diving.
The beaches are worth their salt too, I loved the blues and the whites of them 🙂
After the playtime in the beach it was time to call it a day as we had to get ready for the new year eve party. The best part about the new year party was the fireworks in midnight at Burj Khalifa, which was very much visible even from 15km away. I am inserting the link to the video of the fireworks I found in Youtube, as the one I have does not do justice to the extravaganza those fireworks actually were.
At the break of dawn on the very first day of the new year, we were all up and ready for the long drive to Abu Dhabi. We first went to a very rich mosque called Sheikh Zayed Mosque, All I can remember from this visit are the golds and the marbles and the chandeliers – all of them in gigantic proportions. Everything else about that place dwarfs in comparison to the amount of gold and marble used!
When in Abu Dhabi, never miss the Ferrari World, we were told, and we did not!
Ferrari World is easily the best theme park I have ever been to. In the little time we had, we did some of the best rides that we have ever had including the “Formula Rossa” which is inspired by the Formula 1 race, travels at 250kmph and is apparently the fastest roller coaster in the world. I was emboldened enough to go for this ride not just once but twice despite the fact that I was on the verge of getting a heart attack both the times :P. Pasting below the video of the ride I found on Youtube.
Another one which I really liked was a 4D simulator called “The Speed of Magic” where we flew over mountains, dove into oceans, sped past wild animals and raced in blue skies!
With so much adrenaline running in our bodies, we did not want to head to our rooms after the theme park and instead stopped by the Burj Khalifa for the world famous light show and the fountain show. The lights, water and the music synced up to create something far more beautiful than what I could have ever imagined!
Just when we thought we saw it all- all the wonders of Dubai, we were in for a pleasant surprise when we heard about Ski Dubai. The Infrastructure developers in Dubai have even managed to create a Snow World with real ice and snow complete with skiing tracks, in that desert Dubai geographically is. And we made the best of it with our ice rides and dates with some super cute penguins (real ones) 🙂
Wall – E was the one I was with. He was super soft, loving and cuddly 🙂
None of the things I did in Dubai would have been half as fun had I not had the right company, a big shout out to all the beautiful and amazing women I traveled with. Having been a solo traveler so far, it was very much refreshing to have such amazing people around to enjoy the new sights with, experience the different cuisines with, shop with, laugh with and go crazy with!
To more travels!