Published: September 8th 2012September 8th 2012
The feeling of luxury oozes from every inch of Dubai. Starting right from the airport- where the “duty free shopping area” stocks all luxury brands to lure you into extravaganza to the plush Metro line, almost everything in Dubai is new and luxurious. Our 4 day short trip to Dubai made me realize that there aren’t enough expensive things to buy for people who own more money than they know- and honestly, such people are too many in numbers in Dubai.
We went to Dubai during Ramadan. We were staying at Bur Dubai in hotel Admiral Plaza. The hotel was nice and new- had pool and spa and all other necessities like Business centre and travel desk. Rooms were not large (at least the regular double bed rooms) but provided all sorts of comforts like mini bar, hair drier, complementary toiletries etc They had good restaurant too but as the culture is to abstain from eating or drinking in public during day time in Ramadan, we did not really get a chance to eat at the hotel restaurant. There were certain shops (like Shoe Mart, Levis Store etc) near our hotel and also Al Fahidi station was quite close to
our hotel which made the commute to different parts of Dubai an easy task for us. But let me mention over here that the culture in Dubai is to drive you personal luxury car. Many people in Dubai (definitely this is limited to a certain income group) do not even want to take a taxi ride- let alone a Metro ride.
The Metro is quite new and the stations are very clean and posh. Different stations are decorated in different themes and many stations have expensive chandeliers hanging inside- which is not a common sight that I have seen in other countries. The Metro stations are cold because of the AC but the 10 minutes’ walk to the Metro station during the day was quite like a torture. I come from a hot and humid country- but the heat in Dubai is nothing like what I experience in Bangladesh. It is hard to keep eyes open without the sunglass and it feels as if the heat reflects on the concrete and burns the skin. The plus point is that there is hardly any humidity so sweating does not happen. But as it was Ramadan and being Muslims we were
fasting, it was difficult to walk outside during day time as the heat made us very thirsty. But I guess that happens to everyone in Dubai and we also got used to the feeling after a while.
On day 2, an uncle of my hubby had taken us on a drive to Palm Jumeirah. Needless to say, that is the most luxurious area in entire Dubai. We could see more Ferraris and Lamborghinis and Maseratis in Palm Jumeirah than we saw in the rest of Dubai. The villas are almost the same give a picturesque look to the entire area. There are huge apartment buildings too- those also are all similar in shape and color. The castle like villas are usually not visible- as the front lawns are so big that the villas remain hidden from the main driveway. The entire Jumeirah area has 3 colors around- the sand like color of all the buildings (including malls, villas, apartments or mosques), the plush greenery and the cobalt blue sky which reflects in the equally blue Gulf. It’s a beautiful man made place.
While driving through Palm Jumeirah, we could see the infamous Atlantis in the distance. The hotel
and resort is built in such a way that from distance it looks as if it’s a huge doorway to another city. While we came closer, we could see the cobalt blue Gulf with random yachts cruising through the water. We stopped over their in front of the Atlantis and enjoyed the beauty of the Gulf under bright sun like many other tourists were doing. It was late afternoon and the sun was warm but not as scorching as before, a warm breeze was coming from the Gulf and the surrounding was beautiful. I would say I felt like I was feeling like a million dollars only if my tummy was not growling after the entire day’s fasting.
At night, our uncle and his wife took us to Mina Bazaar in Bur Dubai- which is really very close to hotel Admiral Plaza. If you come from Indian Sub Continent, then this is probably one of the best shopping places for you. Gold Jewellary , Saree, Salwar Kameez, Lawn, Bariz- all these are abundant and in comparatively cheaper price. One more thing, on each and every turn of the allies, vendors would be standing and calling ladies to buy fake
Louis Vuittons- I don’t know why fake Louis Vuittons are so popular in this area!
Day 3 was spent in Dubai Mall. Well, now, I am not sure how to describe this mall. An entire day is not enough to browse through all the shops I wanted to, and each and every shop was ridiculously high priced. In Dubai Mall, they asked for 165 Dirham for one Christian Dior Lipstick where as I had managed to buy the same thing for less than 100 Dirham outside this mall! But if you are loaded with more money than you know what to do with (and in Dubai, there is no scarcity of such people) then please spend a couple of days over here. If you have small kids, go to Dior baby or Burberry Junior- where there is no customer but 7 or 8 attendants await just to assist you J and if you feel like you are tired of shopping and want a little tea to refresh you, go to the fashion area of Dubai mall, sit in the Armani café and relax while very handsome Arab waiters tend to your orders J
Burj Khalifa- the tallest manmade
structure till date- looks more beautiful at night (I mean obviously because of the sparkling lights). Dubai Mall is basically an extension of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain- which is the largest dancing fountain in the world- adorns the space to one side of Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall. The musical fountain dance occurs every half an hour after sunset and the show lasts for approximately 5 minutes. The show is free and lots of people gather around the fountain to watch the show. The show is good indeed. But the best way to enjoy the show is definitely the way we did. It takes 100 Dirham per person to go to the watch tower in Burj Khalifa- which is on the 124th
floor of the building. We went up at around 9:30 and watched the dancing fountain show from the watch tower- it looked amazing with all the fairy light like sparkle of the entire city around the fountain and the fountain itself- which from top was looking like a frenzy of lights- created beautiful shapes on black water. The breeze was warm but soothing and the city below was dazzling. I really would like to pay
a lot more if I was allowed to go into an apartment at the top floor of the building just to see what it feels like to have a cup of coffee standing in the balcony night from that height!
Last day was spent more or less near the water. In the afternoon, we crossed the Creek on boat. Our hotel was around 15 minutes walk away from the Creek on one side and the Gold Souq was around 15 minutes walking distance from the Creek on the other side. Lots of boats are available on the Creek as means of mass transportation. It takes only 1 Dirham per person and is a pleasant ride otherwise minus the heat.
That night we went on a dinner cruise in Dubai Marina. It was a 2 story boat- first floor was air conditioned and the top was open. Though I would have preferred top floor of a boat to go on cruise on any other occasion, as this was Dubai, I had opted for closed but air conditioned first floor. The 2 hour cruise cost around 50 USD per person and included buffet dinner. As far as my taste is
concerned, the dinner was awful; the selection of dishes was pretty poor and the cooking was also not at all up to the mark. But the ride was nice with beautiful coastline of the rich city. We crossed beautiful tall buildings, numerous yachts, lots of street cafes, light house and Mall of Emirates. It was during the slow cruise that I noticed something about Dubai architecture that I had never seen anywhere else. There are many high rising buildings that have twins. We saw literally dozens of buildings- 2 standing side by side- one the mirror image of another. And the architecture was unique of each building. The architects of Dubai were probably given full freedom to create something “new and unique”- which the architects have actually done!
Apart from all the luxury and unlimited option for shopping, what I liked best about Dubai was the culture. Most people are Muslim, but you do not see them dominating any other belief. Lots of women wear burqa and niqab, but they roam around in the malls as comfortably as western girls wearing shorts do. None seem to mind in the presence of other- which is not the case in many
other cultures. In many of the western cultures, hijabi girls cannot blend into the mob comfortably- they are always looked at differently. But here in Dubai, though it recommends dressing modestly to respect the religious belief, it does not restrict westerners from being comfortable in their own way- neither does it stop very rich and very modern girls from wearing burqa and veil. This is something that some westerners need to learn- to respect other cultures.
There are more photos below