A Travellerspoint blog

United Arab Emirates

Dubai, A City of Extremes

sunny 85 °F
View Round the World on nhilde's travel map.

What struck us most about Dubai was the stark contrast between "wealthy" Dubai - the Jumeirah beach resorts, air-conditioned Western-style shopping malls, luxury SUVs - and the everyday, working-class Dubai that is interspersed throughout. Given our limited budget (and our interest in getting off the beaten path a bit), we made a concerted effort to experience both sides of the city. I'm glad we did. Many people seemed surprised that we had chosen to go to such an "inauthentic" place, but I think that if they experienced what we have over the past few days, they would see that beyond the veneer of seven-star hotels and shopping centers, Dubai is a vibrant, multi-cultural, and very "real" city. Here's a quick recap.

On Wednesday, we spent the morning driving 4x4 dune buggies in the desert. Jake did the driving, and I documented the experience - a video will be posted later so stay tuned!


We spent the afternoon exploring the Bastakiya quarter of Bur Dubai, which showcases the traditional architecture of the area:


We also saw Hindi Lane and the Bur Dubai souq, and took a quick walk through the Dubai Museum. The best part of the afternoon was lunch at a little Indian hole in the wall (see the picture below). There was no menu and the waiter's English was pretty limited, but the food was plentiful and delicious, and at 27 dirhams ($8), it was a real bargain!


On Thursday, we attempted to take a taxi to the Madinat Jumeirah, one of the fancy beach hotels for which Dubai is known. Unfortunately, our cab driver didn't quite know where he was going, and dropped us off at the other end of Jumeirah beach. We thought we could walk the rest of the way...until we realized that the beach is about 6 miles long! About one mile in, we gave up and sought refuge in the Mercato mall, where we spent $50 on sandwiches and juice at Paul (it would have only cost about 15 British pounds in London!). A short cab ride later, we finally reached the Madinat Jumeirah, and got some great photos of the world-famous Burj al-Arab hotel (the only seven-star hotel in the world!):


Short on funds, we took the bus back to our hotel. At 2 dirhams ($0.50) each, it was significantly cheaper than the $12 cab ride there. Jake was a little cramped at the back of the bus, but I was very comfortable up front in the "women's only" section!

Thursday night was perhaps the highlight of our time in Dubai. We took an abra (little wooden boat) across the Dubai Creek to Deira, and walked through the souqs. The Gold Souq was particularly happening that night. Afterwards, we stopped for dinner at a little shwarma place right outside of the markets and feasted on shwarma, juice and falafel. All in all, a great night!

Posted by nhilde 01:05 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 1) Page [1]