Thanks to a computer glitch with Etihad Airlines (super cheap tickets), we spent this Valentine’s Day weekend in Dubai! We had 2 days /3 nights in Dubai. I planned out every minute while we were in Dubai because I wanted to make the most of our trip and I’m so glad we did because we saw and did everything we wanted!
We drove 6 hours to Chicago and then hoped on a direct flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi for 14 hours. I have to share how impressed I was with this airline! Each seat had a clean blanket (wrapped in plastic) and a disposable pillow that had never been used (I’m all for cleanness) as well as a goodie bag that contained a toothbrush/toothpaste, an eye mask (one side said “Wake me up for food” and the other side said “Do Not Disturb”), ear plugs, head phones, and socks! I loved this! They gave us plenty of meals and delicious snacks through the entire trip (Klondike bars during a midnight movie was perfect)! Between all the food, my personal TV, and sleeping pills I was a very happy girl!
After a 14 hour flight, we arrived in Abu Dhabi on Friday night (Dubai time). We then took a 1.5 hour shuttle to our hotel in Dubai. We went straight to bed after checking into our hotel (Ibis Hotel of Emirates).
When we travel to big cities (London, Paris, NYC, etc.) we tend to do the hop-on hop-off bus tours because it is an easy and convenient way of seeing cities. These bus tours always stop at the “main” sites. I picked the 48 hour pass with Big Bus Tours and was very satisfied. I based our schedule around the bus’s schedule and went from there. Here are the bus schedules: http://eng.bigbustours.com/dubai/route-map.html.
Here is a brief outline of what we did on Day 1 which happened to be Valentine’s Day:
We explored the Mall of Emirates as soon as we woke up which happened to be a 10 minute walk from our hotel (I picked this hotel on purpose because of its location). This is the second biggest mall in Dubai and the mall that has Ski Dubai (more to come on that later).
We took the City Bus Tour on Day 1 that left from the Mall of the Emirates. We first went to the world’s largest mall, the Dubai Mall! We could’ve spent days in this place! It was incredible.
We ate lunch at the WAFI Mall/Egyptian Mall! Can you tell UAE loves malls?
We then went to the Spice Souk and Gold Souk! This was a great cultural experience.
Did I mention how nice the metros are? The metro and the entire city are spotless! Everything looks brand new! I’ve been telling people that it reminds me of the Capital in the Hunger Games. 🙂
Next came our favorite part of Dubai. We went on a Camel Sunset Safari in the desert.
The company we used was North Tours LLC. They picked us up at our hotel and we went dune bugging for a few minutes in the desert dunes which was fun but I’m glad we chose the short route because I would’ve gotten sick.
Once we arrived to the camp we rode camels towards the sunset for 45 minutes. It was just the two of us and a guide. It was amazing!
Then we headed back to the camp.
I got a henna tattoo.
We tried on traditional clothing.
Then it was time for a traditional dinner and watching a belly dancer.
We asked the safari driver to drop us off at the Dubai Fountains. We watched the fountains with the Burj Khalifa behind it. I can’t describe this experience. I remember looking up at my husband at one point and saying “Is this real life?”
We then headed back by metro to our hotel and passed out around midnight! It was the best Valentine’s Day ever!
On Day 2 we covered a lot! First thing in the morning we had reservations to go to the top of the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building)! I recommend buying tickets ahead of time because they sell out fast.
Then we spent the majority of the day covering the two remaining bus tours, the Beach tour and the Marina Tour.
We saw the Burj Al Arab, also known as the sailboat hotel!
We then ate lunch and walked around the beautiful Madinat Jumeriah Souk.
Then we went to the Marina District. This street holds the records for the highest block of skyscrapers in the world! It’s breathtaking to see!
Then off to the Palms! This is the island shaped like a palm tree and at the very end is Atlantis! We walked around for a little bit. We’ve been to Atlantis at the Bahamas so we decided not to buy the pool/beach pass this time.
We finished off the day by eating dinner at the Mall of the Emirates and then Judd went skiing at Ski Dubai! He said it was amazing!
There are a lot of little things that we did and saw that I’m not mentioning. I just wanted to cover the big things!
If you are not the fastest or most experienced traveler, I’d recommend 3 days in Dubai. My husband and I are young and we are used to traveling without much sleep. This trip was very tiring and if something had gone wrong we wouldn’t have been able to do everything we did.
If you happened to do the calculations, that is 50 hours of traveling for only 56 hours in Dubai. Was it worth it? YES, it was SO worth it! This is an experience we will never forget and a city that will forever hold a big place in my heart! 🙂