After writing a lot of product reviews, am finally going to write a review of one of the most amazing things happened in Dec 2015.
This is the first time I got the opportunity to visit Dubai (Dubai Yatra with friends!). It was an amazing one-week trip and I will try to bring my experiences live to you.
So as usual before I start, I have some questions for you:
Have you ever been to a foreign country for the first time?
Did you travel alone?
Did you experience getting lost due to lack of directions?
Did you have an experience which you can describe using the word: “weird”?
Did you get muddled up in a new language?
Did you remember everything you need to carry?
Did you take any pains to look up the history of the country you visited?
How did I get the opportunity to visit Dubai?
I planned last year to visit Dubai. I had heard a lot and wanted to visit this place, not because of the big infrastructure this place boasted of but also, because I wanted to see how a country can be fully man-made. What kind of motivation did they get? I was very excited.
The day I got my tickets confirmed, I started browsing the internet for best places to visit in Dubai. I guess I would have spent half of my data pack watching innumerable videos. This was my first abroad trip afterall. The ticket was booked from ‘Yatra’. I looked for all the top Airlines but Yatra gave the best competitive price and the huge “saving-expert” in me immediately went for it.
I hadn’t included ‘Heritage Village’ in my ‘places to visit’ list. But I highly recommend this place. You will get to know why I said this.
My journey kickstarted early morning @3:30 AM from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi Terminal 3. The world’s best airport. As soon as I cleared the security check I felt that it’s a different country.
All the luxury you can think off was available at the airport. Though it was very expensive for an average middle-class guy like me, but I enjoyed looking around and as girls like to term it: window shopping”.
I had a lot of time after check-in and I decided it to effectively utilize it by reading books. So I managed to buy a good book on the ground floor and some chilled Real Juice and a large Burger from McDonalds. I was hungry and it was still night in my world.
Finally, I boarded the flight 6E-IndiGo23. Luckily I have got a very nice seat in exchange from a stranger.
Wao! Now I am going to end the curiosity. What I was telling until now was just warm up. Now fasten your seat belt to hear this amazing story 🙂
DAY 1: 21st December 2015 (Monday)
Arrived Dubai International airport @11:00 AM and it took around 1 hour at Immigration and to complete other formalities. I reached the hotel and after having lunch at a Dhaba(yes there are dhabas there too), I started to explore nearby places. I kept my exploration only to what was close by. I was planning to take rest for ‘Day 1’.
My hotel was just 100 meters from Al Fahidi Metro Station – Bur Dubai and it offered a great view. Am planning to stay here again the next time I visit this place. It was a posh hotel offering a wide array of breakfast.
I will recommend buying a sim card from Dubai but not from the airport. I bought ‘Etisalat’ sim card for 50 AED and got 1 GB internet which was enough for 5 days.
DAY 2: 22nd December 2015 (Tuesday)
I woke up @7:00 AM and got ready for a city tour organized by the hotel. I preferred city tours on the first day because they gave an overview of the city and later you can explore in detail what you like. Some people think otherwise and I am glad my friends didn’t fall in that category. By my experience, when you opt for exploring everything by yourself then most of the times you can end up by covering fewer places and wasting more money. Not a good choice.
I started the tour with a brief photo-stop at the Burj Al Arab (First so called 7 Star hotel). This hotel is surrounded by the majestic blue waters of Arabian Gulf. Its 320 Mt high and resembles a sail. After a small photo shoot, we moved to Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach, Residence and Palm Jumeirah. After that, we headed into the city of Dubai and reached directly to the Creek. A beautiful lake Creek parts the city in Dubai from the old traditional Dubai.
We drove to Bastakiya: A part of old traditional Dubai. It’s known for wind tower houses. The houses are built in a way that it will keep the house cool in summers. It was an alternative for air-conditioning. India should try that.
Then, finally, we moved to the last destination for the day ‘Gold Souk’ (Souk means Market). Here you will find more than 190 shops showing old and latest gold jewelry of all types. I felt that they are selling gold as any ordinary stuff because I have never seen so much of gold in the open market.
If any nasty thought is crossing your mind. I would like to mention the city is under surveillance 24×7. If you will break any rule be prepared to pay challan at departure.
If you are foodie then this city is for you. You will get very authentic food. Although, I was little surprised to see hundreds of South Indian restaurants. Still I headed there as it happens to be my all-time favorite.
You will be surprised to hear that in 10.00 AED = 180.00 INR you will get a full-fledged meal. Even there were many convenient stores for fillers like juices, milk, chocolates etc at 1.00-3.00 AED
Hard drinks: The only best way to get it is from the airport. You won’t find anything in the city. They serve in bars but that will cost you 40.00-70.00 AED.
I returned to the hotel and started writing. Writing furiously as I wanted to jot down everything.
DAY 3: 23rd December 2015 (Wednesday)
A new day with new plans. I wanted to cover all the major infrastructures by today so that the next day can be dedicated to museums.
I wanted to start with Burj Al Arab and that city tour helped me find the best way. Al Fahidi Metro Station was just 100 mt. away and the best way to travel. Through this way, I covered other tourist attractions too. Normally if you hire someone they will eat your whole day showing lame infrastructures.
You will get a Silver NOL Card (Metro Card) for 25 AED. This is best for tourists.
From Al Fahidi, I took metro towards Etisalat and got down at Al Ghubaiba metro station. I found an hour long ferry ride to Burj Al Arab. Ferry charged me 50 AED. But that was an amazing experience- when you are in the middle of Arabian Gulf. You can see an endless expanse of gorgeous blue water all around while the city is on the other corner.
After an hour, I reached Jumeirah Beach which is one of the best public beaches in Dubai. You will find a very nice crowd and ‘Burj Al Arab’ behind you. I spent around 4 hours in the water. The water was so clean and transparent. I have never seen something like this. Captured good memories.
While coming back I took a taxi to the ‘Mall of Emirates’ metro station and spent some time there. From there you will get straight to ‘Burj Khalifa’ the well-known tallest infrastructure. I took some snaps and watched a very nice musical fountain. The fountain emitted beautiful patterns and is a one-time go for sure.
If you want to go ‘TO THE TOP’ which is the 124th floor that will cost 150 AED.
DAY 4: 24th December 2015 (Thursday)
This was the most thrilling day. I went for the desert safari. They picked me up from my hotel at 9:00 AM and took me straight to the red sand area.
You will be spellbound to see the beauty of red sand and Land Rovers running all over and taking your breath away. The photo shoot is not possible when you are sitting inside a Land Rover falling from 30 ft. but the experience is jaw-dropping.
After the desert safari, they arranged a camp displaying some Emirati culture followed by dinner. Food quality was not up to the mark. But that remarkable belly dance performance covered up for everything.
Too tired to do anything else.
DAY 5: 25th December 2015 (Friday)
I covered ‘Miracle Garden’ because I didn’t want to leave anything undiscovered. Though it was not worth it. You will get bored because it’s too big. Convenience is not easily available. I had to wait for 45 minutes in the queue to get a bus. Tip: Always carry your NOL card with sufficient balance because you can use them in buses too. Not worth spending 30 AED.
DAY 6: 26th December 2015 (Saturday)
Finally the day of departure. The flight was booked for 22:20 PM. I had the whole day. Rather than staying at the hotel, I checked out and asked hotel manager for some nice local museums. He advised visiting ‘Heritage Village’. I am glad I took that advice as I enjoyed it immensely.
A bit of history on this place:
Heritage Village is located at the Creek. To reach there I had to get down at Al Ghubaiba metro station. I used my left out NOL (Metro Card) credit. Anyways this credit is valid for 5 years so you can visit again 🙂
This was built in 1997 and reason behind it was to display the cultures and traditions of Dubai. Sheikh Maktoum was the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE at that time and he made sure that the building was crafted in such a way that it left no stone unturned. ‘Heritage Village’ will take you to an earlier era of Dubai and also unravel the mystery of how this country got so rich.
Did you know fact: I was so stunned to see that they didn’t even have their own currency.
In the beginning, they used Indian currency and other ways to trade. People usually think they are filthy rich because they are a part of the Gulf but once you visit the ‘Heritage Village’, your perceptions will change for good. They only had a couple of resources like pearl diving, dates, and camel. With very little resources they managed to build this great empire. Hats off!
Photography was not allowed inside the museum. So here is one from outside.
After that, I went to ‘Spice Souk’ and bought dry fruits, pure honey, chocolates, and spices. ‘Spice Souk’ is best for buying a gift for loved ones.
I visited so many places which are untouched and got an experience of a lifetime. Given a chance, I would visit here once again, hopefully with new people now. Feel free to ask any question if you are planning to visit Dubai.