It is almost two years ago now when I visited Dubai along with my mother to visit my cousin. It was a time when there was massive construction going on all over. It is not only a land of sand dunes and sheikhs but also a melting pot of cultures and skyscrapers. It redefines the words ‘luxury’ and ‘style’ when it comes to superb infrastructure, hotels and excellent tourist amenities. Only 3 hours from Delhi, Dubai makes for a great shopping partying, fine dining, sporting events and much more. No doubt that Dubai has the largest expatriate population in the world and is a noted tourist paradise.
I happened to visit Dubai during Ramadan in the month of June — it was the only time I could take off from work. Drinking and eating and some forms of entertainment during the month of Ramadan are forbidden between sunrise and sunset. Even non-Muslims and the tourists are expected to follow the same rule in public. But still we could visit many places and enjoy a lot.
Dubai Desert Safari with dune bashing and barbeque dinner
Day 1 was for Desert Safari which no one should miss while in Dubai. It was undertaken in a bulky Land Cruiser which is ideal for dune bashing, giving the thrill of adventure when it swayed like a roller coaster, splashing sand in the air. It’s certainly not a trip for people with travel sickness or the elderly. Post dune bashing we were placed at a desert camp in the evening and enjoyed camel ride, local folklore, mehndi ending in a barbeque dinner, which we could not enjoy much due to travel sickness. Belly dancing was missing due to Ramadan. Nevertheless, it was an exhilarating experience.
The glorious Jumeirah Beach of Dubai
Day 2 Jumeirah Beach is a white sand beach that is located and named after Jumeirah district of Dubai on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The beach and its frontage features, large hotels, resorts and housing developments include the Burj Al Arab hotel. The beach offers numerous opportunities such as surfing, sailing and skiing. The place was buzzing with activity though I didn’t have the courage to participate in any.
While on the way home we took the road to Palm Jumeirah, the world famous man-made island built in the shade of date palm trees. We walked past the Hotel Atlantis area facing the wide sea. This hotel is an engineering marvel.
Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple at Jebel Ali Village in Dubai
On Day 3 we visited the Guru Nanak Darbar, a Sikh Temple at Jabel Ali in Dubai. It is the first gurudwara in the world to receive ISO certification in several management areas. It envelopes all in its warm embrace irrespective of caste, creed or religion and brings peace and solace to all. It caters to 50,000 Sikh devotees in the UAE serving delicious and hygienic langar.
The evening was for Ibn Battuta named after the legendary Ibn Babutta who traveled to 6 prominent countries. There is a shopping section designed after each of them. It has the only I MAX theatre in UAE. We watched Dil Dhadakne Do — a Hindi movie. Nice evening it was!
Mall Of The Emirates – A must-visit mall in Dubai
Day 4 was dedicated to the malls. Mall of the Emirates, spread over 6.5 million square feet of shopping splendor has great deal to offer. It has parking for over 7000 vehicles! It also hosts many family leisure activities such as Magic Planet, 14 screen VOX Cinema, Ski Dubai etc. Then we took the road to the Dubai Mall, the largest in the world (by total area). It has four floors and 1200 shops catering to 54 million visitors each year. An aquarium and underwater zoo allows visitors an inside view of 3300 types of marine life and 400 sharks. The mall does fantastic business. The Fountain dance in the evening presented a spectacular harmony of water, jets, lights and music. We wanted it to continue forever. We were so mesmerized. More than the shopping, we enjoyed being at such a great place.
Dubai Museum at Al Fahidi Fort in Dubai
Day 5 was for Dubai Museum. It is the oldest existing building in Dubai. It was opened with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai, general customs of the land, local antiquities and artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai. We checked the visitors diary and found that about 1800 people visit the Museum daily. The audio visual display shows Dubai before the discovery of oil.
We had lunch at Gopal adjacent to the Ibn Battuta Mall and got back home. It was time for us to pack for our late night flight back home. On our way to the airport we stopped for some South Indian dinner. Over the dinner table we discuss the hits and misses of the trip. Burj Khalifa was what we really missed during the trip and I hope to make up the loss when I visit Dubai again during the Dubai World Expo 2020.