"Dubai, with all of its glitz and glamour rose in the heart of the desert."
The first time I understood the reality of this quote by Soroosh Shahrivar was as soon as my plane started descending. From the window, I could see a desert with golden sand, when in a fraction of a second, we were entering a glittering world of skyscrapers. The impressive building of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah had come into view, bringing the feeling of finally being in the city and emirate of Dubai.
Sadly, my visit to Dubai was very short, merely a couple of snatched days in-between hectic travel schedules. Yet. I didn’t intend to miss one moment in that city. A memorable journey on the native Emirates airline somehow defined the term, ‘Travel in Style’, which was merely the beginning. Although, the flight did warn me about the indulgence that was to come; starting from the gorgeous Dubai International Airport.
An Entirely New Dimension of Shopping
Dubai Airport Shopping
If there is a luxury brand that does not exist in the vast Airport, I would like to know which one it is. The huge airport seemed like an entire city of endless shopping opportunities. Somehow, the term ‘Duty-Free’ gets defined in the International Airport of Dubai.
I was ready to spend some of my hard-earned money in some of the exclusive brand stores. Yet, what I did not expect was the endless options of brands and products available in DXB. Prior to my visit, I was told that the best collection of these duty-free shops was in Terminal 1 and 3. So, I headed straight towards Terminal 3. The extraordinary collection of big brands like Channel, Gucci, Hermès was indeed best here.
The Dubai Mall
After a tedious shopping experience at the Airport, I was told that there was another mall which was larger. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world in terms of the area. Two entire football grounds could fit inside this very mall. From my very first step, I felt lost among the 1200 shops inside this mall. After emptying my wallet for some more exorbitant world-famous brands, I set out to visit the Dubai Aquarium and Dubai Ice Rink, located inside this very complex.
The Elusive Burj-Khalifa
After a healthy dose of shopping at the Dubai Mall, it was time to head towards the elusive Burj-Khalifa. The Dubai Mall is located very close to the tallest skyscraper in the world. So, you don’t need to expend extra effort to get to these two grand attractions of this cosmopolitan world. It is possible to ascend this tallest building and enjoy the view of Dubai from the sky. The Burj Khalifa SKY offers views from two vantage points; one located on the 125th and the other on the 148th floor. I decided to try both the viewpoints. The 125th floor had offered a 360-degree view of the Emirate capital from its glass panels. From there, a special elevator had taken me to the exclusive viewpoint of 148th Floor. The access to this viewpoint is obviously a bit expensive, with the promise of an exclusive lounge. It also gives you the chance to visit an exhibit related to the history and people linked to the creation of this tower. After a dose of hectic shopping and view of the city, it was time to call a day.
The Call of the Desert
Dubai is not only a city of impeccably designed shopping malls and architecture; it is also a city in which you can enjoy the raw beauty of nature. So, the next morning I set off for exploring the thrill of the desert safari. The city is located on the edge of the desert, a mere drive of 20 minutes had taken me to the heart of the desert. The quad-bikes were waiting for me to take a ride through the dunes. After the amazing thrill of the quad-bikes, a slow-paced and brief ride on the camel also brought excitement. Lastly, with a taste of the authentic Arabic Qahwa (a version of Arabic coffee), the adventure on the desert had ended.
Straight from the heart of the desert, I arrived at the Persian Gulf coast. The most attractive feature related to the sea-bank of the city is the man-made Palm Islands or the Palm Jumeirah. This man-made island is equipped with all sorts of luxuries, from the luxurious hotels and beach resorts to glittering shopping malls. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive through the A6-lane Highway Bridge, which connected this island with the mainland. Apart from this island, a glimpse of the luxury can be tasted in the Burj Al Arab Beach. The clean blue water, with an amazing view of the coast, has made it irresistible to visitors. The beach is located beside one of the most coveted places to stay in the world; the Burj Al Arab hotel. This hotel is often described as the only seven-star hotel in the world. A stay in this hotel is extremely expensive. Thus, I had to be content with clicking pictures of the hotel from the beach. The view of the arch-shaped architecture beyond the crystal clear sky was something to cherish, even if I couldn't stay in the hotel.
Panning for Gold in the Land of Gold
Apart from its amazing skyscrapers and the man-made wonders, Dubai is also the place to buy gold. Thus, with my leftover Dirham, I headed towards Deira Gold Souk. It is said to be the largest gold market in the world. It is also known for providing the best rate for gold ornaments. The ostentatious designs of the gold ornaments are the specialty of this land. The designs were unique, with a guarantee of authenticity. I sincerely wanted to buy almost everything I saw there, but sadly the valuable paper called money fell terribly short.
The Breathtaking Mosques; even for non-Muslims
The culture of the middle-east can be experienced first-hand in this new metropolitan city. I visited the most photographed Mosque of Dubai, Jumeirah Mosque. This mosque is accessible even to the non-Muslims. The traditional Islamic architecture blends in a charming atmosphere, which almost marked the end of my trip.
The Glorious Dubai Fountain
As the sun was slowly going down, my trip to this overwhelming city was also coming to an end. The last destination after the sundown had to be the most gorgeous illuminated part of the city, the glorious Dubai Fountain.
Every night, the waterfront of the Burj Lake gets glittered with the glory of the performing fountain; the tallest in the world. The dancing fountain, glorified with music and light, kept me mesmerized and speechless for a long time. The melodies of this fountain were a combination of Arabic and International music. There was a Lake Ride to get the nearest view of this dancing fountain. However, I walked along the Boardwalk, from Burj Park, which had also offered an excellent view of this performance.
The Dubai Cityscape
Although the two-day trip was very short, the city of Dubai offered me an all-consuming holiday. I wanted more time to walk through the endless shops of the airport and Dubai mall, to spend more time on the beach, and to dream about a stay in Burj Al Arab hotel. However, no matter how much time I have in the future, the city is sure to keep demanding more.