A city of lights, that parties all night and every night. A city full of foreigners, that has more shopping than you can imagine. A city with the tallest building in the world. Yes, I am talking about Dubai.
Dubai is a major hotspot of the Arab world. It is arguably the most developed city in the region. There are many reasons that make Dubai so famous.
- Its 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit in December and January. I went tanning on the beach.
- The malls are huge with every store you can imagine.
- The Palm. A manmade island that looks like a palm tree from up above.
- The Night Life. There is always a party to go to, no matter what night of the week.
- The Burj Khalifa. The world’s tallest skyscraper.
Let us start with the beach. I was in shock when I realized that it was December 30th and I was laying on a towel in my swimsuit soaking up the sun on the beach. It was so surreal. The beaches in Dubai are actually quite nice! The water was a bit cold. I went to two different beaches while I was there. The first was called JBR. It is basically the “boardwalk.” There are many shops and restaurants and ice cream places. And every time you look up, you can see people jumping out of planes and sky diving back down to the earth. The amount of people that was there was insane. Because of its amazing weather, Dubai’s tourist season is in the winter. So as you can imagine the beach was packed; well actually everywhere I went was packed…The second beach I went to was called Riva. It is a private beach on The Palm. Across the bay, was the Burj Al Arab. The Burj Al Arab is another very famous building in Dubai. It is said to be the world’s only 7 star hotel. At the top of the building there is a helicopter landing pad that has been transformed and used for a variety of events, such as tennis matches, ping-pong matches, and golfing.
The world’s largest mall is called the Dubai Mall. There are about 1,200 shops inside the mall as well as the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and the Dubai Ice Rink. I had the opportunity to visit everything there was in this mall. The stores are a mix of American stores, European stores, and very high class stores like Gucci, Prada, Burberry, etc. The Aquarium was one of the coolest aquariums I have ever been to. As you walk through the mall you can see the main tank of the aquarium with all the sharks, stingrays, and other big fish. The ice rink is also a major attraction to the Dubai Mall. Not only do children and adults skate around, but there are also ice dancers that dance and put on shows in the midst of all the others.
The other very famous mall in Dubai is call Mall of the Emirates. This has the same types of stores, but it is smaller. In Mall of the Emirates, they have the famous Ski Dubai. Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort. It is pretty incredible. There is snow and hills that people are skiing and snowboarding down. My family and I had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory which has a view of Ski Dubai, so as we were waiting for our dinner we could watch all the people playing in the snow!
During the New Year the malls have a shopping festival where all the stores have huge sales. Almost every store I walked into had 50-70% off. As you can imagine every person was in the malls. They were so packed that you could barely walk through them. Every mall also has a taxi line. Since most people there are tourists taxis are extremely popular. There are specific entrances and exits for the taxis and there would be a line of people waiting for a one. I stood in a taxi line for almost an hour one night. But there is a whole system to this part of the mall. There are long lines of taxis and there is someone directing traffic. They let out a certain amount of people and then let all the full taxis go and start the whole process over again. It is very organized.
Another major attraction of Dubai is the Palm. This is a manmade island in the shape of a palm tree when looking from an aerial view. The Palm has a variety of things on it. Residential buildings, hotels and resorts, private beaches, entertainment, and clubs. One of the nicest hotels on the island is the Atlantis. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to go inside, but the outside looked incredible. I spent New Year’s Eve on The Palm at a club called Eden. It was an open air club right on the beach. I was able walk from the club to the shore and watch all the fireworks of The Palm. It was pretty amazing.
The night life is always alive. Dubai is known for parties, clubs, and bars. There is always somewhere to go. I went to one bar that was a roof top bar and you could see all of Dubai from the top. One thing I notices about the clubs overseas, in general, is the dancing and the music. The music is very clubby and technoy. And the dancing is pure fun. People love to dance and they keep it clean. Of my entire time abroad I did not go into a club that there was dirty dancing. It was so much fun. In Dubai, and all across the Middle East, they have dry nights where no alcohol is allowed to serve alcohol. On dry nights, there are house parties and the house parties get pretty crazy. People love to party in Dubai.
The most famous thing in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It is 2,722 feet tall with 163 floors. In the building, there are office, restaurants and residential floors. The main attraction for tourists at the Burj is called At The Top. You get to go to the 124th floor where there is a sky deck that you can look out over the whole city. I had the opportunity to go during sunset so I was able to see the city during the daytime sunset, sundown, and at nighttime. The view is much more impressive at night. You can see all the lights of the city and you get to see how amazing Dubai looks. During the daytime, you can see how small the city actually is and how much desert surrounds the area. The sunset is really pretty and there is an orange color that lines the entire city. The Burj is really amazing from the inside as well. On the way up, there is a video you can watch about how they built the building. There is also a segment that talks about how they filmed Tom Cruise run across the side of the building in the movie Mission Impossible. It is pretty amazing to think that he actually did run across the side of the tallest building in the world. You can also go to the 148th level known as the SKY level. I went to the 124th and I would recommend going to the top to anyone who goes to Dubai. It is truly amazing.
Overall, I would say Dubai is a great city. While there is a lot of fabrication to the city, there is nowhere else in the world where you can go to the beach and go skiing in the same day. The most interesting thing about the city is that most of development has occurred within the last 10-15 years, and it is still growing. There is a section of the city that they are building a mote around and they are planning on making an amusement park. There are so many plans for the city. It is a place you can do anything that you could ever imagine. It was one of the most memorable trips I have taken throughout my study abroad trip and I would recommend it to anyone.
Keep on the lookout for the last two blogs coming within the coming week! I will be wrapping up what Christmas in Egypt was like and will end the blog by writing about all the interesting and weird things in Egypt. Thanks for reading!!
The picture of The Palm was taken from: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=%2Furl%3Fsa%3Di%26rct%3Dj%26q%3D%26esrc%3Ds%26source%3Dimages%26cd%3D%26cad%3Drja%26uact%3D8%26ved%3D0CAcQjRw%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fen.wikipedia.org%252Fwiki%252FPalm_Jumeirah%26ei%3DPlPIVLOzPM_9gwS-h4OIDw%26bvm%3Dbv.84607526%2Cd.eXY%26psig%3DAFQjCNGIPkVv4LtSACmnIZAU-YaUCywf9Q%26ust%3D1422501001226165&ei=PlPIVLOzPM_9gwS-h4OIDw&bvm=bv.84607526,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNGIPkVv4LtSACmnIZAU-YaUCywf9Q&ust=1422501001226165