Have you been to Dubai? I feel like there are two sides to travelers in terms of their opinion about Dubai. Either it hasn’t crossed your mind or you’ve been and love it.
I have family friends in Dubai and a friend who grew up there and yet I didn’t visit until four years ago on my way back from Southeast Asia. I liked it so much I extended my visit a couple days.
This time it was a destination. My mother and I planned to visit Dubai and Greece (you’ll find out later why Greece didn’t end up happening). This was the first time visiting Dubai with my mother. After a long and aggressive drive to move down to Miami, my mother and I flew out a day after I moved into my new apartment. We had layover and only because I’ve flown the direct flight from Dubai to NYC, I actually recommend a layover in Europe. I think it helps to adjust to the time difference and whether it’s Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt or Paris, we can’t but have an additional opportunity for duty free shopping or coffee right?
While Dubai attracts many tourists for its shopping, my favorite thing to do in Dubai is walk around the historic area of Al Fahidi, formerly known as Bastakiya. Named after the Iranian town of Bastak, it was home to residents who earned their income from pearl diving. Its unique architecture is now home to galleries, museums, the Al Fahidi fort and some cute restaurants and boutique hotels. Spending the morning when its cool, and likely one of the few places you’ll go that’s outdoors, by walking around and visiting the coffee museum and galleries then taking an abra boat across the Dubai Creek to the area where you can find the spice and gold souks.
Other than shopping and sightseeing, eating out is another fun thing to do and if you know me, I love food. Persian, Turkish, Lebanese, Indian, Yemeni, Thai etc… There are many cuisines and places to choose from. Even the malls have fantastic options for dining! A lot of European and UK chains are in Dubai which is fun because its like the best of both worlds. You can have your favorite French chain but be in Dubai. I’m not a big fan of malls but in Dubai socializing is often about going to Emirates or Dubai Mall. Both have a range of places to eat. The best meals have been either home cooked meals at our friend’s home or at more low-key places. Eating out in Dubai has expanded my own culinary palette. Below are a couple recommendations for neighborhoods to go out:
Jumeira - La Mer Shopping center and the beach, Stomping Grounds Coffee (best cafe I’ve found thus far)
Al Fahidi- cafes to enjoy breakfast, Ostadi (Persian/Middle Eastern/Halal), Indian cuisine
Downtown Dubai- Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa
If you can, take a drive outside the city and into the desert. It’s breathtakingly beautiful at sunset. I haven’t been to the top of Burj Khalifa yet but the beauty of Dubai is that there are great views whether you’re on the metro, in a taxi or riding an abra.
Each time I’ve been fortunate to stay with dear family friends but Airbnb options looked great and surely luxury hotels are lovely in a city offers plenty.
Have you been to Dubai? If so, what is your favorite thing to do or see?