Dubai seems to be commonly viewed in two ways – a stopover destination, or a relaxing escape from reality, but why not combine the two? On my way to Thailand I was travelling via Dubai and decided to stretch my stopover to just under three days and I found this was plenty of time to mix sightseeing with me time allowing me to get my trip off to the perfect start!
Maximising your time is key! Leaving Heathrow at 22.30pm the night before meant we were at our hotel in Dubai by 8.30am the next morning (and that includes the time difference). Although far too early for check in, every local we met in Dubai was lovely and the hotel staff were more than happy to let us use the rooftop pool and managed to allow us into our room three hours ahead of check in. I cannot recommend the Grandeur Hotel, Al Barsha, enough.
After a swim and a power nap we headed out to the metro and off to the Dubai Mall. The concierge at our hotel gave us NOL cards (similar to an Oyster card in London) to use as long as we promised to give them back, saving us the price of three trips as they were pre loaded. At 20AED for a day pass, roughly £4.20, you can’t go wrong using the metro.
Home to a triple levelled aquarium, indoor ice rink and huge international food court, the Dubai Mall is not to be missed. The Mall of the Emirates, a somewhat forgotten about shopping complex, is also a sight to behold as it is home to an indoor ski centre!
Situated just outside the Dubai Mall are the beautiful Dubai fountains and from 6-11pm you can watch the fountain shows, a truly breathtaking experience, especially as the sunsets.
Day 2 and our only full day in Dubai consisted again of relaxation and sightseeing, and almost passing out in the heat. A lot of hotels offer free shuttle services to and from the beach, just remember your sun cream, a hat and A LOT of water. 2 hours on the beach in the sun and swimming in the sea which resembled a lovely hot bath was more than enough, and a taxi whisked us back to the aircon of our lovely hotel room in no time. Taxis in Dubai are extremely affordable – everyone uses them as no one walks because of the heat. Possibly one of the best initiatives are the women only taxis, and as solo female travellers we were absolutely loving these (plus they smell gorgeous)!
After soaking up the sun in the shadows of Burj Al Arab we spent the afternoon on a Desert Safari including dune bashing, watching the sunset in the desert, localfood for dinner, and optional camel rides, to name just a few. The experience makes you realise just how extreme Dubai is as a city, and that you really are in the middle of a desert.
The third and final day didn’t go entirely to plan, however it does leave me with an excuse to return to Dubai in the future. Waiting until as late as possible to check out, the hotel staff allows us to leave luggage there for the day and we headed back to the Dubai Mall with the intentions to go up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Having not prebooked we couldn’t gain entry until 6pm and with needed to be at the airport by 7.30pm, it just wasn’t to be. Instead we headed to the Underwater Zoo and Aquarium within the mall which also made for a lovely afternoon, and the Burj Khalifa is still mind blowing and neck bending from the outside!
Price for 3 days in Dubai:
– London Heathrow to Dubai: £250
– 2 nights in a hotel: £60
– Desert Safari excursion: £50
– Spending money: £85
Happy Wandering x