That’s right, I am crazy about the Middle East. When I talk about it, most people say they have been to Dubai and love it. To which my response is “but there is so much more to explore than UAE!”. One lady told me in reply she had been to Abu Dhabi too, not realising that Abu Dhabi is just another of the seven UEA emirates. Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE (which most tourists doesn’t know).
Dubai really is a diet version of the Middle Eastern Gulf countries. Dubai is great for a holiday, but it is like Las Vegas rather than a traditional Middle Eastern culture reflection. Having said that, we all have to start somewhere (not that I did who lived in Saudi Arabia as a kid). Here is my tourist guide to “Dubai, Middle East light”.
Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure
From afar, it looks like a huge stack of silver and gold coins stacked on top of each other. Looking closer, it’s a 829.8 meter tall silver building where tourists pay from AED125 to AED500 (about £110) to reach the top floors. It’s impressive to say the least and architecture is one of the reasons I love Middle East so much. Book tickets in advance as they sell out during peak hours!
Burj el Arab, the sail building by the water
Often confused with it’s skinny and tall brother building previously mentioned, Burj el Arab is the short chubby little brother. It’s supposed to be inspired by a sail, but f you stand at the bottom of Burj el Arab it can easily be cons used with a penguin with a full stomach. This is a hotel, a very luxury one, but also hosts one of the world’s underwater restaurants, Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara, and a cool cocktail bar at the top floor, Skyview Bar. Rooms at the hotel average £2000 a night, but it also comes with helicopter pad. Even if you don’t plan to cough up two grand for a bed to sleep in, do come here for a drink or a meal. This hotel has a lot to offer!
“I went to the desert in the Middle East to ski” was my caption to my Instagram photo from Ski Dubai, an indoor ski slope with King and Gentoo penguins you can cuddle (yes really). Ski Dubai is a couple of hours of fun inside the huge shopping mall, Mall of the Emirates. So if you are sick of the extreme heat, head into the ultimate freezer. Don’t worry about ski gear or clothes, they provide you with it. The skiing is…. easy, but fun for an hour. Ski Dubai offers penguin experiences where you can feed them, cuddle them and even make paintings with them. You can’t tae photos inside, but they bring a photographer to make sure you have something for Instagram later.
Try and experience some more traditional Middle Eastern things when you are there. Take a boat on Dubai Creek, hang out in the shopping malls to see the extreme architecture, shop in the souk, walk along Downtown Dubai and take the driverless Dubai Metro everywhere you go.