Dubai

WHAT TO DO

  • You have to do a Desert Safari. We used Platinum Heritage because that is what our hotel recommended and set up for us, and they were fantastic. They come pick you up from your hotel, take you to see a bedouin man, feed you a peculiar breakfast of spaghetti with eggs and syrup, and take you on a camel ride. You will drive around the desert in an old school Land Rover or G Wagon, depending on how fancy you are (we chose the former), and the people are SO NICE. Also this company apparently has access to some part of the desert that no one else does (I chose to believe that). Worth it and then some.
  • I was actually way more obsessed with the Burj Khalifa than I expected to be. I thought it would be cool to see the tallest building in the world, but I just couldn't get over it. I went to look at it every day that I was there and I could walk around and stare at it for hours. I would definitely recommend going to the top, because you're there and how can you not? But also, it's the only way to see The World islands that I am totally fascinated by, unless you fly over them in a helicopter, which unfortunately wasn't in my budget.
  • Speaking of things I was way more obsessed with than I expected to be...The Dubai Fountain. Oh my gosh. I didn't even have this on my list of things to do. I have seen The Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas and I do not care about it at all. I think it is boring to watch water spray to music. But my friend was coming in at night, wanted to meet somewhere, and I thought, well maybe let's just meet at the fountain. It will be easy to get to and it is something to do after dark. Let me tell you...I flipped over it. It is SO huge and SO over the top and SO dramatic, in typical Dubai fashion. We just sat there and laughed and laughed and laughed. We ended up going every night we were there, and they always do different songs. ENJOY.
  • I also thought the Dubai Miracle Garden was hilarious for its drama, and it was so much fun to wander around. The whole place is filled with all kinds of things made of flowers: tunnels, the Eiffel Tower, a Burj Khalifa (of course), giant animals and houses. Apparently it is the world's largest (of course) natural flower garden with over 100 million flowers planted.
  • We took a dhow ride across the Dubai Creek to go explore the Gold Souk, which was a lot of fun. We thought we would go get a deal on gold there, but haha. No. The smallest bracelet that we could find was like $400, but it was still fun to wander around and see the crazy necklaces that must have been 100 times that. There is also a spice market nearby, and lots of shops filled with fun textiles and those cool shoes that I couldn't find any reason to actually wear.
  • We didn't go into the Burj Al Arab but I wanted to. In order to get past the gate, you have to have some sort of reservation there. My friend I went with wasn't dying to do tea time there, but you better believe that when my husband takes me back, he is definitely taking me to tea so we can wander around the interior.
  • Although it isn't in Dubai, if you have the time, I can't recommend taking the trip down to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque enough. The drive is only an hour and a half, and that building is SO impressive. It definitely makes my top five sights of all time.

WHERE TO STAY

  • We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah (okay mouthful). I LOVED it, it was pristine, the rooms were big and cushy with great views whether you were looking out over The Palm or whether you had a view of the Burj Al Arab and the city in the distance, and the food was delicious (always important for those days where you just want to hang out by the beach). FYI, it is REALLY far away. You have to drive out to the tip of The Palm, where Atlantis is, and then back down the outside to get to the hotel. This never bugged me, because cabs are really reasonable there, but it is something to be aware of.