2 Days in Abu Dhabi, Dubai
Our 2 day trip to UAE far exceeded my expectations. I had been wanting to make a trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai for several years now, just hadn’t made it a priority until a fellow exercise buddy, Annie, mentioned that she too wanted go and would be passing through on her way to India. That’s when the planning began…
Prior to making the trip, I knew very little about UAE. In fact, all I knew was that was hot and dusty but had amazing modern architecture, such as the world famous Burj Al Arab. Home of the royal Sheikh family (thanks to the Sex and the City movie), but most important to me was home to the tallest building in the world, which is Burj Khalifa.
The things I mention were all true, but I very quickly came to realize so much more UAE has to offer. There are amazing restaurants severing the very best Mediterranean food I’ve tasted. There is a large Indian population in UAE so there is no shortage of Indian restaurants. Did you know that they don’t pay personal taxes? How nice. It’s by far one of the safest places I’ve ever been to and the people are so nice. The majority of the population is expat workers; There are great opportunities for expats who want to start a life there, however, don’t count on ever becoming an actual citizen. They treat their citizens well, from what I am told… I will never in my life see more luxury cars than what I saw in UAE. They’re everywhere and so beautiful. There is no free or government sponsored schools so most kids go to private. We learned a lot about the different religions, cultures, and way of living, interesting tidbits about the royal family and other useful facts. It’s very clean, despite the dust.
It’s hot, very hot. They say the best time to visit is between October and April. Being from Houston, we’re really no strangers to the heat, but that dry heat is something else…
2 Days in UAE at a glance-
– Landed at DXB airport
– Dinner at Bombay Dinning (Indian food)
– Began our tour to Abu Dhabi
– Dates Market
– Ferrari World
– Lookout point from marina
– Heritage Village
– Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
– Dinner & a show at Al Hadheerah in Dubai
– In Dubai
– Dubai Museum
– Walk through Old Souk
– 5 minute boat ride (1 UAE) to…
– Spice Souk
– Gold Souk
– Taxi from Gold Souk to Burj Al Arab
– Lunch at Souk Madinat Jumeirah
– Taxi from there to Mall of the Emirates
– Pet Penguins
– Dubai Metro to Dubai Mall
– From mall, 20 minute (indoor walk) to Burj Khalifa
– Dinner with friends
– Taxi to airport for 12 midnight flight out
**Helpful hints- The weekend in the UAE is Friday to Saturday and a LOT of places will be closed either all day Friday or just Friday morning but most open up late in the afternoon. Be sure to plan accordingly. The major exception is during the fasting month of Ramadan when life changes drastically. Restaurants, outside hotels, are closed during daylight hours.
Upon arriving Thursday evening, we took a cab to our hotel, located in Bur Dubai, unpacked, set out for dinner at, Bombay Dining, an India restaurant recommended by the concierge at the hotel. The food was very good.
Day 1 (Friday):
Since most things were expected to be closed in the morning, we thought this would be the better day to take a day trip to Abu Dhabi. Annie pre-booked our all-day tour with a fabulous guide and driver. They were great… too bad I don’t have their contact info. to be able to recommend.
First stop was Ferrari World. They have rides and other fun things to do but we were just mainly interested in the cars. 🙂
Next stop, the Dates Market (located at Al Mina Vegetable Market). Annie was told this stop was a must so we asked our guide if the driver could make a special stop.
Then on to a lookout point at the Marina to see skyline of Abu Dhabi.
Then on to Heritage Village for a delicious Mediterranean lunch and shopping. The food overall in UAE can’t be beat.
Drove past Etihad Towers on our way to the next stop.
And drove past Aldar Headquarters.
Finally arrived at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (opens at 4:30pm on Fridays).
Women have to wear the long dress (abaya) and headscarf (shaya) and they can be borrowed and returned at the service desks at the end of the tour. Our guide was very adamant about telling us not to adjust the take any part of it off. I’m glad she mentioned that a few times because I found myself forgetting several times as it is about 100 degrees in the (outside) Mosque. When entering the Mosque (the part that’s indoors) you have to remove your shoes.
Upon our way back to Dubai, our tour guide talked us into booking an evening at Al Hadheerah with her company. It was quite a drive out, in the middle of nowhere, but a very cool experience and worth the price (dinner & show and driver combined was about $160 a piece). There were various cooking stations, plenty of different types of food and the live music and dancing and show was great…and the hookah was enjoyable too. 🙂
Back to the hotel and to sleep we went.
Day 2 (Saturday):
Coffee and danish at the hotel then we hit the streets.
First stop was to the Dubai Museum.
This museum was highly recommended though not sure why. There was not much to see, primarily outside (so hot as hell) and just not much to see. Though we did score some art while we were there.
Then a walk through Old Souk where there is lots of the same-type items for sale.
Arrived at the pier to take a boat ride (only 1 AED) across to the Spice Souk.
Then on to the Gold Souk.
From the Gold Souk we took a taxi to Jumeirah Beach where we got to see Burj Al Arab (but didn’t go inside).
Then lunch at Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
I, however, preferred to wait for in her in a coffee shop. I was glad I did because I met a very nice Greece expat who had been living in Dubai nearly 10 years. He was full of information and had in with the Shiekh family. 😉
Once you arrive at Dubai mall, it’s about a 20-25 minute (indoor walk) through the mall to reach Burj Khalifa and the signs in some places are not very obvious… but we made it.
I HIGHLY recommended booking advance tickets if you want to go up to the observation deck. Tickets sell out quick. Click here.
The views from the observatory deck were incredible.
Outside the Burj Khalifa at night.
We met some of Annie’s friends at the bottom and went out for a lovely Mediterranean dinner. Went back to our hotel, packed, and headed for the airport to catch our flights (mine departed DXB at 12:10a.m.)
We had an amazing time. It was a filled few days but oh so worth every minute of it. I would definitely make a trip back in the future and perhaps pay to go into Burj Al Arab next time.
A special thanks to Annie for planning such a great trip! xoxo
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