Dubai: An OASIS in the desert
Dubai is one of those destinations that has luxury splashed all over it. The rate of growth is jaw dropping, super modern skyscrapers are being built constantly, islands are being built in the sea to extent the land mass of Dubai, and this is providing a constantly changing landscape. I spent a week in dubai in september, avoiding the 50 degrees of the summer and not getting the tourist traffic of the winter period.
Dubai is a city that has everything! It has the sun, beaches, shopping, physical activities, restaurants, a very good nightlife. All this doesn't have to be as expensive as it seems. I found that in Dubai you could spend as much as you want or as little as you want and still have a great time.
With so much to look at in Dubai, you can waste days just walking around the different areas and being in awe of the beauty and gobsmacked at the scale of the buildings. With the world famous The Palm islands, and the newer The world islands, Dubai marina you will be astounded at the luxury, the yachts in sight.
Below i will detail how I did, and you can enjoy Dubai with paying the Dubai price!
The most popular time of year to visit Dubai is in the winter months, this is mainly due to the weather being 50+ degrees in the summer and reaching as low as 30 degrees in the winter. I know, that is warmer than our summer. I used Skyscanner.com to search for my flights, being open minded to where I would fly from, as this can save hundreds of pounds on flights. Definitely worth an extra hour or so of driving.
Luckily enough, the cheapest flight I found was flying from Birmingham (Only and hour away) The flight had a quick change over in Doha, Qatar. This flight was with Qatar Airways, and was only £230 return! My type of price. The flight was delayed by a couple of hours when I arrived at Birmingham, and therefore meant I missed the change over flight, but the customer service of the airline was so good and seeing them sorting out a new change over flight that wasn't already planned in meant that I wasn't really too bothered.
When in Dubai you will notice the two types of taxi cars. One in black and one in a beige colour. Now they are the same model of lexus, the same air con, the only difference is the price. The taxi I got in from the airport was a beige one and cost me just under 50 dirham, working out to just under £10. Not bad for a 40 min taxi ride to Dubai marina.
The metro is a great way to get around, the stations are fully air conditioned and so are the trains. They have separate seating areas for women, which i found out when i had a few people looking at me confused, as I sat down. The metro is cheap and quicker than taxis during rush hours.
The hotels as you might expect are not that cheap in Dubai, unless you want one on the outskirts or next to the main road. The options of cheaper accommodation exploded when i went onto Airbnb.com. I searched for accommodation ranging in price from £45 - £60 a night and was surprised just how many places popped up. Not just the amount of places took me by surprise but the location, plenty of apartments in Dubai marina, some on the palm island, and a fair few in downtown Dubai. If you're looking for more of a villa then you would need to look just outside these main areas.
I chose an apartment in Dubai marina and it was £55 per night. It was a 3 bedroom apartment, that had a french couple in one of the rooms and the other was empty. Nina, who owned the apartment lived upstairs in the building, so was readily available if needed. The apartment was in one of the Park island buildings in the middle of the marina, it had a stunning pool and gym and definitely felt worth much more than the £55 I was paying
Food and drink
Dubai is a muslin country so you won't find alcohol in the shops and supermarkets, but there are plenty of hotels with built in bars or establishments that have licences. Even in Dubai you can eat on the cheap ( extra saving from not drinking), they have places such as Falafel for some Arabic food to go, and can be as little as £3/£4. JBR beach is the busiest of the public beaches so has plenty of cheaper restaurants and ice cream bars etc. Some of the restaurants in the marina can be pricey but there are a couple that are about £20/£25 per person, it really is worth paying this or even a little more to be eating outside, at night, while Dubai marina is lit up. Downtown Dubai has more choice of restaurants. You can be eating outside, watching the huge fountains outside the Burj Khalifa for as little as £20
2 beach clubs that i visited are Barasti and Zero gravity! Barasti is free entrance all day and is on the beach has a pool and is one of the more popular late night bars swell as daytime bars. they have big screens for any sporting events, a huge air-conditioned area with 3 bars and somewhere to get food. Barasti is particularly popular with the British population in Dubai. Zero gravity is the beach club you will have no doubt seen on instagram, the pictures of the girls posing in the pool with the glass wall? yeah thats the place. Entrance to the pool is £50, but if you don't want to go into the pool but there is a large grassy area with loads of sofas and seating that is free to enter. Beautiful women, beautiful views, sun shining, definitely worth a visit
The marina is seriously impressive, and a great location to get the most out of the Dubai. At one end you have the JBR Beach and the other beach clubs and Skydive Dubai, with ultra luxury in between. One of Dubais malls is in the marina, and is full of designer shops. Take a few hours to stroll around the marina walk, where you can see the vast array of yachts moored up and the beautifully designed sky scrapers. Pretty in the day, but at night when the marina is sparkling with lights is a stunning sight. To truly enjoy the marina at night you can take a dinner cruise which is a nice way to cap off a visit to Dubai
JBR beach is a large public beach near Dubai marina, it has a number of water activities such as banana boats, jet skis and even those water jet packs. Plenty of space for kids and adults to have fun on the oversized pool tables, and play park. For those fitness lovers, the outdoor gym is a must visit, a crossfire style area you can enjoy for £10. I made the most of this after a day at the beach while the sun was setting. The beach is long and goes all the way down to Zero gravity beach club.
Along the beach is a promenade like walk way, which has a vast amount of shops and restaurants. For some of the cheaper restaurants you can stroll along the beach and find some outdoor seating with table service.
The tallest building in the world! so tall i struggled to to get it into a photo. The Burj khalifa really is a must see, the size and scale of it will take your breath away, the 830m tall building is surrounded by a beautiful man made water way, with the most amazing fountains i have seen, the fountain show is mixed with music and the Burj being lit up itself as well.
The tour and viewpoint of the Burj Khalifa is accessed through the Dubai mall ( the biggest of the malls). There are times and pay categories to see the Burj, daytime , night time and sunset. I chose the night time tour (£25) and loved the view but it is understandable why the sunset costs a little more. When you get to the 124th floor you walk out onto the balcony which has a huge 10foot glass wall around for obvious reasons. The views are worth it!
Something a bit different
Try a visit to Dubai old town, to see and older and more authentic version of Dubai. The stone buildings are a stark contrast to the futuristic skyscrapers in the new city, those explorers among you will enjoy
A trip into the desert? this can be done as an overnight trip or for half the money (£60) you can spend all day exploring and experience Arabic culture. Ride into the desert on quad bikes, experience a camel ride in the desert, and have an Arabic BBQ while entertained by belly dancers. An even cheaper option of £30 would be a morning in a 4x4 driving in the desert.
If you want to stay fit and active while in Dubai, there are countless gyms and a few outdoor areas to exercise. In particular I found a free outdoor gym near Skydive Dubai. The gym had all the bars and rings for you to do some bodyweight and calisthenics training, it had a small sprint track and a turfed area with some tyres and kettlebells for you to use. It also has a some overhead cover to protect from the sun. Another free area to work out is along the public beaches, many of these have walk ways with running lanes, which are soon bust when the sun goes down.
My week in Dubai really was fun, plenty of time relaxing by the pool and at the beach, plenty of time exploring this wonderful oasis. My week in Dubai came to £600, share this holiday with a few friends or family and this will work out even cheaper
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