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Michele's Guidebook to Dubai

Michele

Michele's Guidebook to Dubai

Sightseeing
Ok. I know it’s just a Mall. But is it? In my opinion spending a few hours in Dubai Mall is more than just shopping, it’s a true cultural experience where you will find the best from the world over. For example, you want the best cupcakes from New York? Go to Magnolia (actually don't miss their Banana Pudding too!), the best cookies from London? Ben’s cookies. The best ice cream from Damascus? Bakdash. Best Chicago popcorn? Garret Popcorn at Candylicious, best paris almond croissant? Chez Paul, Best Russian caviar? Petrossian. The thing is: if it exist, you can find it in Dubai mall - so go and explore!
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Dubai Mall
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Ok. I know it’s just a Mall. But is it? In my opinion spending a few hours in Dubai Mall is more than just shopping, it’s a true cultural experience where you will find the best from the world over. For example, you want the best cupcakes from New York? Go to Magnolia (actually don't miss their Banana Pudding too!), the best cookies from London? Ben’s cookies. The best ice cream from Damascus? Bakdash. Best Chicago popcorn? Garret Popcorn at Candylicious, best paris almond croissant? Chez Paul, Best Russian caviar? Petrossian. The thing is: if it exist, you can find it in Dubai mall - so go and explore!
I know it sounds cheesy but the indoor slope is a totally surreal experience. Getting changed into skiwear and collecting your skis is already a first cultural shock - but the real fun is on the slopes where you can ski, try Zorbing (being thrown down a slope inside a giant plastic ball), have Swiss hot chocolate or even play with real king penguins (the biggest ones coming from Georgia in South America) and learn about their habits ( part of the proceeds go to protecting their environment). I had a ball!
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Ski Dubai
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I know it sounds cheesy but the indoor slope is a totally surreal experience. Getting changed into skiwear and collecting your skis is already a first cultural shock - but the real fun is on the slopes where you can ski, try Zorbing (being thrown down a slope inside a giant plastic ball), have Swiss hot chocolate or even play with real king penguins (the biggest ones coming from Georgia in South America) and learn about their habits ( part of the proceeds go to protecting their environment). I had a ball!
Forget about the blitz and glitz of Downtown and Marina. This is the true Dubai and it is as real as it gets. I suggest you take a cab to the Bastakia area and wonder around here the old and well preserved houses, then walk to the cotton souq and buy some pashmina at bargain price , take the ferry at the Abra station together with the local workers - try and make it at sunset for best views - and cross the creek to the Gold Souq. This experience is magical and you should not mis it! Once at the gold souq shop for anti-aging spices like cardamom or cinnamon or go to one of the perfumeries where you will be able to buy Arab perfumes (or any perfume really) at half the price you would pay in the Mall!
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Al Fahidi Historical District - حي الفهيدي التاريخي
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Forget about the blitz and glitz of Downtown and Marina. This is the true Dubai and it is as real as it gets. I suggest you take a cab to the Bastakia area and wonder around here the old and well preserved houses, then walk to the cotton souq and buy some pashmina at bargain price , take the ferry at the Abra station together with the local workers - try and make it at sunset for best views - and cross the creek to the Gold Souq. This experience is magical and you should not mis it! Once at the gold souq shop for anti-aging spices like cardamom or cinnamon or go to one of the perfumeries where you will be able to buy Arab perfumes (or any perfume really) at half the price you would pay in the Mall!
Very close to home, the Marina area batches together all that is Dubai: nice beach with warm sea, great restaurants, scenic futuristic views in the lagoon, pictures with the camels, any water sport you can imagine... Marina is very popular with expats on the Friday when the quintessential Dubai ritual takes place: The Brunch! Here you will see the biggest buffet you have ever seen in your life but watch out ! Prices can be high! Make sure you use your Entertainer voucher!
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Marina Beach
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Very close to home, the Marina area batches together all that is Dubai: nice beach with warm sea, great restaurants, scenic futuristic views in the lagoon, pictures with the camels, any water sport you can imagine... Marina is very popular with expats on the Friday when the quintessential Dubai ritual takes place: The Brunch! Here you will see the biggest buffet you have ever seen in your life but watch out ! Prices can be high! Make sure you use your Entertainer voucher!
Ok this is really something that us people who live in Dubai like to do, but I also think it’s a great activity for a visitor! The idea is to get away from its it all: take a cab to the middle of the desert (don’t worry that’s only forty minutes away), rent a bike and then let yourself be submerged by the desert breeze and follow the track - you have both options for small rides or for very long ones - bikes and material can be rented on the spot. When you are back have a fresh fruit juice and hot-dog at one of the many food trucks!
Al Qudra Cycle Track
Ok this is really something that us people who live in Dubai like to do, but I also think it’s a great activity for a visitor! The idea is to get away from its it all: take a cab to the middle of the desert (don’t worry that’s only forty minutes away), rent a bike and then let yourself be submerged by the desert breeze and follow the track - you have both options for small rides or for very long ones - bikes and material can be rented on the spot. When you are back have a fresh fruit juice and hot-dog at one of the many food trucks!
Yep that’s me in the picture! No trip to dubai is complete without a visit to the Palm and its landmark hotel Atlantis! The architecture is reminiscent of old Los angels hotels in the 50s , only in a gigantic version. The aquarium inside the hotel is also an attraction on its own with the biggest selection of incredible sea creatures in the world. If you want to go all the way I also recommend you spend half a day in the Aquapark and, most of all, do the one in a lifetime plunge in the aquarium itself where you will be swimming next to giant sharks and mantas - unforgettable! one more experience not to miss is the Dolphins' encounter - ask me for half price tickets for that! I can help.
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Atlantis, The Palm
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Yep that’s me in the picture! No trip to dubai is complete without a visit to the Palm and its landmark hotel Atlantis! The architecture is reminiscent of old Los angels hotels in the 50s , only in a gigantic version. The aquarium inside the hotel is also an attraction on its own with the biggest selection of incredible sea creatures in the world. If you want to go all the way I also recommend you spend half a day in the Aquapark and, most of all, do the one in a lifetime plunge in the aquarium itself where you will be swimming next to giant sharks and mantas - unforgettable! one more experience not to miss is the Dolphins' encounter - ask me for half price tickets for that! I can help.
Ok to be honest - I haven’t done it, but it’s on my to do list since a long time! If you ever wondered what if feels like to be Spider-man this is the place! Take a zipline from one of the world tallest towers all the way to another skyscraper and across the futuristic architecture of Dubai Marina and live to tell ! This is not for the fainted-hearted.
XLine Dubai Marina
Ok to be honest - I haven’t done it, but it’s on my to do list since a long time! If you ever wondered what if feels like to be Spider-man this is the place! Take a zipline from one of the world tallest towers all the way to another skyscraper and across the futuristic architecture of Dubai Marina and live to tell ! This is not for the fainted-hearted.
Isabelle’s gallery is a great place to start but it’s only the tip of the iceberg! Today the art scene in Dubai is booming and the good news is that most men f the galleries are all centered around the Alserkal Avenue area - take half a day to see them all and have some vegetarian treat or a freshly roasted coffee at one of the many food trucks!
Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde
Isabelle’s gallery is a great place to start but it’s only the tip of the iceberg! Today the art scene in Dubai is booming and the good news is that most men f the galleries are all centered around the Alserkal Avenue area - take half a day to see them all and have some vegetarian treat or a freshly roasted coffee at one of the many food trucks!
Food scene
Ok you did Dubai Mall and you need an nice place to rest your feet? Head to one of the restaurants in Souq al Bahar and choose one with a terrace and view on the dancing fountains and the Burj Khalifa. The food is great and the views are incredible. Some recommendations? The Lebanese Zahar al lemon or Abd al Wahab, the Italian Bice Mare (a bit pricy) or the healthy Baker and Spice. Sit down and enjoy the view!
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Souk Al Bahar
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Ok you did Dubai Mall and you need an nice place to rest your feet? Head to one of the restaurants in Souq al Bahar and choose one with a terrace and view on the dancing fountains and the Burj Khalifa. The food is great and the views are incredible. Some recommendations? The Lebanese Zahar al lemon or Abd al Wahab, the Italian Bice Mare (a bit pricy) or the healthy Baker and Spice. Sit down and enjoy the view!

Borgartillaga

Ekki missa af
So much to do so little time- be selective!
There is no doubt that only in a few years Dubai has created a unique and amazing experience like no other in the world. But while most people only do the 2 or 3 top things, the reality is that there is so much to do! That’s why I suggest you select carefully what you like so that you don’t miss out. Here I picked some of MY favorite experiences in Dubai for you to consider but feel free to check your guide or the latest issue of the Timeout Dubai and choose whatever you might like - what’s important is that you enjoy!
Samgöngur
Orientation: it’s all on one line!
Although the there is so much to do and see in Dubai and distances can be long, the truth is that Dubai is easy to navigate. In fact it all develops in a straight line from north to south, for most part the straight line being the main artery of the city Sheikh Zayed Road, with on the top north the Airport where you will probably arrive, to the bottom south Marina, the Palm and JLT (where you will be staying), to the west the sea and to the east the desert. Easy no? All the attractions are plotted near and around this main road.
Samgöngur
What’s best? Metro, Taxi or Uber?
The metro is the most affordable way to go around in Dubai with a day pass at only 5$. However Taxis are relatively inexpensive in Dubai compared to European cities: a ride to Marina will only cost you 5$ and to Dubai Mall (the other side of the city ) 13$. So it really depends on your budget and how many you are - the more people you are the more convenient the taxi will be. Also taxi is A LOT faster than the metro! Uber is also great but it’s about 10% more expensive than taxis. Note: taxis take cards but sometimes the machine does not work so better have some cash!
Samgöngur
Top ten things to do in Dubai
Ok this is my pick: 1- Have dinner at Souq al Bahar with view on fountains and Burj Khalifa 2-Experience shops from all over the world at Dubai Mall 3- Visit the old city and take the ferry crossing with locals to the Gold Souq 4-Enjoy the beach at Kite beach or Marina 5- go for a ski in the only indoor ski slopes in the world and play with king penguins 6- see the Atlantis aquarium and actually swim inside it! 7- Go biking in the desert at al Khudra 8- See the modern art galleries at al Qouz 9- take the only zip line across the Marina skyscrapers 10- go home and relax on the balcony!
Sparnaðarleiðir
How to pay half for Dubai attractions!
The Entertainer is really Dubai best kept secret! all the locals use it and so should you! The Entertainer is an app (390AED about a hundred dollars) that allows you to get Buy One Get One deals on most Dubai attractions including the Dolphin encounter at Atlantis The Palm, The Burj Khalifa rooftop, all attractions parks like Abu Dhabi Ferrari World, IMG, Warner Bros and Dubai Parks, and most restaurants in Dubai! Also, if you tell me before I can get you a price off 30% on the app and even send you links to some buy one get one on attractions for free to your email!
Ekki missa af
Best Dubai one day get always: Abu Dhabi, RAK or Oman?
In Dubai there are hundreds of things to see and do! Please go to my guide to have some of the best recommended! If you are staying for a few days it would also make sense to visit places nearby: Abu Dhabi with it’s beautiful mosque, the Louvre museum, the Emirates Palace (perfect for tea) and the mangrove forest is a great choice and only a around one and a half hour away (by taxi 40 euro each way or by bus leaving from IBN Battuta Mall). Ras al Khaimah is also a great choice and is known as the adventure capital of the UAE - beaches and all kind of ware sports, mountains (great trekking) an