Read Rebecca's review of her many trips to Dubai, where she went, what she did and get some inspiration for your coming visit.
29 June 2014| Last updated on 14 January 2020
Before permanently moving to the emirate, my husband and I visited Dubai frequently as tourists ourselves to visit family members. Unsurprisingly we were full of questions, some ridiculous, and some necessary. Individuals we had spoken to – not including our family – were equally as curious, brimming with questions regarding how we would have to behave. After three holidays and now living here, we still today have people who ask us things continuously. Our favourites are from the “can you kiss in public?” category from those unfamiliar with the city.
Of course, we ourselves were guilty of thinking this way prior to our first every trip to Dubai. What can I wear? What should we not wear? Can we hold hands in public? Can we kiss in public? What things can we say and not say? Are you allowed to wear bikinis on the beach? Do you have to cover up too? Can we drink alcoholic beverages? Crikey – the thought of being on holiday and not being able to drink!
Mostly silly, I now realise, and mostly unnecessary. And such questions get a little boring from people will converse with back in the UK. Why? Because they are the wrong questions to be answering when discussing this City of Gold.
I remember clearly, on our first holiday here, being able to feel all anxieties about our trip melt away with the desert heat. Our irrelevant questions morphed to excitement: Where shall we go today? Can we go to the beach? Or to that gorgeous bar on that very high floor? With every passing day, our love for Dubai blossomed. It was a lovely chance to spend time with our family living out here, as most expats experience, but it was equally as greater chance to get to know a city that so few are educated about back home.
We spent our first ten days here both relaxing and exploring; granted, due to the magnitude of the city, we bathed in the sun around the pool as we waited for our family members to return home from work to help us get around. A move, which in hindsight, now seems ridiculous. It’s actually extremely easy to get around Dubai, with the help of the metro system and taxi services. Never fear – do not picture the metro system as the dark, dungeon like tracks you may be used to seeing in Europe or America. Travelling on the metro here is a novelty in itself, with gorgeous views of the entire city and as you’re on holiday, spoil yourself to riding in Gold Class! During our first holiday in Dubai we managed to squeeze in seeing the obvious ones; The Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa and the Burj al Arab. We spent a day exploring the mountains and rallied around Big Red and the surrounding sand dunes. Swimsuits at the ready, we spent a full day at Aquaventure at Atlantis on The Palm.
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The best bit about of first trip here? We managed to do everything we wanted on only 400 pound sterling between the two of us. Who said Dubai was expensive?
Our second holiday was a chance to explore the real Dubai, and this time we explored ourselves. We actually went to the top of the Burj Khalifa this time, we visited another water park available in the city, we took a tour bus trip down to Bur Dubai and got chance to visit the amazing gold and spice souks. And although we were staying with family again, this time my husband booked two nights in a hotel on The Palm itself; a mini-holiday within a holiday, we got to experience the lavish restaurants, bars and shops available with fantastic views.
We visited Dubai Creek, and took a boat ride along the riverside. We visited more malls, beaches and even Dubai Marina this time. Far from our first holiday, I look back at this time as our ‘spoiling ourselves’ trip to the emirate. There are other personal reasons as to why our second trip together was the more exciting of the two, as it was then when my husband proposed to me. So ladies, if your man is planning your trip to Dubai, be wary of him wanting to tie any shoelaces.
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My advice if you’re planning to visit the city? Don’t let the anxious questions dictate any plans you make, because you needn’t. Granted, it is an emirate that still has strong traditional roots, and these are ones that should certainly be respected when visiting. But that’s the key to Dubai - respect. You know the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”? The same goes for the glistening metropolis that is Dubai. And as long as you bear that in mind when you visit, you should have no bother. Behaving respectfully – i.e. not as you would if you were visiting, say, Ibiza – includes such things as dressing modestly when in public such as malls and on the street, refraining from full frontal kissing your loved one, and not being drunk in public. And let’s be honest, if you saw any of such behaviour on the streets in your own home town, you’d more than likely feel uncomfortable yourself.
See below for some pictures!