7 days of Dubai – a city I’ve never been before.
In this travel diary I take you along with me on my amazing trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Last year I could tick off another state from my bucket list: the United Arab Emirates. As a person who loves summer more than anything, this destination was the perfect getaway to enjoy some warm pre-summer vibes – in February. I went on this trip together with my dad. He has been there before so he already knew some cool spots to show me. Nevertheless we explored many new places and did some exciting excursions.
Day 1: First stop at Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa
For one of the first times, our outbound flight was in the afternoon. This way we could arrive at the airport in a relaxed mood and also had enough time for “pre-flying” (which is me and my dad’s term to enjoy a delicious cup of tea, coffee or wine at the airport, observing the happenings around us and being excited for the trip).
The flight took about 6 ½ hours and due to time difference we arrived early in the morning. Dubai was still asleep. A driver from our hotel picked us up from the airport and brought us to the hotel where we arrived at about 7:00 in the morning.
We took an early nap (because we didn’t really sleep during the flight) and began our day after noon. Our first stop was the Dubai Mall, which is the world’s largest shopping mall with over 2100 shops. I was amazed by all the attractions it has (e.g. an aquarium, waterfall, cinema and dinosaur fossil) and of course the famous skyscraper Burj Khalifa – the world’s highest building. We watched an amazing sunset and the water games at the fountain and I still couldn’t believe the fact that I could wear a t-shirt in February.
Day 2: Experiencing the Arab world at Dubai Creek
On our second day we drove to the beach which was only about 10 minutes away by car. We used a taxi to get there since the prices are very cheap and it’s a common means of transport there. In Dubai there are only two metro lines and they don’t stop at the beach. We explored the area (but didn’t make it a whole beach day), sat in the sun for a cold drink and went to the Mall of the Emirates for lunch.
After a quick stop at our hotel to rest, we went out in the early evening to the Dubai Creek, which is a natural and historical creek in the old part of Dubai. It was one metro ride away and I felt like I was in a completely different city. I no longer had the feeling of urban jungle, skyscrapers and construction works. Here I was in the midst of an Arab world: traditional markets, locals and oriental odors of different spices.
We took a little boat to get to the other side of the river which was an incredible experience. Together with some other tourists, but mostly locals, we sat on a small wooden boat. The sun was about to set and the city got more and more illuminated. So beautiful to watch. As I wanted to capture every moment on camera, I tried to find a balance between filming this experience and living in the moment. The ride took us only a few minutes so, I had to be fast with taking photos.
Day 3: Admiring Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Marina
The next day went to the Dubai Miracle Garden, which is a huge garden with many colorful flours and trees that are planted in a way they create patterns and figures. It was a kind of Disneyland but with flowers only. Maybe you have seen it on Instagram too. At least that is where I’ve seen this park for the first time. To be honest the flowers were great to look at but the park is not a necessity.
Afterwards we went to Dubai Marina, the harbor of Dubai. I was astonished by all these skyscrapers that were in front of me. Similar to a lot of places in Dubai, there were also many construction works (the city changes from day to day) but also completed buildings of course. You have to know that in Dubai many things are artificial. Not in the sense that the trees are fake but there is no wood, no mountains or natural flower fields. That’s why Dubai is also called a city in the desert. Dubai is modern and clean which sometimes makes it a bit impersonal in my opinion. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful and definitely a must-see. After a stroll along the harbor we went to the Dubai Marina Mall to get a coffee. (Did you know that there are more than 60 malls in Dubai?)
After a quick rest and outfit change in our hotel room we went to see the Laser Water Show at Dubai Festival City Mall and had dinner in the Hard Rock Café afterwards. The Laser Water Show of Dubai Festival City was accompanied with beautiful Arab music in the background which gave this whole spectacle a total unique feeling. The atmosphere at the Hardrock café was also special, since it’s so big. There was a huge stage and live music being played. The crowd was called upon to clap along and sing with together with the band. In front of us, right before the stage, there was a large group of girls who probably celebrated a birthday or some other event, that danced, sang along and celebrated together with the singer.
Day 4: Our trip to Abu Dhabi (such a beauty!)
On our fourth day we planned something special: we booked a trip to Abu Dhabi. This city is also a part of the United Arab Emirates and was about a 1 ½ hours trip by car away. We thought we booked this trip with a shuttle bus together with other tourists but to our surprise we had our own driver who took my dad and me to Abu Dhabi. We drove on a street in the middle of nowhere just occasionally some palm trees to our side. The rest was only desert.
After some time we arrived in our neighbor city and our first stop was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I’ve only seen the Grand Mosque on photos and in real life it was even more stunning. The sky was cloudy at the beginning but cleared up after some time. For religion’s sake and respect I had to wear an “abaya” (traditional Muslim cloak) to cover my body and hair. We also had to take our shoes off when we entered the Mosque. The inner building was even more beautiful and I was fascinated so much. Everything looked so clean, noble and majestic.
Everything seemed to be planned down to the smallest detail. We took part in a guided tour with a young lady and other tourists and learned a lot about the Islam and the Muslim culture in the Emirates. Unfortunately I don’t remember everything she said because she told us so much information but it was definitely worth it and I can totally recommend it – rather than going on your own. As far as I can remember you aren’t even allowed to take your own tour in the Mosque. For most of the rooms and aisles you need to take a staff member with you.
We entered the main prayer room with a huge colorful carpet, admired the giant colorful chandelier and were told a lot about its history. It was so impressive that I’d love to visit the mosque for a second time whenever I will be in Abu Dhabi again.
Our next stop was Emirates Palace, a huge and luxury five star hotel. The building is such a big complex that it’s more of a real tourist attraction than “just” a hotel. It’s definitely worth a visit.
We took a walk inside, took some photos but didn’t spend as much time there as in the Grand Mosque. The building reminded me a bit of the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, for those of you who have been there.
The third stop was Heritage Village. The little village is a reconstruction and tourist attraction where you can experience the past of the Emirates, learn about traditional aspects and see what Abu Dhabi looked like before it was modernized. You can stroll around the paths and squares, admire old huts and watch how artisans made pottery, glass blowing or weaving.
To be honest this didn’t sound that interesting to me since I’m not 100% interested in traditional crafting. But to my surprise, this definitely turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. The actual village was okay but what totally amazed us was the little beach behind the heritage.
It was so hot outside, the sun shined with full power on our head and I saw the most crystal clear water and whitest sand I have ever seen in my entire life. Absolutely stunning. We took some photos there and I preferably wanted to take a swim right away. But unfortunately we neither had enough time, nor did I pack my bikini and I think it wasn’t a public bathing spot anyway.
Our last stop for the day was the Abu Dhabi Ferrari World or rather the Yas Mall which is located next to the Ferrari World. I have seen this place in a vlog of one of my favorite Brazilian YouTubers and wanted to go there as well. Without planning it on purpose, our driver made us go there as it’s apparently a place every Abu Dhabi visitor has to see. Ferrari world is a theme park – with the world’s fasted rollercoaster. However we didn’t go into the park, we just “visited” the mall. In Germany I would not “visit” a mall just for the sake of visiting but in Dubai and Abu Dhabi it’s kinda a thing. The malls there are often a tourist attraction by itself, probably because of the fact that they are so huge and offer a “unique shopping experience”.
The mall looked beautiful, especially its outside water area, and we enjoyed some time there before going back to Dubai. We arrived at our hotel shortly after sunset and spent some time at the pool (to see it all illuminated and enjoy the view) before making again a trip to the Dubai Mall to see the fountains there at night.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my Dubai and Abu Dhabi travel diary. It was an amazing trip so far and I can totally recommend you to go there. In my next post I’ll tell you how our trip will continue. You can expect my perceptions when visiting famous Atlantis hotel, a bumpy desert Safari and meeting my new friend, a camel. Be excited!
I would love to know if you have been to Dubai or Abu Dhabi before and if so, how you experienced it.
If you want to see more vivid footage, I recommend you to check out my Dubai travel vlog on YouTube.
I’m wishing you a wonderful day and الىاللقاء
Love and light