Dubai, one of the seven states that comprise the United Arab Emirates, is an upcoming travel destination for Indian travellers. Vatsala Chhibber helps you plan your trip to this megacity
A structure 828 meters tall dominates not only the Dubai skyline but also the rest of the world. Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world is a sight you cannot and should not miss while in Dubai. In fact, you can also buy a ticket to visit the top of this mammoth structure. A lift ride that barely lasts a minute takes you to the 124th floor of the Burj Kalifa (the highest point accessible to the public). At the top, you are led to the observation deck – a glass panelled section with stunning views of the city.
*Entry to the Bhurj Khailfa is from the Dubai Mall, which incidentally is the largest mall in the world. Make sure you visit the dancing fountain shows (again, the largest in the world) outside Dubai mall from 6 pm onwards at half hour intervals.
*Book your tickets in advance because immediate entry to the top costs 400 AED (Rs. 5,900), while booked tickets cost 95 AED (Rs. 1,400).
In Dubai, the mall experience is not restricted to shopping. From diving with sharks in Dubai Mall to skiing in -2 degrees Celsius at Mall of the Emirates, the indoor experience in Dubai is never claustrophobic. You will find plenty of adventure options both for the weak-hearted as well as the seasoned adventure junkies. For instance, iFLY, located in Midriff City Mall, introduces you to the thrill of skydiving through a 2-minute session in a wind tunnel. Giant fans situated below the chamber will have you airborne and spinning around. The session ends with mutliple acrobatic leaps and plunges (this is when your instructor takes control). You’ll step out with a pounding heart and irrepressible smile.
- iFLY, Midriff City Mall: First-time flyers pay 215 AED (Rs. 3,225) for 2 minutes. You can also opt for one-on-one skydiving lessons with an instructor.
- Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates: Passes start from 140 AED (Rs. 2100). Main attractions: ski slope, chairlift rides and giant snow ball (xorbing).
- Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Mall: Passes start from 55 AED (Rs. 825). However, visitors to the mall have a free view of the acrylic tank. The Lost Chambers in Atlantis The Palm is also a fascinating walkthrough for marine life lovers.
EMBARK ON A WATER ADVENTURE
Wild Wadi Water Park is truly an oasis for travellers as well as residents in Dubai. The park has a wide range of water rides and stunning views of Jumeirah beach and the Burj Al Arab hotel. Master Blasters, a series of slides connected by water-powered jets is a unique 20-minute water adventure. For those with more lavish tastes, Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis The Palm offers dolphin swimming sessions, shark safaris and access to a private beach in addition to the regular rides.
- Jumeirah Sceirah is the star attraction of Wild Wadi: A closed chamber, a 3-second countdown, a vertical drop and a piercing scream. Highly recommended. Entry fees: 225 AED (Rs. 3,375).
- For dolphin lovers, you can watch a dramatic dolphin show at the Dubai Dolphinarium 120 AED (Rs. 1800). Private swimming sessions with dolphins are available at 550 AED (Rs. 8250).
OTHER DUBAI ATTRACTIONS:
Jumeriah beach – For when you fancy a dip in the waters or are brave enough to soak in the Dubai heat and go sunbathing
Karama – When you miss Indian food, head to Karama – plenty of eateries and local shopping stores
Souks – Gold souk, spice souk, perfume souks: even if you don’t wish to shop, visit the souks for a visual delight. You will also find shops that sell brand imitations (Fendi, Gucci and the like!)
EXPERIENCE THE EMIRATI CULTURE
For an enlightening cultural exchange and an authentic Emirati meal, head to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). What you will experience is not an agonising sermon but an honest and humourous discussion about the Emirati culture. From why Emrirati women wear the abbaya to questions about Islam, no subject is off limits at this exchange of ideas and cultures.
- Cultural breakfast/lunch/dinner bookings are available at different times throughout the week. Price ranges from 60-95 AED (Rs. 900-1495) per person (book your seats in advance). Heritage tours are also available throughout the week.
- Include a visit to the Dubai Museum and Jumeirah Mosque as they are located near SMCCU.
GO DUNE BASHING
Though Dubai is rich with manmade wonders, it’s the barren desert that ultimately leaves you spellbound. The desert safari includes a thrilling ride in the sand dunes and an evening of belly dancing and barbecues.
- Oasis Palm Tourism LLC offers a variety of desert safari packages (such as overnight stays) in addition to other experiences (Hatta mountain safari, Dhow cruise, etc).
- If you are prone to car sickness, it is advisable to carry anti-nausea tablets.
- 1 AED = Rs. 15 (approximately)
- Dubai has a large population of Indians and Bangladeshis; you are unlikely to be homesick.
- The weekend in Dubai is Friday-Saturday.
Food – Due to its cosmopolitan nature, food options in Dubai are varied. The best part is the exclusion of taxes so what’s on the menu is what you pay!
Stay – Al Ghurair Rayhann by Rotana is centrally located; close to the airport as well as major shopping malls. Apart from luxurious rooms, the hotel boasts of a Zen Spa, fitness clubs, squash courts and several other amenities. Daily transfers to Dubai Mall are also arranged.
Getting Around : Bin Ali Tourism LLC offers a variety of travel packages depending on your preference (such as city tours, adventure tours, cruising tours). They also handle visa arrangements, hotel bookings, etc.
Volume 2 Issue 12