Five Ways to Be Wowed in Dubai
There’s nothing like the wow factor of Dubai. This futuristic-looking city set between the endless desert and the sea is home to a host of experiences that will impress you to no end. Read on for the details as travel blogger Kate McCulley takes us on a journey through Dubai.
Cocktails on the Tallest Building in the World
Anyone can visit the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, and buy a ticket for the viewing platform during the day. Those in the know head for AT.MOSPHERE Bar at night, where you get the same view while only paying for drinks and food.
AT.MOSPHERE is a wow-worthy experience in itself – not only does it hold the Guinness record for the highest bar in the world, but the cocktails and mocktails are made with exotic ingredients in odd combinations that you’ll never find elsewhere. Raise a glass – topped with edible gold leaf, of course – to the swanky side of Dubai.
Gawk at the Gold Souk
Dubai is famous for its shopping, and justifiably so – any serious shopper will have to visit Dubai’s famously ostentatious malls, filled with more designer boutiques than you could hit in a month.
But for something truly different from what you’ll find in the malls, head to the Gold Souk. While you’ll find plenty of conventional gold pieces here, you’ll be dazzled by the gigantic solid gold necklaces hanging in the windows! Even Elizabeth Taylor would declare these necklaces to be a bit too excessive.
Keep on going through this traditional neighborhood, passing store after store and display after display, until you can’t bear to look at the treasures any longer. That’s what you call a wowable moment.
See the Sand Dunes and Mountains
Whether or not you expect big things from nature here in the UAE, the landscapes are made to wow you. One great way to enjoy this natural beauty is to take a drive out to the town of Hatta for the day.
The drive to Hatta will take you across dramatic red sand dunes and even briefly across the border into Oman before returning to the UAE once more. Upon arrival, you’ll be surrounded by mountains – dark, jagged, pointy mountains that look like they could be in the Himalayas if not for the palpable lack of snow.
Visit Bastakiya at Night
Since Dubai was only a fishing village just a few decades ago, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that there isn’t an old quarter dating back centuries like you’d find in older Middle Eastern cities.
There is, however, Bastakiya – a collection of buildings first built in the late 19th century. This is a chance to see traditional Emirati architecture, like the great white mosque, and take in river life along the shore of Dubai Creek.
Bastakiya is interesting to visit on its own, but are most beautiful at night, when the buildings are illuminated in gold and provide a brilliant contrast against the deep blue sky. These will be some of the best pictures of your trip.
Afternoon Tea at the Burj al Arab
The Burj al Arab, the self-declared world’s first seven-star hotel, is famous for its sailboat shape and its status as one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. It remains elusive – the hotel isn’t open to spectators, and only guests are permitted to enter.
There is, however, a way to visit if you’re not a guest – book a reservation for afternoon tea. With lots of afternoon tea options, the Sky Tea takes place on top of the Burj al Arab, overlooking the coastline, the Burj Khalifa, and The World islands in the distance.
As you sip tea and sparkling date juice and receive tower after tower of treats, from savory sandwiches with squid-ink bread to cakes and sweet treats, topped off by camel milk creme brulee, you’ll be convinced that there’s no better place in the world to enjoy luxury than in Dubai – and that is a very wow moment, indeed.
Kate McCulley quit her job to travel the world three years ago. 46 countries and six continents later, she's still going, having swapped her old life for a travel writing career. Kate specializes in independent and solo female travel and chronicles her story atAdventurousKate.com. Follow her on Twitter at @adventurouskate.
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