I recently got back from my trip to Dubai and it was amazing! I have been to Dubai a few times before but this was the first time I actually took the opportunity to get to know the city, the history and its people. Doing this gave me the opportunity to see the city in a completely different perspective and I can’t wait to visit again.
Today I wanted to share with you the details of my travel to Dubai, from the various tour groups we used, accommodations, restaurants we tried and loved, plus throw in some highlights of our trip.
Before I start going into the nitty and gritty details of my travel, I want to share with you a quote by Souza, ‘Happiness is a journey, not a destination’. The journey to Dubai couldn’t have started any better than flying First Class with Emirates on their A380. Since it was a +13 hour trip to fly from Canada to Dubai, my hubs surprised me by upgrading our flight to First Class and the experience was amazing.
I am not going to lie, I get anxious every time I get on a plane. Anxious from the excitement of the journey and anxious from just flying. The moment I stepped on-board the Emirates flight and was taken to my suite, I have never felt so relaxed.
Suite? Yup, we were taken to our own suite for our flight and I have to say it was beyond perfect! Just minutes after we were seated, the flight attendant came around to take our reservation to access our inflight shower and spa treatment followed by giving me a pair of pajamas.
If you have never flown with Emirates before, you should try it at least once. The service and food was amazing! And if you want to socialize and get to know your fellow passengers, there is a lounge area at the back where you can sip on cocktails and try out various snacks.
Before I go into the full details of my trip, full disclosure. I spend a great deal of time planning my trips out from what tour groups we should go with, what restaurants we should visit, which hole in the wall places the locals love, the works. The most important element of planning is finding the right time to visit a city.
Dubai tends to be incredibly hot during the summer (we are talking around 50C), so even if the buildings and taxis are full throttle in AC it is not a great time to visit the beach. Best time to visit the city is in the Winter (October – April). The temperatures are around 20C making it perfect to sit and chill at the beach.
Where to stay: For our stay in Dubai, we spent majority of our time at the Sofitel Hotel at The Palm Jumeirah and two nights at the Atlantis to get access to their water park and aquarium. The last time I was in Dubai, The Palm was still being built so it was a real treat to physically stay on The Palm.
What’s it like:
Out of all of my travels, Dubai is the safest city I have ever visited. How safe? I met up with some friends who live in Dubai and they admitted that they rarely ever lock the door to their house or car. Everyone is forthcoming and honest. So it’s no surprise that the crime rate in the city is below 0.1%.
What to see and do:
For tours in Dubai and Abu-Dhabi, I booked everything with Viator. There are two options when it comes to going on tours with them – private or group. I personally booked private because I like that you can chose the pace of the tour and you get some unique personal insight to the city from the guide versus when you are with them in a large group.
With our Dubai tour we got a chance to see the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Museum, Jumeirah Mosque, cross the Dubai Creek by ‘abra’ (water taxi), visit the spice market and gold souk. Our tour guide was amazing and gave us a very personal view of Dubai from the history of the city, the culture of it’s people and the unique relationship between the Emirates and it’s people. Another great thing about our tour guide was he gave us some great pointers when it came to bargaining for clothes, spices and anything we fancied during our tour.
With our Abu-Dhabi tour, our day started around 7:30 am to make the trip from Dubai to Abu-Dhabi. The tour started with us exploring Sheikh Zayed Mosque (the most beautiful mosque I have ever seen!) followed by the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, Bedouin camp, and Ferrari World.
My favorite part of the whole trip was camping in the dessert with Arabian Adventures, or should I say glamping. I have always dreamed about having an Arabian night adventure in the desert. Camping like a Bedouin, riding a camel, getting a class on falconry, and sand dune driving! The works! The whole experience was amazing and if you are in for a short time in Dubai, you have to make time for an overnight desert safari.
Apart from going on a desert safari and touring the city, you should check out the Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, Mall of the Emirates, Burj Khalifa, Medina Jumeirah and Meena Bazaar.
What to eat:
When it comes to food, I am extremely fussy. Ever since my mother taught me how to cook, I have been extremely particular when it comes to my meals at home and at restaurants. So it should come as no surprise I did some research when it came to where we ate.
CUT by Wolfgang Puck – best steak ever!
Tagine – amazing Moroccan food
Jambo Grill – amazing place that had bar-be-que meat with african influenced spices
Ossiano – amazing seafood with a great view
If you are in Dubai for a special occasion, I would make a reservation for Ossiano. It’s the perfect restaurant for a proposal, anniversary or in my case – birthday. The staff is extremely friendly and if you are there for a special occasion, make sure you get the table near the aquarium and have the scuba diver swim down to hold your personal message.
What to wear:
When it comes to figuring what’s appropriate to wear in Dubai, my rule of thumb is if it’s modest, there is a high probability that it’s okay. As long as you are not showing any cleavage, skin on your arms or major leg, you are fine. The only exception is when you go to a house of worship (a mosque), you want to cover completely and make sure you have a shawl on your head.
I hope you found this post helpful when it comes to planning your trip to Dubai. I will be creating a series of post every three months on all my travels. If you have any questions or would like any insight from my trip, please feel free to comment below or send me an email.
Great Post Sophie! Your tips were invaluable and we had a blast–thank you! Looking forward to your other travel posts.
Thank you Sukeina! This post was inspired by you <3
I will be posting an all in one blog post from my previous travels. We should connect! I would love to hear the details from your travel.
Your trip sounds amazing! Must have been so nice to fly first class, especially on such a long trip! I really want to visit Dubai soon, but since I usually have time in the Summer which is clearly too hot (I am pretty sure I would melt) I will have to wait until I graduate I think 🙂
The trip was amazing! Traveling first class was incredibly helpful, the seat reclines into a flat bed so it’s perfect to sleep and they also put a down pad to make it even more comfortable. You should visit Dubai when you get the chance and go in Winter (best time). Travel for Summer – if you are tight on budget, go for areas that experiencing the monsoon (they are very cheap at that time frame).
I had no idea Dubai was that safe! The neighborhood I work in has a crime rate higher than that! Though many of our sales reps travel out that way and rave about staying at the Shangri La (I think that’s how you spell it). How awesome of your husband to surprise you with an upgrade. What an experience. Oh ok, you are Canadian. I knew there was a reason I liked you. (;
Dubai is extremely safe! They had a social experiment done when they dropped a wallet in various locations in the city, they got the wallet back with everything (credit card, cash, nothing missing). It is that safe. And the local Emirates are the nicest people you will ever meet. They are extremely courteous and kind. The Shangri La is a beautiful hotel, I had some relatives stay there and they raved about it. I wanted to experience The Palm because it was my first time going when it was complete and it was a treat. Plus…I wanted to take advantage of playing golf and chucking golf balls into the water (they disintegrate and turn into fish food – how cool is that?!?)
Are you Canadian also? We Canadians are an awesome bunch of people 😉
As for upgrade – he is the best hubs in the world <3
Omg that plane!! (Insert heart eyed emoji here). It reminds me of the plane on SATC when they traveled! I’ve always wanted to travel to Dubai and must bookmark this page for when I do travel!
Thank you Nina! The plane is amazing! Shower and spa treatment 3000 miles in the sky, yes please! And a cocktail lounge deck, that’s the best! If you have any questions when you go to Dubai, please feel free to send me an email.
Such great information on Dubai! Looks like this was a great trip!
Thank you so much for this post Safinaaz, this was very helpful in planning my upcoming trip to Dubai. We can’t wait to fly by Emirates first class, and going to the restaurants you have recommended. I am going to call to make the reservation at Ossiano soon 😊