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Top 5 Malls to visit in Dubai

1 Jun

Dubai is definitely the land of malls where you can’t drive for 10 minutes and not come across a mall. However malls here are not just for shopping, but they are more like an experience (including a cultural one). For some reason it seems like malls here intend to be a means of shopping cum entertainment cum sightseeing. Like the city, nearly every mall in Dubai has something unique to offer from ice rinks to skiing to themes to souks. And each one of them has its own unique charm and attraction.

As far as the actual shopping is concerned, while you find pretty much all the brands here (including the high-end ones) – nothing is cheaper. The only thing we found cheaper were TVs (as compared to India), rest everything was pretty much as it is in India.

The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall

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The Palm Jumeira and the Atlantis, Dubai

12 May

During my trip to Dubai I felt that this is one city which does not believe in being content with what it has; but is a city which must have everything possible in a place – skiing slopes, completely new islands in various shapes, 7 star hotels, water parks in a desert, the tallest structures in the world etc etc. This city has to have everything exotic that money can buy.

And I think one of the biggest examples of this attitude, are the artificial islands of the Palm Jumeirah and the World. While I havent seen the World Islands, I saw the Palm Jumeirah during my visit to Dubai last year. The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial cluster of islands, created and arranged in the form of a giant palm tree – complete with a trunk, a crown, 16 fronds and a crescent to complete the outline.

The Palm Jumeirah - photo courtesy - www.dubai-architecture.info

The Palm Jumeirah – photo courtesy – http://www.dubai-architecture.info

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“At the Top” with Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountains

6 May

No trip to Dubai can be complete without a visit to one of its iconic buildings – Burj Khalifa. This tallest man-made building in the world, took 6 years in construction and has numerous designing, engineering and architectural feats associated with it. The design of the building is in the form of petals of a Hymenocallis flower (which is a regional desert flower) and you can see the actual petal formations from the observation deck. There are numerous other interesting facts and figures associated with this building and you can read more on it here.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

So when we were in Dubai, there was no way that we were missing out on a chance to actually see this building or Dubai from such heights.

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Finally one curiosity satisfied – Inside the Jumeirah Mosque

1 May

Our curiosity always pushes us to know more about the unknown, even more so when it’s forbidden. And this is quite true for me too. One of the things that I have always been curious about is – what’s inside a Parsi Fire Temple and a Mosque? While I am yet to actually see the insides of a Fire Temple (as peeping inside one from a bus does not qualify), I finally got to visit an actual mosque i.e. the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai.

As a quick background, in 1998 the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) was set up under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoumin to raise awareness about the local culture, customs and religion of the UAE and to thereby increase cross cultural dialogue with guests. About a decade ago, under their “Open doors. Open Minds” philosophy, they opened the doors of the Jumeirah mosque to public and non-muslim guests (including women). Please note that this is the only mosque in Dubai which is open to public.

The Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai

The Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai

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Dune Bashing in Dubai

28 Apr

No trip to Dubai can be complete without experiencing the actual sun and sand of this desert city. And the tourists in us decided to do just that with the famous and ultra touristy  half day Dubai Desert Safari tour. Well, some may say that it’s just a touristy gimmick and not worth wasting time and money, but I felt that this was something that you should try at least once, as it gives you a small flavor of the old desert life. These tours come as a package that includes – pick and drop from Dubai, dune bashing, camel riding, dance performances in a desert camp, sheesha smoking, arabic coffee and dinner. Now there are numerous tour operators who conduct these tours here, but a word of caution – do check the quality of these before booking, as there are quite a few quality issues and complaints concerning these tours too.

Sand Dunes, Outskirts of Dubai

Sand Dunes, Outskirts of Dubai

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Exploring Old Dubai – Bur Dubai and Diera

21 Apr

Contrary to a lot of misconceptions, Dubai is just not all about new construction, high-rise buildings and high-end malls. There is another part to this city which lends it a different character and according to Lonely Planet is the heart and soul of Dubai, well I am speaking about Old Dubai. Now Old Dubai mainly comprises of 2 parts, Deira and Bur Dubai which are separated by the old and historically important Dubai creek. Per my recommendation, whenever you are in Dubai, a visit to both these places is a must.

Bur Dubai

Bur Dubai

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Dubai – A quick guide to planning your next trip here

21 Apr

Dubai. This is a name that immediately conjures a city in your mind which is full of Glitz, Glamor, Excess and Extravagance. A city which is traditional yet extremely accommodating of the modern. A city constantly under construction with more new and ground breaking ideas; be it The Palm or the World Islands. A city which has defied its geographic limitations (being a desert) and proved that it can have everything (including ice skating and skiing). A city that has something for everyone and will make you feel at home, no matter who you are.

We had a chance to explore Dubai (quite by chance) last November. We had actually been planning to visit numerous other places, but for one reason or the other everything kept getting cancelled. In the end, we gave all of it up and booked a ticket to the cheapest place available then, which was Dubai. A trip to this place made us realize that contrary to a lot of prior notions, there is a lot more to Dubai than shopping. And don’t get me wrong, we did shop a lot but we also saw numerous other beautiful sights and  experienced a different character of this city.

DSCN0471

Dubai Skyline

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