I have been fascinated with Europe for a while. It all started in 2004 when my BFF, P first moved there and started sending postcards and sharing stories of a gorgeous world full of snow-clad mountains, fairy tale castles, scenic lakes, etc etc. All her stories created an image of a wonderland in my mind and I resolved to visit it as soon as I could collect some money. And as Paulo Coelho said in The Alchemist “if you truly want something, then the entire universe conspires in helping you achieve it” – well, mine sure did. After numerous failed plans, my first international trip was to Spain in 2006. And with this trip, the fascination increased.
Shopping in Dubai offers everything that any other fun activity does – there is that thrill at the sight of beautiful new things, an adrenaline rush at finding something that you have always wanted (that too after a major hunting exercise) and the sheer joy on the swipe of the credit card for a purchase well made. During our trip to Dubai we indulged in this activity quite a bit, well to be honest, we spent 6 days in various malls and still didn’t see it all. While such mad non-stop shopping is fun, it also entails long hours and frequent energy breaks; and such breaks mean it’s time for some food and coffee. Since we spent a lot of time in malls, we got a chance to try out quite a few new eateries here, especially fast food chains, cafes, ice creams etc.
And based on my experiences, below are a few of my recommendations that you must try whenever you find yourself in any mall in Dubai 🙂
Just Falafel – This is an all vegetarian fast food chain with a menu consisting of all kinds of falafels (of course) and French fries, hummus, dips, salads, drinks and desserts. Also, their falafels are from around the world i.e. they have falafels in all the following flavors – Indian, Mexican, Greek, Japanese, Emirati etc etc. By the end of my trip this turned out to be one of my favorite places in Dubai (also a vegetarian’s delight) and I literally tried everything on their menu, though Mexican and Greek were my favorites. You can find out more about them at http://www.justfalafel.com/
Since I have been bitten by the travel bug and have started travelling quite a bit, everyone keeps asking me on how I manage the financing. No, I don’t ask my parents and neither do I earn a lot, but I have come to realise that gone are the days where taking a long international holiday or that dream vacation, meant an empty bank account. Nowadays with just a few hours spent on the internet, planning well and availing discounts available on the internet, you can actually take a vacation and also end up saving significant expenses.
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.
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.
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.
Over quite a few trips to Hong Kong, I have realised that it undoubtedly has one of the best public transportation and signages networks in the world. It has all forms of transport – taxis, buses, trams, buses, minibuses, metro, ferry, etc which are very easy and convenient to use and take you to all the touristy places that you normally want to see.
So, what are the various options available to you?
For travelers who are looking for convenience and not that worried about budgets, it is very easy to hail a taxi here for nearly all places and the charges are as in the pic below –