After spending a week in Jordan, the change to a developed and thriving city was much appreciated and definitely missed. It was nice to return to a land with air conditioning, better Wi-Fi, more food choices, and less stares on being foreign.
Although Dubai is quite well known to be multicultural, what we found was the local foreigners were mostly Caucasian or South Asian – not so much East Asian. But I’m sure we stood out more because of our attire and conversation showing that we were clearly tourists.
Stepping into our hotel (Atana Hotel) which is only 3 to 4 star (in Dubai it can go up to 7 even….), was a huge breath of fresh air. I didn’t have much expectations for the hotel since we got it at a discount and I normally don’t stay in anything fancy…so I was extremely pleasantly surprised by how pretty our hotel lobby and even our rooms were; felt like entering paradise. Ironically our hotel named their 2 towers after Adam and Eve.
Can see the Burj Al Arab from our window!
Me laughing at Alicia for being too manly for the women’s only carriage.
However, as technologically advanced and developed Dubai is as a city, there is still a more “olden” part of it in the Bur Dubai and Deira area.
The main attraction in this area is travelling across the Dubai Creek in a local abra (little boat) and also the various specialty souks (markets) – especially the spice and gold souks. The common route is to go to Bur Dubai and take an abra to cross the creek to Deira where the souks are.
The souks were actually more modern than we expected, I was legitimately expecting dinky shops but the souks were more of an open space market of multiple store fronts (actual building not just a simple stall). The gold souks were quite luxurious as well with the most famous gold store blasting AC and even had free beverages for customers. They also hold the largest gold ring in the world!!!!
Textile souk in Bur Dubai
Dubai Museum in Bur Dubai
Spice souk in Deira
World’s largest gold ring at the gold souk in
The display at the largest gold store/souk
Crazy large gold jewellery
As expected the souks were flooded with tourists. Predominately at the spice and textile souks, the shopkeepers would shout out at us in various Asian languages to try to grab our attention. Usually it’s quite easy to ignore or play off, only one occasion did I have one shopkeeper literally try to drape a scarf around me….which I of course pushed his arm away : ‘)
It was nice to see the more cultural and heritage side of Dubai (we also visited the Dubai Museum – entrance was only like $3.00!) as for the rest of our trip we would be doing more modern and extravagant tourist activities!
We also visited the Jumeirah Public Beach. How anyone can sunbathe in 35+ degree weather is beyond me.