1st- 7th June 2017
It was a massive plane with Thai Airways from KL to Bangkok, Boeing 777-300ER. 3-3-3 seats across. It was only an hour and a half to Bangkok and then 1 hour 45 transfer before getting on the plane to Dubai with the same airline. It was a really nice airline Thai airways, probably our favourite. We forgot how big Bangkok airport was too! It took us about 20 mins to walk to our gate from where we got off the plane. The plane was delayed but it made up time while we were flying so we didn't get in late- we got in at 6:20am. The second plane wasn't as big but it was an Airbus A330-300 and had 2-3-2 seats across. It was a cloudy flight and we had a little bit of turbulence but it wasn't anything bad. We had our own TVs on both flights so we just watched films non stop.
We had to get a train from the gate at arrival to airport when we got off in Dubai! It was a huge airport!
We stayed at Hawthorn hotel & suites by Wyndham JBR, which was a nice hotel. We were upgraded when we got there, for no apparent reason, so we ended up with a room on the top floor. There was a concierge at the hotel and they wouldn’t let you even touch your own bags! The rooms were ridiculously huge! We were on level 23 with views over the water and the marina, which was lovely! The hotel was $860 (around £495) for 6 nights. That's amazing for Dubai and for anywhere in the world really, so we were very happy with that! It obviously wasn’t on par with other hotels in Dubai as they are next level, but it was still a nice place to stay. It was a big apartment with a kitchen, balcony, living room, bedroom and two bathrooms. The biggest place we have stayed by far! Don’t know why two people would need all that space, but we aren’t going to complain with that! Everyone says how Dubai is so expensive but it’s not- well we didn’t think so anyway! It's probably the same as Aus but it's just because it has very expensive things here if you have the money, like the worlds only 7 star hotel. We loved it as soon as we arrived and already knew we wouldn’t want to leave!
It was Ramadan while we were there, which didn’t really bother us too much to be fair. We couldn’t eat or drink anything in public- not even water! All restaurants etc were either closed during the day or the food courts in the malls were closed off so nobody could see in. It was very quiet for what you think Dubai would be. Apparently this is what it's like at Ramadan. It was really special to be here though during Ramadan and it didn’t really affect us much, just the drinking water etc in public. We were pretty much straight to bed when we got in and were unpacked, we didn’t get to the hotel until about 9pm. The taxi driver, who was a woman, was like a tour guide, she was brill! She told us loads of info and about all Ramadan too. She started telling us that you aren’t to chew chewing gum in public, which Nath was obviously doing! And he was doing when we got to the airport- he wondered why security were giving him funny looks! The taxi was 85 aed.
Day 1- we got out and about straight away. Breakfast was included at the hotel so that was good. It was a brilliant breakfast as well! So much choice and quite random, with full on meals at the buffet like rice and main meal food. We went to The Walk, which is a mile-long, two-storey strip running the length of the JBR, with more than 300 retailers, restaurants, department stores, cafés and gyms.
The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence (which is like a huge area complex) claims to be the world’s biggest residential development. It is situated in the Dubai Marina (which also claims to be one of the world’s largest man made marinas).
It was between 38 and 41 degrees, so a trip to the well air conditioned Dubai marina mall was needed to cool off. From there we got the hop on hop off bus for 7 days, which cost us 340 aed each. Exchange of 1 AUD to 2.7 AED (£1= 4.7aed). There was much included in the ticket too; boat trips; the aquarium/zoo, a night bus tour and 4 different routes. Dubai is just so big so it was well needed to get around! We are 30km away from the Burj so not walkable! There were also trams and train all around the city too, which were a very high standard; not like our transport! We drove around on the bus for day passing through the various areas and in awe at the building and sheer scales of things!
In Dubai Marina there are 7 of the 10 tallest residential buildings in the world making the Dubai Marina the tallest residential skyscraper cluster in the world. There was the Infinity building- that twisted a full 90 degrees around designed by the same architect who built the Burj. The aim of the marina skyscrapers was to build every building to only be 5 mins from the water. As this is a small space, they had to build up so the buildings are so tall. All residential buildings in the marina are between 300m-500m tall. The cluster of buildings are the tallest block of buildings in the world and it has one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.
Reclaimed sand was used to build the man made Palm Jumeirah. Nothing of this scale had ever been done at that time in the world. All the private apartments on the palm have their own private beach. It has been called the 8th wonder of the world: true or not I don’t know. There are 17 palms, located in the Arabian gulf. Palm crescent at the top of the palm is 20km in length. The Palm Jumeirah hotel was built at cost of £1 billion and has two underwater suites with a private butler, a water park and private beach. It has a 1.4km tunnel under the Arabian gulf from the 2km trunk to the reclaimed land and crescent at the top of the palm.
There was a boat trip in the palm, that was included in the ticket. It was amazing! There were hotels on/along the trunk and private apartment and villas on the palm leaves. There were amazing views of marina city. What you think would be the city (where the burj is) isn't actually what you always see advertised for Dubai. It's the marina where we are staying with all the skyscrapers. It's like there are two cities in the city.
Later on we go in the sea at JBR marina beach. It was pure white sand, which was understandably very hot to walk on. It was also the hottest sea ever which was very strange. We thought we would get in to cool down from the 40 degree heat, but the sea was like a warm bath. The sea temperate was 38 degrees! Dubai is hot all year round but especially in summer; the hottest months are July/Aug so not quite to hottest it gets yet.
We went back to JBR later and walked around the shops and looked at restaurants. The local police set off a canon at sunset for the end of fasting each day. Then prayers could be heard and everyone is allowed to eat; all the restaurants are then open.
We didn’t end up going to a restaurant though, we had a lovely KFC dinner! Can’t take us anywhere!! Nath has a wrap meal that was £2.50 and my meal was £4.50. Prices aren’t bad here at all. Everything seems reasonably priced! Lunch was like £4.50 for a massive rice meal and drink. Bottles of water are about 30p to 80p. The restaurants near us were purely tourist area. The whole JBR and the walk is built for tourism and therefore prices are higher. Meals are about 50/60Aed (£12) or were three courses for £20- still not bad at all!
Day 2- we got back on the bus to the malls. We went to the Mall of the Emirates. We found out on the bus that when buying a house in Dubai you are given a car as a gift from the estate agent. Smaller places is like a mini, better ones BMW, a house on the palm or other expensive places you get a Lamborghini. Just imagine the house prices to get a car!
They are in the process of building the largest mall in the world in Dubai; The Mall of the World. It will be a 7km temperature controlled street on Shaihad Seik Road and it is due to be finished in 2020. It will be 4.5 million square feet, have the largest indoor theme park in the world, 20,000 hotel rooms, theatres, restaurants- it’s going to be a city in a city really.
Emirates mall has ski Dubai, indoor ski slopes which has a black slope. There is also penguins there. It’s a very big mall with every shop you could think of. There is everything you would need for a day out; shops, restaurants, cafes, skiing, bowling, a cinema, a massive games arcade. It has a big glass dome roof, hanging lights, fountains, everything really. We found out that 81% of emirates are expats and also the tallest hotels in the world are in Downtown Dubai; there are two towers that are 370m.
We then went to The Dubai Mall. This is the largest mall in the world by total area; around the same size as 50 football fields! At the mall is The Burj Khalifa where there is a viewing deck 452m high. In the mall is Dubai aquarium and underwater zoo, which has a 50m long tunnel aquarium. We went in the aquarium; the tunnel had sand tiger sharks, rays and lots of fish. The aquarium has the worlds largest shark collection; over 30 species of sharks and rays. It had three floor and there were also crocs, penguins, octopus, bats, everything really! You wouldn't believe it was in a mall! There was a waterfall in the middle of mall with figures/statutes in it. We had a walk outside and saw the Burj from the bottom and also the Burj lake. We had a walk around the mall which also has an entertainment centre and ice rink. After a walk around we got back on hop on hop off bus and went past the Burj Al Arab (the worlds only 7 star hotel unofficially). The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280m from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to resemble the sail of a ship. It has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210m above ground. We also went past Jumeriah beach and Jumeriah mosque.
The inspiration of buildings and areas in Dubai have been built based on trying to copy different cities, but they just do it on a bigger scale so they always have the best. They always seem to do one better than every where else and it is like another world. An imaginary one! The weather here was so hot that our glasses steamed up when we stepped outside, it was crazy! Can’t actually believe we were in Dubai!
The UAE only formed in 1971 so only in the last 20-30 years it has started building in this way and becoming a business hub. There are huge houses in Jumeria, which is a very expensive area- near to beach but also to business centre. Some look like big castle with about 7 flash cars in the drive. From their house you got a great view of the business centre and the burj. There were a lot of mosques everywhere with the prayer call playing out as we went by.
When we got back off the bus we walked all along the 1.7km The Walk and ended up getting a fancy takeaway from a restaurant. Nearly all restaurants deliver or do takeaway; it must be for all the rich people who don't want to cook!
Day 3- we spent the morning at the beach. It was very warm but there was a nice breeze. We weren’t too far from the palm so we could see the palm hotel, in the distance the Burj Al Arab, and not as clear but we could also see the Burj Kalafi. There were some waves and we got wiped out by a few! The water was just so salty and it killed my eyes, but I could float it was that salty! We caught some serious sun and we were only there until lunch. We kept laying on the beach for a little bit before it got unbearable and we had to get in the water. The water was so warm though, you wouldn’t think it was the sea! So it didn’t really help us with cooling down. It was the weirdest thing! We went back to the apartment with some lunch and got ready. We end up missing the bus so we decided to go and get the tram and then transfer to the train. We got the tram from near us but had to change to the train at the next station. The ticket we bought then wouldn't let us tap back on so we had to buy another ticket. We found out it was because we didn't tap off when getting off the tram. Luckily the tickets were only 8 aed each but we did pay 8 aed just for one stop and to cross over the road! Haha! The trains were great, very clean, very modern, very smooth, very quick and often. Not like what we have at home! They are much further ahead than us it’s crazy! They are also driverless! We got to the Dubai Mall and had some dinner in a food court before catching the night bus (which was included in our ticket) for a night tour around the city. We went on the contemporary tour around the business district, the Marina, the palm and past the Burj Al Arab. The city looked even more dazzling lit up on a night. If your a lover of cities and big buildings like us then this is definitely the place to be. It was a brilliant tour seeing the city lit up and we really enjoyed it! So pretty! Even though it was still boiling at night time, we did grin and bear it so we could sit on the top deck outside and make the most of the view. We got the train back after the tour to near us and walked home; we didn't get in until around 10.30-11.00pm.
Day 4- we got back on the hop on hop off bus, AGAIN and had to transfer through 2 routes to get to the last route, the red one which we hadn't done yet. This was around Downtown Dubai, the financial district, the Old Dubai, the palaces, the souks, Dubai creek and Deira. We got on an old wooden boat (abra)- a water taxi- with the locals to cross the creek from old souk to Gold souk, which was 1aed each. We then got on a wooden dhow boat included in ticket, which is suppose to be 50aed each. We had a trip along the creek for an hour, taking in all the sights. We went around old souk and spice souk. There were people trying to grab you and put things on you like scarfs, but there were also some beautiful smells! It was a completely different side to the city and what you would imagine in Arab countries; it reminded me of Aladdin! Later we went back to Dubai Mall and had some dinner. We then got the train and tram back to the hotel.
Day 5- we had a chilled morning and then got the bus to the palm. We had our helicopter tour booked with Alpha Tours, which cost 795 aed each. We were booked for the tour at up at 12.20pm and it was the 15 minute fun ride. We both got front seats with the pilot- YEY! We were so excited! We have been waited to fly over the amazing Dubai! What an experience! We flew over the palm, the world, the Burj Al Arab, downtown Dubai, past the Burj Khalifa and the business district’s skyline, the boat port and back past the world and the palm. The heli pad was next to the Palm hotel at the top of the crescent of the palm. The World islands were not done yet but they were all in place. They are islands that are man made and built in the shape of the world and all the countries. Over 200 countries have now been sold so now the owners need to start building on their islands. The only way in is by boat or helicopter. Only 2 of the islands of the world have started building on them. It was totally crazy! Just out in the sea, all these islands that all together are in the shape of the world! Some serious money in them, you wouldn’t even want to imagine. Just another world!! The helicopter was one of the best things we have done. It was more than worth the money to do it and see the city from above. You can really appreciate the palm and actually see the full shape of it from above, and also all the world islands. You would never see any of it from the ground really, not in that way. We could also really appreciate the sheer size of the buildings and the Khalifa. Just unreal! And amazing! Just wow!
We went to The Dubai Mall after (again), we had some late lunch and a mooch around. We were still finding new parts of it; honestly it’s that big! We went up the Burj at 5.30pm for sun set at 7.10pm. We got Ramadan treat box when we got to the top and waited for the beautiful sunset and the city to light up. The Burj Khalif would take 36 workers around 4 months to clean all the exterior windows but it has an automated bucket cleaning system built into the outside of the building that cleans vertical and horizontal. The top of the spike is cleaned by professionals who dangle on ropes.
From the top we saw the fountain display. It looked crazy. We were on level 124 and 125. Nath got altitude sickness or something and felt dizzy and sick haha, comical! I couldn't stop laughing at him. We didn’t leave the deck until 8.30pm and went down and watched the fountain again from the ground. Wow wow wow. The Dubai fountain shoots water 153m in the air. The largest choreographed fountain in the world set off in the Dubai lake under the Burj Khalif. We had a late dinner snack after and got the train and tram back.
Day 6- last day! Freaking out! How has the day come round already? How is it the last day of the trip! This time tomorrow we will be back on English soil! 2 and a half years! I’m so proud of us and everything we have done. I can’t believe everything we have done and seen! It just feels strange to be going back home as this has become our normal for the last 2 years. All the freedom and no care in the world; just wanting to see the world!
We paid extra to have a late check out at 5pm as the flight was not until 9pm. We went to the beach again and it was 42 degrees. We could only lay in the sun for about 10-15 minutes and then had to get back in the sea. Not that it was refreshing mind. Back in the warm bath! We chilled at the beach for the day enjoying the last of the sun, which we wouldn’t be getting for a while, and the lovely views of the Arabian gulf.
We checked out of the room at 5pm and got a taxi. We got dinner at the airport. The flight was at 9pm with Saudi Airlines, we had never flew with them before so something new for us. We had a connecting flight in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia with a wait of 2.5 hours. Then it on the next flight back to home soil!! The end is very near...
Dubai was one of the best places we have ever been. It had everything you could think of. It was so flash and amazing! The building were just wow! Yeah