Friday 6th May 2016 / Saturday 7th May 2016
I was surprised with an over night stay in Abu Dhabi by my friend when i arrived in Dubai, which was perfect as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was on my must-see list!
Abu Dhabi is around an hour and a half drive from Dubai and we managed to grab a lift from another woman who was coming on this trip, which was ideal and cheaper than a taxi!
Arriving in Abu Dhabi, we checked in at the Aloft hotel. We booked in advance, and only paid 150 AED for the night, which is equivalent to £30.00. On the same night that we were staying, there was a party at the hotel pool!
We dropped off our bags and headed to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We arrived and i was instantly blown away with the incredible architecture!
When visiting the mosque, you firstly have to go through security, then you either have to cover up completely or head to the underground car park to collect and borrow an Abaya .
The mosque was absolutely breath-taking! Words cannot describe how beautiful everything is!
(see my post ‘Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’ for more pictures and information)
We headed back to our hotel after three hours wondering around the mosque and slowly started getting ready for the pool party. We managed to get a VIP table, which included free drinks and entry for females was free so the night didn’t cost a thing!
The next morning we got up and chilled all day, it was 42 degrees and so refreshing to get into the pool!
My first and probably the last time I will visit Abu Dhabi and it certainly did not disappoint!
Sunday 8th May 2016
Today, it was my best friends 22nd birthday and it is the first birthday we have spent together in years since holidays, travelling and moving to Dubai has always crossed our paths.
We woke up to a glorious 35 degrees at 10am and decided to open cards and presents outside to enjoy to morning sun. I picked up some champagne from duty-free on the way over and it was only right to have a champagne breakfast!
After celebrating the morning of being 22, we got ready and headed to iHop located in JBR for breakfast. I had the blueberry pancakes and they were way to big to even finish but they were so delicious!
A few hours on sunbathing and swimming is the clear blue seas, we went for lunch at Eat Greek. I definitely recommend having the Baked Feta Cheese, which is feta cheese covered in peppers, onion, tomatoes with chili oil and baked until golden, served with bread and a selection of oils – we ordered this to share along with a side salad and it was delicious!
Jumeirah Beach Residence also known as JBR is a large development located in Dubai which contains over 40 towers, 35 residential and 5 hotels.
The Walk at JBR is a 1.7-kilometre restaurant and shopping and beach strip, with enough choice to completely spoil you.
Walking around JBR promenade, I noticed a large amount of street art throughout the streets. They were all very detailed and definitely drew in attention! (See post Street Art – Dubai)
The streets are very beautiful and picturesque, with traditional architecture with a modern twist. Along the JBR strip, there is a large amount of art and murals, including this one below. It definitely adds a lot more character to the already charming community.
JBR is definitely worth the visit, we mainly visited the beautiful beach which has lovely warm clear blue waters and a view of the Burj Al Arab and the world famous hotel, The Atlantis in the background.
You can hire a sunbed for 195 AED for two people which is equivalent to £20.00 per person. When hiring the sunbeds, you also receive waiting service, which you can order snacks. meals and refreshing drinks which is incredible useful when the water turns very warm, very quickly!
That evening, we went to Maya, a modern Mexican restaurant – I went for the vegetarian fajitas and finished off with gin and tonic in the open rooftop bar, with the lit up skyline in the background! On Sundays, Maya do Senorita Sundays, allowing women to have three free drinks!
Tuesday 10th May 2016
Heading to the Jumeirah Beach, located directly next to the Burj Al Arab, as soon as we arrived I found it so surreal to be meters away from the most famous Dubai landmark!
Burj Al Arab is located in Dubai is the third tallest hotel in the world! Construction was started in 1994 and was completed only five years later in December 1999, costing an huge 7.8 billion US Dollars.
The famous Dubai hotel stands on an artificial island and is connected by a private bridge. The shape of the Burj Al Arab is designed as the sail of a ship and has been described as ‘the only 7* hotel in the world!’
We arrived at the beach in the late morning, around 11 am. A few hours later and the beach started to become full of tourists, with everyone trying to take their holiday photographs. In the late morning, there was a beautiful sea breeze, which I realised in such a hot climate is a treasured thing!
TIP- Get to the beach early, it allows you time to take non-crowded photographs and the breeze is to good to miss!
Wednesday 11th May 2016
The most exciting day of the trip so far! Today, I skydived in the afternoon and visited the top of the Burj Khalifa during sundown, along with a visit to the Dubai Mall in the evening. Very busy, but incredibly exciting!
I booked my skydive through Skydive Dubai about a month in advance and a deposit was required. Surprisingly calm, I headed to Skydive Dubai, around 13:00 located on Palm DZ which is between Dubai Marina and JBR. Signing in was smooth and after paying the remaining balance, I was all set to go!
Annoyingly, I was waiting for two and a half hours before my name was called for me to be strapped into the equipment, but the time arrived before we knew it and it was official, I was skydiving over Dubai today!
See my post ‘Skydive Dubai’ for information and more pictures on this incredible and once in a lifetime experience!
We left the skydiving centre around 17:00, a lot later than expected as we had booked tickets in advance to visit the top of the Burj Khalifa. A very rushed hour, and a 80 AED taxi ride later, we made it, with 4 minutes to spare before our tickets became invalid!
The views from the top were breath-taking! We were at the top for around an hour and a half, definitely enough time to visit both viewing levels, take more than enough photographs and even visit the shop to purchase a souvenir!
See post ‘Burj Khalifa’ are more photographs, tips and information!
We headed to dinner at the Social House, we asked for a table outside and I was blown away with the view! Dinner, with a front row seat of the Dubai Fountains and the Burj Khalifa – Incredible!
The Dubai Fountains located on the Burj Lake just outside of the Dubai Mall. The shows run in afternoons, Mon-Thurs and Sat-Sun 1:00pm & 1:30pm and Fridays 1:30pm & 2:00pm . In the evening, show run every 30 minutes from 6:00pm to 11:00pm.
The largest dancing fountain in the world, the incredible performances can shoot water up to a height of 140 metres. Definitely a must see when visiting the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.
Having already done so much today, we couldn’t forget about the Dubai Mall. Everything you could ever imagine, under one roof. From aquarium, ice rink, designer shops and endless restaurants, visiting one of the largest malls in the world, you will definitely not get bored!
Dubai Mall is massive. It is so large that it has it’s own map, with direction so you do not get lost! After walking around for almost three hours, we barely covered the entire complex. Most of the mall is open until midnight, which is incredibly handy when you are like me and already have your days packed out!
Thursday 12th May 2016
My final full day in Dubai. After a sad hour packing my suitcase in the morning, I wanted to get out and explore even more of Dubai! Luckily, my friend knew just the place..
Al Bastakiya, also known as Al Fahidi is a historical neighbourhood, which dates back to the 1890’s.
Using the metro, we travelled 15 stops for only five dirhams, which is equivalent to £1.00!
We arrive just before sundown, we had time to explore the lanes and admire the architecture before heading to Bayt Al Wakeel for the last dinner and what a better way to celebrate the end of the trip than beautiful traditional food, a gorgeous view of the creek with the passing boats during sunset and a nice breeze blowing through the restaurant.
I would definitely recommend visiting Bayt Al Wakeel, the restaurant is literally on the creek, being held up by stilts and the menu is simple, yet absolutely delicious!
After dinner, we headed over to the Souk Al Bastakiya. Transport was incredible easy and cool, paying one dirham to be taxied across the creek gives you a cultural feeling!
Explore the Markets!
Entering the Souk Al Bastakiya, my first though; where do I go?! The small lanes, are full with market stalls and shops, all selling a large variety of spices, souvenirs, home decor and gold, lots and lots of gold.
Shop windows are decorated with gold jewellery, especially necklaces worth thousands right next to a shop selling spices and postcards. The market is definitely worth a visit, we spent around two hours here before heading to the Irish Village to relax after busy week!
Tomorrow, I leave this beautiful country, full of culture, incredible architecture, delicious food and amazing weather.
Dubai, Thank you!