As soon as I landed at the Dubai International Airport (DXB), I knew I was going to fall in love with Dubai. The lights. The architecture. Shopping. By far one of the best airports I have ever seen in my life. This is an airport I would not mind having a delayed flight at. Dubai is the epitome of LUXURY. As soon as I got through immigration, I was able to get a cab in no time. Most of the taxis are luxury cars like Rolls Royce(Yes, Rolls Royce!!), Mercedes Benz, Bentley. You name it, Dubai has it!
I was able to get to our hotel quite fast. I heard due to COVID-19, traffic is slower than usual. Even when I was sitting in the cab, it felt so dreamy. You can all the lavish buildings from afar! I’ve never seen anything like it. I cannot even describe how beautiful Dubai is. You just have to see it! Pictures honestly do no justice for Dubai! After reading more about my experience, I am quite sure you will get tired of me bragging about Dubai (lol). I am sorry, it was such a magical experience.
I see why Dubai is so popular now. It is definitely worth the hype! I hope everyone can at least visit Dubai one time in their lives! I was blessed to stay for over a month and tour not just the touristy areas but areas outside common zones. The locals were so nice and helpful. Not ONCE did I feel unsafe. The people are so friendly and respectable.
I recommend reviewing their culture and being respectful. I wore shorts but I made sure they were not short and a reasonable length. If I wore shorts, I would make sure I did not wear a shirt showing any cleavage/chest exposure. I purchased a decent size scarf and would use that to cover my arms and upper body when I did decide to wear shorts. Just for extra precaution and respect reasons. Depending on the area you are in, I noticed some people wearing bikinis (typically in the hotel zone) and quite provocative clothing but I would still not advise anyone to do so.
It is the dessert, right? Be prepared for some intense heat. I went in September and it was very very hot! It reminded me of Las Vegas but was a bit more intense (heat-wise). I always carried water with me. The heat was not unbearable but If you do not do well in heat, I would recommend going a different season when it’s not as hot. Air conditioning was everywhere so that was not an issue.
Dubai’s currency is the Dirham. I found by paying in Dirhams, I got more for my money (USD). When you go to restaurants and clothing retailers, they will ask you which currency you would like to pay in. I recommend always checking your currency and comparing it with the Dirham. But the whole time I was there, Dirham worked out better for me. Cards are practically accepted everywhere but I do recommend carrying cash just in case you go on a tour and want to buy something. I noticed outside of Dubai, most places tend to prefer cash as the form of payment.
There are plenty of ways to get around Dubai. I will recommend getting a taxi or renting a car. Because of the city structure, walking is not feasible everywhere. One minute you see a trail, the next minute it is a road. We rented a car for a few days and found it to be quite helpful. Locals did inform me that traffic is usually crazy in Dubai but has slowed down due to COVID-19. We had no issues driving. They have a rideshare app called Careem you can use as well. I noticed that Uber fairs were slightly more expensive than the Careem app.
I did not have any bad food experiences. The food was really good and I was surprised by the variety. I tried Asian, African, American, Mediterranean, and no bad experiences. The food prices vary based on the restaurant. There are so very nice five-star restaurants and also nice eateries that are quality and affordable. I recommend experiencing both. I always like to try national fast-food chains and compare them and Dubai’s McDonald’s tastes delicious!
I visited Nobu (located inside of Atlantis hotel) and had a wonderful dinner there! If you want to go to Nobu, try calling to make reservations ahead because it gets quite busy. It is quite pricey but it is expected, I mean it is Nobu. The food was really good.
I also visited Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant inside of Atlantis. I ordered a burger and it was delicious! The dessert was tasty.
How expensive was it?
Dubai can get a bit costly but I feel like you can visit on a budget as well. I did splurge for the most part because this was my first time visiting. I found most things to be cheaper in Dubai compared to home (USA). For example, food. I was able to get McDonald’s meal for roughly USD 6. In the USA, I would’ve paid roughly $11 for the same meal (Note: their menu is very different. They sell tea, etc.)
The hotels are also reasonable. You can spend as much as $1000/per night staying in the Palm Jumeriah area or you can stay at an affordable hotel that is just as nice for $100/night. It depends on the location as well.
I stayed in the Palm Jumeriah area and noticed it was quite expensive but I wanted to experience it. I stayed at both the Five Palm Jumeriah and Atlantis Dubai for two weeks. Both are five-star hotels and the service surpassed my expectations! I felt like I royalty as soon as the car arrived in the valet area. They even offered to take a picture of me (How cute).
The Five Palm Jumeriah is intended for the younger/party crowd. I do not recommend families staying here (Although I did see a few of them). I booked the Persian sea view and it was worth every penny!
Here is a picture of the pool :
This was my few at Atlantis Dubai hotel. It is more family-oriented but has plenty of things for adults to do as well! I paid for daily water park passes and found it to be very fun! It was so many different water parks to choose from. I was unable to visit all of them during my stay. Keep in mind that they offer a shuttle so you do not have to walk to each waterpark. It is free and runs every ten minutes. The buffet was DELICIOUS. They have everything you can think of and it was served by the staff (Due to COVID19). I think their staff did a wonderful job ensuring the safety of their hotel guests.
This was taken at the Atlantis Dubai Buffet. Once again, FRESH, FRESH, FRESH. One thing I can say about Dubai is their food is so fresh. It was a large variety of food and beverages to choose from. I also wanted to mention that they do not accept TIPS/gratuity(anywhere in Dubai). The staff is so nice and friendly.
Things to do
There are so many things to do! I recommend going on to Viator and booking your activities. You must visit BURJ KHALIFA. It is currently the world’s tallest building. This picture was taken at the top of Burj Khalifa. It is such a magical view! Once again, pictures do not do justice for Dubai. You simply have to visit! It costs roughly USD 29 and there was no wait to get to the elevator. I do want to note that I have heard some people say they stayed in line for hours so go early. I presume because of COVID-19, there is not a wait, which is great!
I also went Ziplining! I booked through XLINE DUBAI and it was a wonderful experience!
I will also be writing more about my visit to Dubai in detail. This blog post was a summary of my overall experience in Dubai. Dubai is the best place I have ever visited. I will be revisiting Dubai annually. After reading this article, I know you all will be booking your flight to Dubai, UAE. I promise you will NOT regret it!