Travel Tips Dubai – InstaLog

It’s InstaLog time!

We are ambassadors of the Instagram Travel Thursday project.

What is Instagram Travel Thursday?

It’s a weekly Instagram mission, to share travel pics via the #igTravelthursday hashtag and answer travel questions.
Maybe it can also be an inspiration for other travelers…

Who can contribute?

It’s not only for travel-bloggers, travel-writers, and travel industry professionals, but also regular travelers are welcome to participate.

 

Instagram Travel Thursday with Life&Dive

You’ll find all our Instagram Travel Thursday articles under the name:
“InstaLog”.
Because as divers we are used to collect all our great memories in our LogBook.
But what makes our “InstaLog” special?
Because you’ll see, that we always and everywhere find a way to descent.
That means, all our Instagram Travel Thursday series will lead to a dive in the end!
So join us diving the world!

For more than one month you followed our Dubai series on Instagram.
Today is the due date to melt everything into one, comprehensive article.

One week we spent in Dubai to explore the city, the culture, the food and of course the Persian Gulf!!!

If you’re interested to see more than just the shopping malls and Ski-Dubai, you should calculate with at least 6-7 days for all the attractions as well as some time in the desert.
Unfortunately we missed the part with the dessert, but in exchange took the plunge.
But we’ll be back.

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The first day we spent in one of these very touristic city busses.
Of course this has nothing to do with individual traveling, but it was a very comfortable way to visit all the sights and also much cheaper than to use a taxi.

Maybe you didn’t know, but :
Dubai is the most expensive city in the middle east and the 22nd most expensive city of the world.

Tip:

It’s a great idea to exploit these city busses as means of transportation for your very own sight-seeing tour. You can save a lot of money (compared to taxis) and travel much safer (compared to regular public busses). Especially for solo traveling girls this is a great piece of advise, as they’d otherwise be sitting as the only female in the public busses.

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Dubai is famous for it’s skyline and of course for the world’s tallest building:
the Burj Khalifa, with 828 m!!!
Whoever comes to Dubai, has to visit it’s top, and if you ask me,
you should do it at night.
To see this sea of lights and the surrounding black desert is just amazing.

In case you’re rich and need a souvenir… you’ll find a “Gold-to-Go” vending machine on the top of the building!

Tip:

Go to the reservation inside Dubai Mall (just the building next door) and ask for a prebooking. Like this you can visit the top for less than 20,- $

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Another landmark is the artificial island: „The Palm“.
It has the shape of a palm tree canopy and is one of the most expensive places in the emirates.
Once there, you shouldn’t miss to visit the famous „Atlantis Hotel“.

Inside the hotel you can find a huge aquarium, even bigger than the numerous aquariums in the shopping malls. It is a horrific display of human cruelness towards animals. Sharks, rays, all kinds of bigger and smaller fish, moray eels, lobsters and what else we can’t think of right now. All crammed together in closest proximity to their predators and territorial rivals. True horror – imagine a city in just one building harboring around 10.000 individuals, where each five share a room of 2 square meters. Sleeping… only in turns.
But hey, there’s a funny side to it as well. Every hour the hotel drops their divemaster/instructor into the aquarium to get attacked by all these stressed out animals. …possibly something our minds can translate into revenge.
In any case, this job position usually sees a new employee every couple of months.

But hey, go and see for yourself. Have a laugh about the poor diver and cry about our cruelness.

Of course I was also very interested in Dubai’s history, which is why we visited the Dubai Museum. It’s not very well known, which is very sad, because it’s really good.

The first part of the museum is behind a high clay wall. It displays Dubai’s past, when the inhabitants were still fishermen and traders, as Dubai was once a famous trading harbour.

Anyway I think the boats look quite similar to Maledivian Dhonis… don’t they?

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The second floor of the museum is underground. It explains in a very nice way how Dubai developed during the last years, and how life was as a Bedouin nation.
Did you know that they got the first hospital in 1954?!

Tip:

You can take children along to the museum as there are plenty of possibilities to interact with the exhibition and the displayed objects, e.g. you can enter a real life sized clay hut and sit with its inhabitants around the hearth fire.

Every saturday at 10 am you get the chance to contribute to the „Open doors for open minds programme“ at the Jumeirah Mosque. Everybody is welcome to visit the mosque and gets comprehensive introduction to Islam and muslim traditions. A big topic is also the role of women in Islam and the wearing of Hijabs, Abayas and of course the Burka.

Tip:

Women should wear long clothes (covering knees and shoulders) and should also bring something to cover their head.
If forgotten, there will be some skirts and scarfs readily at hand.

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If you want to get an idea about the real everyday life in Dubai you must visit Dubai creek. It is a salt water creek and historically divided the city into to the districts Deira and Bur Dubai.
After your trip through the creek you should visit Deiras famous gold souk (Engl.: market, bazaar).
It has more than 300 shops where you can buy traditional and modern gold jewelry.

Tip:

Don’t take the touristic, sightseeing ferry on the creek but instead ask one of the traditional ferry men to drive you around. For less than 10$ he showed us around for over one hour and told nice stories on top. All private!

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Most people associate Shopping Malls, when they hear the name „Dubai“.
During one week, we probably visited four or six of the larger ones. But to be honest, apart of the “Mall of the Emirates”, with the very famous “Ski Dubai” and “Dubai Mall”, close to Burj Khalifa, it is not worth the time and effort.

Tip:

In every shopping mall women are asked to wear “respectful clothing”, which translates into covering your knees and shoulders.
As a general advise, I recommend to always dress in this respectful style. You are the guest!

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Dubai is famous for shopping options. But it is quite expensive.
If you want to go low budget shopping, you should check out the numerous souks all over the city.
There you can buy very nice scarfs, herbs, souvenirs and jewelry.

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Tip:

If you love Nutella (chocolate bread spread), you must visit the “Nutella Bar” in the “Mall of the Emirates”. It’s an amazing place where you can get Nutella milkshakes and loads of other stuff made of Nutella….Nomnomnom!!!

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Diving in Dubai

My mission to find a dive school was incredibly difficult.
It took me already three days to just get an address. The first dive shop was in the famous Dubai Ladies Club (see picture).
Unfortunately, they didn’t welcome me, as I was simply too poor for them.

No money for the club – no diving for the lady. As simple as that. 🙁

Al-Boom-Diving

The security of the ladies club however, was kind enough to give me the address of some filipino guys. On the phone they told me to visit them at their shop: “Al-boom-diving”.
Normally, they said, they don’t take women along, but because as I was a foreigner… why not?!
So I joined in!
One day later, we met at 6am in front of the dive shop. They asked me to enter their small minivan and to give them my passport. Handing over my passport in a middle eastern country as a solo traveling woman, scared me quite a bit… but c’mon it was the only chance to dive!
Our trip to Fujairah took more than 2,5 hours, mostly through dry desert. And after a while I figured out that these guys were pretty funny and could actually enjoy the trip.
I guess, they still can’t believe that beer is much cheaper in Europe than petrol!

Honestly, the diving itself was crap. The visibility was below 3m during the first dive and even less during the second.
We dived Dibba Rock, one of the famous spots in Fujairah. The biodiversity made an impression on me similar to the Red Sea, only tainted entirely in lush green. There were tons of fish and only a few corals along the rocky coast. The water temperature was extremely warm and even above the surface, temperatures almost reached 50 degrees Celsius.

Bottom line:
I finally could dive in the Persian Gulf and can now claim to know the Emirates also underwater. There ain’t too many people I know of that can say the same…

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My last impressive memory from Dubai originates from the airport, where they grow huge palms right inside their Airport Mall. After all, some associations may actually be true…

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