For my first trip as a solo traveller, I decided, on the spur of the moment, to book BA flight to Dubai. I had never been there before and always wanted to so this was it!
I chose January as it is the coolest time of the year.
I then had to choose a hotel so I set my budget and went online. I chose the Doubletree by Hilton at Business Bay which appeared fairly new and quite close to the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. The only negative with this location was the lack of evening life in the area and hardly any restaurants. However, there were a couple of restaurants in the hotel.
My holiday was for 5 full days (excluding the day of arrival) and I was determined to pack everything in. This was going to be a sightseeing trip not a relaxing break.
I contacted the hotel beforehand and arranged a private transfer from the airport to the hotel as I was concerned about finding a taxi rank. I was also put in touch with the excursions desk lady who sent me information about the tours on offer so I was well prepared before I travelled.
My arrival went to plan but the time difference made me sleepy so I spent arrival day dozing on a sunbed by the pool. In any case, I had to wait for my room to become ready.
Next morning, jet lag apparently gone, I took a taxi to the Dubai Mall where I picked up a City Sightseeing Tour for the day. The taxis are reasonably priced as the cost of fuel is so low.
The City Sightseeing Tour covered 3 routes and I purchased a one day ticket. It was really useful to get an idea of the layout of Dubai and the commentary was really interesting. When we got to Old Dubai, I got off the bus and took the included boat trip up the Dubai Creek. The tour also took us to Jumeriah and Palm Island where I also got off and had a quick look round the public area of Atlantis and ate a most delicious ice cream.
Back at the Dubai Mall, I decided to get some dinner and have a wander around. I was lucky enough to come across a replay of the New Years Eve award winning laser light show on the Burj Khalifa building. It was amazing!
Next day, I decided to visit the Dubai Aquarium and Mall and go up the Burj Khalifa as it is currently the World’s Tallest Building. We were all jammed into the lift like sardines but, apart from minor ear pressure, you would never know you were whizzing up a building. The views were amazing and I stayed long enough to see the sun go down and the lights go on. It was very special. The Dubai Mall is so diverse. First of all, it is huge and walking around it, I came across a full size Ice Skating Rink, a real skeleton of a Dinosaur, an imitation souk, cinema complex and so it went on.
I then decided I wanted to see the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi so I booked a tour at the excursions desk. It was about an hour on the coach and we had a good guide. He pointed out various things on route but the Mosque visit was awesome. I would have liked a littler longer there (we had 45 minutes) but I had just enough time to see everything. The Mosque is very white and inside is the World’s largest carpet made as one single piece! The building had beautiful chandeliers and wall murals. Loved it! We also drove past the Sheikh’s Palace and stopped outside the World’s second most expensive to build hotel. We ended up at Ferrari World where we had some time to look around the free area. Excellent trip and not at all expensive.
The next day, feeling brave, I got a taxi to the Old Souk in the old part of Dubai. I had a wander around the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk and got completely lost trying to find the taxi place to get back. I am not a Souk sort of person so it was OK. I’ve done it.
I was back at the hotel in time for my Helicopter Trip! I had my own chauffeur to the heliport. The flight lasted 23 minutes and it was good to see The Palm and The World and the Burj Khalifa from the air. It was a little hazy but the views were still stunning.
I booked a boat trip around The Palm for my last day. I hadn’t realised when I booked it that it was a speed boat but I thought why not! I got a taxi to Dubai Marina only to find that it was too windy and the trip was cancelled. However, I was told that I could go up to the top floor of the nearby Marriott Hotel to get a view of Palm Island. Sadly, it was once again rather hazy but still good views and I decided to treat myself to a delicious lunch up there complete with the view.
Then, sadly, it was time to come home.
The key things about Dubai for me were:
1. I felt totally safe at all times. There is almost no crime there.
2. The taxis were reasonable.
3. Everyone was friendly and people were very surprised that I was travelling alone.
4. Hundreds of nationalities live and work there side by side in harmony.
5. Dubai seems to have the world’s biggest, largest, smallest, longest.
I don’t usually visit a place twice but maybe I shall go there again one day.