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#TravelNotions – Dubai

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For today’s #TravelNotions post, I decided to do it on my time in Dubai. This will be my third travel posts and I’m loving them as they give me an excuse to FINALLY use the photos I’ve taken but was too lazy to upload on the gram haha! So sit back, relax and have a read about the gloriously tacky gem in the Arabian crown that is Dubai.

Dubai

Dubai is a city and Emirate in the United Arab Emirates about an hour and a half from Abu Dhabi. Up until the 1960’s , Dubai was nothing but a normal Emirati city that relied on dates,breeding camels and goats. This all changed in the 1960’s when the first of many oil fields were discovered marking a milestone in the growth of Dubai and its obsession with opulence and how it became a major player in European trade due to its proximity to the sea.

Where we stayed

When we visited Dubai, we stayed on the Palm Jumeriah in an villa owned by a family member.For those of you not familiar with the Palm Jumeriah, it’s a palm tree shaped land mass constructed from sand reclaimed from the seabed to do nothing more than add an extra bit of opulence to the already opulent city!

On each palm frond, there are rows and rows of villas accessed from a mini highway that runs up the middle of the ‘trunk’ and joins the mainland with the island. At the top of the Palm is the world renowned Atlantis hotel along with over TWENTY EIGHT other hotels dotted along a ridge that circles the top half of the island.

Rooms in the Atlantis start from an eye watering €291 and can sky rocket pretty quick after that…

If you’re not absolutely DROWNING in money, you can stay in other hotels on the Palm from as little as €123 which isn’t pretty bad considering where you’re staying.

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to that,you can get a room in a hotel on the mainland with views out over the palm for as little as €64 which, in my opinion seems a better option as you’re only a short taxi ride away from the Palm but also near transport links which can bring you into downtown Dubai in no time at all! There are plenty of affordable hotels and Air BnB’s on or near The Palm the prices of which can make all the difference when visiting a place like Dubai

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience while in Dubai you can rent villas on the palm which are perfect if you’re with a group of family or friends and want to share the cost amongst you!

What we did 

There is SO much to do in Dubai it’s almost impossible to fit everything into a week!

As the weather in Dubai can reach up to 30 degrees celsius we chose to do much of our exploring in the evening when it was a little (but not much) colder.

Dubai World Mall

On our first night, we checked out the Dubai World Mall which is the BIGGEST mall in the world. The mall is home to a STAGGERING ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED stores and takes up the same square footage as FIFTY football fields!! I remember walking around shopping and hearing banging and was slightly alarmed only to find out that there was a game of ice hockey going on INSIDE THE MALL which is stills so surreal even to this day! You wouldn’t get that in Dundrum….

The mall is of course home to the famous indoor aquarium which offers guests the option to walk through it and experience the view from below it which is just crazy! It’s also home to the iconic water fountain. The water spouts are timed to different songs depending on the season you’re visiting in. We visited in October and they timed the fountain to Thriller by Michael Jackson.

They also offer boat rides around the massive man made lake when the water shows aren’t on. I mean blanch has a pretty cool water fountain but yeah sure go time yours to music…

The Souks

If you’re like me and appreciate local culture and history, then you have to visit the Souks of Dubai. These are the old traditional marketplaces. There are souks for everything from silks and fabric to gold and precious metals!

For any SATC fans out there, you may recognise some of the souks from the second movie where they all go off to Dubai to relax and unwind (as one does…)

Culture

Although Dubai is known for it’s glitz and glam, it’s also known for strict laws and rules. As it’s a mainly muslim nation, drinking alcohol is illegal in public unless in a restaurant and even then, you’ll pay easily about 14/15 euro for a drink with your meal.If you’re looking for somewhere to go out and have a good time I’d recommend McGettigans! McGettigans is an Irish chain of bars dotted around the UAE (and other countries) and is where most Irish in Dubai go for a great night out!

PDA’s

Public displays of affection are a big no no in Dubai unless you’re married and even then, it’s expected of you to be civil and polite in public whilst in Dubai. There have been countless cases of tourists being caught kissing or holding hands and being arrested as a result. These countries want to make an example of these cases so you will almost definitely face prison time for something as simple as kissing on the beach.

LGBT

Being a member of the LGBT community in Dubai is illegal. There have been COUNTLESS cases of people being arrested for it which I won’t lie, made me feel slightly uneasy even just walking around in public and being super aware of how I walked/talked/dressed. Shortly before I went, I googled it and came across cases of men being entrapped on Grindr and being faced with the option of becoming a spy for the Dubai polic force and entrapping other gay men or being deported back to your home country which is a scary scenario to imagine nevermind being in it!

Dress

This applies moreso to women than men. The general rule when it comes to women dressing in public is that you should cover everything from the neck down and avoid any tight or see through items of clothing. As a precaution, I’d bring a shawl or light cardigan/hoodie with you to put over your arms if you choose to wear a short sleeved/sleeveless top out.Similarily for men, it’s expected of you to cover your chest whilst in public and avoid shorts that come up beyond your knee.

Anyone caught disobeying these rules can face hefty fines and punishment which can result in prison time and in some cases, deportation.

How to get there

Emirates and Etihad fly direct from Dublin to Dubai and operate twice daily services. The flight non-stop is a little under eight hours long but I can assure you, you won’t be bored as both offer an amazing selection of in-flight entertainment for you to scroll through. Alternatively, you can purchase in-flight WiFi and use it for the duration of the flight.

Til next time,

Conor xo

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