Dubai Part 5: The White Bliss of a Mosque

Our last day has arrived, on Friday March 17th. We checked out and since this was our last full day, and we had to be at the airport early next morning (like 2am). So we basically had to kill time the whole day and evening until our flight early next morning. Here is what we did.

1. Sheikh Zayed Mosque Abu Dhabi

From our hotel, we walked to the metro and bus station which in walking distance to our hotel. There, we bought a metro/bus card and waited in line for the bus to arrive. The bus was a bit late already, and when it finally arrived, there was such a hustle with gettin on it. Some people were accusing an old man of cutting the line, so he had to go to the back of the line to wait for the next bus. It was a bit sad to watch since that man was quite old.

After we were on the bus, the ride took us about an hour. I was getting hungrier by the hour, and when we finally arrived at Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal, we saw that there was a mall in front of it and I immediately had to use the toilet and have a late lunch.

After waiting for the waiters to finally bring the bill, and then bring the change, we finally left the mall and looked for a taxi to take us to Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Here, I would probably recommend you not to take the taxis right in front of the bus terminal. Walk a bit further and get a different one because the ones at the bus terminal will probably start with a higher sum and there will also be those private car taxis where they will try to drive you around in luxury cars :’D Of course, if you are interested, you can do it, but if you get annoyed by this kind of stuff, you should head to a calmer place to pick up a taxi.

When we were finally approaching the mosque, we could already see the snow-white minarettes from afar and were already taking pictures like crazy.

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Before we could enter the mosque, we were given abayas to wear over our clothes. You can avoid wearing it if you come prepared with clothes covering your shoulders, arms, legs, belly and head. I came unprepared on purpose, because I really wanted to wear this abaya. I think it just adds to the atmosphere, and it is nice to be on the same level with the local tourists. I think you should try it, too. You can either purchase your own abaya (as many chinese tourists did, probably on taobao) or you can come with your every day clothes and get an abaya there for free. Of course you have to give it back after you exit the mosque.

I kind of liked the abayas that we got which were blue and made us look like wizards (I’m looking at you Ravenclaw) and were made of a very light fabric.

As soon as we went inside, we started taking pictures of course.

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We were allowed to enter the prayer rooms as well. For this, you have to take off your shoes of course, so we did it. It was so nice to walk around on bare feet.

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After this, we took a few more pictures of the outside of the mosque, and then slowly headed outside.

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As unlucky as we were, the call to prayer just started as we left the mosque :( It sounded so beautiful and calming, but luckily, we could still see the mosque from the outside and hear the prayer. It was still beautiful, but if you really wanna hear the call to prayer while inside the mosque, get yourself informed about the prayer times.

When we left the mosque, it was probably around 6pm. We took the taxi back to the bus terminal and took a bus back to Dubai. This would drop us off in the city centre, because we wanted to do something before heading back to the hotel to pick up our luggage.

After the tiresome day and the thought of the flight ahead of us, we got carried away and actually missed our stop. It actually wasn’t our fault, because there was no anouncement whatsoever on the bus and it was already dark and we couldn’t see anything. We were now driving through parts of Dubai we have never seen before, so we asked the other passengers where this bus was going, and they told us that the next and final stop was Al Ghubaiba and that we missed our stop. We were now starting to panic a little bit, but another guy on the bus told us that we could easily take the metro from there to the city centre. He even helped us get to the metro station which was so nice of him. The people in Dubai truly are very helpful and nice, no matter which part you go to.

2. Take the Dubai Metro

Yes, because it is a bit different than metros in other countries. Smoking and chewing gum is prohibited in most areas with high fines waving at you if you break them. And the biggest shock was of course the division of the train cars into male and female. There is literally a line on the floor that doesn’t allow males to step over. So, our brother had to stand at one end of the line and my sister and me at the other. I know that some people have difficulties accepting this, but I can actually understand the reason for such measurements. It is probably preventing women from getting harrassed. I know that this exists in Japan as well where the trains and metros get filled up with so many people and women often reported about sexual harrassments that could not be screened because of the amount of people. Now, some trains in Japan have female only carriages where women can choose to enter. It is not a must, so if you are travelling with male friends you can still choose to enter the normal mixed carriage as well. In Dubai, it is not a choice though. This was also the only time using the metro for us. If I were to be travelling alone in Dubai, I would have used the metro constantly because it is cheap, it gets everywhere, it’s clean, safe and apparently safe as well. So, I can encourage you to use it when you are travelling solo.

3. Have dinner in front of the Burj Khalifa

Since it was our last evening, we wanted to have a last glimpse at the Burj Khalifa. What better way than having dinner in front of it we thought. We were a bit late since the bus ride took us half an hour longer (2 hours in total because our bus driver on the way back was quite slow) and then we had to take the metro back again. Then, we had to walk like another 15-20 minutes until we got out of the metro and in front of the Burj Khalifa. So by the time we had dinner it was almost 10pm. We decided to have pizza at an italian-american fusion restaurant by the fountain. It was super delicious, the drink and food looked and tasted amazing of course.

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Cucumber green ice tea, water melon – strawberry juice, strawberry ice tea

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We were even lucky enough this time, to catch the last screening of the fountain show. This time, they used a beautiful arabic song. Last time when we were watching, they used a cheesy Whitney Houston song.

Before heading to the taxi pick up at midnight, my brother stopped at a coffeeshop and got himself a late night coffee to be ready for the upcoming red-eye flight.

When we arrived back at the hotel, we picked up our luggage, got changed and called a taxi to the airport. It was sad to say goodbye to the hotel and especially, to Dubai.

At the airport, we waited for about an hour until our check-in counter was open. We charged our phones and used the wifi for a bit. The time flew by very quickly, and we were soon in the middle of checking-in, security and then boarding.

Our layover in Istanbul was shorter this time. At first we were worried that we wouldn’t make it, because we still had to get our connecting flight tickets from the THY counter, and then we saw the security check-up lines and panicked a litte bit. But everything was done quickly and we even had time to use the toilet and have a smoking break (my brother is a smoker).

We then comfortably walked to our gate and boarded. By the time we landed back in Stuttgart, our feet were swelled up like mini-water boats :’D It was horrible! I don’t usually get swollen feet from sitting for too long on airplanes, but this time was extreme. I guess it was due to the time that we also spent at Abu Dhabi, and then spending the whole evening on our feet, waiting for flight, and flying for several hours.

This was our trip to Dubai. I hope you enjoyed the ride. I know, it is a little bit more text this time, but I hope you can use some of the information for your travel plans, whether it be Dubai or any other place. I am sure that some structures and experiences I had can be applied to different places.

What about your next travel plans? Tell me where you are heading to next.

Do you get swollen feet from flying for too long as well? What do you do to prevent it other than flying business or first class?

Do you also have some weird metro experiences? Share them with me below.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille

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Dubai Part 4: The Ultimate Guide to a Beach Day in Dubai

If you are in Dubai, and don’t wanna spend your whole time roaming around the artificial, yet beautiful city, then a beach day is a must.

We wanted to include at least one beach day during our time in Dubai, so here it is, the ultimate guide to a beach day in Dubai, including our choice of beach, post-beach activities, and our hilarious night-out.

1. Choose one of the beaches: Jumeirah Public Beach

There are many different beach venues you can choose. The Jumeirah Public Beach is most probably the most popular one, because it is located right beside the Burj Al Arab.

First thing we did was meeting my friend Flora whom I met in Cappadocia last year. She lives in Dubai and we really wanted to meet, so we decided we could go to the beach together, have time to relax and talk a little bit.

When we arrived at the beach, we looked for a spot to lie on. We wanted it to be close to the Burj Al Arab so we could take some pictures afterwards.

The Jumeirah public beach is a great choice if you want to save some money but have a nice beach day. You can also find many places to buy food and drinks, and there is even a possibility to go Kite Surfing.

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We were craving frozen yoghurt, so Flora, my sister and me went for a froyo hunt and found an amazing place with unlimited choice of toppings. We sat there, ate our little yoghurt bowl and watched the kites in the sky. Such a beautiful place.

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Warning: Wear your clothes when you want to wander around the beach. There is a beach police, and they will warn you to get dressed if they catch you walking around in your bikinis.

2. Visit the Madinat Jumeirah

After 3 hours at the beach, we decided to visit the Madinat Jumeirah. I knew this place because it was all over Instagram, but I didn’t know you could just walk in and explore the grounds. My friend Flora told me that she went there and we should visit the place as well, so we did. You can walk there from the beach. It will be a bit far, but it is a nice walk in the late afternoon with the sun still burning down on your shoulders.

Our friend couldn’t join us unfortunately, but we still wanted to visit. At first you walk through the entrance gates and then you pass something like a mini bazaar until you find yourself at the Madinat with the Gondolas and the several restaurants.

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You can also see the Burj Al Arab from here, so the views are very pretty. The Gondola Ride was 80 AED I think, but we didn’t go on it.

Afterwards, we saw a Cinnabon shop and tried one for the first time. It was really really good <3

3. Have drinks at a rooftop bar

After having a quick dinner at Loqma, an arabic fusion restaurant, we went to Level 43 by the Four Points Sheraton Hotel. It is a rooftop bar and it looked pretty fancy on the pictures, so we decided we would go there. I also told my friend Flora about our plans and she wanted to join us. We met at the lobby of Sheraton and then went up to the rooftop.

The drinks there are a bit expensive of course, but they were quite yummy and individual.

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I’m sorry that the picture is so dark and blurry. The views were pretty amazing, but it was extremely windy that day, so it was quite hard to take pictures.

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We stayed there for about 2 hours. Then, we had to say goodbye to Flora because the next morning, we would have to pack and spend the whole day awake until our flight on Saturday morning at 5 am. That’s why we had to get as much sleep as possible.

Our fourth day was a very relaxed day as you can see in this blogpost.

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost. You can be excited for the next and last blogpost about our Dubai trip.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me.

Merveille.

Dubai Part 3: Gardens, Views and Sharks

Our third day was the busiest day we had in Dubai so far and that would stay like this. Thanks to my planning of trying to fit in as many activities as possible in that one day, we managed to fill the day up until the brim and collapsed on our hotel beds in the late evening.

By the end, we couldn’t even feel our feet anymore which is also due to the immense size of the Dubai Mall. 

Because the day was so long, I will dot down all the sights we did and give you an example of how you can see the most of Dubai in 14 hours

Lets start!

1. Miracle Garden:

Right after breakfast, we got changed into our cutest dresses and took the taxi to the Miracle Garden, the most instagram-able place in Dubai.

Entrance fee was 40 AED (10€)

And now, let the pictures speak for themselves:

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The entrance already looked magical
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This place was filled with tourists. It was really hard to snap a cute picture here.

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They built a tiny Burj Khalifa out of flowers :)
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The garden from the top of a small colloseo
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I found the cutest gazebo with the dreamiest backdrop
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This place was deserted and even more beautiful than the entrance <3
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Just hanging with Cinderella
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Entering wonderland
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Some sitting possibilities
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I found Pikachuuuuu~
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We found this amazing stand that sells icecream inside of fruit shells. I got coconut icecream in a coconut shell and my sister got pineapple icecream in a pineapple shell. Such a great idea!

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My sister and me posing with out capital letters
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Butterfly benches
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Some say that this is an original FlyEmirates plane

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We probably just stayed there for like an hour or something. The place is really really beautiful and impressive with all the petunias (I think that’s what those flowers are called) in all the different colours creating sculptures and pictures, so beautiful that you will feel like Alice in Wonderland <3

After leaving the park, we went to another sight nearby of only a 10-minute walking distance…

2. Butterfly Garden:

In this garden, there are hundreds and thousands of butterflys fluttering around the air, circling our heads. There are 4 different domes keeping butterflies that range from the smallest to the biggest species. Yet again, I felt like in a dream.

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My sister looks so elegant with all the butterflies on her body

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Here, the entrance fee was 50 AED (12,60€)

The people who worked in that park were really nice. They were trying to give us a great time by putting the butterflys on our hands, heads and bodies and showing us how we could take them ourselves without touching their delicate wings.

Because it was so hot and humid inside the butterfly garden, we were in urgent need of some refreshing drinks, so we took a taxi and headed to the Dubai Mall again.

3. Shopping at Dubai Mall:

The Dubai Mall is famous for offering various activities besides the main shopping purpose of a usual mall. I heard that the mall itself already opens at 6am, so that the people go for a run inside the mall because it is way too hot outside during summer. Then, there is the entrance to the Burj Khalifa, the Aquarium and Underwarter World, an ice rink, gaming halls and arcades for kids, and I think many more activities that we didn’t see.

First when we arrived, we had a seat at a cafe called Aubain which is right at the entrance and looks super cute with its white chairs and tables and the rest of the interior inside the cafe which we could only have a short peak because we were sitting outside.

From London to Dubai: Aubaine restaurant comes to the Middle East
Source: buro247.me

My brother ordere coffee and water, my sister had a popcorn frappé and I ordered probably the yummiest ice tea ever: Jasmine Rose Iced Green Tea <3

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After feeling energized and refreshed, we entered the Mall and went for a little shopping spree. We found so many amazing stores: Miss Selfridge, Topshop, New Look, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, several Cosmetic and Perfume Stores and many more. I only found some jewellery at Topshop. I was also intrigued by some bags and glasses but I decided they were too expensive and I could just order them if I needed to. At Victoria’s Secret, I was disappointed the most. I seriously don’t understand what everyone is hyping so much about that store. Of course, the runway shows are amazing, but no one is gonna walk around in angel wings. If you’d leave them out, the underwear itself just looks regular, nothing special. In my opinion Hunkemöller has way more beautiful and cute and sexy things offered.

4. Having pancakes with a view:

We were slowly getting hungry, so we went upstairs to look for food. I saw IHOP the day before, so I was dying to try that out this time. Two surprises await us: 1) we were seated at the terrace where we could have the most perfect view on the Burj Khalifa ever! 2) The price was really accurate, I’d even say quite cheap.

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I got hashbrowns and turkey bacon which were too fatty for my taste, perfect poached eggs and a blueberry pancake. My drink was freaking yummy! It was a mint-lime juice. So good!
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The view from IHOP

After eating up, we still had time until we could enter the Burj Khalifa which was at 5.30 pm. So we went outside to stroll around the area and take photos.

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5. Visit the highest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa:

When it was 5.15pm we went back to the Burj Khalifa entrance at the Dubai Mall and were let inside. We could skip the lines which was pretty cool and in less than 30 minutes, we were greeted with drinks and macarons at the top of the Burj Khalifa at Level 148 which only measures 555 metres though, compared to the actual height of the tower which is 828 metres. So, although the tower itself is the highest building in the world, the observation deck is not. The observation deck at Shanghai Tower beats the one in Dubai, at a height of 561 metres, and in my opinion, the view you get on Shanghai is way more amazing and impressive than the view on Dubai.

Still, it was amazing to be on top of the highest tower and building in the world.

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This part of Dubai was the most photo-worthy spot. The rest of Dubai looked rather dull and dry.
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More beautiful when lit up and you could even watch the fountain show from above.

6. Dubai Fountain Show:

We stayed veeeery long at the top. I think around 2 hours, until it got dark. After that we left the tower for good to go downstairs and wait for the fountain show. It starts every half an hour but only lasts for 5 minutes. It is said to be the biggest fountain show now, even surpassing the one in Las Vegas.

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7. Dubai Aquarium:

Our was still not over. Even though our phones and cameras were slowly dying, we still had the Aquarium. We wanted to have a visit since we had already spent the whole day in the mall. The entrance fee was not too high. We chose the basic entrance fee for 100 AED (25€) and could walk through the tunnel aquarium, go to the zoo and have a peek behind the scenes where they showed us how they were feeding the fish and breeding sharks which was suuuper interesting.

I learned for example that a species of sharks called ragged tooth shark or sand tiger shark have a cannibalistic breeding. When two eggs are bred, the baby sharks will try to eat each other when hatching, and the stronger one will survive. At the Dubai Aquarium, the shark keepers can now breed both. This cannbalistic breeding is also one of the reasons why this species of sharks is endangered. 

I can suggest you 100% to visit the aquarium. Next time I go, I wann do more here, even considering a cage dive into the tank or the manta ray feeding.

8. Eat at the Food Court of Dubai Mall:

Just like any other usual mall, the Dubai Mall also has a huge food court with many fast food restaurants as well as international fast cuisines, ready to eat or take out. We found a Lebanese place which served Falafel sandwiches and fresh even vegan-friendly dishes Because my phone and camera were dead, I couldn’t take a photo, but you have to eat at a lebanese place once in your life. It is extremely yummy and I am craving it so much right now <3

By the time we carried ourselves back to the hotel (with lots of walking to the taxi pick-up and almost being scammed by a creepy Lexus driver who seemed to follow us everywhere), the only thing we could do was take off our shoes and faint into our beds.

It was a long day packed with the most popular activities you can possibly do in Dubai.

What about you guys? Have you ever had such an activity-filled day during your travels? When and where was it?

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille

Dubai Part 2: Desert, Dunes and Dancers

Finally, the second day has started on our trip. After our great first day in Dubai, we were now looking forward for our spectacular second day for a reason.

After our amazing, huge breakfast (which I forgot to take photos of), we needed to go to the Dubai Mall to buy the tickets for the Burj Khalifa the next day. At around 10.30 am we took a taxi to the mall. At first we tried to find a place to exchange money, and right after that we tried to find the Burj Khalifa ticket counter. Both tasks were a challenge. The mall is huge and we had to ask at the information point several times until we finally found it.

The line was quite short when we arrived, so we didn’t have to wait for too long. We wanted to go up the Burj Khalifa at peak time which is starting from 5pm, so that we could see it during daylight, dusk, and evening. That’s the busiest time, and according to that are the prices. We had to pay 350 AED (around 100€) instead of the usual afternoon price of 200 AED (around 50 €).

We got our tickets, which look so beautiful and each ticket has an interesting fact about the Burj Khalifa. So they are not only a great souvenir from the trip, but also quite useful and informative.

After finally getting our tickets, we went to look at the aquarium which is said to be the biggest in the world. You can spend minutes and even hours just watching the fish, ray and sharks swim around. I especially love the rays. They look so cute <3

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Close to the aquarium, we suddenly came across the Cheesecake Factory. We really wanted to try it, since there is none in Europe, let alone in Germany. We only wanted to have cake, so we decided to share 2 cakes for 3 people. That was more than enough. Even only one cake would have been enough. We also had coffee and cappucinos, so in the end we were extremely full.

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We got an Orea Cheesecake and a Lime Cheesecake which was surprisingly sweeter than the former one.

We were too full, but we still wanted to go for a little bit of shopping. My sister immediately had to go to Sephora. There, we spent quite some time. I bought a chapstick and a liptint both from TonyMoly. The rest was way too expensive for me. Next to Sephora we found a Ted Baker Store, and I really really wanted to have a look since I have become quite obsessed with their floral, flowy dresses, beautiful bags and cute plastic shoes <3 Inside, I felt like I have entered the wardrobe of Alice. It was wonderful! Definitely one of my favourite stores. I found a little make up purse which I can also use as a night-out purse to put in some cash and lipstick. It looked so cute and it was only 185 AED (around 45€).

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I got this in turqoise colour. I love the classical Ted Baker bow <3

We didn’t go to any more shops, because my sister was starting to feel dizzy, so we slowly decided to return to the hotel to get changed and rest a little bit before the real fun would begin.

At 3.30 pm our driver and guide for the desert safari should pick us up at the hotel lobby.

Our guide was on time. He picked us up and started chatting to us in a fun way. He was really really funny and entertaining. His name was Zayid (I hope I spelled it right), and he was from Pakistan. He said he was doing this job since he was 20 years old (he was 37 I think). We also picked up another group of 3 people who turned out to be from Spain. Their english wasn’t quite good but they seemed very nice.

We drove quite long to the desert, almost 1 hour. We saw many other white Toyota landrovers on the way there, and when the dune bashing finally began, we had a lot of those cars in front of us, so we could see how they were driving, and at the same time we were in our car, jumping up and down.

I have to warn you guys, though. If you get carsick very easily, this kind of activity is the wrong one for you. My sister for example gets carsick almost all the time, and she couldn’t handle it. After like 10 minutes of dune bashing we had to stop. She felt sick and started crying and had to get out of the car. We were falling behind but it was okay. I felt sad for my sister. I didn’t expect her to feel that sick. So guys, if you can’t handle exciting rides or get motionsick very easily, then I’d suggest you do a simple camel ride or a calm Jeep Ride to your desert destination. That’s actually what I wanna try next time I’m in the desert. As much as I loved the dune bashing, I still want to try different things.

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We took a break and had the chance to take some photos. Unfortunately, the sun was hidden behind the clouds, and it was just in general a very windy day in the desert. Still, we managed to capture some amazing pics.

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From left to right: My sister, my brother and me, fighting with the wind.

We also got to meet a man with a falcon who let us hold it for 10 AED. Looking in hindsight, I don’t know how animal-friendly that was, but as far as I could judge from the looks of the animal, it looked quite healthy and clean. It wasn’t in a bad condition and didn’t have that abused kind of look on its face. Still, I’m not sure, and I would be so thankful if any of you guys knew more about that. Feel free to tell me in the comments if you know.

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After our successful photo session, we continued our dune bashing. My sister had to clench her teeth together for a few minutes more and then we finally arrived at the base.

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The sitting are around the stage

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We paid the 185 AED per person and then enjoyed some tea and watched the camels. I actually wanted to have a ride before we had arrived, but seeing the animals changed my mind. They looked really sad and tired from all the kneeling and standing up for 5 minutes to walkd and kneeling again. People were screaming and laughing and taking selfies. I even caught a camel spitting at one tourist who got too close to him for a selfie. I changed my mind about riding them and we went inside for a little bit of henna.

A lot of girls were standing in line. The service was for free, but if you wanted to, you could leave a tip for the lady who, in my opinion was pretty talented and could actually be an artist in another country.

I left a tip of 10 AED because I loved the way she did my henna. It looked beautiful. She did it freely without a template.

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After the henna was finished, we headed towards our seats and waited for the show and dinner that was also included in the price.

Soon, a dancer appeared on stage. A man with a wide, colourful skirt, but that was a rather annoying performance because of the weird music that included baby crying which was super weird.

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When it was finally finished and our food was being served, I was more than happy.

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A very yummy samos. crspy dough and filled with juicy meat
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The buffet had everything, from hummus, arabic naan bread, barbecued meat, rice with curry, salads, potatoes, and even BUTTER CHICKEN! I died when I saw that! It was so yummy! I have to say that arabic food is very similar to Indian food.
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This was the dessert. Desser in the desert :’D Sorry for the bad quality of the picture. I don’t quite know what the desserts consisted of. The left one was a kind of sweet porridge. The right one was really yummy. Something like a pumpkin cake I think.

We also had some fruit, apples and oranges. And while we were havin dessert, the belly dancer finally arrived on stage. After dinner I thought they wouldn’t bring out the belly dancer, but they did and it made our night. She was incredibly beautiful and talented. I loved how she danced and could have watched her for hours. So beautiful! In my opinion the most seductive dance style.

 

Unfortunately, our evening was at the end after the dance performance. Everyone slowly started heading towards the exit to their guides. Our driver was already waiting for us at the tea stand so we quickly walked to our car and started our drive back home.

We had an amazing day and an even more amazing evening. The desert definitely is my second favourite ecosystem now, right after the ocean.

I can warmly recommend you to do such a tour. I would even suggest you to research a little bit better and try to book an even better programm. There are different ones and some even include the audience into the belly dancing which I would have loved to see and do :’D next time I will try to research more for sure.

For our third day, I can tell you that it’s probably gonna be a long post. Our day was filled activities. And of course, stay tuned to read about our trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa.

What about you guys? Have you ever been to the desert? What is your favourite ecosystem?

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille

 

 

 

 

Dubai Part 1: Arrival, Pools and Burgers

Our trip started with an afternoon flight from Stuttgart to Istanbul at 1.05 pm. We flew with Turkish Airlines but  had 4 hours time to kill in Istanbul before our connecting flight to Dubai. In the meantime, my sister and me had some cake and drinks at Starbucks.

Our flight from Istanbul was at around 10pm local time, so we’d have a red-eye flight this time. But luckily, we had screens to watch movies now, and there were less people on this plane. It was quiet most of the time. I watched Doctor Strange and Insurgent on the flight, and they were both such amazing movies <3

We finally arrived in Dubai on Monday morning at 5 am. We got our luggage, exchanged some money and got a taxi to our hotel. Here, you need to be carefull not to be scammed if you’re planning to visit Dubai! There will be drivers of some nice cars (like Lexus or BMW) who will try to get you in the car and offer a certain amount of money. Don’t get in that car unless you wanna pay 3 times more than the usual price. Just ignore them and head towards the usual yellow taxi cars. My sister almost fell for it and I had to pull her away from that black Lexus.

The ride to our hotel was so pleasant. Our driver was listening to some western radio station and they started playing Starboy by the Weeknd, so that was the perfect arrival for me :’D

Finally, after around 30 minutes, driving through the city and having the first glimpse on the Burj Khalifa, we arrived at our hotel. It looked pretty nice, the Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate. We checked in and luckily, our room was ready, so we didn’t have to wait for hours to finally get proper sleep.

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The lobby area at our hotel
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The pool on the rooftop of our hotel. Never swam here though :/

We slept for around 3-4 hours, until 10 am. After that we just wanted to go to the beach and eat something, because we were starving.

There was a free shuttle bus to the Oceana beach club which was located on the Palm. There was also a Steakhouse by the pool, so the first thing we did was having a burger-brunch.

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The burgers were really yummy, but also quite expensive: 85 AED for this plate 

After that it was all about tanning, swimming and drinks.

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Got myself a Strawberry Daiquiri for 55 AED which is actually okay for cocktails at a beach club. I seriously expected alcoholic drinks to be more expensive. 

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That’s me !
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The infinity pool was pretty decent :)

While we were taking photos by the pool, one of the security guys told us off that we can’t take photos with a camera. A phone is okay though. Very strange. So we stopped and I put my camera back in my bag. My sister and me also tried to swim in the sea, but we saw a sign which said to be careful of jellyfish. We were a bit scared, so we only dipped in our feet and took some photos.

At around 3pm, we slowly started to walk back to the pick up location to drive back to the hotel. We took a shower and dressed up to go to the JBR and the Marina Walk. We took a taxi there and he left us right in front of JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) although we actually said Marina Walk. But in the end, that was okay, because we found Shake Shack and immediately went inside for dinner.

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I never had Shake Shack before, neither did my brother, but my sister had it in London, and I gotta say, the fries are the best ones I have ever had. Crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside <3 Well done!

We strolled along the JBR promenade a little bit, looked at some stands selling souvenirs and handmade gifts, and even found a LaDuree where we got some single macarons.

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Now, we really wanted to look for the Marina Walk, so we looked for it. After asking some people and occasionally checking Google Maps, we finally found it, and were amazed by the breath-taking views:

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After walking along the Marina and snapping millions of photos from every angle, we were pretty exhausted and took the next taxi to the hotel.

Our first day in Dubai was already filled with many activities and we saw quite some things on our first day.

On our second day, there is gonna be a surprise: the activity I have been waiting for sooooo long. Can you guess what it is? Stay tuned if you wanna find out :)

What about you guys? How do you like long flights with layovers?
Have you ever been to Dubai? What were your first impressions?

Thanks for reading and travelling with me.

Merveille

 

Dubai Travel Anticipation

It’s finally just 2 days left until our flight to Dubai.

On sunday, my sister, my brother and me are gonna take the plane (by Turkish Airlines which is something else to look forward to) from Stuttgart and fly to Istanbul. There, we will have a 4-hours layover, and then, again with Turkish Airlines, continue our flight to DXB <3

We will arrive pretty early, at around 4 am local time, but we planned to just leave our suitcases in the hotel lobby and go straight to the beach.

Apart from relaxing on the beach, I have a lot of things on my to-see list in Dubai which I am extremely looking forward to. And here they are:

1. Desert Safari: 

Bildergebnis für Desert safari dubai
Source: dubaisafariworld.com
Bildergebnis für Desert safari dubai
Source: GetYourGuide.com

I literally can’t wait to see the desert for the first time in my life. I am overly excited, I can’t put it into words.

We booked a package that includes the ride to the dessert in those white Landrovers, a short ride on camels, time to take photos and watch the sunset, barbecue dinner and drinks, a belly dance performance and more. In the evening we will be dropped off at our hotel.

2. Burj Khalifa: 

Bildergebnis für burj khalifa
Source:boonedam.com

Going to Dubai without visiting the Burj Khalifa would be a huge fail! So of course, this is at the very top of my list of things to do when in Dubai. I have to admit though, that the skyline of Dubai doesn’t even come close to the ones in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and I don’t think that the view from atop the tallest skyscraper looks as spectacular as the one from the Shanghai Tower (see here).

Still, I wanna say that I have been on top of the world’s tallest skyscraper.

3. Sheikh Al Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi: 

Bildergebnis für sheikh zayed grand mosque
Source: traveldigg.com

Another must-visit on my Dubai list. This mosque is outside of Dubai, in Abu Dhabi, but taking a taxi is supposed to be quite cheap in the UAE, especially if you can share it with other people. We would spend the whole day in Abu Dhabi when already there, so I would have to check out what else we could do there.

4. Beaches and Beach Clubs: 

Because there are way too many in Dubai, I will just summarize all the Beaches that are on my list. It probably won’t be possible to go to them all, but I definitely want to see at least two of them.

  • West 14th Beach on The Palm
Bildergebnis für West 14th dubai
Source: west14thae.com

Because we stay at Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate, we get free access to this beach which looks incredible with its infinity pool. It is located on the artifical island of The Palm.

Bildergebnis für the palm dubai
Source: holysmithereens.com
  • Jumeirah Beach and Jumeirah Beach Residence: 

Probably the most famour public beach in Dubai, including the promenade with lots and lots of restaurants, cafes and shops (including Shake Shack).

Here, with the Burj Al Arab, one of the most expensive hotels in the world.

Bildergebnis für jumeirah beach
Source: Thompson.co.uk

 

Bildergebnis für jumeirah beach residence dubai
Source: Thompson.co.uk
  • Nikki Beach: 

Being probably the most popular beach club in Dubai, this is actually a must visit. We will probably go to this place on thursday if it isn’t too expensive.

Bildergebnis für nikki beach dubai
Source: esquireme.com

 5. Dubai Mall + Aquarium: 

Bildergebnis für dubai mall
Source: bestourism.com

Travelling with my sister means going shopping, even if it is only for 1 or 2 hours. The Dubai Mall has one interesting asset that the other malls in Dubai don’t have: The biggest aquarium in the world. I guess that’s worth a visit.

6. Butterfly Garden: 

Bildergebnis für butterfly garden dubai
Source: dubaiconfidential.ae

I really wanna see this place. I love butterflies and I would love to walk in those gardens with dozens and dozens of colourful butterflies whirring around me. A beautiful imagination.

7. Miracle Garden: 

Bildergebnis für miracle garden dubai
Source: ourglobetrotters.com
Bildergebnis für miracle garden dubai
Source: ohhcouture.com
Bildergebnis für miracle garden dubai
Source: pinterest.com

Do I need to say more?

8. Dubai Marina: 

Bildergebnis für Dubai marina
Source: youtube.com

I love marinas and looking at yachts, and Dubai, being one of the richest countries in the world probably has some dope yachts chilling in the marina.

For the sights, this was pretty much all. I didn’t include the restaurants and bars and clubs we want to go to, although Shake Shack and Nusr Et (Saltbae’s restaurant) are pretty much on the list as well. But with these things, it always depends on the circumstances.

I am already pretty much excited, especially for the great weather and the desert.

Have you ever been to Dubai? Is there anything you could add to my Must-See List?

Thank you for reading and travelling with me.

Merveille