It starts with a feeling of happiness running through my body and pouring into the heart and it brings a smile on my face and dispels all that is negative in me. There’s no greater happiness than being in a wonderful place, doing what you love most, surrounded by loving people. A big thank you to my crew who made Dubai possible and made it even better. I’m getting overemotional, let’s get back to the reason you came to this page. I want to share with you my excitement about this city. Some might say the city doesn’t have a soul, that everything is fake and kitsch, but I will not be one of those.
With the tallest building in the world, the biggest flower garden, the highest hotel in the world, the largest and the only 7-star hotel (although the hotel management never included this information in their advertisement), the first underwater hotel in the world, with an indoor ski resort within a shopping mall, with three artificial islands in the shape of a palm tree, one island in the shape of a world map, Dubai is the most attractive city in the world. It attracts an enormous number of tourists and they are very focused on tourism because you cannot live on oil forever. And it does leave you breathless! It is photogenic and it inspires you to take pictures of all you see, dozens of times 😊
The six of us couldn’t wait to start our journey. Citizens of the Republic of Serbia need visas, and I’ve already described the procedure, so all the necessary information you can find here.
We flew with Flydubai. You can learn more about cheap flights from Serbia and the region on the following link. I am quite satisfied with the service you get on the plane and everything that is included within the price of the ticket, having in mind that Flydubai is a low-cost company. A 20 kg suitcase that you check-in, hand luggage up to 7 kg, a meal on the plane and the possibility to buy a drink or pay for watching a movie. Do not expect a lot of space between the seats. If you’ve got long legs, good luck.
The flight lasts 5 hours and 15 min and time difference compared to Serbia is three hours. To go sightseeing on foot is almost impossible, unless you consider shopping-malls to be city landmarks. You are doomed to a taxi (start is AED 5, 13 km is roughly AED 30, when you divide it by 6, it is veeeeery affordable. By the way, three liters of gas cost EUR 1, but one liter of water is EUR 3) or metro, which is perfect, accurate, automated, with air-conditioned stations, above ground so you get the chance to see the city.
How can it not be perfect when the Japanese made it 😊 An interesting fact is that there are women-only coaches that are clearly marked.
After detailed weighing of choices between excellent reviews and affordable price, we decided to spend the nights in Atana hotel. The rooms are fantastic, the staff pleasant and very accommodating. From a welcome drink, to easy check-in, to explanation about all the hotel facilities we can use, plus it’s near all the attractions.
Perfectly organized taxi vehicles around buildings with large number of visitors. A worker at the parking lot will direct you to taxi vehicles organized based on certain criteria – direction, size of the taxi. On a certain part of the freeway, which is 6 to 8 lanes wide, so wide it can be confusing, you will hear a clear signal when the machine increases your fare due to road toll.
In most places, you can pay in EUR, but with an unfavorable exchange rate. Exchange money at the airport, because in the hotel the exchange rate will be much worse. In Dubai Mall, we got the most favorable exchange rate.
What left us breathless:
- Dubai Fountain – the biggest fountain in the world, similar to the one in Vegas, as you might expect because the same company built it. The fountain starts its dance to music at 6 pm and you can enjoy 13 performances. After each song, there is a short break. I heartily recommend that you stay to enjoy several performances, especially at nightfall, when Burj Khalifa starts to shine and all the lights of Dubai Fountain light up.
We were stunned by the performance to the song “Time to say goodbye” by Andrea Bocceli, which you can see here. The moment when a male vocal starts to sing is inexplicable. So many emotions gathered in me.
There was only me and the fountains and a smile across my face. There I am, smiling like that by myself, suddenly aware of my own happiness, with tears in my eyes. I’m fine, thanks for asking 😊
- Miracle Garden – the world’s largest natural flower garden, in a desert, spreading across 72 000 square meters.
You can enjoy the smell and views of 109 million planted flowers from October to April. During other months, the garden is closed due to unbearable heat. The plants are watered by re-using waste water through drip irrigation method (the water drips directly into root zone, evenly, precisely, and efficiently). A Guinness World Record for building the largest floral installation belongs to Dubai Miracle Garden, for installation in the shape of an Emirates plane.
Everywhere there are flower arches, butterflies, windmills, a clock made of flowers, princesses with flower dresses, houses covered in flowers…flowers, flowers, flowers.
- Burj Khalifa – the tallest structure ever made by a man. Buy the tickets in advance, online, because on the spot the ticket is much more expensive. You can climb to the 148th floor for EUR 105 or a bit lower – 124th and 125th floor, where the ticket, with a visit to the aquarium costs EUR 47. Once you’re there, the ticket for 124th and 125th floor can cost EUR 80.
163 floors located above ground, two below ground, and 154 floors that can be used. You can see the plan of the floors on the following link. The view is both thrilling and frightening. Skyscrapers, huge freeways, golden sand, and sparkling sea….the view is endless.
It was built within five and a half years by a South Korean company, and designed by the same people who designed the Willis Tower in Chicago. Inspiration came from Hymenocallis, a desert flower with long petals. The weight of the building is compared to the weight of 100 000 elephants.
The temperature difference between ground floor and top of the building is 15 °C. There are 58 elevators in the building moving at 10 meters per second. And, adorable Tom Cruise in the movie Mission Impossible 4 hung from this building, a glove which he used to climb failed and he managed to break through that thick glass with his feet.
- Burj Al Arab – the most luxurious hotel in the world, on whose helipad Federer played an exhibition match against Agassi (where did the balls fly off, I don’t know). Google Street View gave us the opportunity to have a virtual tour, since we do not have enough money (USD 1000 for a night) to stay in this billowing sail. We are USD 1000 short. We could organize a fund raising.
The guests are provided with a 24-karat gold iPad, an army of butlers, 17 different types of pillows! Burj Al Arab is not the tallest hotel in Dubai. Hotel Rose Tower is taller and it is located also in Dubai. A British architect designed it, and a South African company was the contractor building this traditional Arabian sail. The interior is decorated with around 1 790 square meters of 24-karat gold leaves.
- Dubai Safari – it left the greatest impression on us, right after Dubai Fountain. The ride, slaloming, frenzy, dune bashing through gold Arabic sand, to write this was just a ride would be quite an understatement. Much more detailed description of this very different experience, you can find on this link. We drove buggies, smoked shisha, rode a camel, had henna hand painting, watched three interesting shows…
- Dubai Marina – artificial canal city, surrounded by beautiful skyscrapers, where designers compete each other by creating interesting architecture. It is situated by the waters of the Persian Gulf, so there were occasions when whales and sharks lost their way and ended up in Dubai Marina.
JBR beach is a city beach within the Dubai Marina. You can try skydiving with a view over the beautiful Jumeriah Palm. Dubai Marina is one of rare, open spaces where you can go for a walk.
Along the promenade there are numerous restaurants offering different types of cuisines. It’s a great pleasure to go for a walk at night, when everything starts to shine and glow.
- Aquarium and Underwater Zoo – it is located within the Dubai Mall, the biggest shopping mall center with 1200 shops. More tourists come to visit the Mall than the entire New York.
Within the aquarium you can swim with sharks and dolphins, take a ride on a submarine, or just observe the diversity of the underwater world. The biggest attraction is of course King Croc, enormously big crocodile. It’s a good thing the glass was thick enough to separate us from any close encounter.
You walk through 10 million liters of water in the aquarium tank located on the ground level of Dubai Mall. Above you floats a great white shark or a giant tiger stingray. I thought it was cute to make a Boomerang video with this lovely sea creature.
- Jumeriah Palm and Atlantis – Jumeriah Palm is the smallest of the three planned artificial islands, shaped as a palm tree. To get to Aquaventure Waterpark and Atlantis you can take a monorail – a railway in which the track consists of a single rail. Ticket price is AED 15. And don’t leave the ticket on the train as I did, you will need it to leave the station.
This is another possibility to see the magnitude of the Atlantis hotel, located on the top of the palm tree and is the first resort built on it. Another luxurious hotel. It is designed to resemble the buildings mentioned in the myth of Atlantis with many Arabian elements.
You don’t have the possibility to walk through the garden of Atlantis. You can admire it from the promenade along the Persian Gulf (another promenade!). Nasimi beach near the hotel is open to the public. You will have a view of the building site from the beach, because Dubai is one enormous building site, but also of the skyscrapers from Dubai Marina.
- Old Dubai – to get a complete picture of Dubai you have to see the old part of the town, where you are pulled into shops, where they haggle with you and try to charm you. Here you can find all the variety of spices, tobacco for shisha, the longest gold chain in the world and the heaviest gold ring in the world enlisted in the Guinness Book of World Records, that weighs 5.17 kg.
When you get tired from constantly being pushed to buy some of their products, take a boat and go to the other shore for only AED 1 (the cheapest thing in Dubai) and eat some fish in one of the restaurants along the coast.
- Aquaventrue Waterpark – guaranteed good times with many interesting things to do for kids and adults. Imagine sliding down the biggest water slide in the world, the “Aquaconda” or going through the shark tank after sliding down the “Tower of Neptune’. Ticket price is around EUR 51.
- Bar 360, Shades – for both places we got recommendation before going to Dubai. To Shades we went for dinner. When making a reservation I exchanged a few emails with the management and was delighted with their professionalism and desire to accommodate you. The food was excellent. You can smoke shisha, have a meal, or just have a drink near the pool and enjoy the lights of Dubai Marina.
Bar 360 is located near Burj Al Arab, and it opens at 5 pm. Once you approach the hotel Jumeirah Beach, you pass the security, a buggy driver waits for you to take you to the bar with a stunning panorama of Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach hotel. You can go for a walk to the bar and on your way there catch a gorgeous sunset.
- Global Village – it’s an attempt to present the most important landmarks of many world countries. So, Russia, USA, India, China, Iran occupy a great part of this theme park.
To Global Village you can enter only if you are decently dressed – which means a dress below the knees or you get sent to the shop nearby to buy a scarf. I found a solution.
Serbia is also on the list of represented countries. They seem to have mixed us up with …. some country, so there’s the name of our country on the building I haven’t seen anywhere in Serbia, and near the building which resembles the church of St. Sava, it is written Ukraine.
It was a true pleasure to be a part of this adventure, to get to know the culture, taste the food, learn interesting facts about the emirate, meet all these people (only 20% of Dubaians live in Dubai, perhaps we didn’t even run into them). I apologize for a slightly longer post, but there was no way to shorten it. If you have any questions, please contact me.