Dubai: Skyscrapers & Sandcastles

Dubai: Skyscrapers & Sandcastles

A City writing it’s place in history through culture & architectural advancement

Dubai, the new playground for the rich and famous is quickly making a name for itself. It is where Princes and rich housewives vacation, but the average person can only dream of going, right? Wrong. A little over a month ago I flew halfway across the world with my college roommate to Dubai for the trip of a lifetime. All of this while traveling on a budget because at 25 years old please believe I am balling on a budget. I am fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit throughout my lifetime and know a few tricks of the trade and now I want to share some of those tricks with you.

First, getting to Dubai was not the pretty penny most believe it to be. We were able to find our flight on Groupon which is known for their good deals. By all means if you can book a private jet go right ahead and please give me a call. The flight was booked through a third party, but ultimately was no more trouble than booking through a site such as Orbitz or Expedia and cost only $500. Secondly, our lodging was booked through Orbitz. By doing a little research via Google and travel blogs it’s easy to find the best places to stay throughout the city. Dubai has different pockets of the city and depending on what you’re looking to do while you’re there will dictate the best area to bunk. Lodging can vary from the super cheap (I would steer clear as you will miss out on the basic luxuries) to the mid range accommodations all the way to the World Famous 7-Star Burj Al Arab. By splitting a hotel room we were able to spend less than $350 for the week.

Now for the fun stuff, getting around town and sightseeing. Dubai is a city surrounded by desert sands and coastal waters. By taking a taxi which is quite easy as they are abundant throughout the city, you can experience both in the same day. Dubai is by no means a walkable city with it’s twists and turns and lack of walkways. However, for those that would like to try public transportation by all means go for it (I did no such thing-and I’ve lived in Washington DC). Taxis are everywhere and reasonably priced as long as they are run by the city, which are easily demarcated by their colorful tops. Most trips will run you less than $10. Dubai also has Uber but I found it to be rather difficult as they don’t use addresses and wait times can be quite long.

Dubai is a Muslim country that follows Muslim law. What that means for those who are unfamiliar is that profanity is not allowed, alcohol is not sold outside of the airport and nightclubs which are hidden away in hotels, modesty is the best policy, and weekends are Friday and Saturday. While you won’t be arrested for a slip of the tongue or a hem that is too high it is best to be respectful of the people who call this beautiful place home. I recommend stopping by the duty free shop on your way out of the airport where you can grab up to 5 bottles (!) to last your vacation. This will also save you when you go out because let me be the first to tell you, drinks are crazy expensive. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that alcohol is not an everyday commodity, but drinks at the “secret” clubs can run you a pretty penny.
During your stay be sure to jump right in and explore. Stop by the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, appreciate the modern architecture filling the sky around you, take a trip out to the Dubai Miracle Gardens, step back in time in Old Dubai where you can bargain at the original gold souk. You can’t forget to sit back and relax at brunch on Friday where locals and tourists alike feast (and imbibe) to their heart’s content. For a city that does not condone the intake of alcohol there is no shortage of booze infused brunches on Friday. Dubai is situated right on the coast with some of the most beautiful water so be sure to take a trip to the beach, on the other end of that Dubai is surrounded by desert sands making it perfect for a safari getaway. As a bonus trip if you’re so fortunate to have time, I would without a doubt make a trip to Abu Dhabi to visit the Grand Mosque. I’m convinced it has to be one of the wonders of the world.

While I have to admit, when I first imagined going to Dubai I envisioned private jets, Bentleys, and girls laying on yachts all day I was given so much more. I was met with culture, kind people, and a city that is looking to merge its history with its future. 

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