It’s been too much of self isolation, too many restrictions, our freedom has been overly restricted in the past year. And when the third lockdown was about to be imposed I said “enough”. I could agree that we have to fight the pandemic all together, but I simply couldn’t agree with the measures. As a free citizen of this world I’ve decided it was time to escape the moody and cold weather, as well as all those limitations of our freedom. And there was one place in the world, just within the reach of a single flight where the weather was sunny and warm, moreover people were walking in freedom and living their lives. Destination: UAE. There were some challenges to get away during that period of time, but nothing is impossible if you do your research and prepare your strategy for different scenarios. Luckily, everything went by the plan A, no backup plans had to be executed.
Landed in Dubai, UAE
While Europe was undergoing lockdowns and people had to pay overinflated costs for testing themselves, UAE has taken a different route here. I still keep wondering today, whether that was the money, or just a smarter move to deal with this pandemic. Once you land in the airport, first thing you do – you go through the virus testing facilities. They take your swab and you’re good to go to your hotel. Within 24-48h you’re about to receive a message and if it is negative, you’re good to roam. No isolations, no expensive costs to pay by yourself to get tested and way much more affordable than in Europe if for any reason you had to (i.e. when flying away). Meanwhile UK and Europe felt like lost in their own bureaucracies, leaving the costs of these mostly on the shoulders of people. It was to discourage people from travel, I get it. But if the approach really worked – I had many doubts about it.
Free to go
We’ve finally arrived to our destination – a cozy AirBnb, with a view to the motorway and the high rise buildings of Dubai. The views were accompanied by the growls of V8, V10 and other symphonies from the engines of exotic cars rolling on the highway – pretty unique experience I can say. Didn’t take long to learn guessing what car is passing by just by hearing the engine noise. Didn’t take long to receive a negative virus test message and we were free to go. Beach? City? Dunes? … anywhere. The only requirement was to wear a mask.
The biggest of everything
It was of course my first time to UAE and Dubai, so everything was new to me. It seemed like they have the tallest building in the world, as well as biggest ferry wheel, the biggest shopping mall and many other biggest things in the world. Perhaps not all, but it seemed like there was done a lot to impress anyone travelling to this unique destination. And they did well. Pictures will speak for themselves.
Dubai is a very young modern city, local taxi drivers seem to have grown up with the city together, learning every new building as they’re built. However, despite being very modern, it seemed to me that it was build mainly with cars in mind and not so much with walking. Perhaps you would pick a car over walking in the heat of the sun, as the sky is clear almost throughout the complete year. However there are popular parts of the city areas where you may have really nice walks. As an example Dubai Marina area or Dubai’s downtown around Burj Khalifa, Opera Theatre or the beautiful beaches such as La Mer or Jumeirah Beach.
Things to do and places to visit
Although Dubai is not the only place to be in UAE, I’ve mostly sticked to the area of this city and perhaps couple of times a little further to the sand dunes. Partly because I was working and secondly because of some restrictions of moving between different cities i.e. Abu Dhabi. I do believe there is endless list of things you can do in Dubai, however I’ll name a few to give an idea:
- Dubai Marina area for beautiful city walks, dining out and admiring tall buildings around. Quite a unique feeling when Mosque plays authentic music or prayers, as well as when the clouds hide the tops of the buildings.
- Jumeirah Beach Residence – quite unique architecture of concrete skyscrapers, as well as beautiful sandy beach with a view to the biggest Ferry Wheel in the world.
- Hotel of Atlantis – there I admired the biggest aquarium I’ve ever seen. Hotel itself is also spectacular, although not the latest built.
- La Mer beach – area where you may have quality jet ski rides, plenty of places to dine, beaches for sun tanning and photogenic authentic area for pictures too.
- Dubai Downtown – Burj Khalifa, amazing dancing fountains, plenty of restaurants, largest shopping mall (if you’re into ones). Picturesque walks and most amazing light shows on the tallest building Burj Khalifa in the evenings, combined with the dancing fountains every half hour after lunch.
- Old Town Dubai near Dubai Creek. The local markets full of traders trying to convince you to buy from them.
- The Global Village – unique full of attractions and an amazing attempt to represent as many different nations in the same area as possible with the themed architecture and foods. May become overwhelming because of all the traders trying to sell to you, but a great attraction to experience.
- Dubai Miracle Garden – an example of how green and colourful it can be in the middle of a desert. Beautiful place to spend few hours for garden lovers.
- Amusement parks such as Motiongate, Legoland or similar – they’re all quite close by, you want to make sure you get there early, so there is enough time to have as much fun as you can. Areas are vast.
- Al Qudra lakes – artificial lakes in the middle of sandy lands, full of birds. As well as you may have a walk into the sandy dunes and feel lost after a few hills also make amazing pictures as if you were in the middle of an endless sandy desert dunes.
I’m sure there were more places we’ve been to or activities we took on. However at the time of writing this post the memories have faded a bit. Just have time and money, and you’ll find really a lot to enjoy in this city. Thanks to pandemic, prices became more affordable there too.
What could I say about Dubai… Warm. Sunny. Young. Modern. Tall. Rather expensive to live. Loads of concrete. Lots of sand. Supercars. Cheap petrol. Lots of attractions. Worth visiting! People seemed friendly there, and unlike some say that women are disrespected there – in our experience they are met politely and with respect.
Whenever it’s cold and moody in Europe, you will always find the sunshine in UAE. Climate is very pleasant here during our cold seasons, it may also become quite hot during the warmer months of the year. You want to make sure your sunscreen is always by your hand! I believe that Persian Gulf waters are warm and pleasant to swim at all times.
Enjoy the sunny gallery!