On our way to Bangkok from Greece we had a layover in Dubai that we decided to turn into a couple day stop over. If you have the time, it’s a city definitely worth checking out for a couple of days.
I didn’t know too much about Dubai coming in, I’d done enough research about Dubai to know that I could wear a bikini to the pool but outside the resort I should dress more conservatively. And I knew that the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world.
As with any city there are always weird little nuances that you’ll never know until you find yourself there. Dubai was definitely an interesting place, unlike anywhere I’d ever been before, and here are some fun little things that I learned.
Don’t Try To Walk Up To The Burj Khalifa
We were pretty stoked to go have drinks at the Burj Khalifa’s bar At.Mosphere, it’s on the 122nd floor making it the highest bar in the world. So we hopped on the metro outside our hotel and took it to the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall stop. The covered walk way from the metro took us into the mall but there didn’t seem to be an exit for the Burj Khalifa. We managed to find our way out of the mall, and we could see the Burj Khalifa, but we couldn’t really get to it. We were on the wrong side, we ended up having to walk all the way around the building along what were more like maintenance paths than sidewalks, till we found the driveway. Where there were still no sidewalks going up, so we ended up climbing over some hedges onto another maintenace path that looked like it went up through the garden. The staff at the door looked pretty confused to see us stumbling up out of the yard, and we were definitely a bit disheveled, but at least they let us in. The Burj Khalifa is definitely meant to be driven up to, it’s grand driveway is complete with fountains and palm trees. And with the heat, most people don’t tend to walk anywhere anyways.
Burj Khalifa at sunset
If you are going to go check out the world’s tallest building, go for sunset. Especially if you are going to be having dinner or drinks at their restaurant/lounge At.Mosphere. The view you get for sunset is spectacular, and then once it’s dark you’ll have the view of all the city lights. It honestly made the madness of getting there totally worth it. Be sure to make reservations because it is quite popular and can fill up. It is a bit pricy, they have per person spend minimums, which differ depending if you go for lunch, dinner, drinks, or have a window seat. But if you are going to go, go all out, get a window seat and see the sunset!
Dubai has a metro system, which makes it pretty easy to get around the city. There are two lines the red line and the green line, there’s also a tram line that goes out along the marina. I really liked being able to take the metro around because Dubai is so spread out you really can’t walk anywhere, plus the heat will pretty much melt you if you try to walk, and constantly taking cabs would be such a wallet drain.
Dubai is serious about their malls. They are huge, they are filled with every kind of designer store you can think of, and they are air conditioned. I got lost in both the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall, and at times it was a little overwhelming. If you want to shop though, the malls of Dubai are the place to go, along with all the designer stores there are tons of other regular stores too, for all your shopping needs. The Dubai Mall has 1200 shops and the Mall of the Emirates has 630 shops, kind of insane right? The malls are also always packed it seems, I guess it makes sense if you want to get out of the house, but you don’t want to go outside because it’s a million degrees out, going to the mall is a good option. The Mall of the Emirates also has a ski slope and snow park in it if you really need to escape the heat!
Buy your booze in Duty Free at the airport
The UAE is a muslim country and even in an international city like Dubai drinking didn’t seem like a thing. You can’t buy alcohol from the grocery store, they don’t stock it. You can drink in bars and restaurants but it’s wildly expensive. I’m not joking when I say that I ordered a $24 cocktail when out to dinner one night. The easiest solution to staying on budget and still being able to have an evening drink is to grab a bottle of your favorite booze on the way out of the airport in the Duty Free section. That way you don’t end up paying $10 for a can of Carlsberg from your hotel bar.
So I know these things aren’t your typical things to know about a place, but I always think it’s helpful to know the weird little quirks about a place before I try walking up to building that is supposed to be driven too!
Have you noticed any other little quirks about Dubai or any other destination? Let me know in the comments!