Dubai, UAE: The Fun Factor Depends on You


I constantly hear people talking about not seeing the draw of Dubai.  After visiting the country several times I realize that it is not the city that has a problem, it is the mindset of the travelers passing through.  Dubai has been turned from an everyday city into a booming business and cultural center as well as a cosmopolitan tourist destination.  When planning a trip, regardless of my destination, I always begin by determining how luxurious I would like my stay to be and how much I’m willing to spend to make it happen.

Burj Al Arab

Once this is accomplished, it is time to decide on which hotel and part of the city I would like to stay in.  Whether it is at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah Island, The Dhow Palace Hotel in Bur, Dubai, The Golden Tulip in Al Barsha or for the high rollers perhaps the Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s self-proclaimed seven star hotel.  You’re hotel decision alone will determine to some extent how awesome or generic your vacation will be as well as how outgoing you will be.  For instance; on one of my many trips through Dubai, I decided to go with the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah Island.  The hotel was the attraction.  From the dimly lit, yet gorgeous aquarium in the basement to the attached waterpark and even the swimming pool and private beaches, I knew that visiting here meant I would not be doing very much sightseeing, unless it was of the hotel grounds.

For me, Dubai is a fantasy world waiting to be explored.  There are so many options available, it is impossible to put them all down without writing your own self-help travel Dubai book.  For you history buffs out there, the Dubai Museum holds a mass of pre-oil historical stories and heirlooms that date back to before Dubai’s booming pearl era.  A self-guided tour lets you spend as much or as little time exploring the museum as your heart can handle.

If you find your pockets lined with cash and would like to do a little shopping, why not head to either the Dubai Mall or The Mall of the Emirates to do just that.  If you get to the mall and find that you are feeling a little more daring, why not take a dive into the world’s second largest aquarium for some scuba diving with the sharks, or if that is a little too risqué, you may enjoy snorkeling in the shark cage or a glass bottom boat tour.  Not in the mood to jump in the water?  Dubai Mall also comes equipped with a state of the art movie theater, a fantastic assortment of delicious restaurants, a full sized ice skating rink, the world’s largest choreographed water fountain and the gateway to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.  View the entire city and surrounding area from the observation deck on the 124th floor.  A slightly smaller, yet equally thrilling display of awesomeness is located just down the highway inside of The Mall of the Emirates.  The mall showcases an indoor ski/snowboard resort with five slopes with varied difficulties, to include a black diamond run for you professionals out there.

If you are in Dubai and would like to get out of the city or possibly do a little more exploring, you could always get a chartered fishing boat, rent jet skis from Ski Dubai, head on out on a boat for a little scuba or get yourself a reservation to hit the dunes of the Arabian desert to include an authentic Arabian dinner with belly dancing and camping.  Watch a beautiful sunset like you have never seen it before from the top of the large golden dunes.

Dubai Cityscape

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if you are in Dubai for a day; a week or a month, there is something that you could be doing besides sitting inside of your hotel.  Unless of course the hotel you chose was the attraction.  I highly recommend that no matter how long your stay, that you get out and explore no matter where you are, you never know what you’ll find.  Sometimes the most magnificent experiences can be found in the seemingly ordinary places.

Paul Freitas

I am currently attending MatadorU's Travel Photographer course. I am preparing for Portland State University this Winter (though the degree decision is still up in the air). I currently reside in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, where I have spent the last 4 1/2 years working alongside the United States Marine Corps as a civilian contractor.

3 responses to “Dubai, UAE: The Fun Factor Depends on You

  1. There are so many things to do in Dubai, some even don’t require you to rob a bank! 🙂
    I’ve lived here for seven years after living in Japan for 10+ years. We love it here and has no immediate plans of going back ‘home’. 🙂

  2. I think that most places are like that Paul. I have been to places that people say weren’t that great, but then I found something nice. I completely agree with the idea that most of it depends on YOU the traveler.

  3. HEY Paul nice post , I was in Dubai 2 months ago and I must have to say that the yacht service in Dubai is the one of the best in Dubai.

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