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An Insider's Guide to Dubai

After living in Dubai for close to 9 years, and been moved back to India lock stock and barrel ,I am often been asked by many "wh...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

An Insider's Guide to Dubai

After living in Dubai for close to 9 years, and been moved back to India lock stock and barrel ,I am often been asked by many "what do I miss about Dubai ?". So today ,as I sat down to write about my thoughts about it, I realised it's not going to be easy selecting only few memories of this magnanimous place which I called home once. Instead I thought why not write about some of the places which remained permanently etched in my memories and I would love anyone travelling to Dubai to experience the same .So here I am, opening my Pandora box.....

If you have landed in Dubai in the best time of the year (October till March), you first deserves a pat in your back as you have already taken a wise decision.

Me at Al Qudra Lakes 
For most people visiting Dubai it is all about the mega malls, skyscraper buildings, ultramodern architecture ,high speed cars ,cool gadgets and luxury shopping, but for people living in Dubai they are  constantly looking for places they can escape to from the hurly-burly of the city. Al Qudra lake is one of such places. It's a piece of solace for people wanting to have a quiet moment enjoying the sunset and watching the migratory birds .I have had many lovely memories of this place where I had quietly sat down near the lake basking in the glory of the setting sun on my face.

The Flamingoes at Ras al Khor 

Another such place you can visit is the Ras Al Khor bird sanctuary which is right in the middle of the city .Unlike Al Qudra lakes, It is easy to access and a natural wetland where you can spot the migratory birds, especially the flamingos in abundance. There is an observatory deck which opens at 4pm to visitors to have a closer view of the birds and for photography.

Once you are done with your nature photography and still wanting to explore the true beauty of Dubai i.e. its vast deserts, there are many meet -up groups who arranges off-roading and desert camping on a regular basis as their passion. You can always look them up in the internet and join with them rather than paying the tourist companies who charge you a lot for the dune bashing. With such groups you will have the best experience of dune bashing as well as the camping in the middle of the desert. Winters can be extremely cold when you are inside a desert so one needs to be prepared with enough firewood to last the night and carry enough winter wears. I have had many such experiences in the desert where we just packed our bags and headed for a night camp in the middle of a desert. Once we are set with our camp, we sat down near the fire enjoying the starry nights and exchanging many interesting stories about life. These were one of the best memories of my Dubai days....

Picture taken during dune bashing 

​​If you  are travelling with family and kids there are many expensive options for you to choose from like the Ferrari world or the newly opened Lego land but one place that I would highly recommend specially for your kids is the Dubai Dolphinarium. Here you will come up close and personal with the dolphins and the seals who will do gymnastics, dance and even paint for you. On Friday mornings, you can find tickets at much cheaper rate.

Moving on from the real to the man-made attractions, on the top of your list should be Dubai fountains and the LED display at Burj Khalifa .It will definitely be an experience of a lifetime. While most people take the path to the fountain through Dubai mall, if you want to avoid the mad rush of the mall and can escape the temptation of shopping from the Dubai mall , there is  an alternate entrance to it which has way less crowd and a much better view of the complete fountain. For this you have to park your car in the parking lot after Souk-al-bahar and enter through the basement. After enjoying the choreographed dance of the fountains and taking pictures of burj Khalifa to your heart's content, head to explore the magnificent Sheikh Zayed road .A high class engineered road which is home to few of the tallest structures in the world including the emirates tower. You can either take a cab and enjoy it at a high speed or take a joy ride in the state-of-the-art driverless metro which runs parallel to the Sheikh Zayed road at a snail pace. 

Part of Dubai Fountains 

If you have got some extra time in your hand and want to explore the other emirates , the one you should not miss out on is the Abu Dhabi Grand mosque .Only 1.5-2  hrs drive away from Dubai ,situated just at the entrance to the capital city of Abu Dhabi you will see the majestic grand mosque which is the size of 5 football fields. What will strike you apart from its humongous size is the sparkling white marble and gold architecture against the clear blue sky. Dont forget to visit the Abu Dhabi Cornice before you head back to dubai.

And while you are exploring such gorgeous places and you feel the hunger pangs ,don't forget that Dubai offers the best of world cuisine to you. so whether you are a sushi fan or just enjoy chicken tikka and biryani,you get it all here. What I would recommend is to treat yourself to a chicken/beef shawarma or have a hearty meal at Jafferbhai where the kebabs melts in your mouth and you can enjoy the most famous biryani and mutton bhuna at a reasonable price.

A traditional Shawarma 

If its late at night, there are plenty of food options with sheesha joints at Dubai Heritage Village which are open till wee hours at night. You can spend hours sitting in the open and enjoy your favourite sheesha flavour with Moroccan tea .

View from a cafe at Dubai Heritage village 

It's really tricky to choose only few places and memory when it comes to Dubai. Hope you enjoyed this article and already making plans to visit Dubai soon.....go ahead and experience for yourself what Dubai has to offer......you will definitely come back with one of the best experiences and holiday  of your life :)

And if you already have visited Dubai , do share your experiences of the place in the comments section below. 

by: Sushmita Dutta    
Be Inspired, happy and footloose!!!