Another post – another travel diary. Alhumdulilah for so much travelling in the last year and a half. Husband and I are killing our goal of 2 trips a year IAAA.
I am lacking in posting outside of my travel posts which is so not the intent of this blog solely. I need to step up my game on regular posts!
However, for now let’s do this recap post before I forget the details of our Dubai 2020 trip!
So, we booked a 5-day trip to Dubai, I’ve been once before for 3-days in JULY 2008, AND LET ME TELL YOU, don’t go to Dubai in the summers. It is impossible to walk around because the heat is unlike anything else. The only thing I remember doing at that time with my family was the indoor-Dubai ski park because the cold felt so good in the over 100-degree weather.
This was my husband’s first time ever, and I think he was even more excited than I for this trip!
We always start out our trips by budgeting. We save for each trip for 3-6months in advance and this trip we saved for 6 months exactly. We used half of our budget on flight tickets + hotel, my husband found a package on Expedia. And rest of the budget for activities, shopping, food and transportation. Alhumd, this was our first trip where we came in a solid $1k under budget and we felt SO good about that!
We stayed at Hyatt Place Dubai Jumeriah which is a newly opened hotel as of fall 2019. It is a little bit outside of the main downtown area, on Mina Road, but it was a nice and clean hotel. Free breakfast buffet daily which was one of the top things we look at when booking travels so we can save $ on one meal.
Travelling around Dubai is trickier than for example, Turkey, which we did last year and were able to walk to most places because that is a walking city. Taxis were our primary source of travel and it was SO safe. Very clean and safe city I will say! So impressive. Taxis averaged around $20-60 depending on how far we travelled.
So, let’s get into our daily activities:
We arrived on Monday 2/10 – the worst part of this long trip is that you lose a whole day completely upon flying there because of the time difference. By time we checked into hotel it was pretty much evening time.
- Our hotel was 5 minutes from La Mer beach – which is a popular beach front town. WE LOVED IT! We decided to check it out that first night and have SALT (popular burger/slider place) and all the vibes there were so perfect.
- The weather through our whole trip was in the 70s and beautiful. Literally wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Especially coming from MI, we were in the 30s here, so this was a real treat!
- We roamed around the beach front and that was pretty much our first day!
- Jetlag was reallll killer for us there so we literally were waking up at 3, 4, 5am daily and couldn’t fall back asleep.
- So, we’d start out each day with breakfast at hotel, then get ready and then have our hotel call us a taxi. They were so efficient, and our cabs would show up in 5 minutes most of the time.
- We started our day off at Miracle Garden it was about a 20-25 minute ride from the hotel, so this was one of our more pricey taxi rides. This garden is unlike any other that I’ve seen! Stunning floral! And they’ve made them into the best sculptures and arches, it is a perfect place for a date or a photo shoot. We got there early enough and were able to finish it up in an hour, and since it was early in the morning, we got all the photos we wanted!
- From there, we headed downtown to the Burj Khalifa! We had booked our tickets to go up to the top at 1130 am. There’s a few different ticket types, they offer 2 different observation deck levels and then have tea time/or brunch at the Burj too which is too expensive so we decided to skip it. The view was fabulous! It was a bit of a cloudy day but clear, so we got a good view!
- After that we were famished so we headed over to City Walk Dubai. Which is another shopping/downtown district with shops and food. We didn’t like this as much as we liked La Mer but it’s still something to check out. We went to lunch at Farzi Cafe which was just OK, I wouldn’t recommend again.
- After that, we walked just across the street to secret garden! Everyone’s probably seen this all over Instagram, because this place was made to be blogger-esque. SO FRIKIN CUTE. They have a second location in the Dubai Mall as well, but the City walk one is the original one. We got some super cool drinks and a dessert to share. It is a little pricey but you’re paying for all the aesthetics
- After that, our jet lag was hitting us so we taxi’d back to the hotel and napped for a few hours. We woke up in time for dinner and headed back to the Dubai Mall side and ate Chinese food there (I forget the name of the place), and we saw the enchanting fountain show just outside of the mall and in front of the Burj (mall and Burj are right in front of each other), so beautiful! Definitely unlike any other fountain show I’ve seen. And that was the end of our night!
- We booked our ½ day tour of Abu Dhabi from Dubai to visit the grand mosque on this day. We used Ocean Air Travels for this tour and the excursion the next day as well, and I’d 100% recommend them! they are affordable and comfortable with pick up and drop off to hotel
- This is where we met the most tourists from outside of the country because everyone has the grand mosque on their list of to-see places!
- The beauty of the grand mosque is hard to describe in words, just so glad I finally got to visit a place that’s been on my list for so long! Instagram really makes life hard sometimes 😛
- We finished up and got to our hotel by 230pm and were famished so headed to La Mer to have lunch at a Greek spot there. The food there was pretty good!
- Again, jet lag killed us, so we came back to the hotel and napped for a few hours.
- That evening, we actually went to dinner at my cousins’ place! She lives in Dubai and I hadn’t seen her 8+ years, so it was lovely to see her again! And my husbands first time meeting them. They actually live really close to our hotel (which was a TOTAL coincidence but a great one at that), so we were able to walk to her place. Literally the only place to walk over to.
- That night ended late and we just passed out when we got back to our hotel.
- We woke up early again this day and headed to the old souk/derra side for some shopping. Souvenirs and gifts for family. Shopping here basically felt like how it does back home and definitely the cheapest option to get good things here for everyone.
- We finished up and got back to the hotel around 1230-1pm and got ready for our afternoon excursion, the desert safari! Again, another must-do experience if you’re visiting Dubai! Literally its unlike anything else you’ve ever done. We booked this with Ocean Air Travels as well, and we loved our tour guide for this one so much! Convenient again with hotel pick up and drop off and a bbq-dinner was included in at the end of this, which was delish!
- Part of the safari we got to do ATV-ing (so cool!), sand boarding (its snowboarding on sand, so fun and silly), dune bashing in the car done by the tour guide, basically just driving and hitting up the dunes crazily, but so fun, camel riding (Aw), held a falcon, and ended the night with entertainment and dinner. Fun and super tiring day, but so memorable. If there’s one thing you can do at Dubai, this would be the #1 thing I’d recommend!!!
- Needless to say, we passed out that night, but I still struggled with jet lag!
- This was our last full day in the city. There were a few things we had talked about doing but didn’t book from before, so this was the day we did that!
- I wanted to do dolphin swimming or something like that and the Palm (the famous island/hotel in Dubai), has a full water park and all the dolphin fun you can imagine, but we didn’t have the whole day to waste in 1 activity so we found an alternative to get me my dolphin goodness!
- The Dolphinarium offers shows and if you pay extra, you get to meet the dolphin and pet them! Which was good enough for me for now 😊
- After that we headed to the Dubai Marina mall which is right next to the JBR area – both really nice areas and definitely would recommend checking out. So, my husband had looked up ziplining and this place offered it!
- This was probably the priciest experience/activity we did, but definitely a thrill! They offer go-pro filming and pictures taken for you in the price, so you forever have the memories.
- We did it simultaneously– so both of us next to each other side by side. I was definitely nervous but after the initial push off/weightlessness, it is so fun! The VIEW IS TO DIE FOR! WOO. I’d highly recommend this if you’re into doing daredevil risky things!
- After that, we had lunch in the marina mall to hold us over and get back to the hotel to change for the evening.
- This was valentine’s day as well, so we made it memorable by heading to the global village first. Basically, it is like Epcot x 1000. Super cheap! Unfortunately, since our dinner reservations were made for 7 pm, we had basically an hour and half to pass here. We couldn’t go through every country but hit the ones we wanted to see! It’s a lot of shopping and food and I’m sure at total nighttime it would be even more fun!
- From there we headed to the JBR side since our dinner reservations were at a restaurant called 7 sands (courtesy of the husband!) it was authentic Emeriti cuisine, which we hadn’t had yet, so it was a nice way to end the trip! Plus, the view from the restaurant was so nice.
And that my friends, concludes the trip! It was a fabulous time. Weather was perfection and the activities and excursions were amazing. Dubai is an ever-changing city with so much newly built and constantly changing, so I’m sure next time we go in life iAA it’ll be even more fun and different.
Have you ever been to Dubai? What all did you do? Would love to hear your experience! Share your thoughts below!
Until next time, XOX