The Golden Sands Hotel, where I stayed, in the Bur Dubai area, was lovely. They offer over 750 accommodation units made up of studios and one, two & three bedroom apartments. It’s within ten minutes walking distance of the Burjuman Shopping Centre, a pretty central part of town.The staff were very friendly and for one night’s accommodation, I paid 320.25 Emirati Dirhams, the equivalent of 66 euros. Ok, it was a bit pricey but I originally thought I was going to stay two nights, so I thought it might be worth it.
I got up at 8.30am and after breakfast, I headed off to find the Burjuman Shopping Centre.This was the nearest place where I could pick up the Big Bus Tour of Dubai. It was strange stepping out into twenty five degree heat, compared to the cold I’d left behind in Amsterdam. It only took me ten minutes to walk to the shopping centre and I didn’t have to wait too long till the next bus came along. The Big Bus Sightseeing Tours, offer twenty four hour ticket and a forty eight hour ticket for sightseeing in Dubai, a night time tour of Dubai and a Dubai/Abu Dhabi combination tour ticket.
I bought the twenty four hour ticket for 220 AED/45 EUR. It’s the best way, I think, of seeing the main areas of the city. It’s a hop-on, hop-off tour, with recorded commentary in various languages. There are two routes, the Beach (Blue Route) and the City (Red Route) tour. With this ticket, you get a free Dhow Cruise, free entry into the Dubai Museum and one or two free walks. Very good value for money.
The Beach tour was the one I wanted to do first because I wanted to see the Burj Al Arab, the famous building that’s shaped like a sail. It was a very windy day and I got a photo taken of me on the beach, with the Burj in the background. Well my God, I looked like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards! Any hairstyle that I had beforehand disappeared within 5 seconds!
There are a lot of shopping malls in Dubai, one in particular which I liked which was called Wafi City, because it was designed in the Egyptian style. A bit different compared to the Arabic architecture of Dubai. I had lunch there on a rooftop terrace, overlooking the square below. Both the food and the view was lovely. There was so much to see and do and I knew I couldn’t fit it in all in one day. I did want to see if I could try and catch the spice souk before it closed at 5pm but I only caught the tail end of it. Only one or two shops in the souk were still open.I got to have a quick look in the Dubai Museum before it closed at 6pm and then made my way back to the centre, to find somewhere to eat.
One of the Big Bus guides, recommended an Arabian restaurant called Colours Café, in the Deira City Centre Mall. There was a good variety of fajitas, burgers, pizzas, fish etc on the menu, so I decided to go in there. The Big Bus ticket gave you a 20% discount on food here too, so that was even better. The food was quite good but it was fairly busy. The Dubai Shopping Festival was on and everybody and their uncles were out for the evening!
I liked what I saw of Dubai but I must admit, I prefer Singapore. The Asian feel of the place has more appeal to me than the Arabic atmosphere of Dubai. I would come back again though and do more the next time, like the Arabian Sundowner Tour, where you get out to go out on the sand dunes and watch the sunset in a Bedouin camp. The next part of this trip is Melbourne, so go to the Australia tab to read and see more of this exciting trip.