Middle East – United Arab Emirates
Dubai – 25.2048° N, 55.2708° W
Dubai – City of Superlatives: the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest
Arriving refreshed into Dubai, courtesy of the awesome Emirates Airlines flight, 72hrJetsetterGirl, was ready to explore the Emirate know for its luxury shopping, ultra modern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Unfortunately 72hrJetsetterGirl will probably have to pass on the lively nightlife option as the next day was an early morning work start. Yes, it did feel a bit weird working on a Sunday – but everyone else was working as well!
Ready to Explore
Within only a good 12 hours to explore the endless attractions Dubai has to offer, 72hrJetsetterGirl certainly had to be mission focused to keep the jet lag at bay. On a previous visit, 72hrJetsetterGirl had visited the gold and spice souks and experienced the hair raising thrills of a 4WD desert dune safari with the added bonus of a camel ride just to make sure she had the full desert experience. As much as 72hrJetsetterGirl would like to have another camel ride, the thought of arriving at the office the next day with her arm in a cast was a little too much to bare for this trip.
The hotel provided a free shuttle service to various locations in Dubai which was very convenient as her accommodation was not centrally located. On the upside, it did have a Dubai metro stop at its front door, that allowed for an easy return back after a day of exploring. In the interest of time, 72hrJetsetterGirl opted for a visit to Dubai Marina. The Marina which is home to the Jumeirah Beach Walk and is full of skyscrapers both of the commercial and residential kind. This mega development borders Jebel Ali – the world’s largest man-made port. You very soon find out that everything in Dubai is either the “world’s largest or world’s first”, they take large and first to a whole new level. I thought everything was big in the US of A!
Walking off the feeling of weariness and getting her steps in, as the boardwalk is 1.7kms in length, 72hrJetsetterGirl wandered around to Jumeirah Beach to soak up some beach activities and had lunch at one of the many beach front restaurants. 72hrJetsetterGirl definitely had a Dubai moment, when sipping her coffee she was very pleasantly surprised to see camel rides being offered on the beach; only in Dubai!
Time for some Jet-Boat Action
An unique way to see Dubai is by water and being tourist time poor, 72hrJetsetterGirl thought a jet-boat ride would allow some sight-seeing with the added bonus of an adrenaline rush. A double whammy of Dubai. The 90 minute jet-boat ride departed from the Marina thus giving a bird’s eye view of the high rise buildings, then on to the calm waterway of the Marina inlet and then out to the Persian Gulf for some jet-boating action. Once on the seaway, the skipper put the jet-boat through its paces; sharp turns, accelerating the throttle and jumping over waves – yeah baby! If you wore a toupee it would have been gone in the wind!
Iconic Dubai Structures
The jet-boat skipper was certainly earning his tips on this tour as not only being the captain but also a photographer to capture those priceless photos of the guests in front of the iconic Dubai attractions. Not the kind that charges you $20+ a piece for a photo but instead he used your own photographic device to capture that special moment. The photos were certainly priceless as 72hrJetsetterGirl had a Phyllis Diller hairstyle after having the wind blowing through her locks. Definitely not the glam well groomed photo to post up on Instagram.
First was a happy snap in front of the Atlantis resort and then onto the piece de resistance of luxury accommodation the Burj Al Arab Hotel, for another photo opportunity. Unfortunately, 72hrJetsetterGirl’s corporate credit card did not allow staying at this once again “world’s first” 7 star hotel, so this was her opportunity to get up close and personal from afar of this luxury and epic hotel with its huge sail and helipad at the top. You know the one that Roger Federer and Andre Agassi play a friendly game of tennis on (a common theme again – world’s first tennis match on a helipad).
During the tour, the skipper provided commentary of the Dubai sites and gave a local tip of the best location to view the epic The Palms design.
To the Top of the World!
Once 72hrJetsetterGirl’s nerves and hair returned to normal it was time for the next thrill seeking adventure in Dubai. 72hrJetsetterGirl will admit that she is a bit of a bucket list type of traveller. On other adventures she had ascended to the top of Taipei’s 101 and walked on the glass balcony of Chicago’s Sears Tower however until now the world’s tallest building had eluded her.
Purchasing a metro day ticket for Dubai’s modern rapid transit system was the perfect transportation choice in terms of cost and time benefits for 72hrJetsetterGirl to get to her next destination and beyond. As Dubai Marina is located approximately 20 kms southwest of Downtown Dubai and the traffic along Sheikh Zayed Road can be a bit of a car park at times, so jumping on the metro at Damac station provided a very good alternative to a taxi.
Upon arriving at the Dubai Mall metro station, 72hrJetsettterGirl walked about another 15 minutes in an air-conditioned walkway to commence her next adventure at Dubai Mall. Certainly the step count is going to be awesome after today’s sightseeing. Just in case you were wondering, yes Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall and thus it took 72hrJetsetterGirl another 20 minutes or so and asking several security guards for directions and going around in circles, before she finally found the entrance to the Burj Khalifa – yes the world’s tallest building. Yep that theme is still going…
Very eager to tick the Burj Khalifa off her bucket list (mind you 72hrJetsetterGirl is PETRIFIED of heights), she automatically handed her credit card over to pay for the entry fee, as the card was already in the hands of the cashier and register rang chi-ching – it dawned on 72hrJetsetterGirl how much the ticket was once she did a quick currency conversion – not only did the fear of heights make her heart beat a little quicker also the cost of the ride to the top of the world also caused heart palpitations… Prior to entering the elevator for the speedy ride to the top, all guest gathered in the lounge waiting area for tea and dates as part of the experience and once at the top each guest were given a sweet treat. Life of no regrets!
Ascending over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) or more than 160 stories (highest number of stories in the world) via the world’s tallest elevator which is also the longest travel distance elevator in the world to the world’s tallest building and the world’s tallest free standing structure, 72hrJetsetterGirl reached the world’s highest outdoor observation deck (148th floor) and world’s highest occupied floor in the world. Phew… a lot of world records here… Ears popping and white knuckling experience 72hrJetsetterGirl was about to ticked off another bucket list item.
What a view
The building which has an amazing New Years’ Eve fireworks show, began construction in 2004 and was completed five years later in 2009. The primary structure is reinforced concrete and was open as part of the new development known as Downtown Dubai in 2010. The Burj Khalifa was named in honor of the rule of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
From the observation desk 72hrJetsetterGirl had a bird’s eye view of Dubai – the desert, the housing estates, the major roadways and as far as the eye could see. The observation deck consisted of an outdoor and indoor viewing points. Of course there is a gift shop to buy a memento of this occasion. Whilst taking in the awesome views, 72hrJetsetterGirl was knocked in the head several times by the dreaded selfie stick of fellow tourists.
What goes up must come down
Coming down to terra firma, 72hrJetsetterGirl walked around the Dubai Fountain before making her way back to the metro station, for her ride back to her accommodation. When 72hrJetsetterGirl was visiting the massive fountain, she did not get an opportunity to witness the 30min displays of water jets reaching 140m (world’s highest water spray) set to music and a light show, as it takes at 7pm. Managing to stay upright and alert all day after a 14 hour flight, with a 8 hour time difference, the effects of jet lag were now starting to take effect, so 72hrJesetterGirl passed on witnessing the fountain show and venturing into the Dubai Mall for some retail therapy. The only therapy she need was the comfort of her hotel bed for a restful night sleep for a busy day of work tomorrow.
- Burj Khalia is so tall that you can grab a lift and watch the sunset twice.
The Palm Jumeirah has enough sand to fill the Wembley Stadium 23 and a half times… It took 94 million cubic metres of sand to make The Palm Jumeirah, while Wembley stadium is only 4 million cubic metres.
There are 29,000 Swarovski crystals on the Junsui Lounge’s ceiling in the Burj Al Arab. They’re shaped in the pattern of The Milky Way, what else would you have expected!
The Nuts and Bolts of this fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest adventure
Why this destination?
- Business trip for work.
- 2 days / 2 nights (In Saturday 7am, out Monday 2am, back into Washington DC at 7am Monday morning ready to go to work!);
- Flew into DXB, business class on Emirates Airlines’ A380. An airport/hotel shuttle service was provided by the hotel. The hotel was located very close to a station on the Dubai Metro System. A daily metro card proved to be a cost effective option to get around Dubai in a timely manner. 72hrJetsetterGirl viewed driving in Dubai like driving in LA – crazy….
What to take?
- Being a female traveller in a Muslim country be mindful of wearing appropriate attire. What might be considered OK in your home country, may not be appropriate in another country. Good idea to check travel website/home country foreign affairs department advices for guidance. If visiting religious sites, ensure shoulders are covered and take a scarf as potential headwear.
- When planning a trip to any Middle Eastern country take into account the season as well as any upcoming religious celebrations/holidays. Personally, I would avoid traveling to this part of the world during summer if for personal/leisure travel. Ok you may get an unreal hotel rate but sightseeing in 50+ degree C is not that enjoyable. Previously, 72hrJetSetterGirl had a 3 day layover in Dubai en-route from Europe back to Australia, during Ramadan,which by nature caused some minor inconveniences to her travel arrangements.
- Also be mindful of customs/laws of other countries. What might be considered normal/appropriate in one country may not be in another. A good go to guide is to check your home country’s foreign affairs department for the latest advice on need to know information.
- Dubai is certainly a destination where you need to get “your ear in” so to speak. As the majority of the population are foreigners from across the globe, you will differently encounter different accents as you move about this metropolis.
Returning back to Dubai for a holiday has always been on 72hrJetsetterGirl’s traveling agenda as her last visit was back in 2006 and the Emirate has changed a great deal since then. Due to the reason for this latest trip, 72hrJetsetterGirl was very pleased with what she accomplished in her very short sightseeing timeframe. 72hrJetsetterGirl hears people comment that Dubai is “plastic/fake”, however for her, Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure and luxury in a desert city with excellent infrastructure and liberal policies (by regional standards) and should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. 72hrJetsetterGirl will use Dubai as a launch pad to other Middle Eastern and European destinations for future travels.
Where have you had limited sightseeing opportunities and managed to see a lot in a short timeframe?