“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” – Margaret Mitchell
As I mentioned in my post about Granada and Jordan, I love Arabic countries. I don’t know if it’s because they are so exotic to me or if it’s because I’ve been to a few and all of them have provided such a wonderfully diverse experience. Anyway, I’ve been to The United Arab of Emirates twice now and both times, I had such an amazing time.
In the UAE, I’ve been to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. I have so much to say about all three Emirates, however, that today I’m just going to tell you about the amusing activities I got to do while I was in Dubai visiting my sister, Hannah. She lived in Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai for 3 years. The first time I went I was also visiting my cousin Megan, who lived there at the time and my Dad came along too. I must credit him for a lot of the photos in this post too! Thanks Dad, got my back, as always!
As you can probably tell from the quote I’ve chosen for today’s post, Dubai was not what I expected at all. It exceeded every expectation I had and then some. I think a lot of people think that a holiday in Dubai is a sun holiday, and while it does provide sun, it was probably one of the most active holidays I’ve been on. There is so much to do in Dubai that you barely have a moment to sunbathe! Which I love, because I love being busy – as I’ve already mentioned!
- Dive with the Dolphins – IF you do one thing on this list it has to be swimming with dolphins in Dolphin Bay. My sister bought me this experience for my 21st birthday and it was out of this world. What an incredible experience! Anyone who has swam with dolphins before will know how much fun it is. But the whole experience was made a little bit more unbelievable considering we were in The Atlantis on the Palm!
- Aquaventure Water Park – after we made best friends with the dolphins, my sister and I then went and ran around the water park like 5 year olds. Waterparks are such a blast in general, but the Atlantis one is huge and super fun. It’s made all the more fun when you have to walk by their aquarium on the way in!
- Monorail – when you’re going back to the city from the Palm, I would definitely recommend that you take the Monorail. When you’re in a taxi on the Palm there’s no way of getting a bearing on where you actually are. On the monorail, you get an incredible view of the Palm and you can kind of get to grips with how cool the actual Palm islands are.
Dubai mall is the largest shopping mall in the world. I am not a huge fan of shopping (hence why this blog isn’t a fashion blog! I much rather spend my pay cheques on flights rather than clothes)… So if you’re into shopping then I would definitely recommend that! They have every shop you can imagine, all under one roof. Expect to do a lot of walking! However, it’s not just shopping in Dubai Mall, and that’s why I loved going.
- The Burj Khalifa – One thing that is sure about Dubai is that they always want to be the best, biggest, tallest, fastest, funnest etc. at everything. Naturally, when you walk out the back door of the biggest shopping mall in the world, you’re confronted by the tallest building in the world. It’s the coolest thing and I would 100% recommend going up to the top by doing the “At The Top” experience which is accessible through the mall or do what we did and go for cocktails in Atmosphere on the 122nd floor.
- The Dubai Mall Fountains – While you’re creaking your necks trying to see the entire Burj Khalifa building (which is so fun, I almost fell over about 5 times!), the Dubai fountains will start to dance in the lagoon beside you. They are something that people can describe to you over and over again, and they sound mediocre at best – but I was speechless when I first saw them and I really wasn’t expecting to be. My sister literally sent me a hundred videos of them before I went to visit and I was indifferent but they really are mind-blowing! I should listen to her more often!
- The Souk – This was one of my favourite parts of the mall. As cool as the Dubai Mall is, you could be in America, Canada, England, or anywhere for that matter. In my opinion, a mall is a mall and once you set foot inside you could be on the moon and it all feels the same. However, one little wing of Dubai Mall is designed as an old Souk and it really feels like you’re transported to an ancient Arabian market. They have all of the beautiful Arabic jewelry and keep-sakes that you might be looking for.
- The Ice Rink and The Aquarium – Finally, there’s an ice-rink in the middle of the mall, so if you get bored (!!!) you can go for a whirl! And there’s a huge aquarium too which you can’t miss!
Burj Al Arab
- Paddle Board on Kite beach – if you’re looking for more water activities, I’d highly recommend paddle boarding on Kite Beach. Paddle boarding takes a little while to get the hang of but once you do, it’s extremely enjoyable. I’d recommend giving it a go wherever you are in the world – but if you do it on Kite Beach you’ll have the Burj Al Arab as a backdrop, and you can’t complain about that!
- Wild Wadi – the second time I visited Dubai, I also went to Wild Wadi water park. I told you I love water parks! (They’re also the perfect hangover cure!) There’s a slide there too where you stand into a capsule and a voice counts down 3, 2 1 and then the floor completely drops from under you before you plummet down the slide. It’s so thrilling!
- Afternoon tea in the Burj Al Arab – it’s not everyday you can say you had tea in a 7 star hotel!
Mall of the Emirates
- Play with the Penguins – as if the ice rink in Dubai Mall wasn’t crazy enough. In Mall of the Emirates, you can go skiing or you can be transported to the Arctic and you can play with penguins. This was one of the most surreal experiences of my entire life. We walked into a mall from 45 degree desert heat outside, into an air conditioned mall and then from there into Ski Dubai, where the temperatures are minus 5 degrees Celsius.
There are tonnes of other things you can do while you’re in Dubai too, this is in no way a definitive list, but these are the eleven things that I either did or got a taste of while I was there. Also, keep an eye out because I’m going to do another post about the lovely places I ate during my two visits, and I’ll write a post about RAK City and Abu Dhabi in the not so distant future.
I hope you enjoyed this post! There’s so much to do Dubai, I couldn’t narrow it all down into one post, but I reckon if you had a full week in Dubai, you could do all eleven things on this list! Let me know if you try it on insta, twitter, facebook or snapchat (imperfectlyfree).