United Arab Emirates (U.A.E): Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain. 13.09.2010
After visiting Bangkok and Hong Kong, it was time to experience something completely different; United Arab Emirates!! Starting with Dubai, a crazy city in the Gulf, an amazing start for our travel in the U.A.E and Oman!
Arriving Dubai airport, the biggest in the world sat the standard for Dubai. The worlds tallest building, the worlds biggest man made islands, a high tech metro system, indoor skiing in a desert…..everything is possible in this amazing city!!
Over the last decade Dubai has grown into the most progressive and modern city in the middle east. Dubai has become a centre of finance, tourism and trade. Despite beeing hit hard by the financial crises, Dubai is still the place to do business in the Middle east. And for travellers like us, Dubai is a crazy cool place to visit!
In Dubai we stayed at Golden Sands nr 3, a great apartment/hotel building in a perfect location for exploring the city. In addition we got it dirt cheap so what can we say,we really loved this place and can definitely recommend it to other travellers! (www.laterooms.com)
Just after checking in, Marianne HAD to get sick with fever and stuff..sooo our exploring in this amazing city didn’t happend before the next day. On the bright side, Børre and Samoa had a great time enjoing the swimmingpool this day.
Deira and Bur Dubai make up the historic Dubai (old Dubai). Mosques and souqs close to the Creek (a 15 km river) , that remains the city’s heart and soul. The glittering gold souq was one of our highligts and also crossing the Creek on a small, local abra, a traditional wooden boat,with our baby and the stroller that did not really fit on board..Still great fun!!
Dubai’s main road is the Sheikh Zayed Rd, a bussy highway crossing trough the main business district, past the Jumereiha, Burj Al Arab and Dubai Marina.
Flanked by most of the city’s famous skyscrapers , including the world highest building, Burj Khalifa(828 m). The road also passes by some famous shopping malls, Dubai mall and Mall of the Emirates.
We went for a long walk,a really long walk, to shoot some great pictures of theese amazing buildings. Although walking in 40 degrees celsius is a bit tooo hot even for us (sometimes)!!
Taking the metro back gave us a fantastic view as well. It’s a fast,easy and cheap way to get around (recommended)! BUT since Dubai is huge and with too long distances between the sights worth seeing, going by taxi is a great choice aswell. The fare is quite cheap, and the drivers are usually quite good in english and always keen on showing you the best of the city.
During our stay in Dubai we got amazed of all that is to see; Burj Al Arab (7 star hotel), Burj Kalifa (worlds tallest building with its 828m) and Dubai Mall with its huge aquarium and the coolest fountain we have ever seen!! Mall of the emirates with indoor skiing (Børre did ski there the last time he was there), Palm Jumeirah (worlds biggest man made island) with the amazing Atlantis hotel. Deira souqs (old «market» area including the Gold Souq), Dubai creek, Jumeirah beach, and a bunch of mosques and other stuff..
After exploring the amazing city of Dubai for some days, we continued our travel to Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates. The busride was only 2 hours, looking at desert on a straight highway..
Abu Dhabi isn’t this hyper modern city as Dubai yet..We got more like a typical big city feeling in the center with not much «wow» to see..BUT Abu Dhabi is catching up!! And is now the largest and the wealthiest, and they are really investing heavily in culture, education and enviromental innovation. They’re practically building something new everyhwere.
The HUGE Grande Mosque is really worth a visit, and also a walk along the beautiful corniche, a visit to the famous Emirates palace (just remember no shorts or flip flops), and a quick trip to the Abu Dhabi Mall.
After a couple of days in Abu Dhabi we bussed into the desert and to the beautiful city of Al Ain and the area around.
Al Ain is a lush oasis in the middle of the desert and close to the Omani border. We took the winding road up to Jebel Hafeet for a sweeping view of the Empty Quarter. Here we stayed at the top of the 1240m. tall mountain at the gorgious Mercure Grand Hotel (recommended). As we arrived at the hotel, we decided right away to stay some extra days, just to relax by the lovely svimming pool!
A daytrip to Al Ain to see the traditional Camel marked was quite interesting, and it’s a wonderful immersion in ancient arabic culture that is hard to find in Emirates today. We had a walk in the famous oasis as well, and we actually got lost somewhere in the labyrints of the narrow lanes (this oases was much,much bigger than we thought), but luckily a nice guy walked with us to find an exit, puuuheee(yes,it was really a warm experience with no people in sight anywhere..)!!
After some really interesting and nice travelling in this amazing country, it was time to cross the border into Oman. In our next blog you can read more about that:)
Our tips to other travellers:
Dubai landmarks as Burj Al Arab and Burj Kalifa, etc. and of course the wonderful view from our hotel balcony in Al Ain.
Long distances within the cities.
Dubai accomadation is on sale, and you can get some really cheap hotelrooms if you book online.
www.expedia.com , www.booking.com , www.laterooms.com , www.finn.no , www.norwegian.com
Babyfriendly ( barnevennlig ):
Our babygirl was 8 months during our travel in United Arab Emirates.
We looked for babyfood,dipers,milk powder etc. and the selection is superb!!! They have soooooo much more than in Norway, and good quality aswell.
The hotel staff is really friendly, and everywhere we stayed we got to check in early with no problem.
As a woman you shoud dress modest, and don’t go swimming in bikinis!! wear shorts and t-shirt and noone will stare while youre swimming.