Carl and I flew to Dubai on our way to Jordan. We flew Emirates from Seattle nonstop to Dubai. It is hard to believe you can fly half way around the world in 14 hours. Emirates will pick you up at your home if you are flying business class and then after you collect your luggage in Dubai they drive you to our hotel, in our case, The Taj Dubai.
We met several friends in the lobby and just ate a lovely Chinese dinner in the hotel, great food but very noisy. We arrive at 7:30pm so no time to go out. After a good night sleep our driver picked us up, we booked with Viator, owned by Trip Advisor. Our guide took us for a full tour of the city, including a trip to the old city and spice market. I always buy black pepper and saffron from one of the vendors, of course there are many hawkers trying to persuade you into their shop so take your time and trust your guide. After a simple walk through the gold market and people watching we headed to the grand mall. Each mall has a special attraction, this one had the largest aquarium and is located at the base of The Burj.
We had made arrangements in advance for tickets to the top of BURJ KHALIFA, It is a quick one minute up 126 stories to the observation deck. Since we had a time slot on our ticket the line was only about 20 minutes. It is hard to believe that just since 1967 a full city has emerged from the sand desert. The view of the entire city is available from the top, looking out at the hundreds of new high rises and cranes, you wonder who is going to occupy all that space.
We then did a quick tour of the Palm where the Atlantis hotel is located and wandered along the water front. Realizing that this too had been created from dredging the sea. There is no history here only new buildings and memories from the people that were living here before 1967. Our tour operator was from Holiday Adventures and gave us a wonderful full day tour explaining how the city was laid out and what was being built now. They work 24 hours a day building since the trucks and supplies can not be brought in during the day, to much traffic and congestion will happen at every turn.
After 6 hours in a car we decided to eat in the hotels Indian restaurant and were not disappointed. Up early the next morning for a tour of Abu Dhabi, about an hour plus drive. Our first stop was THE GRAND MOSQUE, the largest mosque in the country. We toured the whole mosque with many others, but it is self guided so you go at your own pace. It is hard to believe what has been built, all the white stone and marble, in lays of colored stone forming flowers up the amazing columns. This is a must if you go to Dubai.
Leaving the mosque after over an hour long tour we headed out to drive past the Emirates Palace stop for a few photos and then on to THE HERITAGE VILLAGE AND the small museum inside. This is just a recreation of what life was like before the discovery of oil. We did stop at a local restaurant serving traditional food, nothing fancy. There was not time to visit the famous museum that have opened their doors in Abu Dhabi. It was another hour and half ride home and we were in need to rest after 7 hours in a car.
After a quick change of clothes we got an UBER back to the base of The Burj for a great dinner at “BICE MARE”. This restaurant serves lovey fresh fish with a view of the BURJ where they do an over the top light show up the sides of The Burj with a music and water show right in front of you. We sat outside on the patio overlooking the man made lake where the water show happens every 30 minutes.
We packed as much as possible in the 2 days, but had a great overview of what Dubai is today, who knows what tomorrow will be like.