Snapshot – Dubai

Given the amount of travel I’ve been fortunate enough to do, you would think that I would have visited Dubai before. Possibly even numerous times as a stopover on the way to someplace. The reality of living in Australia is that it’s a long flight to get pretty much anywhere, so stopovers are a fact of life. My usual choice is Singapore but on my trip to Europe last year, I thought it was high time I made my debut visit to Dubai. I’ll be totally honest, I don’t do much research into the places I visit. If it wasn’t something already covered during my education, or seen on some travel documentary, then I’m pretty much just going to go by word of mouth about what to do in a particular place. And I went into Dubai fairly blind on that point. 

I stopped over both on my way to and from Europe. Like I said, breaking up the flight time is the name of the game. On my way over, I had only one day so I chose to catch up with a friend. We didn’t do any of the touristy sights. Just hung out, went to both the Mall of the Emirates (with its indoor ski slope … I know right?) and Dubai Mall, to window shop for furniture we can’t afford and tried to get lost in the biggest bookstore I’ve ever seen. Took in a movie and a cheap bite to eat at a local Thai place. But there was one thing that stood out, our sole nod to my status as a first time visitor – we went to the Aquarium in Dubai Mall. This aquarium is massive, just a mountain of glass in the middle of the mall, with a tunnel so you can walk under the sharks and sting rays. But there’s an additional little part where you can see a whole host of marine life and we made the decision to do a “behind the scenes” tour to get to know the resident otters. I love my wildlife, anyone who knows me will tell you that, but otters were an animal I had had very little contact with. Needless to say, I’m now their number one fan. Particularly of a little otter named Cato who saw fit to pop his little paws through the small perspex screen dividing us to shake my hand. And you wouldn’t believe the softness of their paws! So adorable πŸ™‚ Out of the three days I spent in Dubai in total, this was my highlight by a long shot!

View from my hotel in the Marina area
Cato – coolest otter in Dubai. Disclaimer: I didn’t take any photos that day, this one is courtesy of and copyrighted by Geraint Isitt
On my way back home after my travels, I stopped again in Dubai for a couple of days. I had been told that a desert safari was the way to go. And I desperately wanted to do one (I’ve done them in Jordan and they are awesome!). However, my timing wasn’t great. I was there in the height of summer and understandably, given the heat in a desert country, there were limited options and times for desert safaris. I ultimately ended up visiting the Old Souk instead that day. I could have done the desert safari on my first evening there but I had already booked tickets to visit At the Top, which is the viewing area of the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. For those who haven’t heard of it, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. From the exterior it is a magnificent looking building, slim and shiny, the architecture is impressive. As is the view when you initially arrive on the 124th floor … but I confess, while the view was great, I had no idea what I was looking at and so after a relatively short span of time I had had enough. I’m one of those people who likes to soak up information and the few friends I had in Dubai all rejected my requests to do the tourist stuff with me. I’m sure my experience may have been different with a local willing to point out the various landmarks and help me get my geographical bearings from that high vantage point. I found the water display by the massive fountains at the base of the Burj Khalifa to be much more entertaining … and they were free! Bonus!

The Old Souk … I’m not a fan of markets but this had character for sure!
Old Souk
View from At the Top
Sunset view from the Burj Khalifa
All in all, I hesitated to write about Dubai. I don’t feel I can do it justice based on my limited experiences there. I have since learned that the scope of things a tourist can do are greater than I had heard about. Abu Dhabi is only about 90 mins drive away, or there’s a zoo that offers a “mock safari” a couple of hours inland. There are apparently countless restaurants that would offer a stunning view over the Marina area while dining, and there are spots where I could’ve practiced my night photography of the Burj Al Arab unobstructed, from the seaward side. But ultimately I decided to include Dubai in my snapshot as it’s a reality of travel that not every trip is going to blow your mind, not every place will be to your taste, sometimes we misjudge the time required or don’t know enough of our options before setting off to explore. While my first visit to Dubai left me underwhelmed, I’m willing to leave open the possibility to try it again at a future date.

Leaving Dubai … that tall building near the flash of brilliant blue, is the Burj Khalifa. I love this shot – it really puts the world’s tallest building into perspective!
This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge

Click Here for a list and links to my other challenge posts.

And for those interested in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for D; here’s the link: Dance … the other universal language?

2017 Badge

33 thoughts on “Snapshot – Dubai”

  1. Thanks Kim. Visited Dubai vicariously through your post 😊 will definitely return for more. Following your blog right awayπŸ˜€ cheerio!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cato is a legend. There’s no competing with that ✊🏼.
      Winter may have been better in Dubai for sure, but I didn’t want to hit Europe during cold weather either. I’ll time it better next time though.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh no! That’s a tough start to the day! Hope everything is okay?
      No worries regarding the mini-mind-vacay (great word for it, I’m totally stealing that!). Glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully that bit of Dubai can get you through the day πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everything is great, actually. I have too much to do. I think that’s most people’s issue. We overfill our plate to the point of nausea! Thank you for asking!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pictures and it looks like an awesome place to visit during the winter when you can do a desert safari and really enjoy experiencing that sort of ecosystem. I would love to see Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I would think that the food would be good, as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Alice. Absolutely, it’s worth a visit. The contrast between the high rise of the city itself and the surrounding landscape allows for plenty of variety. Hopefully you make it there one day!


    1. Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it! It was quite a special moment to meet these cheeky little otters. I was so caught up in watching him that I’ve not really retained any of the information about otters … I’m thinking your daughter could certainly teach me a thing or two though!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, yes that last pic with the tower is particularly striking and puts it all in perspective. Must admit I’m curious about Dubai but can’t say I’ll be traveling there any time in a hurry. Great to read about it though. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never been to Dubai and thus am interested in reading all accounts of it especially personal ones. I like to wing it often in places so I don’t plan much of an itinerary when I visit. I enjoyed reading your post. Beautiful photos. Cato was adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lori. Sounds like we have a similar approach to our travels. I’m always open to hearing about others experiences and tend to form my ideas about what I might want to do from there. Given my limited time in Dubai though, I do wish I’d had a bit more of a plan. Cato was most definitely a character!

      Liked by 1 person

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