GOLD COAST TRAVELLER: I’ve got the travel bug. When I’m not busy editing myGC, interviewing locals or shooting our latest What’s On video, I can often be found huddled in the myGC office planning my next overseas adventure. So now I’ve decided to share some of my adventures, tips, and travel woes with you! Recently I headed to Dubai on family trip and here is everything you need to know about my new favourite destination….
NOT sure where to go on your next overseas holiday? The answer is simple – Dubai.
Known as the cosmopolitan hub of the Middle East, Dubai is a lavish city and is one of the 7 emirates of the UAE.
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With opulent malls, architectural splendors, award winning restaurants, adventurous activities, a pulsating nightlife and oh so much more, Dubai is a destination that literally has something to suit everyone.
Emirates and Qantas fly to Dubai 14 times a day, so getting to this amazing destination is super easy for Aussies. Plus it’s great place to enjoy a day or two if you’re venturing further abroad to Europe or Africa.
Whether you’re in Dubai for a stopover, or a 7-day holiday, these are the hot spots worth visiting:
Best place to stay:
Atlantis The Palm
If you’ve seen photos of Dubai, you have most likely seen a photo of the Atlantis. This giant resort is located at the end of the man-made palm island, and is a destination in its own right. The lobby alone will blow you away – with a gold roof and a huge sculpture made entirely of glass – but perhaps the best thing about the hotel is it’s incredible aquarium filled with exotic fish, sharks, stingrays and more for guests to enjoy. For something different, why not book an underwater suite and watch the fish swim past your window when you wake up! If that’s not your thing, I recommend booking a room facing the palm with an incredible view of the city. Guests also get complimentary entry to Aquaventure Water Park which is a thrill for adults as well as kids.
Cost: Rooms start at $380 per night
Location: Crescent Road, The Palm Island
More information: atlantisthepalm.com
Best place to eat:
Nail 3 birds with one stone by booking lunch or dinner at this delicious Thai restaurant. Be sure to ask for a table on the balcony so that you can watch the famous dancing fountains and enjoy a view of the jaw-dropping Burj Kahlifa (the world’s tallest building) whilst enjoying your meal. All of the dishes I tried were to-die-for, but the standout was definitely the Lamb Marsala – let’s just say I’m salivating thinking about it!
Price Range: $40 – $55
Location: Souk Al Bahar Bridge
More Information: facebook.com/mangotreedubai
Best place to enjoy a drink:
360° was recommended to me by a number of my jet setting air hostess girlfriends who live in Dubai. It is THE place to enjoy a sunset drink and is hugely popular with Dubai’s hi-flyers. Whilst sipping on a perfectly mixed drink, chill out in one of the super comfy white leather lounges on the rooftop terrace and try some sheesha. This place is renowned for having one of the best views of the city and is a great spot to get some photos with the famous Burj Al Arab (Dubai’s 7-star resort) in the background. Just don’t forget to bring your ID* – the bouncers do check!
*You must be 21 or older to drink in the UAE
Price Range: $11-$23
Location: At the end of the Marina walkway, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
More Information: jumeirah.com/360
Snow in the desert? Not possible you say? Well Dubai really does have everything, including a HUGE ski field indoors. With the temperature in summer hitting almost 50°C, there is no better place to beat the heat than Ski Dubai, located inside the Mall of the Emirates. All snow activities are available – skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing – you can even have a run around and good ol’ snow fight if you want! If you love animals, this is the also the only place in the world you can meet, pat and play with penguins. Yes it is as fun as it looks!
Cost: Ski Slope access starts at $52 and includes all clothes and ski equipment.
Location: Mall of the Emirates
More Information: theplaymania.com/skidubai
Best place to shop:
Shopaholics listen up! With 1200 stores, the Dubai Mall literally has every single shop you can think of. I was in Dubai for a week and don’t think I even saw half of this joint. If your not that fond of shopping, fear not – there is an underwater zoo, an ice rink and an indoor theme park to keep you occupied for hours. Ladies if you are after a bargain, the best time of year to visit is January when the annual Dubai Shopping Festival is on – think half price discounts at all of your favourite retailers. Heaven!
Location: Doha Street
More information: thedubaimall.com
Heritage Desert Safari
This is one experience you can’t miss when in Dubai – the city is after all surrounded by desert. If you want to do the desert tour in style (and get some amazing photos while you’re at it) then you need to book a spot on a Heritage Desert Safari. You’ll feel like a movie star cruising the sand in an old school open-top 1950’s land rover and if you’re lucky you may even spot some exotic local wildlife. Choose a dinner safari and you’ll be whisked to a private Bedouin desert retreat, where you’ll feast on traditional cuisine and enjoy camel rides, henna, falconry, music and dancing under the stars. One word: Amazing!
Cost: $150 per person for the dinner safari; includes all activities, food and transfers
Location: Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
More information: platinum-heritage.com