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[ Travel date : April 2023 ]

Dubai, a captivating blend of tradition and innovation, stands as an extraordinary travel destination. This dynamic city seamlessly merges a luxurious lifestyle, avant-garde architecture, and a deeply rooted cultural heritage, creating an unparalleled experience for tourists. The first thing that comes to one's mind when envisioning Dubai is the city's awe-inspiring skyline, adorned with iconic landmarks that seemingly touch the sky. Of course, none more renowned than the extraordinary Burj Khalifa.

Before I share my travel experiences, let's go over the visa procedure for traveling to Dubai. Also, have shared money saving tips at the end of this blog.

How to get UAE Visa ? 

The process of obtaining a visa to visit Dubai for Indian citizens is straightforward and can be completed online. Simply fill out the online application form and submit the required documents. Upon approval, you'll receive an email confirmation for your visa. While some websites may ask for flight tickets, it's not necessary. I personally booked my visa through MakeMyTrip Visa, where flight booking prior to the visa application isn't required, and I received my visa within 1-2 business days.

Visa validity : It's important to note that the visa is valid for 30 days and must be utilized within that timeframe.

Visa fees : The visa fee is approximately 7000 Rs. Indians holding a US B1/B2 Visa do not need to apply online and can opt for Visa on Arrival (VOA) when visiting Dubai. Mine was VOA and the process was very simple. Upon arrival at the Dubai airport, you can head to the Marhaba Visa Counter, where you'll pay the VOA fees, which for me amounted to around 144 AED (3000 Rs. approx).

Best time to visit :

The ideal time for a Dubai visit varies based on your preferences and desired experiences. Although the peak season typically spans from November to March, opting for the off-season in summer proves to be more budget-friendly. Flights and accommodation tend to be cheaper during this period, making it an attractive choice for cost-conscious travelers. Additionally, you can take advantage of discounted rates at restaurants and attractions, maximizing your savings while still enjoying a memorable trip.

I traveled to Dubai in the month of April and spent a delightful 7 days exploring this vibrant city. The weather during this period was transitioning from the pleasant, cooler months to warmer temperatures, typically ranging from around 25°C to 35°C.

Where I stayed :

Lately, I've been choosing Airbnb homes or apartments over hotels during my travels. For me, it provides the sense of actually living and experiencing the local life wherever I go.

My stay at an Airbnb in Dubai was truly exceptional! The highlight was its prime location, offering a breathtaking view of the iconic Burj Khalifa and was situated only 800 meters away from the metro station. Staying in the heart of Downtown Dubai, it allowed me to easily explore the area on foot and also provided access to the city's extensive public transportation network.

Our apartment was located 400 meters across the street from the Burj Khalifa on the 23rd floor. It was generously spacious and equipped with all the amenities one could ask for, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay. I would definately recommend this Airbnb to anyone seeking a homely stay option in Dubai. (Link to the Airbnb)

View from airbnb
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The Burj Khalifa

A skyscraper that holds the title of being the tallest building globally offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city from its observation decks. This architectural marvel is a symbol of Dubai's modernity and innovation, attracting visitors from around the world just to witness its awe-inspiring height and design.

The excitement of seeing the city from such a towering height grew with each passing moment as I made my way there. The way to Burj Khalifa is from inside the Dubai Mall. Make sure to book the entry tickets in advance due to limited time slots, especially because tickets, for the sunset period in particular, tend to sell out quickly. I wanted to experience the view from Burj Khalifa in both daylight and nighttime. To avoid the additional cost of visiting twice, I chose to go during the sunset at around 5 PM. 

 

The view was breathtaking; watching the sunset from such a height felt like a big check on my bucket list. While I stood on the 125th-floor deck of the Burj Khalifa, I had a sensation that the building was subtly swaying. Standing at such a height can definitely create this type of illusion. Setting my GoPro on time-lapse mode, I found a spot by the glass window to enjoy the sunset. As the sun descended, the city began to illuminate, unfolding a mesmerizing sight that left me in awe.

Set on the iconic Burj Khalifa Lake, you can also enjoy the Dubai Fountain Show. A must watch as you go to Burj Khalifa/Dubai mall, as it displays the graceful movement of the water and play of vibrant lights that is set against the stunning backdrop of the towering Burj Khalifa. It's a 5 min show that starts every 30 min between 6 PM to 11 PM and is free of cost so one can visit anytime.

MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE

The Museum of the Future in Dubai resembling a giant silver elliptical ring was constructed using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology, showcasing the innovative potential of this cutting-edge construction method.


Just like for Burj Khalifa, I made sure to prebook my tickets for Museum of the Future a week in advance, aware that the slots might fill up quickly. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into futuristic advancements. Utilizing VR and AR technologies, the museum provides immersive experiences about future scenarios and environmental sustainability and green technologies. However, I felt that the ticket price was a bit overpriced for what was offered. Nevertheless, the insights gained into the potential of future advancements made the visit worthwhile.

The walls of the museum showcase various quotes written in Arabic calligraphy. Few of my favourites were : 

  • “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.”

  • “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it and execute it."

Museum of the future
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Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina, a man-made waterfront, featuring a 3-kilometer long canal lined with skyscrapers that looks like neatly stacked Lego blocks providing a vibrant, cosmopolitan lifestyle for both residents and visitors. The marina is also home to luxurious yachts and offers a range of water activities.

I took a thrilling speedboat ride in Dubai, cruising to Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis Hotel, Burj Al Arab, and enjoying the stunning Dubai skyline from the open sea.

It was a fantastic way to see the city's landmarks from a different angle, adding a splash of excitement to my Dubai adventure.

One other exciting way to explore this area is by enjoying an escooter ride along the Dubai Marina Walk, a 7-kilometer-long pedestrian promenade that stretches around the marina, offering breathtaking views of towering skyscrapers, luxury yachts, and the pristine waters of the Arabian Gulf. The cool breeze and beautiful scenery make for a delightful ride.

I loved this place so much that the idea of revisiting, especially during the night, lingered in my mind. Hence, I decided to visit Jumeirah Beach. Given its beautiful coastal setting, witnessing the sunset from this location was a must for me. Arriving at the metro station, I rented an escooter this time as well. Amidst the joy of my ride and maneuvering through unfamiliar streets, I took a wrong turn and couldn't find the way back which made me realize that the day had slipped past me. The consequence: I had missed the captivating sunset, a regret that stayed with me. But still the beach was far from quiet or dull. The atmosphere was alive with energy. The moonlight made the waves sparkle, and the streetlights lit up the sandy area, letting people enjoy the beach even more.

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Jumeirah Beach Residence

Sunset Desert Safari

After exploring Dubai city with its tall buildings, I was excited to see a different part of Dubai— its expansive desert. The sunset desert safari in Dubai is quite famous and is a must thing to do if you visit Dubai. The safari begins at 3 PM, and is around 2 hours from the city. As we reach the desert, the landscape changes completely. All I could see was an uninterrupted view of golden sands stretching as far as my eyes could fathom. You get to do many activities during the safari, from adventurous quad biking and heart-pounding dune bashing to the timeless charm of camel riding.

 

Dune bashing in the desert is undeniably one of the most renowned activities in Dubai, and I'll admit, I was more nervous than excited at first. However, to my surprise, I ended up loving it immensely. A skilled driver maneuvers a 4x4 vehicle over the undulating dunes, creating an adrenaline-pumping experience that sets the tone for the rest of the evening. The experience was an exhilarating blend of thrill and fun. Later, we made a stop at a vantage point to witness the panaromic view of the sunset and take photos in this incredible setting.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, we gathered at a desert camp for dinner. The evening at the desert camp unfolds with a wide array of activities that showcase the rich Arabian culture. It was enriched with enchanting performances, including fire shows, belly dancing, and falconry displays.

Before coming to Dubai I heard about sandboarding and wanted to try it once. Luckily I found the place for it, and it turned out to be a lot of fun for a first-timer like me. The only challenge was the energy and effort it took to climb to the top of the sand dune, which made multiple attempts a bit exhausting. Despite that, I could feel the potential for this to become one of my interests in the future. Maybe !!!

Later, we embarked on our journey back to our stay. While on the way, I found myself relishing the nighttime ambiance of the desert from the comfort of my car. The vastness of the desert, adorned with twinkling stars, was a sight to behold. I ended my day with a joyful heart, knowing that I experienced many first-time adventures, including quad biking, sandboarding, and dune bashing. It couldn't have been any better.

How I booked : I made a booking for the desert safari via the Klook app, which amounted to about 2500/- per person. This was a shared booking, so we didn't have a private vehicle, and there was an Indonesian family that joined us for the trip. The pickup and drop-off were directly from our hotel, saving any additional transportation costs.

Sandboarding

Dubai Aquarium

Dubai Aquarium is home to a diverse range of marine life, featuring a vast tank with thousands of fish and other aquatic creatures. The main attractions are the mesmerizing tunnel, where you can walk through an underwater tunnel surrounded by aquatic life, and the underwater zoo showcasing diverse ecosystems and animal habitats.

Truth be told, walking into the Dubai Aquarium, I had big hopes, but it turned out to be less than expected. It felt more like a small zoo. The ticket cost for what you get seemed a bit expensive. Definately a place for kids to love, but otherwise, it didn't have that 'wow' factor. The coolest part was the entrance with a glass dome—it looked amazing. But it was too crowded to take good pictures, which was a bit of a letdown.

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Shopping in Dubai :

 

The shopping scene in Dubai is a true delight for every tourist. Dubai boasts some of the world's most famous brand outlets and offers great deals on electronics, making it a top-notch shopping destination.

Dubai Mall 

The largest mall in the world is immense, and I could barely cover even half of it in two days. Its high-end fashion brands and luxury boutiques entice shoppers seeking the crème de la crème of fashion. Walking through these high-end stores is an experience that provides you with a taste of luxury shopping at its finest.

Meena Bazaar

What sets Dubai apart is its ability to cater to all budget ranges. For those seeking great deals and affordable options, there are bustling markets and souks offering a wide array of products at competitive prices. Electronics, in particular, are a steal in Dubai, with the latest gadgets and gizmos available at prices that can make any tech enthusiast's heart skip a beat. Apart from this, Meena bazaar is also a good place for buying -

  • local chocolates and traditional sweets

  • rich, aromatic Arabic coffee to delectable baklavas and sweet dates

  • collection of itars, which are oil-based perfumes

  • local crafts and souvenirs

Gold Souk

Gold Souk is an extravagant display of gold in all its splendor, boasting unmatched craftsmanship that truly stands out. However, its distinctiveness lies not only in the craftsmanship but also in the affordability of gold compared to other markets.

Money saving tips if you travel to Dubai :
 

Dubai, often associated with luxury, indeed presents a glamorous facade. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the city without burning a hole in your pocket.
 

1. Hiring a taxi or cab in Dubai can be quite expensive. However, the advantage of Dubai lies in its efficient local transport and connectivity. You always have the option to choose the metro or bus from any location. Consider investing in a NOL card to access discounted fares on local transportation such as the metro, buses, and water taxis. I acquired the silver NOL card directly from the airport for 25 AED, which came with a balance of 19 AED. Later you can recharge it from any metro station as needed.

2. Choosing an e-scooter rental offers a much more economical way to discover the city in comparison to taking taxis. Personally, I found it to be the ideal mode of transportation and would rent one every evening, exploring Downtown Dubai or Dubai Marina. If it's your first visit, you can take advantage of the first free rides available with various options like Arnab, Lime, Careem, etc. In my experience, Lime turned out to be more budget-friendly than the rest. However, you can explore different options to suit your preferences, whether opting for hourly or daily rentals.

3. Staying in an Airbnb apartment or villa is a great way to save money on accommodation. There are options for every budget, from cheap to fancy, and it's often cheaper than a hotel.

4. Staying in Downtown Dubai is a great way to save money while still enjoying all the city has to offer. Taking advantage of free attractions like the Dubai Fountain, the Dubai Mall, and the Dubai Creek can be a fantastic way to spend time without spending any money, as everything will be within walking distance.

5. While shopping in Dubai, it's important to be aware of the Value Added Tax (VAT) applied by the shops, which tourists can later reclaim at the airport. If you plan to purchase high-value items like electronics or gold, ensure the bill receipt contains a Tax Free tag QR code which is mostly of "Planet" 0 one of the provider, as it will be verified at the airport for your refund. Opt for a cash refund to avoid any delays or complications since refunds to your account might take a few days and pose challenges if there are issues.

Comments (3)

Guest
Oct 10, 2023

Amazing!!!!!

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Guest
Oct 10, 2023

This is just wow, also you provided detailed information❤️

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Guest
Oct 10, 2023

Your cinematography is unmatched! Cant stop looking at the photos.

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