Saturday , November 26 2022

Travel Stories by Nidhi Patnaik: Dubai

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This is another great travel experience I would like to share with you guys. I would like to thank a very special friend for reminding me to do this :-).

To begin with , I wasn’t very excited about this vacation since Dubai is a very common tourist destination and I had already seen a lot of it’s sights through pictures shared on social media. Moreover, it was short trip of 4 days 3 nights as we wanted to utilise the long weekend in January by taking just a single additional leave.

Since this was a family vacation, I had started planning well in advance because the elders in my family at least dislike the unplanned or impromptu decisions we make during our travel. I wanted to be careful enough to take care of everything before going. To start with , we made the bookings for the flights and accommodation. As always, our preference was Airbnb again. This time we booked a 3-bhk apartment in Dubai Marina. The view of the balcony looked pretty amazing in the pictures which made us finalise this and I think it was the best decision we made for this trip. Getting the visa was pretty simple for me as there’s visa on arrival if you have a valid US visa. Getting a visa even without having a US visa is fairly easy. I just applied for it online through Musafir and got the visa in 3–4 days. So, no hassles in getting the visa unlike most of the other foreign destinations 🙂 .
I made some bookings in advance so that we could avoid the queue for entry tickets . We made the bookings for Burj Khalifa and Dubai aquarium and for a Dhow cruise in the marina.

Finally, the much awaited day arrived. I realised family vacations are special in their own way. The chaos, the planning required for taking care of every small detail to avoid any inconvenience makes it more special for me. Our flight was on a cold winter foggy morning in Delhi, so I did expect some delays. But it ended up being worse, with our flight being delayed by around 6–7 hours. Our ongoing flight via ‘Fly Dubai’ is something which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone since our return flight via ‘Emirates’ was much better.

Anyway, as the flight started moving towards west, we were treated with splendid views of the mountainous terrain of Pakistan, Afghanistan. Then came the views of the city in the midst of a desert from the flight. This made me eager to see what was in store for us in this ‘one of a kind ‘ place. Feeling the warm weather as soon as I stepped out of the aircraft as compared to the chilly winters in Delhi during that time triggered a rush of happiness and excitement within to me to experience a new destination. It was also a respite to find small queues at visa on arrival and immigration counter unlike my past experiences with long queues during the immigration.

We reached our Airbnb apartment by taking a taxi from the airport. The taxi drivers and most of the people speak Hindi , so there was no problem in communicating with them. Our apartment was on 27th floor and as soon as we entered, I wanted to see the stunning views from the balcony which I had seen in the pictures. There were 4 balconies in the house and the view was breathtaking with the maze of flyovers on top of each other with cars cruising at great speed on one side and the Dubai marina canal with glittering boats on the other side.

After we were done with admiring the view and exploring the apartment, we decided to visit the ‘The Walk’ at Jumeirah Beach to watch the fireworks at night which happen during the Dubai shopping festival. It was about a 20 mins walk away, with great views of the Dubai marina and the lively atmosphere. The pleasant weather made it perfect to walk around the classy walkway which is like a mini Europe around the beach. It was glittering with lights and had a European feel to it since it was filled mostly with expats. We waited for the fireworks to begin at 9:30 PM and took our places in front of the beach to watch.

I have seen Dubai fireworks before in various videos and I knew it is pretty amazing but what I didn’t know was that it would give me goosebumps.As soon as the clock struck half past 9, suddenly we could see the sky filled with sparks of colourful light falling upon us and we were completely awestruck by it. Even though it lasted just for 5 mins, it was a thrilling experience with an everlasting impression.

The next day we were to spend our time near the Dubai mall area and the Dubai aquarium. We made our bookings for Burj Khalifa keeping in mind that we will see both the day and night view, a decision which truly made our visit memorable. We were to see the Dubai Aquarium before visiting the Burj Khalifa, so we had some time in the morning before we hit the Dubai Mall where most our activities were planned.

So, for the morning, we decided to visit the Miracle Garden, which is well known for it’s beautiful and colourful flowers. The Garden is pretty nicely done, something which you shouldn’t miss if you have got some time in Dubai. Later, we were pretty hungry so we had our lunch at the Dubai Mall’s food court, after which we headed to the Dubai Aquarium and underwater zoo. It took us around 2 hours to visit all of it — it didn’t quite meet our expectations, perhaps because we were expecting something out of the world. Would say its a nice way to kill time, if you have some left in Dubai.

So, we ended up finishing this early and spent some time in the mall itself since we had booked the evening slot at 4:30 PM to Burj Khalifa. Within the mall itself, there was a lift to the Ground floor which led to Burj khalifa. We started a little early since we knew it would take some time to reach the top since there is a long queue as well. We had already seen the majestic Burj Khalifa while in our way to the apartment from the airport.

We had a lot of time before the sunset after we reached the top. We started to look around to enjoy the view from the top and clicked some pics. Since we were waiting for sunset, we ended up playing a virtual reality game where you jump from the top of Burj khalifa. It was fun and thrilling.Now the best part comes, as soon as the sun had set and slowly the lights were turned on, the city started glittering with light. And then, I just couldn’t take my eyes off from the dazzling and stunning view of the city when all the lights were turned on. This is when I felt that it is a city where power meets beauty and hence, I made this as the title of my story.

We headed towards our way down since we had to the the Dubai fountain show which is held in the evening every half an hour. The dancing musical fountains in front of the sky-high twinkling Burj Khalifa was a treat to the eyes. We sat by the fountains to watch the light show and it was stunning. There were different colours and patterns projected using light beams over the magnificent structure. We were filled with wonder for this beautiful creation and relished every moment of watching it glitter and shine with beauty and power. What a beautiful night it was, especially with all the loved ones on my side, it’s truly a memorable experience.

Next day was special for me, I and my sister met my uncle and aunt (mama,mami) after around 7 years. They have been in Dubai since a long time but we never got a chance to visit them. They helped me in planning this trip and also took us around to Abu Dhabi which was our next destination.

We went on a road trip to Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi looked different because of it’s unique and beautiful structures. There was a building in the shape of a coin which looked very interesting. After arriving in Abu Dhabi, we first visited the beautiful Sheikh Al-Zayad mosque. Sheikh Al-Zayad mosque is something I would recommend you to visit if you are planning a trip to Dubai, especially if you are interested in architecture. Some tips: If you are a female, come with a head scarf, or you may need to wear and Abaya, which may not be very comfortable for someone not used to wearing it(Though i was somehow excited to wear it :-P). Second, don’t forget to bring your sunglasses – as the structure is white, it reflects a lot of light.

We later went to the impressive Abu Dhabi palace which has been converted into a hotel. The palace looks great from outside and the view of its ceiling once you are inside is amazing. This was also the place when a kind gentleman clicked an amazing pic for our entire group, a memento of the great trip we had. We enjoyed the drive and explored Dubai as well on our way back to visit the areas near Palm Atlantis.

Next, we headed for dinner to the Dhow cruise in the Dubai marina. I had booked this online in advance but what surprised us was the fact that the boarding point of the boat was just in front of our apartment. We got a table in the upper deck from where we enjoyed the beautiful view of the shimmering marina. The perfect weather added to the beautiful experience of the lovely dinner we all had on the cruise. There was also this amazing Tanoura dance which was truly fascinating.

Finally on the last day, we did some shopping and visited the old town and gold Souq. We had our return flight at night, so we left around evening for the airport. There are a lot more things which can be done in Dubai but I think we covered most of it in the time we had. This short vacation turned out to be a lot more fun and memorable than I expected it to be :-).

Original Author: Nidhi Patnaik

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