Dubai was simply amazing!
As I like to say, Dubai is meant for the person looking to be the typical tourist. There are tons of things to do, beautiful places to eat and with accessible transportation – whether you use Uber, train or bus, you can do and get anywhere!
So, if you’re heading to The United Arab Emirates here’s a basic itinerary to help get you started!
DAY ZERO – Sunday, April 15 – Monday, April 16 This is your travel day!
If you’re traveling from Barbados, this is the route we took.
Depart – Barbados, BGI at 2:16pm
Arrive – New York, JFK at 7:37pm on JetBlue 662
Depart – New York, JFK at 11:00pm
Arrive – Dubai, DXB at 7:45pm on Emirates 202
We applied for a 30 Day Tourist Visa which was promptly processed online and returned within 3 days.
DAY ONE (Rest Day) – Tuesday, April 17
This was essentially a rest day as we were traveling from Sunday and arrived at the hotel late on Monday evening. Therefore, once we all had the energy, we took a walk from our hotel – Novotel Suite Mall Of The Emirates, over to The Mall Of The Emirates which was only a 5-7 minute walk.
Our accommodation was situated in the perfect location, it was within walking distance to two train stations as well as a major mall, therefore we grabbed our late lunches and early dinners from there. We also changed the majority of our cash at the mall as they were many Foreign Exchange Bureaus at the mall. Thanks Abigail for recommending the hotel!
DAY TWO (Desert Safari Tour) – Wednesday, April 18
We booked our Desert Safari Tour on Groupon.AE – thanks Mark for the recommendation as we didn’t know Groupon even existed! Groupon.AE is where we purchased many of our tours (once available) at discounted prices.
Our Desert Safari Package included: dune bashing, camel rides, sandboarding, welcome tea, Arabic ghawa and dates. It also featured Henna painting (if you wanted a bigger henna that was an additional cost) and photos in traditional costumes. Drinks were available all evening long and Sheesha (once you smoked it in the common area). If you wanted your own personal Sheesha brought to your table, that was an additional charge.
Once you’ve had dinner, then you’ll be treated to live entertainment featuring a fire show, a belly dancer and Tanoura dance show!
If you wanted pictures with the falcon, alcohol, or to even ride the quad bikes etc, that would an additional charge.
Pickup and Drop off – We were picked up around 2:30pm and dropped off around 8pm outside the main entrance of The Lulu hypermarket at Al Barsha behind Mall of Emirates.
DAY THREE (The Dubai Mall) – Thursday, April 19
What I love the most about the Dubai Mall is that they have an app that you can download. As the mall is so huge, you can use the app to direct you from location to location. And of course, they have free Wi-Fi within the mall so you can download and use the app on site!
We did a lot of shopping and spent some time in the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo on this day and despite the mall having way more to offer than just the Aquarium and the mall itself, it was our shopping and leisure day!
FunFact: The Dubai Mall, is the world’s largest and most-visited retail and entertainment destination, which welcomes more than 80 million visitors annually!
DAY FOUR (Abu Dhabi Tour) – Friday, April 20
I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t a fan of this tour. This was another tour that we purchased on Groupon.AE but due to the fact that the majority of our time was spent on the tour bus, I slept a lot!
The tour included a stop at Ferrari World (photo op), Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Presidential Palace (drive by for photos), Emirates Palace (photo op), Marina Mall, Heritage Village and Museum, drive through Drive Yas Island and a visit to the dates market.
The highlight of the tour was visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The Heritage Village and Museum was also very interesting as you’ll learn more about the culture of the Emirati.
Our pickup location was Sharaf DG Metro Station Landside at 10:15am, we returned back to the pickup location around 8:00pm.
DAY FOUR (Abu Dhabi Tour) – Saturday, April 21
Our friend Mark picked us up from our hotel and we went back to Abu Dhabi, we actually didn’t plan to go back to Abu Dhabi again, we just allocated the day to spend with friends but we didn’t complain! Mark lives in Dubai but I don’t think he ever visited the Mosque and he wanted to take some shots of the mosque as he also takes sick photographs and we were more than happy to accompany him. Check out some of his photographs here!
Mark also took us to a really cool lunch spot and on our way back to Dubai we also stopped at the Last Exit – a street food truck and park.
FunFact: Under the Labour Law only Friday is an official day off, therefore the mosque was packed on Friday but much lighter on Saturday when we went back.
Firstly, let me say that the Miracle Garden was extremely hot but very pretty. The Emirati never cease to amaze me, here we are in the desert and they decide to build a massive garden!
The highlight of the garden was seeing an old Emirates plane repurposed and transformed into a beautiful flowering ornament!
The Dinner in the sky was the highlight of the day! We didn’t even know that was a thing until we saw it on Groupon.AE and while there really isn’t much you can do suspended in the air while eating dinner, it’s the atmosphere, the ambiance and the staff that really make it a hit.
DAY SIX (Old Dubai) – Monday, April 23
Visiting the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk in Old Dubai was quite frankly the highlight of the entire trip. Mark again carved some more time out of his busy schedule to take us to the souks. We went by train to Deira, then we walked (approximately 10 mins) to the Abra station (water taxi port) in order to get across the Dubai Creek to the Gold and Spice Souk. We spent a fair bit of time here, taking pictures, exploring, chatting with the vendors and bargaining with the vendors!
DAY SEVEN (Old Dubai and the Dubai Museum) – Tuesday, April 24
We enjoyed the souks so much that we went back the very next day. There is something about Old Dubai that makes it so intriguing. It’s as though you’ve stepped back in time to a simpler way of life in the UAE.
We also took a walk over to the Dubai Museum and it was extremely enlightening to see where Dubai started after experiencing a city that was built in a desert to the majestic city that it currently is.
If you truly want to understand Dubai and not go for the glitz and trendy hashtags and photos, be sure to head over to Old Dubai.
DAY EIGHT (The Dubai Mall) – Wednesday, April 25
Due to the fact that the Dubai Mall was a short train ride away from our hotel, we went there quite often. This time around we went to the Dubai Fountain (where Steven proposed). It’s free of charge to see the fountain show but if you wanted to get up close and personal, there was an additional charge. From their booth at the Dubai Mall, it costs 20 AED and from Groupon.AE it cost 15 AED. The experience is more surreal!
After Steven proposed we watched an amazing LED display on The Burj Khalif (located next to the Dubai Mall). Not only is the Burj Khalif the tallest building in the world, it is also one large LED screen.
DAY NINE (The Mall Of Emirates) – Thursday, April 26
On our last full day, we spent some time at the mall getting any last minute items. We also took the time to catch a movie at the Mall as we were told that it was the best Vox cinema branch in UAE and we had to watch the last Avengers in the best Vox cinema!
DAY TEN (Departure) – Friday, April 27th
Depart – Dubai, DXB at 9:45am
Arrive – New York, JFK at 7:00pm on Emirates 205 (17 hr 15-minute flight with one stop in Milan)
Depart – New York, JFK at 11:59pm
Arrive – Barbados, BGI at 4:41am on JetBlue B 6 1561
There was truly something for everyone. If you wanted to experience the lavish life or take a journey back in time, you can be guaranteed to have an amazing time because Dubai has so many things to offer that you can tailor your experience to suit you!
Have you ever been to Dubai? What was your most memorable experience? Be sure to let us know in the comments section!
And, if you didn’t get a chance to read about how Steven proposed, check it out here!