Dubai. What an adventure. It’s definitely a grandiose and spectacular place.
Architecturally, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city so diverse and impressive, with the world’s largest tower, malls, a Ferris wheel and an indoor theme park.
Dubai is also known for having the world’s largest parade of horses, the longest urban zipline and the largest solar power project — essentially, it seems like everything has to be bigger and better.
All the same, it’s what makes the city so impressive to see. The city is quite spread out, so visiting different attractions was almost like travelling to different cities.
It was difficult for me to fully grasp Dubai until my gyro-copter tour with Skydive Dubai — what a fantastic way to see the city and connect all its different parts.
Being an adrenaline junkie who loves to learn, the tour was just the right amount of excitement, though, at the same time, I felt like I was having tea in the sky with my driver, Frank.
It truly made me learn to love Dubai.
Here is the link if you want to join me in the sky:
Of course, during the trip I absolutely had to see all the main attractions.
We drove on the Palm Islands, where we saw the Atlantis Hotel and its aquarium. Completely man-made, the Palm is so sensational and impressive.
It has 73 km of beach (which is more than the actual coast) and houses, hotels, as well as a huge residential community.
Workers are now building the World Islands — a collection of islands made to resemble all the continents in the middle of the Arabian Sea.
There won’t be a bridge, so I’m still unsure about how people will travel to-and-from the islands — maybe by submarine?
The Burj Al Arab – the Sail Hotel – was architecturally one of my favourites. It stands tall, alone and was so majestic.
Unlike Tiger Woods, I didn’t get to hit golf balls from the heli-pad, though!
Kite Beach, which has a great view of the Sail Hotel, is a beautiful place to relax close to all the restaurants of La Mer.
Old Dubai, with its renown gold and spice souks, will bring you back in time and history to Dubai’s origins.
Walking through the maze of shops, seeing all the gold and smelling the beautiful spices definitely heightens your senses — and your patience; you can’t go a minute without someone trying to entice you into their shop to see their amazing souvenirs.
Luckily for me, two items on my bucket list are in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and I got to do both on this trip.
One was visiting the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world. I stepped onto the high-speed elevator, travelling 10 meters per second, and had tea in the lounge on the 123rd floor.
The view from so high up truly shows how the desert and city come together as one.
The second thing I wanted to do was an hour away in Abu Dhabi: the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
It’s one of the largest in the world and is a place of worship for over 40,000 people each day.
It was quite peaceful, surrounded by reflective pools where you can sit and take in the mosque’s 82 domes, 1,000 columns and endless beautiful, intricate detail.
It also houses the world’s largest handwoven carpet, which lies in the same room as three 24 karat gold chandeliers that have millions of Swarovski crystals.
Of course, a trip to Dubai is never complete without a day in the desert.
The thrill of quad biking through the red sand and dune bashing in a 4×4 is incomparable.
It’s not for the faint of heart (or stomach!) but you can also sand board or enjoy a traditional camel ride.
The tour included dinner and entertainment in a Bedouin camp, which was the perfect way to end the evening — and my Arabian adventure.
Oh, and if you’re ever feeling a little homesick, you can stop by a Tim Hortons — there are now three locations in Dubai!
Here are some fun Dubai facts:
- Cars beep when you exceed the speed limit as a warning.
- The smaller the number on your licence plate, the richer you are — it’s a sign of status.
- The interior of the Burj Al Arab is decorated with about 1,790 square meters of 24 karat gold leaf.
- Dubai’s police force uses a handful of super cars, like the Ferrari FF, Lamborghini Aventador and an Aston Martin One-77.
- There are ATMs in Dubai that dispense gold bars.