A Travellerspoint blog

United Arab Emirates

Dubai.

Frequent Stop-over Destination.

sunny

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Detail of a mosque, Dubai.

Dubai Visit One.

Our first visit to Dubai a couple of years ago turned into a bit of a travel disaster. The problem with visit one was lack of research and planning on my part. We went there for a 14 hour stopover while travelling from Birmingham to Hong Kong via Emirates. We stayed at the Downtown Holiday Inn Hotel for our first visit. We got an early check in and planned to check out around 1am to fly to Hong Kong. Problem one was not taking into account how hot it was. I dragged my very reluctant husband out to explore Dubai on foot. We set out to walk to the creek. Further than it looked on the map, and with the way made more complex due to construction. We were soon struggling. As we walked, we kept nipping into convenience stores to cool down and buy much needed water. Soon I found myself shivering outside in plus 40 degrees heat. I suspect it was the beginning of heatstroke. Anyway we reached the creek and managed a boat ride before returning home to collapse. The boat ride was the highlight of that visit. Problem Two: we set out to visit Bastika and the Dubai Museum in the slightly cooler evening time. We had problems getting a taxi to take us and had to enlist the help of the very pleasant and helpful Holiday Inn staff. Tired after exploring that side of the creek and with not a lot of time remaining before our onward flight, we jumped in a taxi to go back to the hotel. We had the hotel address card and a map with the hotel clearly marked on it, the taxi driver spoke good English, but none of the above deterred him from chucking us out in the middle of nowhere and claiming he did not know where we wanted to go. We were lost, waterless, hot, tired and already feeling ill and ended up having to spend over an hour walking home across a bridge that was pretty much a motorway. Problem three we arrived home exhausted, bad-tempered and incredibly pissed off. Having eaten nothing all day, we had a lovely meal in the hotel to cheer ourselves up before trying to get at least an hour's sleep prior to going to the airport. Neither of us could keep the food down. There was nothing wrong with the food; the heat of the day had just rendered us both extremely ill. After plenty of vomiting and no sleep we made it onto the plane to Hong Kong. An eight hour journey. I passed out before take off and had to be woken up on arrival. Awful!!!!!

Dubai Visit Two.

This time we were better prepared. We went with two clear rules: 1/ Do not spend too much time in the sun. 2/ Absolutely no taxis. Public transport only. To avoid too much time in the sun, we put lots of indoor places on our itinerary. To avoid taxis we used the new metro and the local buses. I found out information about the buses by going to Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) site and consulting the wojhati a kind of journey planner. You just key in your starting and finishing points and the wojhati tells you how to do the journey. Result an enjoyable holiday with no major mishaps.

Dubai Re-Re Visited.

Just completed our third stopover visit to Dubai in July 2011. Why do we keep going there? I guess because it is a very convenient stopover point on route from Hong Kong to the UK and Emirates Air flies to Glasgow and Birmingham both places we want to be when we come home. For our third visit we continued our policy of only using public transport. This is getting easier and easier and will be easier still when the new green metro line opens. At the moment it is being tested and it should, inshallah, be open for business from September 2011. This was a problem free trip and its highlights were a visit to the beach, a visit to Jumeriah Madinat Souq and the Dubai fountain show at the Dubai Mall.

Trips four - December 2011, five - Easter 2012, six - December 2012.

What a difference a season makes. Winter in Dubai; you can actually walk in the streets without keeling over from heat exhaustion. Fantastic. This trip we revisited many places we had struggled with in the summer heat and did a day trip to Sharjah. Trip five was a very short one last Easter. Also OK temperature wise at that time of year. Just finished trip six Christmas 2012. Just 2 days long. Our original intention had been to include a day trip to Abu Dhabi but it would have been too rushed. This visit we re-explored the Wafi in the light; visited Jumeriah Mosque and public beach; had a visit to the Mercato Mall and Festival City, tried some new bars/restaurants and had another look around the creek, because it is the best bit of Dubai.

Visit Seven.

Just spent three full days in December 2013 and one half of a day in January 2014 in Dubai on our way to and from Northern Italy. We no longer feel any pressure to see Dubai; we have seen most of it. We revisited the creek, had a look at Deira City Centre Shopping Mall, tried a new restaurant, visited Creek Park and Safa Park and the highlight of the visit took ourselves off to Abu Dhabi for the day.

Visit Eight December 2014.

Visited Al Ain for a day, tried out the new tram and the monorail, visited the Atlantis Hotel, revisited the beautiful creek by night.

Hotels in Dubai.

Premier Inn Dubai International Airport: A Peaceful And Relaxing Stay.

You can see the Premier Inn Hotel as soon as you exit the airport, but you cannot walk to it as it is on the other side of a motorway. To get there you can use the hotels complementary 24 hours a day shuttle which is a white and purple minivan. We arrived at terminal Three, exited the airport building and crossed the road to a waiting area marked buses only. Hotel shuttles picked up and dropped off here. The shuttle ran at half hourly intervals, leaving the hotel on the hour and at half past the hour and picking up at approximately quarter past and quarter to. The reception staff were pleasant. We paid extra to get an early check in to recover from the flight and to get rid of our luggage. Our room was the same as Premier Inn's everywhere. It was spotlessly clean and very comfortable. We had an in room safe, tea/coffee making facilities, a fridge and two complementary water bottles. The hotel had a pool on its roof which during our stay we had largely to ourselves. There was a good view from the roof both by day and night. The pool was open from 7am to 10pm, which was pretty good. The hotel had a costa coffee shop in the foyer. There was also a restaurant and a bar. As well as the 24 hour airport shuttle there was a free shuttle to Al Mamzar Beach. This went just once a day at 9am and returned around 5pm. We did not use it this time. There was also a shuttle to Dubai Festival City Shopping Centre several times a day. We did not use this either.The only downside of the hotel is it is far from everything except the airport. However, by taking the free shuttle to the airport you can get straight on the metro and being far from everything does mean it is nice and quiet. On a more recent stay this hotel had started doing a free shuttle once a day to Jumeriah Beach and the Atlantis Palm monorail. we did not have time to use it, sadly.

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View from pool deck of the Premier Inn Dubai International Airport.

Le Meridien Fairways: Pleasant Stay.

We recently stayed in the Meridien Fairway Hotel for three nights. The hotel is easy to reach by metro; just take the train to GIGICO Station. Exit on the right hand side, walk past Starters Kindergarten and you should see the hotel sign. The main entrance is on the other side of the building on the main road. As with every visit we ever make to Dubai, we arrived at some unearthly hour of the morning. Check in was not until 2pm, but we decided to go to the hotel and see if they would let us in, or at least take our bags. I have read some reviews where people got annoyed at not being let in, but if the hotel's check in is 2pm it is a bit cheeky to turn up at 9am which is what we did. The receptionist pointed out we were very early; we just smiled and asked if they could store our bags. They agreed to this immediately and told us to come back at 12 which we accepted. We talked more re something else and were told we could get our room at 11am; a bit more chat and it was 10am. I was extremely pleased with that, it was only an hour away. We walked to the Irish Village, which was closed at that time in the morning, and sat at one of their tables with some friendly felines before returning to our hotel for some much needed sleep. The moral of this story is if you demand an early check in, they will get angry; if you are pleasant you just might get one. I noticed when we visited the Sherlock Holmes Bar in the Arabian Courtyard Hotel later that they do special arrangements for people who turn up early: early check in for a fee, massage package, day at the beach on their transport. This is a good idea as so many people do turn up early and exhausted due to flight times. Anyway our room was very clean and very nice. It was long and narrow. The bed was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. It was quiet at night, except for the occasional late home or early leaving guest. There was a coffee machine in the room, so you could enjoy real coffee. The machine also provided hot water. Two bottles of cold water were provided free daily. The hotel had a lovely pool not so large but we were the only people using it during our stay. I think it was open until 9.30pm. We did not have breakfast at the hotel. We ate dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. Service was pleasant and the food was good. As we were leaving very early on our last day before the metro even started running we paid 25 AED to use the hotel's transfer service. I thought that was reasonable and the transfer arrived in good time. There was a room safe in our room. We had a fridge, minibar, TV. Toiletries provided included shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors, toothbrush, cotton wool, cotton buds. All staff at the hotel were very pleasant. The convenience of being so close to the metro was great. There were many restaurants, some convenience stores and a supermarket near the hotel. I would happily stay here again. Address: Al Garhoud Road.

Arabian Courtyard Hotel And Spa: A Good Idea.

We have not stayed in this hotel, but like their offers for passengers arriving at ungodly times of the morning. In Dubai I think that is nearly everyone. I photographed the sign so people can see what they do as they do not seem to advertise these deals on their website, though, in my opinion, they should. we go to this hotel a lot to eat in the Sherlock Holmes Pub. Address: Al Fahidi Street, P O Box 46500, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Sherlock Holmes Pub.

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Sherlock Holmes Pub.

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Sherlock Holmes Pub.

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Arriving early deals.

Burj Al Arab Hotel.

If you are not a guest, you can only get in by having a breakfast, lunch or dinner reservation. We just looked from the outside and took lots of photos. It is an impressive looking building. The free public beach near the hotel is a good location for taking hotel photos. You can reach this beach using bus 8A, 8 or 88. The Wild Wadi Water Park is very close to the hotel, too. You also get excellent views of the Burj Al Arab Hotel from Jumeriah Medinat.

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Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Shopping Malls Dubai.

Generally I hate shopping, but visiting shopping malls in Dubai has several big advantages. One, many of them are easily accessible by metro. Two, they are air-conditioned. Three, they have lots of restaurants and cafes. Four, many of them are really extravagantly decorated and they are worth just wandering around to look at the decor. Five, there are several entertainment options available in the malls. We visited three malls during our stay.

Ibn Battuta Mall

To get there take metro to Ibn Battuta station. Exit and walk towards the exotic looking buildings on the other side of the road. If you are staying in Jumeriah, get there using the 8A bus in the direction of Ibn Battuta. The bus station is between the mall and the metro. This shopping mall is named after Ibn Battuta who was an explorer. There is an exhibit about him in the centre of the mall. The mall is divided into six areas. Each area represents a place Ibn Battuta travelled to. There is an Egyptian area shaped like an Ancient Egyptian temple and covered with wall paintings and hieroglyphics. There's a Persian area with a huge central dome covered in beautiful blue patterned tiles. There's an Indian area with a huge elephant clock. There is a Chinese section with a Chinese junk. There's a Tunisian section with a replica Tunisian town. Finally, there's an Andalusian section with an ornate fountain. Stores inside the mall include Woolworths, BHS, Boots and lots, lots more. There's an enormous supermarket called Geant. There is a food court and restaurants. We had a very tasty meal in Restaurant al Arab a Lebanese restaurant in the Persian area.

Dubai Mall.

Get the metro to Dubai Mall Station and take the feeder bus from directly outside. It's very frequent. Dubai Mall is beautifully decorated, especially in its gold souk area. It is located near the Burj Kalife, the tallest building in the world. There are good places to photo this just outside the mall. The Dubai Mall has an ice-skating rink, a huge aquarium and a fashion area complete with a cat walk and fashion shows at certain times of the day. There is a stunning mall designed to look like an old Arabian souk just next to the Dubai Mall. Lots of restaurants and cafes, big Waitrose's supermarket. The Dubai Mall is well known for its fountain shows. I am not quite sure when the first fountain show starts. I read somewhere it was 6pm but this was not correct. It may depend on the time of year. Maybe they start when it gets dark. I would guess in summer they start around 7pm and take place on the hour and half hour. We watched the show at 8.30pm. The fountain display was actually very good. The music was well-chosen and dramatic. It lasted maybe 5 to 10 minutes and was certainly worth seeing and all for free. To get to the Dubai Mall take the metro to Dubai Mall/Burj Kalife Station then take the F13 feeder bus to the mall. Follow the signs on the ground floor for fountains. The lake with the fountains is right in front of the Burj Kalife the tallest building in the world. The Dubai Mall has plenty of other things to do, too, such as an ice rink, a huge aquarium, a gold souq , lots of places to eat and of course lots of shops. We had a pleasant, filling and cheap Lebanese meal in the food court there.

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Fountain Show at Dubai Mall.

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Fountain Show at Dubai Mall.

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Fountain Show at Dubai Mall.

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Fountain Show at Dubai Mall.

Mall of the Emirates.

Get there by travelling to Mall of the Emirates Station. Walk from the metro via an enclosed air-conditioned walkway. Inside Mall of the Emirates there is a huge Carrfour, Ski Dubai with ski slope, real snow and lots of snow covered play areas for children. There is also a cinema and bowling rink and a food court in this mall.

WAFI.

The WAFI shopping Mall can now be easily reached using the new green metro line. Get off at Dubai Health Care Station and it is five minutes walk away. The shopping mall is behind the Raffles Hotel. The mall follows an Egyptian theme with pyramid shaped buildings, columns with Egyptian reliefs, pharaoh and Anubis statues. Inside there is a modern shopping mall which during our visit was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Downstairs is an old style souk type shopping mall and restaurants. At 6.30. 7.30, 8.30 and 9.30 there are sound and light shows. These are free and can be viewed from the central WAFI square. Themes vary but the ones we saw were based around Christmas. As well as many shops, there are also many places to eat, a spa and an Indian restaurant with upstairs outdoor garden.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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WAFI.

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The Wafi.

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The Wafi.

The Mercato Shopping Mall.

A 10 minute walk from Jumeriah Mosque or a couple of bus-stops further on, just past the zoo, lies the Mercato Shopping Mall. It is a themed mall designed to look like Venice with fake house fronts, bridges and paintings of the Grand Canal. It also has lots of shops and a food court. It is lit up nicely at night. Get here by number 8 bus.

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The Mercato Shopping Mall.

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The Mercato Shopping Mall.

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The Mercato Shopping Mall.

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The Mercato Mall.

Festival City Shopping Mall.

This shopping mall is located on the creek. You can get here by bus 4 from Rashidiya metro or bus S11 from Emirates Metro Station. The mall looks quite futuristic, part of it is a gold centre, part of it is located on a manmade canal, part of it is on the creek. You can hire a sofa boat and pedal on the canal part. There is a marina outside on the creek. There are 2 hotels here the Crown Plaza and the Intercontinental. The Intercontinental pool has an odd glass part where you can see people swimming above you. The mall has sound and water shows at night. There are lots of restaurants, including areas to dine on the waterfront. There is a local restaurant with lots of middle eastern themed models. You can also get here by boat.

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Hotel with infinity pool.

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Belgian Bar Cafe.

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Fun for Kids.

Deira City Centre Mall.

To get to this mall take the metro to Deira City Centre. This is not a themed mall, but it is a good place for shopping. It has a huge Carrefour, a small Marks and Spencer's, a Debenhams. There were lots of sales on and we got some reasonably priced shoes. The mall also contains cinemas, bowling and food courts.

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Christmas at the Mall.

Old Dubai Around the Creek.

No matter what it builds, invents, creates as far as I am concerned the Creek is by far and away still the loveliest part of Dubai. We've visited by day and by night when we have enjoyed the lit up buildings and the lights on the water. We walked to this area from the abra station near the Old Souq. You could also walk from Al Ghubaiba Metro Station. Many buildings showing traditional Arab architecture have been restored in this area. The first we came across was a restored watchtower. Then nearby was the traditional Arab architecture Museum with displays about traditional Arab building and restoring methods. Free entry. The house of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was our next port of call. Entry was 2AED. The building displayed some interesting photos showing traditional Arab life. There was even one of the creek during a swarm of locusts. This building has lots of traditional wind towers. After that I had a look at the Museum of Calligraphy free entry. The displays did not interest me, but the building was beautiful.

Next we went to the Dubai Heritage Museum and Diving Village. Both are free entry. Not a lot was going on in either of these places when we visited at Christmas in the early afternoon, so on our recent very short visit (one day only) to Dubai we revisited later in the day to see if they had livened up. The answer was yes and no. I still could not describe them as hugely exciting, but they were better than before. The Heritage Village in the early evening had camel rides, donkey rides, people making and selling traditional food and people doing traditional crafts. No-one, except the camel, liked having their photo taken, though. If you ask, you are told no and if you take it without asking you are shooed away, which is a shame as it was quite photogenic. The diving village just had a lady selling mint tea when we visited. It may have more going on later. The whole Shingdaga Area is worth a stroll though especially if you get a lovely breezy day like we did. The waterfront restaurants are wonderful places to sit and watch the world go by maybe while smoking a traditional sheesha pipe. The whole heritage area is very close to Al Ghubaiba Metro Station. We ended our time in this area by having lunch in one of the restaurants on the waterfront. Worth a look.

The Horse Museum and Camel Museum - We knew there was supposed to be a Camel Museum somewhere in the Shingdaga Heritage Area when we visited at Christmas but did not find it. This time we found both it and its neighbour the Horse Museum. Both are located immediately behind Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum's house. We could not go inside, however, as the museums close at 2PM.

The Customs Museum is also part of the Shingdaga Heritage Village. It was closed when we visited. I doubt it would be all that interesting inside, but it does have a traditional dhow outside being unloaded by various hard working figures while a watchful customs officer gazes down on the scene. Good for a photo op at least.

Desert Area Shindaga Waterfront - A few things had changed for the better on the Shindaga Waterfront Area. One improvement was a section on deserts containing desert animals. The best were the camels, which were just so smiley and cute that I cannot imagine why they have a reputation for being grumpy and bad-tempered. There were also goats and deer.

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House of Architecture.

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Photogenic Camel.

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Photogenic Camel.

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My husband at the museum.

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Camels.

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Heritage Museum.

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Horse Museum.

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The Creek.

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The Creek.

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Shindaga Heritage Area.

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Shindaga Heritage Area.

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Shindaga Heritage Area.

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The Creek.

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Shindaga Heritage Area.

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Shindaga Heritage Area.

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Shindaga Heritage Area.

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Shindaga Heritage Area.

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Shingdaga Waterfront.

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Shingdaga Waterfront.

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Shingdaga Waterfront.

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Shingdaga Waterfront.

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Shingdaga Waterfront.

Dubai Museum.

This museum is located inside an old fort. It is very cheap to get into. When you go down to the galleries, it is air-conditioned. There is a small souvenir shop inside. Next to the exit there are seats and drink machines. There are clean toilets in the museum. Exhibits in the museum explore various traditional aspects of Arab life. It is quite an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so. The museum is on the Bur Dubai side of the creek near the old souk. It is not far from Bastika, the abra station to cross the creek, the old souk, the grand mosque, the Iranian mosque. Worth a visit. I think the nearest metro station to this is Al Fahidi Station around 10 minutes walk away. You can also go to Al Gubiba Station and walk up the side of the creek to it. This is an interesting walk, but difficult in the heat of summer. The Arabian Courtyard Hotel with its Sherlock Holmes Pub is just behind the museum.

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Dubai Museum.

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Dubai Museum.

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At Dubai Museum.

The Bastakiya Area.

The Bastakiya area is another place to see traditional Arab architecture. There are some museums and heritage houses to visit. There are also restaurants and guest houses. It is worth having a wander around. It is very close to the Dubai Museum. Nearest metro Al Fahdi or walk from the Old Souq abra station.

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The Bastakiya Area.

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The Bastakiya Area.

Souqs.

Most of the souks are near the Gold Souk Bus Station. Not too far (at least in winter) from Al Ras Metro Station. They are quite colourful and interesting and offer good photographic opportunities. We visited the gold souk, perfume souk and spice souk. The souks are open air so very very hot during the day. Many shops close for a long lunch so it's not good to visit in the middle of the day. Vendors will approach you frequently to try and sell you copy watches, designer hand bags and tailored clothes. While it was a bit hassley, the vendors were not particularly persistent. Or maybe I just look poor. The area was certainly worth a look but very very hot when we were there. The spice souk is just across the road from an abra station. You can take an abra across the creek for 1 diarahm. It only takes around 5 minutes to cross, but it is fun and gives a good opportunity for taking photos. The old souk, the grand mosque, Iranian Mosque and Dubai Museum are walking distance from the abra station on the Bur Dubai side.

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Fish Souq.

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Fruit and Vegetable Souq.

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Camels at the souq.

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Souqs.

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Souqs.

Abra crossing by night.

We have crossed the creek by abra many times by day and it is beautiful. This time we also crossed by night which was also beautiful as many buildings are lit up by night. Price 1 AED. Just be careful not to fall in in the dark.

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Crossing the creek.

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Traditional Dhow.

Jumeirah.

Jumeirah is an area of Dubai along the coast with many beaches, fancy hotels and some sights. The famous Burj Al Arab Hotel is located here.

Jumeirah Madinat Souq.

The Jumeirah Madinat Souq is a beautiful shopping mall that makes up part of a luxurious resort consisting of the souq, two luxury hotels and a beach. The theme of the resort is traditional Arabic architecture built on the banks of several manmade canals. As well as admiring the beautiful architecture, there are lots of shops and restaurants here. It is also possible to go on a boat trip around the canals for 60AED. There are excellent views of the Burj Al Arab Hotel from here. To get here you can take the number 8 bus from Ibn Battuta Mall, Gold Souq bus station, or Al Ghubiba Bus Station. The Jumeirah Madinat Souq is next to the Wild Wadi Water Park.

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Jumeirah Madinat Souq.

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Jumeirah Madinat Souq.

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Jumeirah Madinat Souq.

Dubai Marina.

You can get to the Dubai Marina by taking the metro to Dubai Marina station or Jumeirah Towers Station. We got off at Dubai Marina and took the feeder bus to the Marina Walkway. This was good for taking photos but very hot and with little shade. We then walked down to the sea next to the Hilton Hotel. There was a public beach next to this hotel with beautiful white sand and clear blue sea. Very very hot though. Had a look in the Hilton and noticed it is possible to use their pool and beach facilities for the day for a fee. There is also a Marina Mall but we did not visit it. There are many restaurants on the walkway near the Hilton.

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Dubai Marina.

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Camels near Hilton Hotel.

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Dubai Marina.

Jumeriah Mosque.

This is possibly the loveliest mosque in Dubai. We have passed it many times by bus, but this was the first time we stopped off to take photos. It is the only mosque in Dubai that non-Mulims can go inside, but to do so you must be on a tour arranged by the Centre for Cultural Understanding. We just viewed it from the outside. You can get here by number 8 bus from Gubaiba Bus Station or the Gold Souq Bus Station. Across the road from the mosque is Jumeriah public Beach.

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Jumeriah Mosque.

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Jumeriah Mosque.

Jumeriah Public Beach Park.

Noticed the sign for the public beach park when we were visiting Jumeriah Mosque. There is a paying beach park (small entry fee) and a public one (free). We had a look at the free one. There were showers on the beach and toilets were available, palm trees provided a bit of shade. The beach had a great atmosphere people were swimming, playing football, riding go-carts, having picnics. There was a kiosk selling drinks and snacks. I noticed some surprisingly philosophical graffiti around. The best bit was the stunning view of Dubai skyline, though, great views towards the Burj Kahlife. Get here by number 8 bus.

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Jumeriah Public Beach Park.

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Jumeriah Public Beach Park.

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Jumeriah Public Beach Park.

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Jumeriah Public Beach Park.

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Jumeriah Public Beach Park.

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Jumeriah Public Beach Park.

The Atlantis Hotel a cheapskates guide.

Dubai can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it. You could stay in the Atlantis Hotel, or pay to use its Aquadventure Waterpark which certainly does look lovely, or visit the sealions, or the dolphins, or the aquarium. All of these things are expensive. We considered visiting the aquarium but did not, instead we just had a wander around for free. There are security men all over the hotel to make sure you cannot go to things you have not paid for, but without paying you can laugh at the gold dispensing ATM machine in the lobby, admire the sea themed paintings on the lobby ceilings, have a look at the dolphin themed lights. Walk down to the front of the hotel and try to get a photo that doesn't have ninety-two cars in it. We enjoyed all of these things, but then we are cheap to run and easy to please. I thought it was worth visiting even just to get to ride the monorail. Inside you can only do so much without forking out a fortune, but there was enough to photograph for free to keep me happy.

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The Atlantis Hotel a cheapskates guide.

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The Atlantis Hotel a cheapskates guide.

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The Atlantis Hotel a cheapskates guide.

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The Atlantis Hotel a cheapskates guide.

Gold Dispensing Machine.

The height in luxury or the height of bad taste. Imagine you have money to burn would you really buy your gold jewellery like this? Still it was fascinating to have a look at.

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Gold Dispensing Machine.

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Gold Dispensing Machine.

Parks and Beaches.

Al Mamzur Beach Park.

Our hotel the Premier Inn Airport runs a free shuttle to Al Mamzur Beach Park leaving the hotel at 9am and picking guests up from the beach at 16.20. We only took their transport to the beach. To get back we took the C28 from immediately outside the main entrance of the beach park. The C28 goes all the way to the Gold Souq Bus Station, but we got off at Union Metro Station as this bus passes very close to this station. The beach park has an air conditioned cafe/restaurant with clean toilets and amusement arcade games for kids. The park consists of lots of welcome greenery and colourful flowers. There were three imaginatively named beaches : beach 1, 2 and 3. All were beautiful with fine white powdery sand. Beach three had great views off towards Sharjah (at least I think it was number 3 the one that was furthest to the right when you stand outside the restaurant facing the sea). Beach 2 was the busiest when we were there and the biggest. Beach one was peaceful. The sea was pleasantly warm yet refreshing and so salty and bouyant that I kept thinking my feet and legs were going to come straight out of the water as I swam. The beaches had sun shades and chairs for rent. I did not check prices. There were plenty of toilets in the beach park. I changed clothes in the toilet, not sure if there were separate changing rooms. As well as the restaurant there were several kiosks selling cold drinks. Entry to the beach park was an extremely reasonable 5AED. There was mention of a swimming pool inside for an extra 10AED, but I did not see it. A really beautiful place.

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Al Mamzur Beach Park.

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Al Mamzur Beach Park.

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Al Mamzur Beach Park.

Creek Park.

To get to this park by public transport take the metro to Dubai Health Care City and then get on bus C7 which will take you right to the park entrance. It cost 5 AED to go into the park. It is open from 8am to 11pm and has no ladies only day. There are various fee paying things inside the park: a dolphinarium, a bird show, children's city and a cable car. We did not visit or use any of these. We had intended to go on the cable car but it was not running for some reason. We went for a walk along the side of the creek. There were good views over Dubai and the park had a great family feel to it with school girls feeding the seagulls and paddling in the creek. The park was more popular with locals than tourists and had a lovely atmosphere. A thoroughly enjoyable visit. There are barbecue pits available in the park, too.

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Creek Park.

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Creek Park.

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Creek Park.

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Creek Park.

Safa Park.

We got to Safa Park by taking the metro to Business Bay, taking exit 2 on the far side of the motorway, then catching the S20 feeder bus to the park. There were also buses from Gubhiba Bus Station which may be more frequent. The S20 was not at all frequent. Safa Park had an entrance fee of 3AED. It's a large grassy park with lakes, flowers and walkways. It is possible to hire a boat on the lakes. This is a good place to go if you have children or if you are missing greenery. There were good views of the Dubai skyline from the park. On the opposite side of the road from entrance 2 of the park there is a McDonald's and a supermarket.

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Safa Park

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Safa Park

Restaurants and Bars.

The Aviation Club.

The Aviation Club is a collection of restaurants and sporting facilities. We went for the restaurants. There was a good selection of restaurants and they were set out very attractively. We ate in the Irish Village which is basically an Irish pub with typical Irish food. It serves real pork sausages and genuine bacon for anyone experiencing withdrawal symptoms. We went in the day and had to sit indoors due to the intense heat. I was told it is much busier in the cool of the evening when lots of people sit outside. Lots of choices for food there was a restaurant called the cellar, an Italian restaurant, a Persian restaurant, an Indian restaurant, a Costa Coffee and lots more. We walked here from GIGICO metro station. Take exit 1, turn right, get onto the same road as the Meridian Fairway Hotel and go straight down it past the mosque then turn left. There was a welcome air-conditioned bus stop about halfway on this walk which helped us to manage it. The 42 Airport Terminal 1 to Ghubaiba Bus Station passes here.

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The Aviation Club.

Transport in Dubai.

Dubai's new metro.

The new metro is very comfortable and clean. the red line was the first to open. The red line was open between Rashidiya Station and Ibn Battuta Station. The whole route took a bit over an hour. It was very useful for visiting certain sights: Emirates Towers, Burj Khalife, Dubai Mall with its aquarium, ice-skating rink, Mall of the Emirates with ski Dubai, Ibn Battuta Mall. Of course the metro is fully air-conditioned so a welcome respite from the heat. The green line opened later. On our last two visits there were two functioning metro lines. I would guess all the stations on the older red line that goes all the way to Jebel Ali are now open. Use this line for sights like the Dubai Mall/Burj Kahlife (plus shuttle bus), The Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai Marina. The new green line goes round the creek. It was open up to Dubai Health Care Station, not all the way to Creek Station on our last visit (April 2012). Dubai Health Care station is perfect for visiting the WAFI Mall; Al Ras Station is right next to the fish souq, vegetable souq and gold souq. Al Gubiba Station is great for the Creek and Shindaga Waterfront area.

Travelling around Dubai by bus.

Many buses go to the Gold Souk Bus Station which is close to the fish market and just across the road from the gold souk, perfume souk and spice souk. For example the number 4 which starts next to Rashidiya metro station passes by Emirates Station, GGICO Station and through Deira Town Centre before going to Gold Souk Station We were able to go to a good view point for photographing the Burj Al Arab Hotel, Jumeriah Beach Park and mosque using the number 8A bus which ran between Ibn Battuta Metro Station and the Gold Souk Bus Station. The 88 and 8 also went to the hotel, beach and mosque. The 88 runs between Deira City Centre and Dubai Internet City (on metro line). The number 47 goes from Rashidiya and Jumeriah Beach Park. The C10 runs from Hamriya Port via Al Karama metro station to Jumeriah Beach Park. To travel we bought a silver NOL card. it cost 20 diarhams 6 diarhams was for the card and there was 14 diarams of credit. It could be topped up at metro stations and some bus stations, bus stops. It was more flexible than the red NOL card as we could use it on the metro and on the buses. It could be used on some boat routes, too. When you enter a bus, you have to place your card on a machine, you must place it there again just before getting off. Buses had good points and bad points. Good they are cheap; if you get a seat they are very comfortable; they are air-conditioned; many bus-stops are air-conditioned, too. They are useful to rest in even if you are not waiting for a bus as you can cool down from the searing heat there. Bad they are very slow partly because of too much traffic and partly because they go very roundabout routes.

A Welcome Sight.

We are trying to do Dubai by public transport. On some bus routes there are fantastic air-conditioned bus-stops enabling you to survive your journey. Bus number 8 which runs from Ibn Battuta to the Gold Souq Bus Station has many air-conditioned stops along its route.

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Air-conditioned Bus-stop.

Ladies Taxis.

Dubai certainly does not strike me as a dangerous place but if you are a woman travelling on your own, you may wish to use the pink roofed, pink clothed ladies only taxi service. You will see many of these taxis at the airport. Every time we arrive in Dubai we arrive at some ungodly time of the morning. With several hours to kill in the airport in the middle of the night before we could go to our hotel we had a good look around terminal 3 and discovered this sign about free shuttle buses to Al Ain and Abu Dahbi. I do not know what you have to show to use them i.e. do you need a flight to Dubai ticket, do you need a hotel booking in Abu Dahbi or Al ain, or can anyone use them? Sorry, too tired in the middle of the night to find out, but did take a photo of the schedule, though.

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Ladies' Taxi Service.

Luggage Lockers

This is more of a note to myself rather than a tip. Someone asked if there was left luggage provision at Dubai airport in a forum post recently and I could not remember. There is definitely a clearly marked left luggage facility in terminal 3 and I would assume probably in the other terminals, too.

Trams.

The long awaited tram is now opened. It opened in November 2014. To get to it go to Jumeriah Lake Towers Station or DAMAC Properties Station (This used to be called Marina Station) on the red line of the Dubai metro. At both of these you can interchange with the tram. You can use your NOL card on the tram. Before boarding put your card on the machine at the station and do the same when you get off. The tram is useful for going to the monorail which is what we used it for or for going around Dubai Marina. For the monorail change at Palm Jumeriah Station. For a route map check here.

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Trams.

Palm Jumeriah Monorail.

I had read negative things about the monorail but personally I liked it. It now links with the new tram. Get on the tram from the metro at Jumeriah Towers Station or DAMAC Properties Station and get off at Palm Jumeriah. The walk from the tram to the monorail is odd as you go through a huge car park, but at least it is indoors and air-conditioned. You cannot use your NOL card on the monorail. You must buy a ticket from a person or a machine. Single tickets are 15 dirhams, return tickets are 25 dirhams. The monorail will take you up the trunk of the artificially created Palm Jumeriah Island to the Atlantis Hotel. From the monorail there are wonderful views of The Burj al Arab Hotel, the Dubai skyline, the Atlantis Hotel Beach and Waterpark. You will also see all the posh houses on Palm Jumeriah Island. There is still some construction going on.

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Palm Jumeriah Monorail.

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Palm Jumeriah Monorail.

Dangers and Annoyances.

Heatstroke.

Dubai is unbearably hot in summer. When we were there in July it went to 48 degrees. Try to make sure you spend only a short time outdoors. Keep escaping to air-conditioned places. If you are trying to walk anywhere, take frequent rests in air-conditioned bus stops. Wear a hat and high factor sun screen. Stock up on bottles of water.

Posted by irenevt 16:43 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Sharjah.

Day Trip to Sharjah.

sunny

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Detail from a mosque.

Getting there.

Previously we have always visited Dubai in summer when it is too hot to do anything, so we decided on our first winter visit that we should branch out and go to another emirate for a trip. We choose Sharjah because it was so close to Dubai, supposedly doable on foot and because I had heard it had a good heritage centre. Getting there was easy we went from Union Square. Take the metro there. If I remember correctly, you exit through exit 2. Buy your ticket before entering the bus. It costs 7 AED. Returns are not available. Buses also go from Deira City Centre and Al Ghubaiba among other places. The bus took us to Al Jubail Station and we were easily able to buy a ticket back. There were two ticket offices. One was for tickets to the Deira side of the Creek, the other for tickets to the Bur Dubai side of the Creek. This bus station is located right next to the fish souq, plant souq and vegetable souq. It is pretty close to the blue souq and the King Faisal Mosque.

Sharjah vs Dubai.

Sharjah is smaller than Dubai. It is also more conservative and has a total ban on alcohol, but it is more traditional with some interesting things to see. The main things to see in Sharjah are the souqs, the heritage area, the arts area, the corniche, some lovely mosques and the museum of Islamic art.

Fruit And Vegetable Market.

Sharjah fruit and vegetable market was right next to the bus station. I think our bus went to Al Jubail Bus station. The fruit and Vegetable souq is housed in a lovely building that runs parallel to the bus station. It is quite colourful and good for photos.

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Fruit And Vegetable Market.

The Fish Souq.

The fish souq is also right next to the bus station. Follow the smell of fish. There were some interesting specimens on sale here. Had I had access to a cooker I would not have minded cooking some. Good for photos.

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The Fish Souq.

The Plant Souq.

The Plant souq stretches along the main road from the bus station. I guess people drive up, buy plants and drive away. It was quite colourful, interesting and worth a look. Plus it is on the way into town.

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The Plant Souq.

The Blue Souq Or Central Souq.

Our bus passed this on our way to Sharjah. It was not far back from the bus station so we walked back to have a look. The building is lovely with beautiful tiles, You can buy all sorts of things inside: jewellery, cloth, clothes etc.

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The Blue Souq Or Central Souq.

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The Blue Souq Or Central Souq.

The Bird And Animal Souq.

This was on the walk from the bus station into the old part of town. There were two parts an outdoor livestock market with cows, goats and sheep and an indoor market with birds including falcons, dogs, cats, small rodents.

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The Bird And Animal Souq.

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The Bird And Animal Souq.

The King Faisal Mosque.

As non-Muslims we could not go inside, but this stunning mosque is located opposite the blue souq. We originally passed it on our way in to Sharjah on the bus. I insisted we walked back to take a closer look, as I thought it was a pretty stunning building.

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The King Faisal Mosque.

The Heritage Area.

In winter it is possible to walk to the Heritage Area from Al Jubail bus station, but I would take a taxi in summer. The Heritage area was a bit of a disappointment as so much of it was still under construction or restoration. Things available to see were two touristic style souqs, calligraphy exhibitions and the Bait Al Naboodah Heritage House, admission 5AED. The heritage house and the souqs were quite interesting and worth a look if you happen to be in Sharjah. The best thing about the Bait Al Naboodah was getting to try some cardomum flavoured coffee very tasty.

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The Heritage Area.

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The Heritage Area.

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The Heritage Area.

Sharjah Fort.

Sharjah Fort is located between the Sharjah Heritage Area and the Sharjah Arts Area. It is an interesting building from the ouside but it had a sign on the door saying it has been closed for restoration since March 2010, so we could not go inside.

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Sharjah Fort.

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Sharjah Fort.

The Corniche.

Although it only has a pedestrian walkway for part of the way, it is quite interesting to walk along the corniche. You will pass a beautifully tiled (possibly Iranian) mosque, the heritage area, the fort, the arts area, the Museum of Islamic Culture a lovely building and supposedly very interesting, but we did not have time to visit. We walked all the way to the lovely mosque near the Radisson Hotel. Many people were fishing and there were several boats. Quite pleasant if it is not too hot.

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The Corniche.

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The Corniche.

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The Corniche.

Posted by irenevt 05:25 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Al Ain.

Town at the Oasis.

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Camels in the Desert.

On our most recent trip to Dubai in December 2014 we decided to go for a day trip to Al Ain. We travelled there by bus from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station. The journey took around two hours and we travelled through some interesting desert scenery. At one point on the moving bus I just pointed my camera at the bus window and clicked every now and again. Normally when I do that I get a picture of a pole or a tree. This time I got a picture of camels. I did not even see those camels. We both really liked Al Ain. It was a relaxed, friendly place with a pleasant, sleepy feel to it. We had no intention of trying to see everything that Al Ain had to offer on a single day and concentrated on the sights that were within walking distance of the bus station.

Tickets from Dubai to Al Ain cost 20 dirham one way. Buy your ticket from the ticket office before boarding. The actual journey time is around 2 hours, but buses will only leave when they are full and that means all seats including the pull down ones in the middle. It took 40 minutes to fill the bus on the way there and thirty minutes to fill it on the way back. The front of the bus is for women, children and families. Men should only sit there if accompanied by their wife. I sat in that section with my husband and the driver insisted we swapped seats so Peter was at the window and I was in the aisle. This was so a woman could sit on the pull down seat next to me and would not need to be next to a man. Several other people were rearranged and there was the odd argument with people who had no idea what was going on. The bus driver answered every query about people being moved with the words. "Ladies! Ladies!" Al Ain Bus Station is in a very good location for visiting some of Al Ain's historical sites. There were plenty of taxis available at the bus station plus local buses and buses to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.

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Journey to Al Ain.

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Journey to Al Ain.

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Journey to Al Ain.

We started by visiting Murabba Fort which used to be Al Ain's police station. Then we visited the Eastern Fort and the Al Ain National Museum. These sights are on the same compound and there is an entry fee of three dirham to visit them. After that we took a stroll through Al Ain's oasis and ended up at the beautiful Al Ain Palace Museum.

Al Ain belongs to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is Abu Dhabi's second largest city and has a population of around 600,000. Al Ain is far inland and surrounded by desert but the town grew up around an oasis. This area has been inhabited for over 4,000 years. Archaeological sites can be found at Al Hili and Jabel Ḥafeeṫ; including the remains of several beehive style tombs. Al Ain is the place where Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates, was born. Jabel Hafeet is a tall mountain in Al Ain which apparently has great views over the desert. We did not visit it this time. Maybe next time we will.

Oman is to the east of Al Ain and Saudi Arabia is to the south. We have now visited Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain from Dubai. If I was to state a preference, I would put Al Ain at the top. That is because I am interested in history. Al Ain has lots of forts, more than we visited and archaeological remains. In the cooler winter months the sights we went to are all doable on foot easily. This also made it an easy place to visit. The only down side was it took a long time to get there and back over five hours in total including waiting time. Next visit I would not mind staying overnight in Al Ain if we get the chance. Overall it was a very easy-going, relaxed, friendly sort of place.

Al Murabba Fort.

The first sight we visited in Al Ain was Al Murabba Fort because we could see it from the bus station. This fort is three stories high and square in shape; murabba is Arabic for square. The square fort is surrounded by walls and is entered via the main gate. We could not actually go inside the fort. I believe you can only visit if you make an appointment to do so. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was responsible for building Al Murabba Fort. Construction of the fort began in 1948. At first the fort was used as a surveillance tower. Later it became a a police station and prison.

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Al Murabba Fort.

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Al Murabba Fort.

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Al Murabba Fort.

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Al Murabba Fort.

The Al Ain Palace Museum.

I strongly recommend a visit here as it was probably the loveliest place we visited on this day trip. We got here by walking through the date palm oasis from the entrance at the Al Ain National Museum. We went straight then headed left when we emerged from the oasis. The palace is really beautiful. Entry is free. The gardens were also pleasant to stroll through with their colourful arrangements of flowers and gently trickling fountains. Many of the palace rooms were open to the public and some were beautifully decorated. I loved the low, plush opulent couches and beautifully patterned carpets. Each room seemed to be colour co-ordinated. There are clean public toilets at this location. There are also some ceramic pictures on view. I very much enjoyed visiting this sight. This palace is the former home of UAE founder Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It was built in 1910 and opened as a museum in 1998. It is open daily from 8.30am to 7.30pm except Mondays and on Fridays it is open from 3pm to 7pm.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

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The Al Ain Palace Museum.

The Al Ain Oasis.

One of the best things about Al Ain was that there were several sights close together and close to the main bus station. The Al Ain Oasis is right next to the The Al Ain National Museum. Enter it through the large archway. We walked all the way through from this entrance, keeping on the straight road when we emerged at the other side, off to the left was the Al Ain Royal Palace Museum. The oasis is shady and beautiful. It is filled with date palms. At the oasis, you can see an underground irrigation system, known as "falaj", which brings water from boreholes to the palm trees. The falaj irrigation system dates back thousands of years and is used widely in Oman, the UAE and other countries. To see it leave the main path and go among the trees or you can even view it over the walls. Walking through the oasis was a very tranquil experience.

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The Al Ain Oasis.

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The Al Ain Oasis.

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The Al Ain Oasis.

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The Al Ain Oasis.

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The Al Ain Oasis.

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The Al Ain Oasis.

The Al Ain National Museum.

I really liked the paintings of the forts of Al Ain on the outside of this museum. There are many forts we have still to visit. On this visit we concentrated on the more centrally located ones. Without your own transport Al Ain could easily occupy you for two days. My favourite part of the museum was a wall of photographs showing Abu Dhabi in the past before it became so developed. Overall this museum is well worth a visit and can easily be combined with a visit to the fort next to it. This museum is on the same compound as the Eastern Fort. Entry to both places is 3 dirham. Clean toilets are available at this sight. The Al Ain National Museum contains items about the history and culture of the UAE such as a display of writing implements from old UAE schools, a collection of tools used in circumcision ceremonies, models of women in traditional clothes, models of men using a well, models of men flying falcons, traditional armour and much more. I especially liked the gallery of old photos showing the UAE of days gone by. The museum also displayed some of the archaeological findings from the Hili Tomb Area. There was also a selection of gifts that had been presented to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Near the entrance you can look into a traditional Arabic room. The Al Ain National Museum is the oldest museum in the UAE. It was built by the former UAE President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It opened in 1971.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

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The Al Ain National Museum.

The Al Ain National Museum.The Eastern Fort.

The Eastern Fort is also called the Sultan Fort. It was constructed by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It was used as a residence for him and his family until he became the ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1922. We could not actually go inside the fort. The Eastern Fort is on the same compound as the Al Ain National Museum and it costs 3 dirham to go in. Clean toilets are available at this sight.

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The Eastern Fort.

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The Eastern Fort.

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The Eastern Fort.

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The Eastern Fort.

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The Eastern Fort.

Posted by irenevt 05:04 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Abu Dhabi.

Day Trip to the U.A.E. Capital.

sunny

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Floor Tile, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Abu Dhabi.

We decided to visit Abu Dhabi from Dubai for the day by taking one of the inter-emirate buses from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station. The ticket cost 25 AED one way; no need to pre-book; buses were leaving almost continuously; journey time was 2 hours to Al Wadha Bus Station. There were two queues for boarding the bus: a men only queue and a family queue for women, children and men travelling with women. We decided to do the day trip under our own steam rather than on an organized tour, as we like to see things at our own pace and decide for ourselves where we want to go. I spent ages researching bus information in Abu Dhabi. Our intention was to arrive, buy an ojra day ticket and travel around by bus. Problems began straight away. There was nowhere to buy the day ticket. My info said purchase it in the nearby Al Wahda Mall at a red crescent stall. No-one there knew where to purchase it. The buses that claimed to go from Al Wahda did not seem to go from there at all and when we finally found the correct bus stops having given up on the day tickets and deciding on pay as you go (2AED a trip), there just were not very many buses. The end result was we used taxis all day. That was fine, they were metered and honest and reasonable. If we go again, I think we will use a mixture of buses and taxis. We now have a better concept of where things are, what there is to see and how to get around.

Our main aim was to see the spectacular Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque which we passed on the way in, so we started by taking a taxi there. The mosque was truly stunning and was the highlight of the trip. From there we made the mistake of taking a taxi to the white fort. This was a mistake because the fort was closed, being renovated and hidden behind barricades. Fortunately, we could walk from there to the Corniche Beach Park, so the destination was not all bad. Next we took a taxi to the Heritage Village. From there there were great views of the Abu Dhabi skyline (particularly lovely as the sun went down turning the buildings into glinting gold). There were also views of the famous Emirates Palace Hotel and the Presidential Palace. We were also very close to the Marina Mall. We tried to take a taxi back from the Heritage Village to the bus station but as the Heritage Village had shut by then, there were no taxis, so we had to walk to Marina Mall and take a taxi from there. The queues for taxis were lengthy and it took us about 20 minutes to get one. When we arrived back at the bus station, there were hundreds of people waiting to go to Dubai but no buses. It was chaotic and when buses came in, they did not stop at the front of the queue and there was an element of a free for all that was causing the security people to be reluctant to let people on the buses. Eventually we got on one to Ibn Battuta Bus Station. We had not intended to go there, but as we knew the bus station was next to the metro, it was OK. The journey back was comfortable and there was a food and drink service which we did not have on the way there. It was about one and a half hours to Ibn Battuta. I would happily go back to Abu Dhabi. Next time I would take a bus to the Marina Mall (lots go there). I would explore the mall, walk to the best vantage point for taking photos of the Emirates Palace Hotel and Presidential Palace, maybe revisit the Heritage Centre, too. Then I would take a taxi to the dhow building yards in Al Bateen, then a taxi from there to the souqs in the Al Mina district.

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

We took a taxi to this mosque from near Al Wahda Mall. There were lots of taxis parked outside, too, so we had no trouble getting back. I think some buses do go near, too, but taxis are probably the best bet. The mosque was truly stunning. It is free to go inside and open to non-Muslims, but you must dress appropriately and be fairly covered up. Women need to go and get themselves an abaya before they will be allowed in. This is also free of charge, but you must hand over your passport or ID card in order to guarantee you will return it. You will be given a receipt and your documents will be returned when you return the abaya. There are signs up denying you the right to even photograph the mosque if you are not dressed appropriately. I got told off for trying to take a last photo after I had returned my abaya. To go inside the mosque you must take off your shoes and women must have their heads covered inside the mosque and in the courtyard outside. All of the above is worth complying with as the mosque is well worth seeing. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was created by the late President of the United Arab Emirates, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His grave is located on the grounds of the mosque. The mosque was constructed between 1996 and 2007. It is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and the eighth largest mosque in the world. Inside the mosque is truly beautiful and you are allowed to take photos. The floor is covered by the world's largest carpet, created in Iran. The ceilings are hung with enormous lights created in Germany. There are flower covered floor and wall tiles. There are wooden panels inlaid with mother of pearl.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

Inside the mosque is very beautiful with the world's largest carpet. The carpet measures 5,627 square metres (60,570 sq ft), and was made by around 12,001,300 carpet knotters. The ceilings are adorned with seven immense chandeliers imported from Germany. These are made up of millions of Swarovski crystals. The part that impressed me most were the beautiful floral floor and wall tiles.

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Inside Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Inside Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Inside Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Inside Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Inside Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.

Qasr al Hosn Fort.

This fort is located on Sheikh Zayed First Street. It is sometimes called the White Fort as it is, well sort of white!!!! and Old Fort as it is, well sort of old!!!! It dates from around 1761 and was originally a watch tower. It was expanded into a fort in around 1793 and became the residence of the ruling sheikh. The fort remained as the royal palace and seat of government until 1966. At the moment the fort is not worth visiting (December 2013) as it is being restored and is hidden behind barricades.

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Qasr al Hosn Fort.

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Cat at the fort.

The Corniche Beach Park.

We walked from the White Fort to the Corniche Beach Park. I liked the paintings on the walls of the underpass on route. Along the edge of the beach was a walkway with shade and a breeze. The beach was clean and spacious; the water looked inviting. Sadly we did not have time for a swim.

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The Corniche Beach Park.

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The Corniche Beach Park.

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The Corniche Beach Park.

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Underpass near the park.

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Underpass near the park.

Heritage Village.

OK, if I am being honest with our usual superb timing, we arrived here 10 minutes after it shut. That is it was still open, you could still go in, but the shops and any display of craft had finished. This did not bother me as I fully expected it to be like Dubai's heritage village. None too exciting. The best bit was the views from it over towards the Abu Dhabi skyline and towards the Emirates Palace Hotel. This is right next door to a little mosque, a big flagpole and other viewing points. Opening Times: Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm, and Friday from 3.30pm to 9pm. Where: Near Marina Mall, Breakwater, Abu Dhabi city. Entrance free.

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Heritage Village.

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Heritage Village.

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Heritage Village.

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Heritage Village.

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Heritage Village.

Emirates Palace Hotel.

This is the poshest hotel in Abu Dhabi and I would have loved to visit except I don't think you can unless you are staying there or have a meal reservation. I was not sure where to view it from and discovered I could see it from the Heritage Village, though the best view is from the main road near Marina Mall. We arrived at this view point in the dark, but next time we'll be there in time for the picture.

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Emirates Palace Hotel.

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Emirates Palace Hotel.

Marina Mall.

We photographed it and we queued outside for a taxi. What we did not really have time to do was actually going inside. The mall has around 400 shops, 48 cafes and restaurants, cinemas and bowling.

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Marina Mall.

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Marina Mall.

Al Wahda Mall.

This mall is right next to the main bus station where buses go to and from Dubai and other emirates. We rushed round trying to find where to buy an Orja Card for the buses so did not really do the place justice. This mall has more than 300 shops, around 50 restaurants/cafes, cinemas and Wanasa Land for entertainment such as bowling, paintball.

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Al Wahda Mall.

Flagpoles, Mosques and Cityscapes.

Right next to the Heritage Village is a little mosque, a flagpole which was once the tallest in the world, till Jordan exceeded it, and best of all gorgeous views over the Abu Dhabi skyline. I especially recommend the views as the sun is going down. It reflects off the buildings turning them into gold.

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Flagpoles, Mosques and Cityscapes.

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Flagpoles, Mosques and Cityscapes.

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Flagpoles, Mosques and Cityscapes.

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Flagpoles, Mosques and Cityscapes.

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Flagpoles, Mosques and Cityscapes.

Posted by irenevt 02:54 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (2)

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