21 July 2016

18 Hours in Dubai

Hello from Berkeley! 5 cities in 2 weeks is something that I've never done before - so apologies for the lack of updates. It's been a crazy 2 weeks, travelling across the World and getting used to the different timezones. To make matters worse, I'm 15 hours behind everyone back home (in Singapore). My midterms are over, so I finally had sometime to work on my Dubai vlog and blogpost as well as my NYC vlog. I regretted not filming my trip to Australia last year, so I decided to do so this time! You may watch my Dubai vlog below or here, hopefully you would enjoy looking at Dubai through my lenses.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObjGu26aBbM&w=560&h=315]

Just a quick overview of how our trip went: We flew from Singapore by Emirates and landed in DXB at around 6 in the morning and as this was our transit we didn't have to collect our luggages. But as we had a hand-carry bag, we decided to make use of their baggage storage services. You have no idea how thankful I am that DXB offers this service and at only AED20 (SGD7.30) or AED25 (SGD9.10), for larger bags, for every 12 hours (or part of). This service is available in Terminals 1 and 3. With our baggage sorted out within minutes, we went on our way.

If it's your first time in Dubai, I highly recommend getting a desert tour package or similar. While it is not difficult to get around Dubai as they have signs in English and people are helpful, it would be difficult to head out to the desert on your own. As it was summer when we were there (35°C at 8am what?!), we opted for the morning desert tour which costs about SGD72 per person. Pick up/drop off location is usually at any hotel in the city, however, we requested for the pick up to be at the airport instead.

Morning — Our driver was not only punctual but very friendly! After picking us up from the airport, we did another stop at a hotel to pick a couple up and headed out to the desert. The desert was about an hour's drive from the city and along the way we saw a camel completely camel-flaged (geddit?) with the background. As soon as we reached the desert, the driver prepped the SUV for the desert terrain. Dune bashing was so much fun, I wouldn't mind doing it again (but would like to pay lesser this time)! The actual dune bashing lasted for about 10 minutes, then we got out of the car - at this point you can attempt sandboarding or take thousands of photos of the same landscape. Guess which I chose to do. 

Late Afternoon — Being at the top of the World's tallest building made everything look so tiny and unreal. Tickets were AED200 (SGD73), for prime hours and slightly cheaper for other times. From the top, you could see how downtown Dubai is highly concentrated with skyscrapers and then everywhere else was just sand. It definitely put everything into perspective. As we were landing in Dubai, I was just exclaiming how much sand there is - silly I know.

Evening — Our flight to New York was at about 2am but we made our way back early for dinner and to freshen up. As our layover was more than 4 hours, we were given meal coupons to dine at selected places in the airport. I'll have you know that complementary shower facilities are also available in DXB Terminals 1 and 3 (how amazing is this place?!) 

All in all, I think that 18 hours in Dubai is more than sufficient! By doing a longer layover, you can save on accommodation. It was by choice that we didn't head to the marina, but there's definitely time to slot in a visit to their beaches if you wanted to. Thanks for sticking to the end! Hope you enjoyed/found this post useful the next time you plan to go to Dubai, if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below or drop me an email. 

P/s: DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, wear sneakers to the desert. I knew it was a bad idea from the start, but I didn't want to exceed the weight limit for my check-in luggage. Till this day, I am pretty sure I still have sand in my sneakers.


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