For someone to grow up in a city like Singapore, it’s tough to feel homesick when you travel to United Arab Emirates, Dubai particularly. I remember the flight ticket to Dubai was affordable (and I believe it’s still the case now) and that made my trip even more worthwhile. Truth is, Dubai is a still city in progress. It’s not as modern and cosmopolitan as Singapore or London in my opinion, but it’s growing at a rapid pace just like any other metropolis. For those looking for the novelty of U.A.E, fret not; it still offers its own kind of charm.
Going from places to places in a rented car, we started the journey with an evening in the desert. Golden sun, musical wind in the sand dunes, and a magical view of nothingness. We took relaxing camel rides around while watching the setting sun linger on the horizon. And the one thing that Dubai could promise us during our stay was the fine sunny weather, which promises majestic sunsets, too. There was no better way to end the night but with good food, shisha, and local performances.
We also made a trip to Jumeirah Beach, which stretches along the south coast of the city’s historic district. Fortunately for tourists, this is one of the beaches open to the public with perfect white sands, alongside a magnificent view of the city’s skyscrapers. Spend some time there, soak in the sun’s brilliance, and feel refreshed with a swim at the beach.
After driving to the parallel city of Abu Dhabi for roughly 2 hours, we explored the many attractions there. A great discovery was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a place I was deeply in awe of. Plastered in white clarity and purity, I felt a sense of natural calm while watching the patterns and shapes of the mosque architecture. Tourists from various cultures were streaming in to do the same, and I realized that setting aside differences in religious beliefs, anyone can appreciate and even fall in love with the place. Inspired by a combination of Persian, Mughal, and Moorish mosque architecture, the beauty this mosque offers to its public will not fall short of expectations.
On top of all these, there are still plenty to see and do that one cannot miss when visiting U.A.E.: the weekend funfairs, water theme parks, and souks(marketplace). Most of these attractions are still not overcrowded as they are new and definitely worth a visit. With all the right ingredients for a memorable holiday, Dubai has something for everyone.
Words & Photography by Saiful Irfan