Have you ever fly for free? I guess so. I was looking for a trip to Yangon Myanmar through Skyscanner, and the first airline that shows up was Emirates Airlines. The ticket I have found has a six hours layover in Dubai and thought a quick visit to the city would be great, but it has a late-night arrival. As I haven’t book anything yet, we change the plan. Instead of having a long layover, we’d like to stay for two nights. While I’m on the website of Emirates Airlines, I fill in the departure and return date; But it seems the flight from Brussels to Dubai and return is zero price I thought I’m wrong, so I started over again, but it was correct, our first leg is free! How wonderful!
So without a second thought, I booked the trip. Though, my questions, which part of Dubai should we stay? Anyway, there are many options! You can stay anywhere as the city has an excellent transport system compare to ABU DHABI. The Al Fahidi District is the right choice if you’re looking for a reasonable price hotel and close to a metro station. We stay at the GATEWAY HOTEL, which was pretty good with free wifi and a buffet breakfast. Moreover, the coolest thing, as our flight to Yangoon Myanmar is after midnight; they offer us a free ride to the airport.
We had an excellent trip; Although it was short, yet we’ve managed to see the tourist spots in two days. We were fortunate the alteration of the itinerary and spend some little time in Dubai.
Our FIRST DAY IN DUBAI
The Top Of Burj Khalifa
I’ve always wanted to go up to the top of the tallest building in the world. Booking the ticket beforehand is recommended to avoid the queue. Print out the confirmation mail, and with it, you get the card at the entrance. The entry to Burj Khalifa is inside Dubai Mall. You can choose which levels, how higher you go how more expensive.
Visitors are allowed to 148,125, 124. At the top, you walk around in a transparent wall where it shows the enchanting view of Dubai City. Entering the building you go through a scanner the same as in the airport, no backpack is allowed. But there’s a free locker available.
Coming from Burj Khalifa, we stroll inside the mall. The four-story building equipped with more than one thousand stores where you find international and luxury brands. One can spend the whole day as there are enough to keep you up. As shopping wasn’t our purpose, we went down to the souks on the ground floor, and if you keep on going, you get to the village, with its colorful ceiling covered with umbrellas. A pleasant area for a stroll even you’re not into shopping. Besides shopping, Dubai Mall also equipped with many restaurants, and our favorite is the food court. Plenty of choices and inexpensive and you blending with the locals.
Coming from the souk and the village, we end up walking at the aquarium. The massive water tank in a glass panel is a home for 33.000 sea animals. You can view the aquarium outside for free. If you want to go inside the cheapest admission is 130 AED a combination for Aquarium & Aqua Nursery. If you’ve seen the aquarium in Singapore and the Great Barrier Reef, this is the same in my opinion, but the one in Dubai is bigger. It can get a little crowded outside.
The large hotel lies far from the city center. The cheapest way to get there is with monorail for 25 dirhams. I highly suggest that you must try the monorail. With its high position, you have a stunning panoramic view of Dubai city and Palm Jumeirah during the ride. Is the number one favorite for the day trippers so can be a little crowded. Free to roam the hotel lobby, and there are shops and restaurants inside, but you’ll notice the price is a bit high.
The best thing to explore the city is by walking, but the heat impedes. We visited Dubai in May, and it was already sizzling heat. Dubai, a bustling city! You walk with a sore eye, a city with defined buildings against the sky. A leisurely walk at the Marina is A MUST where you see a large number of skyscrapers. Some of the buildings are more than three hundred meters high, incredibly beautiful. Also, the large number of boat trips departed from there.
We visited the garden at 4:30 pm. It was the last thing we’ve done on the first day. You can take an endlessly walked around. You’ll pay 50 dirhams entry and best going in the morning or late in the afternoon if you’d like to avoid the heat.
The best time of the year to visit the garden is during the winter when the flowers are in bloom, and that is from November to March. During our visit in May, there were not much in bloom. However, still beautiful to walk around. The opening of the Miracle Garden only from November to May. We’re fortunate to see it before it closed down for the season.
TIPS: how to get there: Take bus number 105 from the Mall of Emirates. The ticket can be purchased inside the bus price of 25 dirhams go and back. There are buses every 20 minutes to the park a 20 minutes ride.
OUR SECOND DAY IN DUBAI
Historical District Of Al Fahidi
We start in the morning at Al Fahidi District. Al Fahidi is the oldest and exceptional neighborhood of Dubai in the mid-19th century. There you find the traditional old buildings which transformed into art galleries, shops, and coffee shop. If you want to get away from all the hassle and bustle take the metro to Al Fahidi. Strolling through narrow streets feels like wandering back in time.
The gold Souks
A visit to Dubai won’t be complete without visiting the souks; the closest metro is Al Ras. From the moment you get off the metro station, you notice the colossal contrast. No high buildings and feel the real Dubai. The souks are in one roof: You’ll find the spice, textile, and gold. You must have lots of patience if visiting the souks as the sellers are intrusive. As I’m planning to buy jewelry, we spent more of the time in the gold souk. Dubai is a city of gold, amazing to see all the bling-bling from 18 to 24 karat golds. Shopping for gold, go behind the main street as they are willing to give more a discount.
A Half Day In Sharjah
Coming from the souks, we took the metro to Union Square where buses to Sharjah are departed. Before exiting the metro station, we bought a bus ticket inside. The bus driver doesn’t accept cash; you must obtain the card at the counter. Ticket price to Sharjah cost 16.50 dirhams go and back. The trip takes about one hour. Outside the Mall of Emirates, you’ll see the buses by number. Bus number 303 with sign Al Jubail is the right bus. It terminates at Al Jubail station, across the gold souk area.
What makes it different from Dubai? Not easy to get around! No public transport. You can either be going on foot or hire a taxi. Sharjah is not a glitter destination, no skyscrapers or fancy malls but filled with culture. The city known for its architecture, the most building, is built in the typical eastern style and still governed by the strict Islamic traditions and values. The markets of this place are the most popular, which is a true masterpiece of architecture.
Watch The Night Fountain Show
As our flight after midnight, we have time to experience Dubai at night. We could have done it on the first night but too tired on the first day. Dubai by night is different than in the daytime. However, one thing not to be missed is the fountain show which located on the Burj Khalifa Lake. Take a metro to Dubai Mall. The show starts at 6:00 pm if you miss the first one don’t panic, you could still see the next shows within thirty minutes. The presentations of the fountain are free; all you have to do is find the right spot to watch.