The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fuzairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain.
Abu Dhabi is considered as the wealthiest emirate based on its oil and natural gas economy, but Dubai’s economy depends more on international trade and tourism. From tourism angle, Dubai captures around 65% of share, while Abu Dhabi and Sharjah 15% and 10% respectively.
As a tourist, I had special interest in Dubai, the most populous and global city and Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE. So I landed one afternoon in Dubai.
My trip started with the Dhow cruise enjoying the spellbinding night views of Dubai city while sailing along the alluring Dubai creek that extends to the Persian Gulf.
The next day I proceeded to Abu Dhabi to see Ferrari Park and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Ferrari World is a premier amusement park on Yas Island.
I had not much interest in it. So I moved to the Grand Mosque, one of the world’s largest mosques with a massive architectural art work. Here women are asked to wear a traditional robe (abaya) and a headscarf (shayla) before entering the mosque.
It has 4 minarets, 82 domes, more than 1000 pillars and gold-gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet in the main hall.
The other day was action packed with Jumeirah Beach, Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai Marina and Atlantis Hotel. Jumeirah Beach is a white sand beach. It features large hotels including Burj Al Arab Hotel, on one side of which is a water park and on the other side is the beautiful park.
Dubai Marina is an exotic place with sandy stretches to relax on, smart cafes to dine, and of course, the Marina Mall. Atlantis Dubai, located on the crescent of the Palm Island, is the most photographed buildings in the world.
The most exciting visit was to Dubai Mall, which is the the largest shopping mall, where apart from a massive cinema complex, there is the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
I witnessed the famous fountains ⛲ on the Burj Khalifa Lake, and finally the ultimate, a view from the level 124 of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world with a height of 830 m and more than 160 stories.
Miracle Garden is really superb, that has the Guinness World record of the longest wall of natural flowers. The flowery structures all across the garden mesmerising.
Desert safari was quite adventurous with dune bashing, sunset photography and a camel ride. The evening was full of entertainment with live cultural performances like fire show, belly dance and other art forms followed by dinner.
I also paid a visit to Gold Souk market, where one can find the finest gold jewellery. The biggest gold ring of 64 kilograms is also on display here.
Dubai Frame, the biggest picture frame of the world, is an architectural landmark in Zabeel Park.
Finally I went to Dubai Museum, which is the oldest one in UAE and depicts rich Arabian culture and lifestyle of the Emirates. Its stunning architectural marvel stands as a chronicle of the Arab world.
One unique concept of budget shopping was seen in Dubai, i.e. 10 dirham shops, that stock household items, clothing, toys, accessories and even crafts, all under the price of AED 10.
I could not see all the top places like Global village, Theatre of Digital Art, Arena Games etc, but new tourist attractions are regularly added by the authorities to keep the interest of visitors alive. They always think and act big.
I felt that a five-day trip is not sufficient to enjoy it fully. This place does make one’s pockets a bit lighter, but would leave the heart heavy to crave for going back there again.