Dubai was always on my list. This was a spontaneous booking due to a flight deal I found online. I wound up choosing 5 nights in November 2018 and arranged everything afterwards.
Currency: UAE Dirham is the native currency, however USD is most used. Credit/debit cards are accepted everywhere. It's a relatively expensive city, but nothing more than Miami or Los Angeles.
Language: Arabic, most people are fluent in English.
Population Density: 408 people per square kilometer.
Temperature: The average high throughout the year is 92 F.
Fun Fact #1: Their weekend is Friday and Saturday, NOT Saturday and Sunday. Keep this in mind when planning.
Fun Fact #2: Good license plates are highly sought after. The less numbers the better. Some plates have been sold for millions of dollars.
Fun Fact #3: Every UberX is a Lexus ES350.
Based on my personal experience, here are my recommendations if you have 5 nights in Dubai:
I subscribe to www.scottscheapflights.com. This is a mailing list which sends you airfare deals to the locations which you set in your preferences. An email came through with a rate to and from Dubai, non-stop from FLL, for $520. I made a spontaneous move and bought it on the spot. PS: This is a long flight from South Florida. 14 hours there and 16 on the way back. You lose an entire day going there, so be prepared.
I stayed at Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach for the first 2 nights. It's a nice hotel in a good location. I did not rent a car, but the traffic coming to the beach from the marina is awful. That is one drawback. I recommend walking to the marina and getting a car there. There is a pool with a beautiful view overlooking JBR Walk and the Ferris Wheel. Hotel staff was courteous and top-notch. I did not spend much time in the hotel to enjoy any other amenities.
This hotel was on my bucket list and I decided to splurge and spend one night here. It was worth every dollar. It's the #1 hotel in the world and has been given 7 stars. For more, see my post specifically about my stay at Burj Al Arab.
Hotel Armani is situated at the bottom of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It's very modern and certainly on the higher end of the modern spectrum. While staying at Armani, be sure to go to the top of the tower. Purchase your tickets for Burj Khalifa here.
I don't normally leave reviews on TripAdvisor, but for this company, I wanted to. I did their sundowner dune safari. My tour guide was Khaldi. They operate a variety of tours, so be sure to ask for Khaldi no matter what. his nickname is "The Professor" and he is also a professional photographer. Be prepared for incredible photos of you having a blast in the desert.
To Do in/around Dubai
I skydived over the Palm during my first day in Dubai. It was high on my bucket list (my first time skydiving) and I wanted to get it out of the way early on so I wouldn't back out. It was an incredible feeling and will certainly be the first of many.
A few hours after I skydived I zip-lined through Dubai Marina with XLine. I should have done that before skydiving, because the rush wasn't nearly the same.
There are several hot air balloon operators in Dubai and from what I understand, they're all outstanding. My experience with Balloon Adventures was fantastic. It was a sunrise launch and to my surprise we saw a lot of wildlife. You can expect to see Oryx, Ostrich and of course, Falcons. The ballooning is followed by a trek in a vintage Land Rover to a 5-start breakfast at an authentic Heritage camp.
The Dubai Mall is a popular tourist spot. You should check it out to say you went there, but it's not fun. it's too massive and surprisingly not the easiest to navigate. Not to mention, it's always crowded. Have fun!
Food & Drink
Dubai is a food and drink mecca. For the most part, it is over-priced, but the quality and ambiance is worth it. Here is where I ate and drank:
- Arrived DXB at 7:40pm
- Took Uber to Sofitel Jumeirah Beach. Checked in.
- Went to At.Mosphere with some friends who happened to be in town!
- Departed hotel at 10:00am for SkyDive Dubai
- SkyDived at 11:00am over the Palm
- Quick lunch at YO! Sushi at Dubai Marina Mall
- Zip-lined with XLine Dubai at 3:00pm
- Went out to eat at Asia Asia and finished the night at White Dubai
- Checked out of Sofitel and checked in to Burj Al Arab
- Explored the property
- Ate dinner at Al Mahara
- Checked out of Burj Al Arab and checked in to Hotel Armani
- Ate dinner at Dubai Mall and admired the fountain show
- Went to Zuma for drinks
- Departed hotel at 5:00am for the sunrise Hot Air Balloon & Breakfast
- Departed hotel at 3:30pm for the Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari
- Explored the top of Burj Khalifa
- Enjoyed the sauna and steam room at Hotel Armani prior to check out
- Checked out of Hotel Armani
- Departed DXB for FLL at 2:30am
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