Monday, September 21, 2015

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY

In a land where bottled water is more expensive than gasoline and when temperature could rise more than the normal body temperature, I am beset with the issue of how exploration could be done.

A day at Souk Madinat with Issa, Shera and Aaron, I was caught off guard to purchase a day pass ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus day tour of the Big Bus Tours of Dubai.  I was hesitant at first.  The cost was around 60USD or approximately PhP2,600.00.  This will be the first time I am in a tourist mode under an organized tour in exploring a foreign city.

But with the temperature and expensive cost of bottled water, the big bus is the answer, as it comes with a free and unlimited bottled water and a full lower deck air-conditioned bus.


HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
BOOTH OF BIG BUS TOURS AT SOUK MADINAT
The Big Bus Dubai has three routes (City Tour, Beach Tour and Marina Tour).  For half a day before going to the airport, I availed of two routes – City and Beach Tour.  The area for registration is at Dubai Mall.  The tour has a choice of 12 recorded languages, a free desert sunset tour (which I will not avail due to intense heat), free Sharjah Panoramic Tour, the free Atlantis Aquarium entry (for the 48-hour tour), free entry to over 10 museums, free creek dhow cruise, free marina dhow cruise, free ride on a water bus and the free reward booklet which I gave to my friend who is based in Dubai.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE BIG BUS PARKED AT DUBAI MALL
Given the routes and the freebies attached, it could have been reasonable had there been no time limitations attached.  Since I have decided that I would truly be back to Dubai, this serves as a good introduction on my part and a perfect orientation of Dubai’s landmarks and exceptional architectural landscape. 

Every tourist wants a good vantage of the tour, and so they decided to position themselves on the upper deck while I care less and most of the time alone on the lower deck for a much needed air-conditioning.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE BIG BUS TOURS
I never went off the bus apart from transferring to another bus from the Beach Tour for the City Tour.  With the many destinations passed through by the tour bus, there are a few that stands out.

Apart from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest modern structure, Dubai’s most iconic landmark is the Burj Al Arab.  Resembling a billowing spinnaker sail, the 7-star hotels’ design is truly stunning and imposing.  It is in fact my favorite of all the landmarks.  This and the Atlantis are the reasons why I have to avail of the bus tours, as I told my friends, since it is quite a distant from the city center and a hassle when commuting.  I will have no tour guide on my last day as my friends all have to work.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE BURJ AL ARAB AT JUMEIRAH RESIDENCES
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE BURJ AL ARAB AND THE NEVER-ENDING CONSTRUCTION WORKS AT DUBAI
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE BURJ AL ARAB AT SOUK MADINAT

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAYHOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
 
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
SOUK MADINAT
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE CANAL
The Souk Madinat also provides a good vantage to the Burj Al Arab.  It presents an authentic ancient marketplace with the traditional Middle Eastern style and ambiance.  There are aligned restaurants and coffee shops at the outdoor with a canoe ride traversing the artificial canal. 

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
ARABIAN MERCHANDISE
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
COLORFUL SHISHA
 
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAYHOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
ARABIAN STATUES
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE CARPETS ON SALE
For the Beach Tour, we passed by the Jumeirah Mosque, considered to be the most attractive mosques in Dubai and it really is.  It is built in the Medieval Fatimid tradition and a good subject for photography.  If one opts to get off the bus and have a tour at the mosque, one can do so every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10dirhams (approx. PhP130.00) and it starts at 10 in the morning.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE MOSQUE
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY

Believed to be Dubai’s oldest building, the Al-Fahidi Fort is home to the Dubai Museum. As we passed by the museum, I felt uneasy as I wanted to go down and check the museum since admission is free for Big Bus tickets, but I got nervous that I would not make it on time to the airport.  Judging from its façade, with walls built from coral and shell cemented together with lime and appearing like a castle, it could have been worthy of visit.

The Gold Souk and the Spice Souk was again inviting.  I could have tried my bargaining skills on shops offering gold necklaces, brooches, rings, bangles and earrings, but my want for air-condition overpowered.  And I was surprised to know how cheap a 22-karat gold is.  The world different from the modern shopping centers of Dubai is the spice souk.  It is an authentic market selling bags of spices, incense, traditional medicine products and souvenirs.  Again, I just have to pass by it and witness commerce unfold as I peek through the windows of the bus.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
GOLD FOR SALE
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE SPICE SOUK AREA
The Jumeirah Park & Public Beach is a temptation as we passed by.  But again, I can’t manage soaking under intense heat but it could have been a picturesque experience with camels and other recreational facilities.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
ONE OF THE EXPENSIVE HOTELS AT JUMEIRAH
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
A VIEW OF THE BEACH
The Palm is one of Dubai’s most iconic developments.  On the outer breakwater of the Palm is the Atlantis Hotel and Resort.  I stepped out of the bus for a while to check on the pedestrian avenue (since it is air-conditioned) and it is lined with a variety of luxury boutiques.  After 20 minutes I left immediately and waited for the next bus to Dubai Mall.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
ENTERING THE PALM
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE ATLANTIS DUBAI
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE CEILING OF THE ATLANTIS
On the way to Deira City Center (my gateway to the airport through the metro station), as I avail of the City Tour through the bus, I was amazed that Dubai still maintains its traditional charm in the form of commerce and trade through the Creek.  The traditional form of transport between the eastern and western sections of the city via the creek, is a small wooden ferry called “abra” which continues to operate.  If you hop-off the Dubai Creek, you can enjoy the free Arabian Dhow Cruise where a view of traditional Dubai can be experienced.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
CROSSING THE DUBAI CREEK
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
TRADE
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
TRADE AND COMMERCE AT THE CREEK
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE ABRA STATION
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY

On a City Tour, I have noticed that skyscrapers are not the usual and conventional ones.  They deviate and form a unique architectural concept.  A twin building designed using equilateral triangles is one such unique architectural façade and this is the Emirates Tower.  The Jumeirah Emirates Towers has been awarded “Best Business Hotel in the Middle East” for nine consecutive years.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
DEIRA DUBAI
As can be glanced all over Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building can be seen on a good vantage as you hop-off the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping complex.  The true scale of this massive building is best experienced as the bus tour is being experienced.

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE DUBAI MALL
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
THE BURJ KHALIFA

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAYHOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY

While some destinations are accessible through the efficient metro station that Dubai has, the bus tours will still provide an insight of what to visit the next time Dubai is on your travel plans.  With barely five hours allotted for the city and beach tours, I still recommend you make most of what is available on the tours and allot the whole 24 hours when plotting the itinerary.  

HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
DUBAI - THE OPEN AIR MUSEUM
HOW TO EXPLORE DUBAI IN ONE DAY
SIGNAGE AS SEEN FROM THE BUS WINDOW

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