Friday, 22 May 2020

Visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi

        I visited Dubai at the end of 2019 into 2020 and I have to say that it sure lives up to the hype. It is such a vibrant city, buzzing with activities.
I spent 10 days with my mum and 2 friends and I have to add that we did not rest, one bit. From our arrival to our departure, we were on the move; there is so much to see and do.

We started with the global village which was interesting to see. The fusion of so many Arab countries represented, especially the food was amazing. There were different performances; car stunts, Bollywood, cartoons etc. as we wandered through, there was only so much we could see. The place is huge!






You can't leave both of us for very long without us fooling around
You can only leave both of us together for so long before we get up to being our goofy selves :-)

The African part of it was bit of a let down and the products that represented Africa were limited. We looked for the shops representing Nigeria, but they did not have a lot to show case the beauty of Nigerian products. On the way out of the African side, we found some Cameroonian singers/dancers performing which got us excited. Being African, we knew the song and sang along but we got bored, as they did the same thing over and over. Others seemed to thoroughly enjoy the performance though.






Bukky and I rang in 2020 at the Burj Khalifa....we got there 4 hours before midnight to get a good spot. People kept arriving en masse until the fire works started. We had more than enough time to catch up.








1st January happens to be Bukky's birthday so we celebrated that. Dubai was her idea and it worked out well for us all.

All set for dinner with the celebrant

We went out to dinner and had so much fun. After dinner, Bukky and I lit up the dance floor and the DJ was so good. It was like he knew the kind of music that would keep us going! We have some video evidence but I prefer to keep our reputation intact! Hahahahaaha

        I was always drawn to Abu Dhabi. Instagram also gave me tips on what to do and see. Everyone was on board with the plan so off we went. We took a coach/bus from Al Ghubaiba bus station to the Abu Dhabi central bus station. It cost 55AED per person (return ticket) and the ride took about 3 hours.

We took a taxi from the station to our hotel, which was such a delight to go to. Aloft Abu Dhabi is the first one of the chain in UAE. The walls in the corridor have inspirational and happy thoughts written, we spent a good amount of time taking photos there.

All of us - Toun, me, my mum and Bukky
This outside area was so beautiful but we didn't get the chance to dine here or use the pool.

The Sheik Zayed mosque was top on my list. It is a must see in Abu Dhabi, it was worth our while.


The beautiful white structure stands pretty on about 12 hectares of land excluding the car park and other areas. The architecture is wicked! It is made of gold, marble, Swarovski crystals, precious stones and more.


It is obvious that a lot  of time and resources were invested. You could spend hours exploring and for photo lovers, there are so many angles and spots to take photos from.




Entry is free for tourists, but a dress code is required for women. Abayas are offered at the entrance for those not dressed 'appropriately', to be returned on the way out. Seeing the mosque during the day and at night with all the lights was super cool.


The thing the Instagram influencers do not show you on their feeds is the throng of people present at these tourist places. We expected to meet a queue but did we anticipate such a throng? It was a long wait...Wear comfortable shoes for this visit as you may have to wait a while (depending on when you arrive).






The praying area and the chandelier pictured below is also in this area, right above.
At some point, I realized I had lost my phone. Bukky and I retraced our steps but did not find it. I had a moment of sadness overwhelm me. We reported to the lost and found desk. The person in charge was so nice and helpful. He radioed all stations but it had not been found. He asked us to check back before our departure.
Later on, we were passing him to go to the loo, he called my attention saying he had found it. He asked me a few questions about the phone to prove that it was mine, then released it to me. That was a good save!

The next place we visited was the Louvre. It is a museum so there is a lot to see in terms of history and art.










Nigerian art was represented in there; the display of Nok culture from Kaduna state and artefacts from Edo state made me smile as we read about them. The wait to get in wasn't long, it cost each person 65AED.


We had the best food in Abu Dhabi later that evening at a Lebanese restaurant called Zahrat Lebnan. The floor manager, who served us, was such a delight. I think him noticing that we ate happily encouraged him to give us more than he should have with the appetizers. We sure enjoyed Tony's antics.
We spent 2 days in Abu Dhabi which we thought was not enough. We would have stayed longer if we had known, as we all liked it there. It is a lot more laid back and original compared to the bling bling of Dubai.

        Back to Dubai, the Dubai mall is the biggest one + there is so much to do...you could visit the aquarium, go skiing, there are lots of restaurants, you could shop till you drop, wander around, visit the Burj Khalifa etc There are so many spot to take photos as well.



I was to meet with someone and on getting to the meet up point in the mall, he asked if we wanted to go up the Burj Khalifa. We were thrilled! He lived there so we made our way through which was pretty cool.
View from the 123rd floor at night

There were queues of tourists waiting to pay (about $100 I think) to get in, but his resident pass got us in for free. We crisscrossed between lifts which was slightly confusing but we just followed. Before we knew it, we were on the 123rd floor. The lift took less than a minute (58 seconds) to get there which is super impressive.
See our smiley faces with our host in the lift!

We were ushered into a visitors lounge where there were drinks and snacks. It was surreal to be in the tallest building in the world. The grandeur of it all was something.
The views from above were stunning, looking at the roads, the clear water, it was all so beautiful. As I chatted with our host, I mentioned I was visiting Dubai with my mother and he asked why I didn't bring her. He asked me to bring my mother along with me the next day so she could equally get the view. He made time out to show my mother, my friends and I a little more than I discovered the evening before. I got to see the view of the city at night and during the day.




Right after the Burj Khalifa, we went on a desert Safari, which consisted of dune bashing, quad biking, camel riding, a night show, henna painting and of course a photo session  😉😉😉

We got picked up and it was a 50 min ride to the desert area. As we approached, the driver took some air out of the tyres then the bashing began. Up and down we went, deep lows and abrupt elevations. It was fun...As we drove through the desert, we approached some camp areas. We wondered how the drivers knew where to drive to, the camps were in the middle of nowhere. These camp areas had camels, quad bikes, birds etc. 


Nigeria goes with me always :-)
Isn't my mum the coolest? She was such a good sport the whole time.


We started off taking photos then went on for the camel ride. Quad biking was next and the night show was last.
All riders seemed to go in pairs...so Toun and I then my mum and Bukky.




We settled in and the show took off with 2 displays, one who juggled with so many trays then another who did some fire stunts. While the show was going on, we went to get henna done. Finally, some 'belly dancers' came to do the last act which I found underwhelming. Those ladies need to visit Nigeria to be taught how to "whine their waists". There was a lot of food to go round. The whole thing cost each of us 200AED.


The Gold Souk is a big jewelry market with so many shops. It seems that Nigerians are known to visit regularly as the guys there have either picked up some Nigerian slangs from interacting with us or they are guilty of binging on Nollywood films. We spent hours in the market going from shop to shop before we got what we wanted. When you are spoilt for choice, you end up taking forever to make up your mind!

Need I say anything about Shopping when in Dubai?! Options abound...


Zip Lining was our final activity! We went to XLine Dubai which is in the Marina mall. We were taken to the spot where the zip line would start. There was a group of 7 of us. We had to go in pairs then the last person would go alone. As we agreed on the order, a couple was to go first, then two ladies, Bukky and  I next, and finally a guy. The thing also was that you would have your photos taken with the person you were paired with even if you didn't know each other (like the two other ladies). Anyway, as the couple was getting kitted up, the guy got so nervous, he got nauseous, went red and was pacing all over the place. They had to give him water and some time for his nerves to calm down. They ended up asking him why he was doing the zip line at all and he pointed at his girlfriend. That was such a sweet moment...the things people do for love!

Bukky and I are adrenaline junkies so our energy levels were high, even the guy doing the videos had to say so at some point.
The zip line is 1km long, the longest urban zip line in the world, at a maximum speed of 80kmph and is 170m above ground level.
You can probably tell from the before (thumbs up) and after (leap of joy) photos that we had absolutely no regrets doing the zip line...we loved it!
We paid 650AED per person.

A few things to note:
- Winter in Dubai is between November and April. The weather is generally cooler, so you might want to plan your trip around this time. While we were there, we had temperatures in the 20s, I think the hottest it got was 28°c.
- Do not be too shocked if you have any racist experience like we did if you are brown skinned...like taxis not wanting to pick 4 black women, or one blatantly told us that we were wasting his time since he could not find the spa we were going to. He definitely had his ears full from saying that!
- Be sure to have cash handy, for things like taxis and other things, you'll need it. Having cash is always a must for any traveller anyway.

Visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi was so much fun and I'm definitely open to going back as there are other Emiratis to see and still a lot of things on my list to check off.

6 comments:

  1. This is such a great read, I was waiting for the adrenaline part and boom 💥 you didn't disappoint 😂, details on point, you make it easy for people that don't like to travel cos they think it's too hard/stressful to navigate from one place to another change their minds. Great job 👍🏿

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    1. If my posts manage to give people that feeling, then I'm super pleased. Thanks for reading Sadiq.

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  2. It was an awesome trip. It was better than my initial trip and with the lovely girls on the trip, it was a wonderful experience for me

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it, we all did :-)

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