So I’ve lived in Dubai for about 4 months now, and I must say it is crazy. With all cities and places, it has its ups and downs but for a young person, who likes to travel, go shopping, soak up the sun and eat out all the time it is pretty much heaven! Not to mention the nightlife, I think it is meant to be the best in the Middle East…I haven’t had much time to go out lately but there are some awesome places around here 🙂 I thought I would do a Top 10 of where I spend most of my time here, just so everyone can get a feel for where I am and what I am doing during the days when I don’t feel like I have been run over by a herd of camels (or similar!).
I live in what is considered one of the most enviable buildings of our company accommodation. It is central, modern, and boasts a pool and gym with views to die for! I have a cosy apartment with two other awesome Australians and I must say I am SO lucky! My bedroom is spacious and I have my own bathroom. It’s great!
When I first arrived, I had my parents come and stay, and during their visits we of course did lots of touristy things!! Visiting the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and going on a Desert Safari were ‘must do’ activities, which I am sure we will do again when they come out in June for my graduation 🙂
3. Dubai Mall
By far the biggest shopping centre that I have ever set foot in. Along with the obvious commodities of shops, it as an indoor theme park, ice skating rink, 3 food courts, restaurants, fountains, a children’s theme park, the world’s largest aquarium, a souk and (my favourite) a Waitrose for the all important food shopping! (in case you hadn’t noticed, I very much like food, and writing about it!) I also love to get my beauty fix at Sephora and my hair done at Loft 5th Avenue (the only place in Dubai I trust, being blonde and everything). I could (and have) literally spend all day wandering around, taking photos of the amazing window displays and having overpriced sweets at the Vogue Café in the shoe village (yes, a whole village area JUST for shoes! I think my mum must’ve spent the best part of 8 hours in there!).
Ahh Barasti. Attached to Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, it is a beachside bar/club that is what I imagined Dubai to be like before I actually came. It is chilled out, full of expats and celebrates expat holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Aussie Day, St Paddy’s day…the list goes on! With our FACE discount cards we have 50% off Food and Beverages on weekdays and special offers too. It has lounge chairs on the beach, a private swimming area, a sand-dance floor and DJS every night. SO. COOL. And, it is full of tourists so we don’t have to worry about offending anyone with our incriminating bikinis/ Tigerlilly shorts (haha Jane!). Oops.
5. The Westin
Next door to Barasti, it is where we go to chill/recuperate and gossip on days off between flights. Another private beach, about 7 million pools and a grassy tanning area, Hamptons style. Not that I have been, but I watch enough Gossip Girl to know what it’s like 😉 Again, 50% off Food and Drinks and a little man that drives you around the resort in a Golf Buggy and brings you fresh, free fruit. LOVE!
6. Limetree Café
Another place that feels like home to me, think Chinta, Raw Café, Voyage…any of those cool little eco cafes in Perth that has just been plopped on Jumeira Beach Road and is hidden from the hideous traffic by palm trees and a nice, high wall. It is Bali style inside with a cool organic menu and carrot cake that I would sell my vital organs for..I never even liked Carrot Cake before this! Very yummy, affordable and reminds me of home. Perfect for dissecting the previous night out with the girls 🙂
7. Safa Park
An oasis of calm and normalcy in the hustle and bustle of Downtown Dubai. I am an Australian, and as much as I didn’t realise it when living at home, I actually love the outdoors. I can hear all of you back in Perth laughing now! Ok, maybe not camping for days and days and eating Mexican off a BBQ with my hands in a caravan park kind of outdoors, but I do have an appreciation for green, open spaces such as Kings Park, Lake Monger and the beach, in particular Scarborough, Cottesloe and Hillarys. Voyage Kitchen. I know it’s not an open space but it must be mentioned! See? Talking about food AGAIN! I must be hungry haha. Anyway, Safa Park is in Business Bay, a short walk from the metro station there and costs 3 dhs to get in. Every Friday there is a food market, with organic treats, fresh fruit and veges and also a variety of arts and craft stalls (many of them are run by Australians!). I took my friend Ayumi after hearing great things about it, and it was amazing! So nice to put my toes in the grass and just breathe in some non-shisha infused air.
Jumeira Beach Road is the newly done up tourist area near the Dubai Marina. It has lots of hotels, shops, cafes, movie cinemas and chill out areas near a beach that ALMOST has real waves. ALMOST! Lotte and I have adopted Burger Counter as our own little hang out place. You can make your own burger/salad and they have Caramel Milkshakes to rival the Cheesecake Factory. Yum!
9. Rodeo Drive/Rockbottom/ Elevation Burger
These three nightspots have regularly featured in my nights out in Dubai. I don’t usually go out much at home, but there are some very cools bars and clubs in Dubai and not much else to do at night… might as well make the most of it! Rodeo Drive is the top level of the Stables bar on Sheikh Zayed Road (nice and close to my building). It has a bucking bull, food service until 2am and every Wednesday (I think) is ladies night! Rock bottom is where we go after having been to somewhere classy for drinks (like Trader Vic’s) and just feel like dancing to The Killers, Oasis, The Spice Girls, or all of the above! It reminds me of the Deen in Perth, but it has a kebab shop INSIDE IT that sells chicken shawarma. On Thursday nights they also bring out giant plates of pizza for everyone at closing time to kick everyone out/ celebrate the weekend. Lots of fun 🙂
10. Souk Madinaht
A very nice tourist souk, close to the Burj Al Arab and has a hotel attached (surprise surprise!). There are some great places to eat: The Meat Co, Trader Vic’s, Belgian Beer Café…and with a great view of the Burj, the beach and the artificial canals of the souk. They are so pretty you don’t even realise they are fake!!
So this has been my take on days off in Dubai. There are a few more places I’ve been: Mahiki, Cirque le Soir, Media One…but I don’t feel I know them well enough to comment on them! I’d also like to visit Buddha Bar, Blue Marlin, Pacha, 360 and many, many more! Think I’ll have to wait until my friends from home come to visit 😉 xxx