It was hot and exciting.
So exciting that I literally want to move there ASAP. Even my friend’s father wasn’t surprised with my adornment for the city: “Of course she likes it! Dubai is a paradise for Russians!”
And he is absolutely right, at least the place where we stayed (Dubai Marina) was filled with “ma people” and my friend and travel companion (Yasmin) was really excited about that fact and was insisting on me bonding with literally every USSR native.
And this brings me to my first travel tip:
If you don’t want to be surrounded by Russian tourists – avoid Marina area
Don’t get me wrong. I am Russian in and out. And that is exactly why I know how people from that country can be when they are abroad. We are very warm-hearted (somewhere deep inside) and we try to play cool, but it does usually come out as rude. In our defense, Russian language is not the one you’d use for declaration of love and it does sound harsh if you translate it directly. But, I’m not here to justify peoples’ offensive behavior in attempt to hide their insecurities, so if you’d like to avoid us (I don’t judge you at all) – stay away from Marina.
Don’t order breakfast in the hotel.
As much as you find a buffet kinda arrangement attractive and tasty, you should definitely explore breakfast places of Dubai. They won’t disappoint. I say more, they will haunt your dreams (in a good way) even after leaving and you will not be able to enjoy just mediocre avocado sandwich ever after.
Here you can find links to breakfast and dinner gems that were hand-picked and highly recommended by Yasmin (professional dining adviser for Dubai area).
Go to shopping malls, but don’t shop
I know it is a bit of a trivial time spending when you are on vacation – shopping. But not here! Dubai Mall is the biggest one in the world, Mall of the Emirates has a ski slope with…wait for it…penguins and the whole experience is rather astonishing. No need to visit them all, but allocate at least two hours just to stroll around and appreciate the grand scale of decorating that consists of fountains, big-ass aquariums and numerous stands with designer bags and cheesecakes (personally my two favorite things). But don’t buy it!
Ok, you can go for piece of cake, but not the bag. Just brief comparison of the prices in online store and on price tag in Dubai Mall gave me a difference of about 20%. No joke: Max Mara skirt I tried was 2320AED (660$) and for 540$ I hypothetically could order it in Denmark (country with 25% VAT!!)…and I’m pretty sure one can find even lower price via Farfetch! So unless you are purchasing items for the sake of saying “I got it in Dubai”, restrain yourself from spending money (of course check whether you can get it cheaper back home).
Visit Burj Khalifa and enjoy a drink (or two)
It is one of the touristic things I think everyone does while in Dubai. And the prices for lift up are just as high as the building itself. For the 148th floor: 500AED (136$) and 125th floor: 300AED (82$). You can find slightly cheaper ticket if you go in “non-prime hours”. But that was not a case for us: we were already in a proximity of the skyscraper, and neither we wanted to wait , nor to pay full price for such experience.
Luckily for me, once upon at time Chanel Cruise Collection was shown in Burj Khalifa and my friend Yasmin was a part of it (E – Extraordinary). Don’t ask me how, because one day I will make her blog about it 🙂
So she knew the alternative way of getting into the building: Atmosphere Bar on 122nd floor. It must be booked and preferably upfront (especially if you wish to sit by the window) – we called 30 min prior to arrival and it is not a free experience: prepare to spend at least 250AED on drinks per person. But at least you don’t splurge all these money on lift ride and enjoy both: the view and glass of champagne 🙂
Do not put any limitations on sugar consumption!
Stupid of me, just a week before this trip I decided to try my will power and improve my diet by removing refined sugar from my life for 1 month. So from having at least 2 ice-creams a day I went cold turkey. And it was manageable for 7 days, up until I found out that Dubai is a capital of sugar abuse. Not only every other shop is chocolate/Turkish ice cream/Arabic sweets boutique, but also every restaurant offers an extensive dessert menu and they DO remind you that in case you forgot and asking for a check after main course… How could anyone forget??? I survived, but it was challenging to say at least…