Hey everyone! I know I’ve been gone for a little while, but it was for a good reason- I just got back from a trip to the United Arab Emirates. A group of us went over to the Middle Eastern country for my friend’s birthday and boy oh boy was it an experience! Our first stop was Dubai and while there of course we had to see the main attractions such as the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building), the Dubai Mall, and took a ride around the beautiful marina where we saw The Palms and the residences of the Royal Family.
view of Dubai from the Burj Khalifa observation deck
The Old Gold Souk is a great place to go for spices, souvenirs, clothing and gold, of course. One tip- never pay the initial price given. I knew going in that you have to haggle and know your exchange rates to get the best/fair price, and it was quite fun going back and forth with the shopkeepers.
The highlight of this trip for me had to be the Desert Safari. It was so action packed and was the perfect excursion for people into adventure and wanting to get a full middle eastern experience. The safari package included dune bashing (such an adrenaline rush!), sand skiing, henna, camel rides, shisha, live entertainment and dinner. I wasn’t expecting the food to be so delicious but it was great with an abundance of vegetarian options. If you come to Dubai the safari is a must for tons of fun in the desert.
After spending a few days in Dubai, we packed it up and took a 90 minute ride over to Abu Dhabi where we spent the remainder of our stay. One place I went to that I would definitely recommend seeing in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. In one of the most visited landmarks in the UAE, visitors get to tour the Islamic place of worship and learn about its practices. The mosque was absolutely breathtaking with its intricate architecture and really gives you a sense of tranquility and peace- it was an overall wonderful experience.
Another gem of Abu Dhabi is Emirates Palace. I was excited to see the 7 star hotel for myself as I had heard about how glitzy and regal it is with its much talked about food items topped with gold flakes. Once inside, it really does feel like you’re in a palace. The decor and feel is very over-the-top and grand, dripping in luxury (there is an ATM machine inside that dispenses gold bars for Pete’s sake). We sat out in the charming cafe area and had some of their sweet treats and then had lunch at its Le Vendome international buffet. The selection was out-of-this-world incredible and the food was amazing. The experience was well worth it with exceptional service and a terrace overlooking the marina. Come here if you want to feel like royalty.