Stayed: In Abu Dhabi, my friends apartment.
In Dubai, Al Marooj Rotona
Duration: 9 days (majority of the trip was in Abu Dhabi, and because of that I’m bias)
So I try extremely hard to think positively, but Murphy’s law came into full play this trip. Like from the very first day of me trying to get out there, and the day before last trying to leave. To the point my mother said if one more thing went wrong I had to come back, everything that could of went wrong did. Long explanation short, it started with a delay
that lead to a missed lay-over flight, which lead to them temporarily losing my luggage, which lead to me missing the next lay-over flight, which led to me being half a day behind schedule; my phone fell into the toilet while at the Switzerland airport and broke. THEN, the day before I needed to leave, my passport was lost. It was a Saturday the Embassy was closed and told me I needed to wait till the work week. The airlines had me going in circles, and I ended up going to all cab headquarters in Dubai seeing if I left my passport in any of their cars. Longer story shorter thank goodness crime is so low out there, someone brought my passport into the police, (I had to wait 2 hours for the one officer who had the key to come back and give it to me,) but I got it !
Besides all of that my trip was nothing short of amazing. I have a friend who moved their to teach and invited me to visit, how could I pass up a trip like that, especially in a territory I have yet to conquer. So I booked my ticket and was ready.
(I watched ticket prices and kept checking for patterns as I always advise. Unfortunately I got my ticket before there was some flook of a deal that had prices for Abu Dhabi starting at like $300. Keep in mind deals like that, although not common, do happen.)
In Abu Dhabi, (which I spent the bulk of my trip) I stayed at my friends
apartment which is located in what they consider downtown. It was by the Corniche, in an area they call Al Markiziyah. The location was great, it was within walking distance to most places in the area you’d want to go see,
although (because of my own time constraints during the day) I mostly took cabs. The cabs out there were super cheap and super friendly, to my surprise to learn none of my drivers were not from the UAE, but from surrounding countries and Africa, they explained it was the booming economy that brought them there and how much easier it was to support their families.
In Dubai, we stayed at Al Marooj Rotana which was located directed across from the Dubai Mall and possibly one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. The room and bathroom was spacious and extremely comfortable, their pools were located on the side of the hotel with great views of all other hotels, they had a pretty extensive gym for a hotel including a sauna and steam room. Our hotel also hosted a Brunch and a buffet style lunch which was to die for. I highly recommend this hotel.
The food in the UAE, was you guest it, very typical of middle eastern food. Very delicious and obviously very authentic, which made it different from the dishes I’ve had prior in the USA, so don’t assume you know how it’ll taste. They’re very big on kebabs, shawarma’s, lamb, camel, Indian food, and surprisingly to me at least they were big on international cuisine as well. I got Indian take-out and it was amazing, or shwarma from the place down the road before the clubs again amazing. From what I gathered there was a nice blend of Indian meets African meets Mediterranean foods, so the spices were out of this world. What I did not get to go to was the Spice Souk. When I went to NOLA I got to go to their markets and sample the spices and was blown away so I could only image how orgasmic it would of been in the UAE.
I suck for this, because we went to great restaurant’s daily, but I have no idea which ones they were. Most were by the Corniche, which included a very nice view to accompany our dinners.
The Club Scene
Really, Really, Really, Fun.
In Abu Dhabi, I was actually most concerned with how clubbing would be, but to my surprise it was quite a great time. Apparently since there are more women in the U.A.E than men (approximately 2.7:1) there are tons of “women’s night”. We went out nightly, and there was also something going on, and surprisingly it was always pretty busy. I got in free for it being “women night” (at different places every night) and the guy I was going with got in a lot easier going in with a woman. I was mostly surprised because of the strong cultural influence in Abu Dhabi. In one of the clubs, this girl kept wanting to take shots and dance all night (which is usually back home), we all took pictures, but then her friend had to come and watch us delete the pictures because they couldn’t dare be posted anywhere and possibly disgrace their families. Most of the clubs we went to played top40, a good mix of hip-hop, pop, rap, reggae, and a little dance. A great clubs we went to was at the Emirates Palace, not only was it beautiful but the club was really fun, (but did you catch the part where I said it was INSIDE the Emirates Palace).I ended up learning the Emirates Palace had turned into a hotel and the story behind that.
In Dubai, we were trying to go to the club inside the Raffles Hotel, which also was very beautifully built, but there were ridiculous lines and table requirements because a celebrity was there that night, so we left. Next stop PACHA Ibiza-Dubai, I was excited by the name PACHA (if you’ve been to the one in NY you know why.) So not only do I have my expectation high because of PACHA NY, but my friend had heard lots about it in Dubai as well, so we go, at first sight… it was… different lol. But I refused to believe that what we expected ended up being this weird small crowd listening to house music.. Longer story shorter, I found a curtain which lead to steps which lead to the promise land. It was like a hidden club in a club. It was packed, great music, beautiful people, and we kept finding more hidden spaces. This was the night I lost my passport, but instead of letting that ruin my experience at this club I thoroughly enjoyed my time there (this all being from what I drunkenly remember).
Although I was on this trip visit a friend, he still had work most days, so that left me with full days (at least till about 5) to get the most out of Abu Dhabi. So although I’ve never been on a “solo” trip, this was the closest I got to it.
In Abu Dhabi, One thing I did do that I highly recommend is a dessert tour, particularly I went with Al Badeyah Eyes
Tourism and did the halfway dessert safari that included
sooooo many things from Quad biking, camel riding, henna, food, falcon show, etc. here is the full list. The
host were very hospitable, and you also get to meet so many other tourist from all over the world and that’s always interesting. (LEARN FROM OTHER TOURIST)
I also did the 2-day pass for the Big Bus Abu Dhabi Tour . Do you need the 2 day pass? YES. I feel like the tour bus gives you the most opportunity to see things in a short amount of time. It’s a hop on hop-off tour but keep in mind that a lot of the sites it stops at have specific time’s for things and may take a certain amount of time, so you may want to plan in advance which is the best route to go. (my advice, start early at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque or YAS Island (which you can make a separate day trip to), those two have early time constraints and will take the most time and for me at least were the furthest places.) I’m a Art geek, so it was good to
take the time to look at what The Etihad Modern Art Gallery had to offer, also the Marina Mall which has a Sky Tower restaurant which shows views of the city, and Abu Dhabi Mall which has a lot of fun activities and different stores to run through.
I had a hotel day pass to The Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana. This hotel was BEAUTIFUL and directly across from the Emirates Palace. I got to relax by their pools and on the shore of their private beaches, getting amazing pool side service. Also I received the most relaxing massage at the Maven Spa between the Al Rawda Arjaan hotel and Al
In Dubai, The Dubai mall needs a day in of itself. It’s huge
and has everything you could possibly be looking for in it. NO seriously it’s too much to even talk about just click the link. The Aquarium is DOPE, the waterfall with figurative people flying down, the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Fountain, the ice rink, all of the amazing food, amazing different stores, etc. etc. etc. its’ an adult and child’s dream place. DON’T FORGET THE GOLD ! Their known for their gold out there, and their Gold Souks are mesmerizing. Make sure to take a gander, even if it’s just window shopping. Also the mall is a bit of a runway. You’ll see lots of people wearing higher end clothing and it’s A LOT less reserved than Abu Dhabi. I was told before going to Abu Dhabi, no midriff, no cleavage, no short shorts/skirts, nothing too tight or too revealing, and no sleeveless things… In Dubai things were completely different. Every single thing I was told not to in Abu Dhabi was a go, at least by the resorts and mall.
I could legit go on for pages about this trip and every single detail of how great it was. I had so much fun, and it was such a great experience. Thanks Chris for showing me an amazing time.