Rising from harsh desert where life seemed to barely exist, Dubai, after a few decades, has been transformed into a world-famous tourist city. Together with its outstanding economic growth, Dubai still preserves its Arabian cultural heritage. The principality with the most important role in the United Arab Emirates will welcome 15 million foreign visitors next year. Let’s discover Dubai through this my trip to Dubai blog.
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It is said that anything in the world can be found in Dubai, so it is also called “the whole world in a city”. It all begins from petroleum and the government of ambition – “nothing is impossible” to make the whole world admire the city. Apart from the skyscrapers, Dubai is also famous for its shopping malls, with a variety of products ranging from fashion and, electrical devices to souvenirs. Gold can even be purchased through an ATM. Only in Dubai can you buy pure gold at reasonable prices.
These charms make it too difficult to resist the temptation of visiting Dubai to see the mystery land of one thousand and one nights, with my own two eyes. From Ho Chi Minh city, I arrive in the capital Abu Dhabi after a 7 hour flight. From there I travel 135 kilometers to Dubai in one and a half hours.The two sides of the road are expansive desert with no trees. The lack of arability and rainfall makes it almost impossible for trees to survive. Due to water scarcity, the price of 1 liter of water is the same as that of 2 liters of oil! In the UAE, any house which has a lot of trees is considered rich.
Burj Khalifa – Roof of the world
The first thing to appear as I approach the city of my dreams is the Burj Khalifa tower-the tallest man-made project in the world (828m high) and also the roof of the world. The construction of such skyscrapers is nothing new in the Arab world. The construction costs amounted to$1.5 billion, causing a financial crisis for the city. However, the opening of the Burj Khalifa has also contributed a lot to polishing a tarnished image because of its previous heavy debt and also attracting more than 10 million tourists each year.
With the elevators on speed of up to 64-kilometers per hour, I estimate the time from the 1st floor to the 124th floor as only a few seconds! From the 124th floor -known as the observation deck, I look through the clear glass and feel like I am in paradise looking over the vast desert. Many modern high-rise blocks and complexes stretching along the two sides of the highway make the city look like something out of a dream.
From the 124th floor -known as the observation deck, I look through the clear glass and feel like I am in paradise looking over the vast desert. Many modern high-rise blocks and complexes stretching along the two sides of the highway make the city look like something out of a dream.
Visitors can find a range of miniature souvenir models of Burj Khalifa. There are also binoculars which can be adjusted to grasp the stunning vistas of the city. There are four main modes to adjust which consist of seeing in the night, during the day, the current mode and especially historical mode. The last mode shows us that not a very long time ago, Dubai was just desert. I could not myself imagine that prior to 1971 this place was such an empty sandy desert that people would think of visiting or changing it into one of the most luxurious cities in the world.
Thanks to the discovery of vast oil reserves, Dubai prospers. People immediately carried out projects of urbanization right on this barren desert. A series of buildings, shopping and entertainment centers were built. A 70-storey building for Dubai is just mediocre! It was in the year 2000 when leaders decided to make a great change to their city.To welcome the new millennium they decided to construct the world’s tallest building and the Burj Khalifa was created in such a context. The building was chosen as a backdrop for many Hollywood films, of which the most recent one is the Mission Impossible 4, starring Tom Cruise.
Burj Al Arab – More than a 7-star hotel
Built in the shape of a sail, the Burj Al Arab is the only 7- star hotel in the world. Like the Burj Khalifa, the hotel is the pinnacle of luxury and glamour and it is also a symbol of Dubai city. The hotel was builtin 4 years and was opened in 1999, just one year before the start of the new millennium.
Despite being rated as 7 stars,the builders and, the managers themselves never want it to be too luxurious.All services imaginable are provided, such as housekeeping, Role Royce shuttles and helicopter. Everything is completely luxurious.The rooms have their own libraries, cinemas, rotating bed and a marble bathroom.
There are 8 restaurants in the hotel of which one is under the ocean. Here, guests can watch sea creatures swimming around. The hotel also possesses 4 large swimming pools, modern gyms, bars and high class spas. The price for one night is at most about 38.500 US dollars and the lowest is 2.000 US dollars. If you want to enjoy the luxury and explore the style of the nobles, book your tour with a cost of 100 US dollars.
Dubai Museum – Saudia’s Memory
Originally constructed in 1787 as the Al Fanidi Fort, the building was converted to a museum in 1971. This museum is one of the few buildings which still retains its ancient look and is preserved as a heritage site next to the modern skyscrapers. Visitors can enjoy the vivid pictures denoting the lives of the ancient people in Dubai.
The first thing visitors can see are the simple wooden boats which previously were the main fishing boats of the people here. As a rich and prosperous society, the people here mainly started exploiting pearls for trading in 1580. But after that when petroleum was discovered, Dubai became a world-famous city.
Aside from the inscriptions recording Dubai’s history, tourists can see scenes depicting ancient people’s activities in the carpenter shops, spice factories, as well as, the plants producing pottery and jewelry.
In Dubai museum, visitors can see lively images denoting the life of the ancient people in Dubai; just feel like traveling into the past.
Gold Market – “Open Sesame!”
Continuing our journey, we board a boat and cross the river to reach the gold market. Rows of ancient blocks interspersed with modern architecture along the river banks made Dubai look like a second Venice.
Crossing more than 2 blocks we arrive at the gold market. The gold price in Dubai is considered to be the lowest in the world, so it’s hard to find any other precious metals except gold here. With more than 500 tons imported annually and a gold business bringing 25 billion Dirham per year, Dubai is worthy of being called the city of gold. The stores have shiny glass shelves displaying all the sparkling jewels to attract all the eyes of buyers. Of note, the world’s largest gold ring, which earned the Guinness record, is put here for display. This ring is unique with its gold and large diamond in the center.
Here you can see gold everywhere. This reminds me of the caves of treasure in”A thousand and One Nights”, which could be opened by saying “open sesame”. In addition to gold, there are souvenir items such as fabrics and,authentic Persian rugs. The government has issued strict rules for gold control here, so there seems to be no fraud. You are assured to buy gold here.
For people who are interested in shopping, the idea of travel is associated with shopping. Whether you travel in tours or on your own, anyone of you will wish to buy products of good quality and beautiful design at reasonable prices. Dubai at year – end occasion is a place for your need because in Dubai, a variety of luxurious products are sold with discounts of up to 20%. You are even lucky to possess a favorite product with a discount of up to 70%.
Located between the two Asia and Europe continents, Dubai is sometimes considered as an intersection of civilization which is like Turkey. That is the reason that makes Dubai become an important shopping center with world of famous fashion brands, cars accessories and other luxuries. Here, you can easily find world of famous fashion brands such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Gap, Zara, Armani, Valentino and Tommy Hilfiger. The president of UAE is always ambitious to make Dubai one of the world of most favorite tourist destinations. Here, customers will feel like they are being treated like god.
Mentioning shopping style, Dubai is totally different in comparison with other cities in the way that the authorities here would like to create favorable conditions for visitors to shop without having to pay VAT. Compared to the world market, products such as perfume, gold, cosmetics, cars and electrical goods in Dubai are not so expensive that customers can not be broke.
There are more than 8 popular shopping mall but considering the size and diversity of the items were the most dominant Dubai Mall. Dubai Mall gives visitors a great shopping experience with over 1,200 stores. But Dubai Mall is not just shopping, tourists can enjoy skating indoor service, watching aquarium, in addition to the water park is the living space for more than 33,000 marine species.
Although only established for 6 years, but it was just enough time for Dubai Mall to imprint in the tourists through the world record as the most unique shopping experience by Grazia Style Awards awarded center shopping by tourists visited the most and keep the title in two consecutive years. Main so that the Dubai Mall, the structural design interior living as a future city, will be an unforgettable emotions for shopping believers regardless of its large size more than 1 million m2 can be a significant challenge form.
Travel: Direct flights by Etihad Airways from Ho Chi Minh City to Abu Dhabi, then travel by car to Dubai.
Best time to visit Dubai: The most ideal time to travel to Dubai is from September 10 to May because this is the time when the weather is cool and pleasant, suitable for visiting and experiencing the desert.
Religion: The main religion in UAE is Islam. If you are not a Muslim and do not travel in a tour, you will not be allowed to enter the mosque.
Local time: UAE time is GMT +4 hours during the winter months and GMT +3 hours during the summer months. UAE local time is 3 hours behind Vietnam. For example, in Vietnam, if it is 7pm, in the UAE is 4pm.
Languages: The official language is Arabic. English is used in tourism and commerce. So, it is a big advantage if you can communicate in English.
Currency: Currency in the UAE is Dirham. 3.67 Dirham is equal to 1 USD. You should exchange your money into USD in Vietnam and then into Dirham when you are in UAE. Beside Dirham, British Pounds and Euro are also very popular in UAE. 1 Pound equals to 6 Dirham and 1 Euro is exchanged for 5.02 Dirham.
Local culture: Male and females are not allowed to hold hands, kiss or have any intimate gestures in public places, especially in the sacred mosques. Alcoholic beverages and pork are totally banned in the UAE. In Dubai, if permitted alcohol may only be served in hotels and private residential areas.
Cuisine: Arabian dishes use a lot of spices; most notable are salty tastes and food served with mint leaves. There is beef, chicken, lamb, goat and camel but no pork. Pork can only be found in small supermarkets and is stored in a separate section.