Following on from my post last week (here) about what to expect from your first trip to Dubai, I thought I would focus this week on some really fun things to do once you get there.
The great thing about a holiday to Dubai is that you can do as much or as little as you wish and there really is something for everyone. Whether you want action and adventure or you just want to sit on a beach and read your kindle, there are certainly plenty of options in Dubai to keep you entertained.
My first stop whenever I arrive in Dubai is a nail and beauty salon called Tips and Toes. Instead of paying a fortune in Glasgow for a manicure and pedicure before I go away, I wait until I get there and spend my first day relaxing and being pampered to within an inch of my life in Tips and Toes. There is a salon near my brother at JBR but there are others all across Dubai.
During the day you can generally just walk in and be seen for a manicure and pedicure pretty quickly. The manicures and pedicures are the BEST you will ever have - I promise you!
You are shown to a super comfy and relaxing throne type of seat and you have someone work on your hands and someone else on your feet at the same time. I would also recommend the shoulder and neck massage too for pure, unadulterated bliss. (I feel relaxed just thinking about it!)
The manicures and especially the pedicures are unbelievably thorough. Trust me, you will never have had anyone spend so much time on your cuticles before.
Possibly one of the best bits about Tips and Toes is the price. For a full, luxury manicure and pedicure (using gel polish) is approximately £24... for BOTH! You would be hard pushed to get a luxury manicure or pedicure in Glasgow for £24 never mind for both. So make sure you leave the girls who are working on you a healthy tip, they really are amazing at what they do.
After all that relaxing I'm sure you're more than ready for some adventure.
On my third trip to Dubai, my brother organised for us all to go on a desert safari. We were picked up from a hotel just around the corner from his apartment in a big 4x4 car at about 3pm and then drove for about an hour into the desert.
When we arrived at the Arabian Adventure site in the desert, there was a big convoy of 4x4 which deflated the tyres to drive off-road further into the desert. Our first stop was to get an obligitory photograph with a camel before a Falcon show. I should point out that both myself and my sister are both petrefied of birds so this really wasn't the highlight of our day. Thankfully we survived and weren't attacked Alfred Hitchcock 'Birds' style so it was back into our car and we embarked on a spot of dune bashing. This was SO much fun and even although I can get quite travel sick, I was actually okay considering how much we were thrown about in the car. By this time, the sun was beginning to set so we got out the car (tried to stand up without falling over) and had an amazing, uninterrupted view of the gorgeous desert sunset.
After our sunset and dune bashing adventure, we had worked up quite an appetite and were treated to an Arabian feast in the traditional camp with henna hand painting and belly dancers as well as the opportunity to gaze at the stars in the middle of the Arabian desert. It was the perfect end to the day and I would highly recommend this trip to anyone visiting Dubai.
We booked through a company called Arabian Adventures (link here) and we did the sundowner package. It costs approximately £65 including your transfers from hotel into the desert and back and all of your food. Definitely worth the money. It's also great that you don't get picked up til approximately 3pm and get dropped off about 10pm so you still have the whole morning and early afternoon to lay by the pool or go to the beach before you are picked up.
After all that culture in the Arabian desert, I'm sure you'll be keen to continue to expand your international horizons. I'm thinking Chanel, Hermes, Christian Louboutin and Lanvin... Yes, it's time to hit the malls!
If shopping is your thing then you are going to LOVE Dubai. The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world and Fashion Avenue is one of the most beautiful places to shop. And Level Shoe District? Let's just say if there is such a place as Heaven, I really hope it looks a lot like Level Shoe District...
If you're hoping to snag some Chanel, Hermes or Dior at a tax free price then you're going to be quite disappointed. All the big designers set their prices internationally so it is no cheaper buying anything in Dubai than in London unfortunately.
If big designers are out of your budget anyway, there are all the high street stores you would expect too. The Victoria's Secret store is amazing - it's definitely worth a visit angels.
When you're at The Dubai Mall, you need to pay a visit to the dancing fountains. If you've been to Vegas and seen the fountains at The Bellagio hotel then you'll know what I'm talking about.
Another attraction at The Dubai Mall is The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. You can see it from all over Dubai and you get a great view of it from the dancing fountains although it's so tall that it makes it pretty difficult to get the whole building in a photograph.
You can go all the way to the top of The Burj Khalifa to a viewing platform near the top. I've been up once and, in all honesty, it was pretty rubbish. It's expensive, there is quite a lot of queuing and although the views are good from the top, I wouldn't say that it's an unmissable attraction.
On my next trip to Dubai, the one thing that I definitely want to do is go skydiving. Not for the faint hearted but it looks amazing. I've been skydiving in Scotland before but I think it will be a slightly different experince in Dubai.
You get the most breathtaking views of The Palm and all across Dubai. If you've never been skydiving before, I would highly recommed it - it's an experience like absolutely no other. The Skydive Dubai tandem jump isn't cheap, approximately £365 including DVD of the experience but I think it would definitely be worth it.
Not me... Yet!
For a much cheaper (and slightly tamer) thrill, then head to Dubai Marina for Captain Jack's boat trip. It costs about £10 and lasts an hour and it's a great way of seeing the Marina, especially if you go at night. It is really relaxed and you get big comfy cushions to sit or lie on on deck so don't forget to take some drinks (non-alcoholic) and snacks along with you.
Beach days are an abosolute must and one of my favourites is Nasimi Beach at The Atlantis Hotel. It's a private beach and you don't need to be staying in the hotel to get onto the beach.
There is a minimum spend of approximately £50 which means that it's free for the bed hire as long as you spend £50 on food and drink etc. It isn't cheap for food and drink so by the time you buy a couple of drinks and lunch, it's at least £50 anyway.
Apologies for the really, REALLY long post but there are so many things to do in Dubai that it would be a shame to just stay in your hotel for the duration of your trip.
My next Dubai post is going to be about all the amazing places to eat and drink and Dubai! I'm hungry just thinking about it...