(Ok, technically they were our second visitors, but we only saw Darren for an evening, so… he doesn’t count.)
Let’s start again.
We have had our first FAMILY visitors to Dubai! Mark’s parents came over for 3 days (ish) whilst on their way to Australia. It was great to see some family, but also sad to see them go. It left both of us feeling a little odd after four months living in a different country. Also, the UK was in the grip of the ‘Beast from the East’ so I was absorbed in the BBC website, desperately missing snow. Sand is NOT the same.
Have a plan
This might sound a bit ridiculous, but how many times have you had friends over and gone ‘so… what would you like to do today?’ If your friends/family are anything like mine the response is usually ‘I don’t mind! You decide!’
We mapped out what we thought they might like to do/see whilst in Dubai. This is going to be different for different people. Think about the following:
What food do they like?
How old are they? (Not ageist, but a four-year-old isn’t going to enjoy walking around a mosque, equally a 70-year-old isn’t going to enjoy a day surfing. (ok – most 70-year-olds!)
What activities do they enjoy?
What is their budget?
How long are they here for?
Do they have any must-see attractions?
Black Swans – Al Qudra Lakes
FLAMINGOS! – Al Qudra Lakes
Split your time
Think about how long activities take. This will also vary depending on your guests. Consider health implications and how active they are.
Does it take a full day or could you do it in half a day?
How much walking will it include?
How long is the travel time?
The only activity they were keen to do was visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. As it the Mosque is in Abu Dhabi it’s roughly an hours trip from our house. (There and back.) Therefore, I would categorise that as a ‘full day’ activity but would throw in some sightseeing around Abu Dhabi too.
Considering all the above points, we drew up a short list of other activities that we could do. The list was as follows:
Dubai Miracle Garden
Ras al Khor Nature ReserveAl Qudra LakesSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Dinner by the Burj Khalifa & Fountains
Driving tour of the ‘main’ sights Desert Tour
You can just about see the abandoned theme park in the background
record breaking airbus a380
giant flower birds
Ready, Steady, Go!
Once you’ve drawn up a rough plan I can guarantee you will not stick to it. The weather can affect decisions, people’s health etc.. We realised there were things we weren’t going to be able to do. So we made sure we picked the best we could do within the confines of Dubai. Turns out, you don’t need to do a lot. Just spending time together is good too.
So… what did we do?
We ate breakfast out a couple of times. (we’ve some cracking spots – not only can we take the dogs, but the food is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I can guarantee all who visit us will definitely visit them. Although if you don’t love avocado…
We ate at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa in the Souk al Bahar. There’s plenty of restaurants to choose from and you can see the Dubai Fountains. (I had no idea they danced to All Night Long by Lionel Ritchie!) and the light show on the Burj. (Including what is probably the world’s biggest Samsung 9 advert. Several times. It’s a super nice spot, and whilst there are lots of tourists about, (obviously) it’s definitely a must do.
We drove out to Al Qudra Lakes, (a haven for bird lovers) and now they’ve cleaned up all the rubbish it’s a lovely spot. We saw Flamingoes, Ducks, Stints, an Eagle, waders, swimmers, Black Swans. All manner of birds I have never seen before.
Light installation at Burj Park
Dubai Trolley (it doesn’t run very far!)
The Atlantis – the Palm
It did rain. A bit. We went for coffee and sat in the car – such as you would at the seaside when it rains. (Typical Brits.)
We did a bit of a driving tour – up the Palm, down the Palm, had a beer at Souk Madinat and ogled the Burj al Arab.
We visited the Dubai Miracle Gardens… I’m going to be totally honest here… there were about 3 different types of plant used. (Obviously sun resistant types that cope with little water…) There was a giant Mickey Mouse. There was a replica Airbus A380 covered in flowers. It was all a bit underwhelming.
HOWEVER – there is an abandoned theme park behind it. No, we did not get to go in. Which is a real shame. It looks super naff, I bet it would be ace to visit.
We also ate (almost!) on the Palm at Club Vista Mare. A great place to sit as the sun goes down, several different places to eat (and dogs can go too!)
All in all a successful few days I would say!
Also, I did not know flamingos were black and white until they were proper adults. Imagine that, changing colour once you got older because of what you ate. I should be a pale shade of green right now if it applied to humans.