Our Dubai Trip – The City Tour

I dont know whether it was the shaking (in the shekh land) desert safari the previous evening or the spring-bed but I had a little uncomfortable lower back the next day. I was not used to of either, in general. Though people in general enjoy the desert safari, I think the jury is still out for the spring bed. It was day 3 of our short four day Dubai trip.

We were scheduled for the ‘Dubai City Tour’ during the day and later an evening with a very old friend, over the ‘water of life’ (finally) so the day looked pretty bright. Of course its alway sunny (pun intended) out there. We were to be ready by 9.30 odd for all this to trigger.

The plan was that we would get picked by ‘Lama Tours’ folks and then we would be in some sort of mini-bus which will take us around. Since we were a little away from the main city, the Bur Dubai, it was the usual 120 KMPH swerving high speed car ride, this time in a Mitsubishi Land rover. Sometimes it gets a little discomforting for 40 KMPH riders like me to sustain the un-ending high speed travel.

The sights were by now very routine, the Burj Al Arab, the tall towers of Dubai Marina, the tallest tower-to-be on earth and so on. All was sort of getting a little boring and dry when suddenly after a turn, we could see a big change. we were now in Bur Dubai and what a welcome change. For the first time in our short stay, we actually saw lot of people on the streets, shops which open on to the pavement, small shops and the not those large cold mall showrooms, kids holding the little finger of their dads, people going on with their work, small restaurant and cafe which were getting ready for the new day. It all looked like a normal city.

Bur Dubai is located on the western side of the Dubai Creek. My local friends told me that its actually ‘Paar Dubai’ (trans creek) and since ‘P’ is more like ‘B’ there, so its called ‘Bur Dubai’.

Infact the sight of cloth lines on balconies seemed so much soothing. There was indeed lot of traffic and shortly we all found ourselves at the Lama Tours office, where it seemed that the mini-bus was waiting for us.


Our Mini-Bus

It was a matador/canter chassis having 2X1 seats. It had a broadcast system. Our guide was this filipino lady who knew how to keep us engaged and in good humor. She started with the dont’s list which included, don’t take photos of Arab women, don’t look at them in the eye, don’t take photos of cops and some of that sort. She also updated on the duration of the tour (4 hours) and the roster of the places which we would be visiting.

Our first place was the UAE office, missed the actual name, where the treaty was signed in 1971 by the seven emirates. We just passed in front of this large low height building and our guide told us the meaning of the colors of the UAE flag.


UAE was born here
green: Fertility, white: Neutrality ,black: is the color of the flag of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and red for Unity. Our guide told us that Black is for oil but Wikipedia says something else. People from Dubai, please clarify and help here.

Then after some time, we found ourselves in front of a mosque where we were told that even non-Muslims can go in and pray. I am missing the name so folks from Dubai, please help here too. This looked like a modern building. None of the tourers went in actually and it was more of a Photo Op kind of thing.


The Mosque
After that, the car took a left turn and we found ourselves amid low height big mansions. After a little while we came to know that we are on a ‘Open’ beach. ‘Open’ beach is something where people can just go and swim. I guess in Dubai, you just can’t go and swim at any beach, probably it needs to be a Open beach. There were different times for men and women and I guess it mean local Arab women and not expats. The concept of Open beach was new and again someone from that part could help us explain this better.

Our next stop was this big ticket item called Burj Al Arab, the only seven star hotel in the world, the most opulent and probably one of the expensive lots. As you would have guessed that you can not go in, there is no USD 100 burj-tour, infact there is no walk-in dine option as well. You need to reserve a table and I heard that its not easy to get one. So instead we went to a nearby beach which seemed like the point where all the tourists assemble to take photos. We could go in the sea but by now it was very hot, so we got out of the bus, took some photos and went in. This was our so-called first good stop. So after doing some stretching and taking a good look at burj (no plans to buy it) all of us started for our next destination.


Burj Al Arab

The next destination was a little disappointing since it was sold as a place where we could see all the things which one can find only at King’s palace. It turned out to be arts-n-crafts store selling carpets, bronze stuff, lines and so on. Some of the non-Asians liked it and were seen busy buying stuff. We used this time to do some more of soul-searching and carried on with the group as they came out.

By now it was pretty warm outside and our next destination was to be enjoyed from with-in the cabin. We drove to palm island, the world famous housing project which looks like a palm-tree when seen from top. Lot of land has been reclaimed from Sea and its really a modern marvel to be able to create such a thing from nowhere. You get a glimpse of the sea-side villas but mostly you see the tall towers on both sides of main trunk.


Burj Dubai

Then we moved to Dubai Marina which has become so familiar to me and then moved back to Bur Dubai. On the way, we passed through the Dubai’s tallest building, Burj Dubai, which is still being done and is slated to be world’s tallest. The rumor is that the height is not being disclosed so as to keep the competition guessing.


Dubai Museum
Our one-but-final destination was ‘Dubai Museum’. Late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saee Al-Maktoum is the man behind this thought of converting the ‘Al Fahaidi Fort’ into a Museum. Its not a very large structure as you might tempt to assume, it being a fort, but a lot of effort has gone in to ensure that one gets to see the Arabian life, the history of Dubai and a very rich mix of audio and video has been used to help the visitor understand the heritage. As you enter from the wooden gate, you find yourself in a small courtyard where an old cannon greets you.


Inside Al Fahaidi Fort


Museum in Basement

Its actually an underground museum, that adds to overall mysticism of the place. Here you see aspects of cultural and religious life, learning their traditional crafts and getting a feel of life around. There is this interesting section called , Marine Gallery, which has been done up very well.

I would do the pics do most of the talking.

And then we were let loose in the famous Gold Souk. This is like a market with individual shops as well as small mall kind of structures having lots of shops, with most of them selling gold ware. As a customary thing, we also tried looking for some local designs. Its said that you can be very sure of the quality of the gold and unlike the normal behavior where you would rather not trust just anyone while buying gold, here you can be rest assured. It makes lot of sense for Dubai to remain clean here. After all , its a big tourist attraction and Dubai has its priorities clear.

We assembled back and our Landrover guy was waiting for us and another 30 minute quick drive and we were back to our hotel. I would recommend this tour to someone who is new to the city and wants to have a overall feel of the place but if you have some local contacts then probably you can plan something by yourself.

As I crashed to the spring-bed for a quick late noon siesta, I found myself looking forward (not because you sunk-in so much that its difficult to look sideways) for the evening. This is the last post on our Dubai trip. Hope you enjoyed it.

Click here to find a late deal to a destination where the sun shines on a sandy beach. Life is too short to spend every holiday at the same place.

13 Comments

  • nandanjha says:

    I read it just now and it read so much rushed and hurried. May be there was no new story for a while and I was getting impatient.

    And when the spring-bed sink, its not because of my weight, its the way these beds are, traps.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Your beautifully narrated post, supported by some excellent pictures has created a strong urge to visit this place soonest.

    The Dubai Museum appears exciting. The statues, especially of the tailor, the Madrasa and the person puffing the hookah are almost life like. Can you please elucidate the “Museum – Scary” pic !

    Annexing the video of the story of construction of the Burj Dubai was a good idea.

    Superb.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thanks Ram.

    There is a marine gallery in the museum and in this particular photo they have tried to depict a diver, half of his body is floating in air so when you look up you see a half-body.

    As for Burj Dubai video, I am guessing that you would clicked the link in this post which would have taken you to their website.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Yes, your post appeared when one was looking for it. It doesnt look like a rush-work either.

    Nice to know Dubai has got a museum. Agree with Ram on the three statues.

    The palm trees failed to catch your attention, it seems. If you take an exit (cant recollect which one but its an exit which leads to nowhere) off the Abu-Dhabi highway, there are a few of them having stalks touching the ground. Sorry to say, but thats the only thing that caught my attention during the very short stay over there.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Yes, Dubai has a museum but its pretty different than what you normally find in a museum elsewhere since there is not much of history.

    Actually Bur-Dubai was still better with the creek and some palm trees. I dont think you missed too much :)

  • Celine says:

    Pihu’s pictures are sweet, especially the one with the cute crinkled nose.

    Nandan, I dropped in during office time (I feel as if I am the only Indian working on Diwali day!!) to wish you and your loved ones a very happy Diwali. Have a great time.:)

  • waaaaaaaaaa i wannna go to dubai and i wannnna stay in burj al arab hehe.

  • nandanjha says:

    Celine – Happy Diwali to you and your family.

    I am just back to my home after a long drive from my in-law’s place and couple of more folks. All of Delhi is lit :). Lovely.

    Good thing was that unlike last year, the fire-crackers are less this time, good for mother nature.

    travelphilippines – take me along when you book the suite ;), at least I would get a chance to take a look from inside.

  • manish khamesra says:

    So much time passed when the story is posted and I am reading it. Deepawali seems so far now :)

    Nice feeling to have glimpses of Dubai with you Nandan :)

    Now I know that how can I become a forward looking person. Thanks for the suggestion Nandan. I am going to change my bed as first thing :)

  • nandanjha says:

    Yeah and you make me read my stories again, so that I understand your comment better.

    I dont think you are on a spring bed, if thats correct then why change ?

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    I am thinking to buy spring-bed to sink in so deep as to always look forward and make forward-looking statement (literally) from the bed.

    I loved the way you ended your post Nandan :)

  • Vacanta in Turcia all inclusiv la cele mai bune preturi de pe piata. Conditii superioare la preturi de vacanta mai mici decat in Romania

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