It was finally our last day in Dubai. We decided that we would like to visit the Palm Jumeirah – island shaped like a palm tree. But first, obviously, we needed to get breakfast. 😉 We once again headed next door to the Mall of Emirates and chose a place called More Cafe. The food here was also quite good. It seems that generally speaking the level of food and service in Dubai is high.
The easiest way from us would’ve probably been to take a taxi, but I wanted to take the monorail, so first we took the metro to Dubai Marina, there changed to tram to Palm Jumeirah stop and then took the monorail. 😀 The interesting fact is that all rail traffic in Dubai seems automated. Metro, tram, monorail, and airport train between terminals.
The only thing that was plain stupid is that to get from tram to the monorail, you need to cross a parking garage. I thought at first that we just took the wrong turn somewhere, but nope, there were signs in the parking garage that we were indeed in the right place. And of course the parking garage wasn’t designed to be a passing route for tourists. Not that there was a lot of car traffic, but it still seems weird that the people would need to go through parking garage and among the traffic.
Nol card is valid for metro and tram, but for monorail, you need to buy a separate ticket, which cost 15 dirhams (3,80€) one way or 25 dirhams (6,40€) for return ticket. At the moment there is actually just one stop on the monorail from one end of Palm Jumeirah to another. There are two stops on the way, but the train merely slows down, but doesn’t stop on those.
The final stop is right at the top of Palm Jumeirah.
I have to agree with stand up comedian Russell Peters that the Palm Jumeirah is stupid. 😀 It looks really cool on the map, but when you’re there it’s almost impossible to tell the shape of the island. The only giveaway is the “canals” you see when riding the monorail.
But it is of course very impressive. It is strange to think that this island was completely man-made. Also the only dog I saw in Dubai was on this island. 😉 There didn’t seem to be that many people living there though although the Atlantis hotel area seemed to be popular.
Here again we were frustrated with the lack of common sense in planning the area. So there was a boardwalk, but in order to get there from the monorail stop you needed to cross the parking lot exit and a wide two-way street. You would think that there would be a pedestrian crossing there, but you would be wrong. Instead you have to walk on the road and watch out for cars. Also for some reason there was approximately 1m high wall between the road and the boardwalk and the breaks in the wall were few and far between, so in order to get and walk on a boardwalk, you first needed to walk next to it for quite some time. If there is a purpose for this, it escaped me. The boardwalk itself was nice and there were even a couple of food truck cafes there.
Inside there are some stores and an aquarium called Lost Chambers Atlantis. The entrance fee is free for hotel visitors, 75 dirhams (19,15€) for UAE ID holders and 100 dirhams (25,50€) for everybody else. The price seemed to be quite hight and we’ve seen the aquarium at Dubai mall, so we were a bit hesitant to fork over this amount for tickets, but after a while we decided that what the hell, we came this far, so let’s just see it. And it was gorgeous! In hindsight I would skip the Dubai aquarium tunnel and just visit this aquarium. It was super cool even for adults, but the kids would love it for sure.
There was of course an effort to get more money from visitors. There was a seal sitting there for about 15 min and you could look at it and photograph it from behind the rope, but if you wanted to get closer and take a photo with the seal, it cost additional 100 dirhams (25,50€). I didn’t see a lot of willingness from anybody to pay that additional fee. 😉
After the aquarium we headed to a shop called Bateel, which was recommended to us by my friend. Apparently they have the best dates ever. 🙂 Their shop is very nice and they really had a large variety of dates stuff with different things such as nuts and orange peel or dipped in chocolate. Also I learned that there are different sweetness levels in dates. I bought everything “middle sweet” and I’m wondering how sweet the sweet variety is because these were very sweet already. But they have a great selection and nice service. I bought some as a present in a nice gift box and some for myself just in a bag and the price to quality ratio is very good. They have a couple of shops in Dubai and you could get assortment boxes at Dubai airport as well, but here you could choose exactly what you want.
On our way back we picked up lunch salads from Common Grounds as we would have dinner quite late.
We headed home to eat and to pack.
In the evening we decided to quickly visit the Souk Madinat Jumeirah and to have dinner at The Noodle House nearby. The souk was much nicer than the one in the old town, but apparently it is more expensive. I’m not big on souvenirs or other knick knacks, so I just enjoyed the view so to speak. 🙂
The Noodle House had some really nice food and cocktails. It was +22°C and we were sitting outside on the terrace with my friend wrapping her knit around her and me and my sister finally thinking that it’s finally a temperature where we don’t sweat. 😀 They had a really nice courtyard and from the terrace you could see Burj Al Arab changing color in the night. The food was also good. 🙂
As our flight was at 4 am, we were in no hurry to get to the airport. After dinner, we headed back to my friend’s place, where I showered before the flight and we took the taxi to the airport, which cost 70 dirhams (17,90€). The metro actually goes to the airport as well, but as we were always traveling in the middle of the night, so the metro was already closed. And anyway, taxis in Dubai aren’t that expensive and it’s a pain to travel with suitcases. 😉 Dubai metro timings can be checked here.
It actually took us some time to check in, pass the passport control and security check. I would say all in all about an hour despite it being 1 am. The airport seemed to be quite busy even at this hour, so I wouldn’t leave arriving there to the last minute. But we had still plenty of time before our flight, so we walked around a bit and spent our last dirhams there. Dubai airport seems to be quite expensive in terms of cosmetics (e.g. the Chanel mascara I use usually costs around 29€ at airports, but here it cost 35€). But for example the camel milk chocolate I saw in Dubai Mall were much cheaper at the airport, so I bought some as a present. But all in all if you want to spend your time shopping at Dubai airport, there are plenty of options to do that.
I slept for the most part of the flight, but I woke at some point to a nice view.
Some final thoughts:
All in all I would say that 5 days in Dubai is more than enough if you want to spend your time doing sightseeing, shopping, and eating out. If you want to spend more time on the beach, then a week is probably a perfect amount of time. As I’m not much of a beach person the only thing I would change is that I would have stayed over the weekend (Friday-Saturday) and tried one of Dubai’s famous extravagant brunches. So I might come back at some point for a long weekend just to relax and to eat. 🙂
Shopping is plentiful, but the prices are quite expensive. This is not a place for bargain shopping and even luxury items can be bought somewhere else for a better price. If you’re looking for a specific brand, then you’re in luck because I think Dubai has it all. 🙂
The city is very very clean, feels very safe, nor does it have drunks, drug users nor even beggars. I imagine that the above mentioned groups are dealt with quickly and efficiently without any regard to human rights, but it seems that Dubai kicks people out quite efficiently if they are not benefitting the emirate.
Dubai has an incredible amount of different nationalities and cultures living together. There are people wearing covering outfits and right next to them people wearing very western clothes. Lot of different skin colors and languages. And everybody can speak at least some level of English, so it’s a very easy destination for tourists. I was first worried about how I should dress, but as long as you avoid overkills, anything goes. I understand that other emirates such as Sharjah are more strict, but I didn’t see any judgement directed at people wearing skimpier clothing.
And last but not least the bathrooms were all very clean and most importantly every single one of them had a hook for the handbag! No handbag hook in the restroom is my pet peeve as it is so easy to solve, but causes so much irritation! 😀