Liv­ing it up in Dubai

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MATTA FAIR -

DUBAI is surely one of the best con­nected cities to Kuala Lumpur. With four daily flights to Dubai on Emi­rates and one of them be­ing the Air­bus A380 – the largest air­craft in the skies – there are plenty of seats on of­fer to the cos­mopoli­tan city in the Middle East.

Dubai has grown from a hum­ble fish­ing and pearl- div­ing vil­lage to a bustling city of global sig­nif­i­cance. It is not only a com­mer­cial and fi­nan­cial hub, but also home to the world’s tallest sky- scraper – Burj Khal­i­fah, one of the worlds largest malls – Dubai Mall and sev­eral other ar­chi­tec­tural and en­gi­neer­ing feats like in­door ski­ing and man- made is­lands.

Last Oc­to­ber, tour con­sul­tant An­drew Ja­cob vis­ited Dubai for the first time as part of an ed­u­ca­tional visit and he penned down some key Dubai essentials for po­ten­tial vis­i­tors:

How long do you need to visit?

For first- timers vis­it­ing Dubai, I sug­gest tak­ing a four- day visit – this will give you time for the at­trac­tions, theme parks and shop­ping. So a long week­end is a good fit for a trip to Dubai, if you’re short on time, you could squeeze in the essentials in a two- night stopover when fly­ing with Emi­rates to Europe or the United States.

Are visas es­sen­tial?

For Malaysians, we can get a visa on ar­rival. For other na­tion­al­i­ties, we can ar­range visas if they book their ho­tel and tour with us, and typ­i­cally this takes a week to ar­range bear­ing in mind the UAE week­end is Fri­day- Satur­day.

Dur­ing Mus­lim fes­ti­vals, it may take longer.

What are must- see, must- do things?

The Desert Sa­fari is a must. We have sent many peo­ple to Dubai over the years and they’ve all en­joyed it. I fi­nally ex­pe­ri­enced it my­self and have to agree. It’s like a roller- coaster ride and a cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence all in one. We got to try Shisha, the ladies got henna tat­toos, and we were en­ter­tained by a belly dancer dur­ing a buf­fet din­ner. Dur­ing the city tour, we cov­ered the es­sen­tial photo stops – Burj Khal­i­fah, Burj Al Arab, the palm is­lands, the souks and the beach.

Are meals ex­pen­sive?

There are var­i­ous food op­tions, if you are on a bud­get, you can get a ke­bab at a lo­cal pick- up and go style restau­rant for as lit­tle as US$ 2 ( RM8) and if you eat in a food court, ex­pect to pay US$ 7 ( RM28) for a McDon­alds set meal. But of course Dubai also has fine- din­ing op­tions and spec­tac­u­lar buf­fets can cost any­thing from US$ 50 ( RM200).

Malaysians love shop­ping. What can we buy?

The first thing that comes to mind is Gold. Just imag­ine if the whole of Pe­tal­ing Street was just gold­smiths – that’s the Dubai Gold Souk. And they sell gold by weight and you can bar­gain too. For those not in­ter­ested in bling, there is a wide va­ri­ety of tex­tiles and op­por­tu­ni­ties to tai­lor clothes.

And of course all ma­jor brands and de­sign­ers have bou­tiques in Dubai mall so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to retail ther­apy.

For ex­clu­sive MATTA Fair of­fers on Emi­rates to Europe and Dubai, call one of the con­sor­tium agents: World Dis­cov­ery Travel ( M) Sdn

Dubai is not only a com­mer­cial and fi­nan­cial hub, but also home to the world’s tallest sky­scraper – Burj Khal­i­fah.

so much gold at the Dubai Gold souk.

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