Living it up in Dubai
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.
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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.