36 Hours in Dubai

Dubai in thirty-six hours


Thirty-six. That’s how many hours we had in Dubai this weekend. And I think we made the most of it. It’s not long at all. And I’d made various lists of places to see and eat. Sure it was a little disappointing not being able to tick as many things off. BUT nothing beats some time away from home – feeling that holiday feeling. It’s been so long. (not counting that little trip to London)

With both of our work schedules being slightly abnormal (he works nights, I work UK hours), the only times we see the sunrise is from the flip side, just before heading to bed. Saturday morning being the exception – waking up just before sunrise (which is early here in Bahrain, usually around 6am) to get ready to catch our flight to Dubai.

Bahrain sunrise

I love our view. It’s just all the more spectacular at sunrise.

Travelling from Bahrain airport is bliss. For one thing – Bahrain’s tiny, and you’re never far from anything if you live in Manama. Getting to the airport takes us around 15-20 minutes on a good day. But the best thing? Bahrain airport security. It takes seconds. There have been times when it’s taken me under an hour from leaving home to being through security browsing duty-free, at the airport. Bliss. Though the bliss ends when waiting for you flight at the airport with the AC making it feel like the arctic.

As soon as we arrived at our hotel, where we snagged a ridiculously unnecessary upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, it was great we got it. But we really didn’t need a 2 bedroom suite that was bigger than our own home for a one night stay. It did have spectacular views over the marina though.

Dubai Marina

Opening the curtains to this view was quite the reveal.

The majority of our trip centred around The Dubai Mall, mostly because it was a hub for a few things we wanted to see – The Dubai Fountain, The Burj Khalifa, a little bit of shopping. Not to mention having somewhere cool to sit for a little while as it’s still surprisingly hot out.

The Burj Khalifa

This is one big fucking building. Can you spot the zip-line?

We missed out on the fountains. Our Uber driver was completely clueless as to where to take us, and we didn’t have any data on our phone to show him. Was not impressed with the Uber drivers in Dubai vs. Bahrain, but that’s a whole other story.

Before heading out to Dubai, the one thing I knew I wanted to do was go up to the top of the Burj Khalifa. But, the tickets were out of our holiday budget this time around. Our holiday budget goes about 30% sight-seeing, 70% food and drinks. We have our priorities. They’ll be a next time.

The Burj Khalifa

Kinda like the Grand Canyon, photos can’t show just how big this thing is.

But as luck would have it, I did get to go up the Burj. Thanks to Anish. (But we didn’t actually pay. And no, we didn’t scale it Mission: Impossible style) Incredible views from the 146th floor. If the day wasn’t so hazy, it would have been perfect. But this is the Middle East… I was a little bemused as we sat there looking out and seeing a fly out the window. How in the hell did it get up there!?

View from the Burj

If you can get past the ghostly apparitions, check out these views from the 146th floor of The Burj Khalifa.

We ate well in Dubai. We’re a bit starved of good Mexican food in Bahrain. Aside from what Anish cooks. On Saturday night we were at Tortuga, filling ourselves with tacos, quesadillas and plenty of margaritas. Stunning food. Stunning location. Definitely go-back-to-again on another trip.

To ease the margaritas off the next morning we headed to Clinton Street Baking which was perfect. With it being a Sunday morning (working day) the place was blissfully quiet. And they had bottomless coffee! I had the chicken and waffles – my first chicken and waffles experience. Won’t be the last.

Clinton Street Baking

Deep in menu contemplation at Clinton Street Baking.

We made an un-planned trip to the aquarium in The Dubai Mall after the trip up the Burj. While not on my to-do list, I’m glad we hit it. Sure, it’s an just an aquarium. Randomly in a mall. It managed to surprise me. They actually do some conservation and education work there. Our guide was so enthusiastic too. Love seeing people who are really happy and excited about what they do on the daily.

The Dubai Aquarium

This guy – checking me out.

Then we were both a bit spent. And it was time to be heading back home. The prospect of going back home, while on holiday, gives me that 50-50 feeling. Half of me is looking forward to my own bed, my own space and that feeling of being home. But the other part of me wasn’t ready to go back home. Wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the mini-break.

Dubai sunset

We started the mini-break with a sunrise in Bahrain. Ended it with the sunset on the way back to Dubai airport.

I wanted to see more of Dubai. But realistically, it just wasn’t possible. And while I was pouting about it back then, a few days of hindsight is enough to make me realise that we managed enough for the time we had there. Now that we have the lay of the land, the next time we go, we’ll use that knowledge to good use. Yes, there will be a next time. After all, it’s just so close.