36 Hours in Dubai

Dubai in thirty-six hours

Holidays

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.

18 thoughts on “Dubai in thirty-six hours

    1. Hmm, must be a problem with theme and Firefox 🙁 Let me contact the theme maker, maybe there’s an update or fix!

      The Burj Khalifa is HUGE… dwarfs everything else on the skyline.

    1. So funnily enough, this wasn’t the observation deck. Which is on the 124/125th floors. We were at an office! Imagine having your office in this building, on this level!? Blew my mind a little bit. There are still yet higher offices! The ride in the lift up had my ears constantly popping. And it took the lift about 10 floors just to slow down. Insane.

  1. Goodness me, I cannot imagine Dubai being somewhere I’d be able to hit-up for a mini-trip! We flew over it the last time we went on a plane (2010) and it was pretty incredible to see from above. So happy you had the chance to get away for the weekend, my friend!

    1. Yeah, my SO reminded me that Dubai is one of the most amazing cities in the world and its on our doorstep. I just kept forgetting and not appreciating that big fact.

      One day, Tori, one day, you’ll get to be there 🙂

  2. Ah! Your photographs are stunning and have certainly lifted my spirits. I cannot remember the last time I went to an aquarium or the zoo even – must rectify this! Pleased to see and read what a lovely time you had there 🙂

    1. Thank you Mo 🙂 I don’t know if it’s because they’re my photos, but I’m always surprised when people like them. I’m the same with work when I’m designing. My inner-critic is way too loud!

      Always a little conflicted going to zoos and the like. Combination between feeling bad for the animals locked up, but then thinking, wait, maybe there’s more to it. Why I like London Zoo – they do some good work there.

  3. Is there any part of Dubai that doesn’t look spectacular? It has an air of lavishness about it that’s simply breathtaking. Never been there myself, but from these photos, I’d love to someday. Glad you had a good time. 🙂

    1. I think like a lot of big cities, there are definitely some areas that are a little less to be desired. But for the most part, there is some beauty to be found everywhere. And yes, it’s very lavish. And it’s very BIG. I feel like it’s a city always competing and always saying, you think that’s big, well this is BIGGER. Everything from their stupidly large mall, the Burj Khalifa, 7 star hotels, it’s insane. It’s worth a visit for sure.

  4. Sounds like a great weekend! I remember the skyscraper from Mission: Impossible, must be an even more special sight in person, you captured the size with that picture of the people and buildings below. A lot of steps to climb! Did you cheat and take the elevator? That fly (and the builders of the tower) were apparently not afraid of heights…

    1. No no no, definitely took the elevator haha! Ears popping all the way. It’s such a huge building. It’s crazy, going up in the lift you can hear the wind whistling through the lift shafts. Made me think back to that photo that Tom Cruise took sitting on the top top of that building – how the hell did he not fall off?!

    1. Ate VERY well. Could have grown pretty fat there. Though, did plenty of walking! There’s a marina, a set of man made islands called “the world” which literally look like the world, but they’re sinking haha.

      Things weren’t super expensive. Shopping – things are tax free. Alcohol is expensive, as it is in pretty much all of the Gulf countries. We got a taxi from the airport which was quite expensive, and spent the rest of the time Uber-ing it everywhere, which was much cheaper. We spent more money than we were expecting to, but we definitely could have had just as good a time and spent less. Our planning just wasn’t that good this time around, ha!

  5. Looks like a fun little getaway! I don’t know if I could handle the Burj though. I still haven’t even made it to the top of the Sears Tower yet 🙂

    1. Let me tell you something, the Burj is REALLY high. I mean, it’s impossible to describe a building being that high, you know? Just wish it hadn’t been so hazy that day.

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