And there I went on my first solo trip from Düsseldorf on my way to Singapore. I first had a stop in Dubai, so I made sure the stop would be long enough to explore Dubai a bit. I have no problem with flying, so the fact that I was on my own only hit me once I had landed in Dubai and I had to figure out where and how to get off of the airport. (tip: it’s really not that difficult you just go to the exit through security and when in doubt, just ask the airport staff.)
As I walked into the airport I heard two guys behind me speaking in Dutch (I’m Dutch), so I decided to walk up to them and see if maybe one of them had the same connecting flight and therefore the same amount of time to explore Dubai. Neither of them actually had the same connecting flight, but one of them did have even more time than me. When I told him I was planning on exploring Dubai a bit, he said: ” Ok so where do we go first?”. And that, is how easy it is for solo travelers to find travel buddies.
So off we went trough passport control, and immediately I noticed the difference in culture. I walked in front of the Dutch guy, but they asked to help him first anyways. So strange and old-fashioned for us, but apparently, still totally normal in Dubai.
Then the moment came, what were we going to do with our few hours in Dubai? Neither of us were really prepared that well, but we knew some places we wanted to see. So off we went to the Dubai mall, which is next to the Burj Khalifa. Seriously, these malls in Dubai are definitely wort visiting! They have everything you can think of: indoor scuba diving, ski lodges, tall waterfalls etc. (Dubai mall and mall of Emirates).
When we finally convinced ourselves that we had spent enough time inside the mall and it was time to go out, the heat really striked us. It was SO hot, and it was really early in the morning (7am-ish). When you walk outside of the Dubai mall, you see the famous skyline. We found it to be difficult to get a good picture. There were no clouds blocking the sky anywhere, but it was still hard to capture it due to all the sand in te air in combination with the heat.
Since we were there so early in the morning and have to leave on time, we weren’t able to watch the famous fountain/lights show, but we did get to see them prepare for the show, so we got to see a few water fountains going up which was already pretty awesome in my opinion.
After the malls, we knew we really wanted to see part of the famous palm islands. We didn’t go on a helicopter or skydiving trip, since we hadn’t planned anything ahead for the short time we had in Dubai, but we did take a trip with a shuttle that goes around there and let’s you get out to see the famous Atlantis hotel that’s located at the Palm.
Take in mind, this picture was taken true the glass of the shuttle which explains the strange colours.
I experienced Dubai to be a little bit disappointing. The city is still so new, which means that 80% of the buildings around are still being built. I had no idea of this. I guess I just had a different image of Dubai in my head because you always only see all the pretty pictures of buildings like the Burj Khalifa and not the pictures of all the buildings around the Burj Kalifa that are still being built. So these pictures here below is what it looked like all over Dubai:
Really fascinating to me was the fact that we travelled quite a bit across Dubai, but hardly spend any time in the heat. Dubai has so many air-conditioning! The bus stops are air-conditioned and there is often a covered pathway with airconditioning instead of a sidewalk or next to a sidewalk. Except for the few people working and on the beach, we didn’t see any other people outside on the streets, which makes sense because we were also sweating our asses off as soon as we were outside for a little bit. But still, pretty impressive.
Flying out of the Emirates airport in Dubai, I got to be business class, which was my first ever business flight! Check my next blog to read about my business class experience and how I flew another business flight back from Dubai to Düsseldorf in August.