Trip Report - Day 1 : Dubai: Jumeirah Beach, Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah Souk and Emirati cuisine
01.01.2015 - 04.01.2015 18 °C
Our flight to Dubai was at 9:55 AM. We reached the airport early and completed all our check-in formalities. Usually before any trip, we talk to Isha a lot about what we would be doing and which places we would be visiting. It helps in getting her mentally prepared for the trip. She was super excited as she liked the idea of Dubai with its beach, desert, aquarium, camel rides etc; lots of things of her interest actually . And Isha being excited about something acts as a booster for our excitement as well.
The flight was on time and we reached Dubai at 12:00 PM. After completing all the visa formalities and collecting our luggage, we reached the Metro station at the airport. Dubai metro is very convenient and since our hotel Ibis was located just opposite one of the metro stations, we thought of giving it a try.
We purchased the Silver Nol card about which I had read online before leaving for Dubai. A Nol Card is a smart card that allows you to use Bus, Metro, and Water-bus with a single card. It has a 'touch & go’ function which means, you simply tap it on the entry point of any of the above services and the system will then automatically deduct the correct fare. There are several such Nol cards- Red, Silver, Gold, Blue. The silver Nol card has 5 year validity and costs AED 25, of which AED 6 is for the card and AED 19 is the amount which can be used for travel. This card can be topped up at all ticket offices. It was very convenient, as during our 4 days in Dubai, we could use this card without having to queue for a ticket every time.
Dubai metro is clean, efficient and fast and we loved the idea of the metro instantly. It took us around half an hour to reach the hotel. Mostly, the metro runs above the ground and is a nice way to see the city. The stops are announced in both Arabic and English, so there is no missing the stop.
We reached Hotel Ibis World Trade Center at around 2 PM. Check-in was quick and smooth. The room was small but very clean and comfortable with all the required amenities. We loved the location of the hotel as it was just opposite the metro station with a supermarket and lots of restaurants in the vicinity. After freshening up, we went for lunch at Pizza Express just around the corner from our hotel. We ordered the Affumicato pizza and dough balls with nutella. The food was delicious and the service great. It was also very child friendly and Isha had a good time running around.
After lunch, Isha had a quick nap after which we left for Jumeirah Sunset beach. This is the beach which is just next to Burj Al Arab and gives a fantastic view of this famous luxury hotel in Dubai. We went there on 1st January, a holiday for most people and the first weekend after New Year, so as expected, it was very crowded. We got some great photos of the Burj Al Arab here at sunset. It was an awesome experience to just watch the sky changing its colours and Burj Al Arab looking more and more stunning with every passing minute. Isha had a great time playing in the sand and just running around on the beach. It was a perfect holiday for her so far...
With a heavy heart, we left the beach and walked towards the Madinat Jumeirah Souk. Our original plan was to take a taxi to the Souk, however we were told by some locals that it is at walking distance, so we set off after asking for directions. Around 10-15 minutes later, we were at the Souk. The souk is like a cobbled street with various shops lined on both the sides of the street. The entire souk has a very ancient and rustic look and feel. The ambience created by the various stalls and shops, the waterfront with its boats, the numerous restaurants and cafes along the waterfront, the Christmas tree with Santa, everything was just so beautiful. This souk also gives some good views of the Burj Al Arab.
Though dining at one of the waterfront restaurants was very tempting, we moved on to our final destination of the day - Al Fanar restaurant for a local Emirati cuisine experience. The entire themed setting of this restaurant was very beautiful. There is a classic desert land rover and camel at the entrance and the walls, roofs, sitting arrangements give glimpses of a bygone era. The servers at the restaurant wearing traditional costumes complete the entire experience.
You can dine indoors under the desert tree or outdoors in the fishermen's hut. We chose the later and must say it was a very unique experience. We ordered local food Beryani Laham (Mutton served with mix of rice, onions and raisins) and Margougat Deyay (Arabic bread simmered in Chicken stew with potato and seasonal vegetables).
The perfect food and ambiance made it a superb way to end our first day in Dubai.