Archives For Dubai

dubai-post-titleIt has been a hectic week. Setting up for Gitex 2009 in Dubai followed by five fully packed days. I have been wanting to write here but I am so tired by the end of the day, I just fall on the couch and sleep. Even now, it is 3 a.m. in the morning but I wanted to quickly upload some photos of my trip so far. I did fall asleep when doing this last night. So here’s the first upload of photos from Dubai 2009. Not much really. But it should give you a glimpse of Dubai – of what I have seen so far.

If you’re visiting Dubai..

September 27, 2007 — 5 Comments

Well, I am no expert! But here’s my experience from the couple of days spent in Dubai. So if you are visiting Dubai for the first time, this can be your quick guide to the city (definitely, not comprehensive).

The three things that you must check out are:

  • Shopping Malls
  • Places to see
  • and Food (of course!!)

Shopping Malls: Dubai is supposed to be the shopper’s paradise. You can get anything you want there – branded or fake, chinese or name it, you will find it. If you are looking for good bargains on electronics, watches or gold, try Mina Bazaar. A full set of streets lined with shops, where you have work on the bargain. Hypermarkets are very popular. Carrefour and Lulu are huge and you will find some good deals there too, if you don’t mind the crowd. Spinneys and Mercato are nice too if you want a peaceful shopping experience.

Make sure you visit the Dubai Duty Free shops at the Dubai airport. In fact you should get all your chocolates, alcohol and smoke from there. There are two advantages here –

  1. Your check-in luggage will be lighter
  2. Dubai Duty Free have good deals

The Mall of Emirates is also a popular hangout. Ski in DubaiIt also has an indoor ski slope, Ski Dubai. Another place I visited is the City Centre Mall. Both these malls have Carrefour.

Places to see:

I was recommended to visit Sheikh Zayed Road. Sheikh Zayed Road DubaiAnd it is definitely worth one. It has all of Dubai’s sky scrapers, including the soon-to-be tallest building of the world, Burj Dubai. There is the seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab. Burj Al Arab 7 Star Hotel in DubaiI don’t know if you can go in but it is worth the sight from outside, especially after dark. There is a beach near the hotel. You can get a good camera angle from there!

I just enjoyed the long rides in Dubai. There are also some good amusement parks and of course, the indoor ski slope (both places, I didn’t go!)

The artificial islands, Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali are for real. You may have seen the Google Earth pictures. The Palm Jumeirah Main Trunk RoadFor a man-made structure, they are quite impressive. Entry is restricted to residents and officials on the island. So we were able to see only the main trunk road of one of the islands – Palm Jumeirah.

You should try lebanese cuisine. I missed it!! It’s basically clean and healthy food – not much spice and no much oil. You should definitely try the shawarma. I love it. Laban is Arabic for buttermilk and is available in tetra packs and plastic pet bottles. It is awesome. A famous company is Almarai.

You should also try out the Indian and Pakistani restaurants too. The biriyani you get there is very different from the ones you get in India. Karachi Darbar, Pakistani Restaurant in DubaiWe visited a place called Karachi Darbar – nice place and good food.

If you are keen on Indian vegetarian food, there is the whole host of Indian vegetarian restaurants in Dubai including Saravana Bhavan, Vasantha Bhavan and Sangeetha for the South Indian fare.

If you like chocolates, you will find all variety there. Another must-try is the date biscuit. Date Biscuit - MaamoulThey are called Maamoul. It is biscuit with serious filling of fresh dates. I absolutely go nuts over this. My favourite brand is Al-Karamah. A box of 16 biscuits costs around 7-8 AED.

Other pointers:

Stay. Hotel apartments seem a good option. They have all the amenities – phone, washing machine, microvave oven, electric stove etc. We stayed at Golden Sands in Bur Dubai.

Communication. There is only one provider – Etisalat. A new mobile connection would cost 165AED plus recharge. If you have a contact in Dubai, check whether they’ve a free sim card and just recharge it.

Internet. Hotels will have Internet but they’re very slow..even late in the night. We used to frequent an internet cafe in Al-Ain centre in Bur Dubai. They have wired and wireless connections and you can either use your own laptop or one of their desktops. The speed was decent enough and an hour cost 10 AED.

Language. If you know English, you can get around town without much issues. Knowledge of Hindi or Malayalam can have its special benefit. Lot of Indians and Pakistanis there, especially as cab drivers.

Also remember that UAE follow a Sunday to Thursday week. Most of the other GCC countries follow the Saturday to Wednesday schedule. Some companies in the UAE still follow the same schedule.

Hope this helps someone who is visiting Dubai. If you have anything to add to this list, please feel free to add as a comment here.

Taxis and buses are available as part of the public transport system. The buses look comfortable and in some places, even the bus stops are air-conditioned! Like I mentioned in my previous post, taxis are not freely available everywhere, everytime. There can be a waiting period before you get one. The other way is to book a taxi via telephone. But during peak hours in peak seasons (like Gitex), they don’t even pick up your call! I guess all their taxis are taken.

I don’t know about bus charges. But taxi fares start at AED 3 and during night hours, AED 3.5.

Dubai: What I miss in India!

September 26, 2007 — 6 Comments

I had been to Dubai to attend Gitex from my company. I must admit that I am impressed by the place. Considering what they have done with what they’ve got. And acquired (literally everything is imported there). Here is a list of things that I enjoyed there, that I miss in India:

  1. Order in traffic. Order in traffic in Dubai RoadsI just enjoyed the rides there. No complications. Drivers follow lanes. No cuttin red signals. They’ve cameras in place literally everywhere and hefty fines if you break the rules. (and it’s obvious that you can’t bribe your way out of it!)
  2. The malls are big and they’re open till very late in the night.Shopping Malls in DubaiI was able to finish my work and still enjoy a good time at the mall. The supermarket opposite my hotel was open 24hours. That was very convenient, even during the month of Ramadan.
  3. The roads are really good. Highways have ten lanes! Ten Lane Highways in DubaiYou can drive at 120km/hr and not worry about the next pothole.
  4. Taxi meters. Seriously. They’re cute. Touch screen. With GPS. At the end of the journey, a bill is auto printed. Even the taxi light above the car is controlled by this meter.Taxi Meters in Dubai (Note: taxis can be difficult to get at peak hours, especially during Gitex.) The other advantage is that there is no haggling when hiring a taxi. I hate Chennai auto rickshaw drivers for this. There is always a waste of time and energy before every auto rickshaw trip I take in Chennai. In Dubai, the only problem you will face is finding a taxi soon enough.
  5. Food seems relatively cheap. A subway beef sandwich (beef is unavailable in Indian Subway) is just 10 AED and a McDonalds BigMac is 15 AED Food in Dubai(including drinks and fries). You may be able to get something cheaper or at the same price in India but there is more purchasing power available to the people there.