I know it’s not fair, this is a travel blog for weekend addicted only, but you cannot go in Dubai for two days only. Five days it’s the minimum you can do if you want to live the city. I’m sure there will be other posts on long weekends in future so get used to it!
Dubai is like nothing I have seen before. It’s like a luxury cathedral in the desert. You can have the feeling that the entire city is kind of fake (maybe because this is the reality). But if you live it’s internal contrasts you’ll find it fashinating. You can enjoy nightlife on terraces and explore the typical markets the souk.
I have been there for new year eve and here I share with you my experience.
NOTE: Although there is the underground and a brand new tram line, not all the city is connected. You can easily use taxis, they are everywhere on the street and maybe this is the cheapest thing you can find in Dubai.
EXCHANGE RATE: 1AED=0,24€=0,27$
PLAYLIST: here my spotify playlist to enjoy your (long) weekend in Dubai
I stayed at the Marina view hotel. It is a great place where to stay in Dubai marina. This distrisct is full of restaurants and bar and very close to the beach (The Walk promenade). I was told that also Marina Byblos Hotel is an option. Sometimes you can find it cheaper and it has a bar full of people every night. As mentioned the district is amazing expecially if you take a room or apartement on high floor the view is something you cannot miss. On the other side the traffic is crazy here, so if you wanna move from here take this in consideration. Another option is to stay close to the Burji Khalifa in Downtown. You can find almost all the best clubs in this area, and the traffic is more easy.
In Dubai you can find everything so you can imagine that the best chefs in the world have at least a restaurant here. The list is endless so I would focus on what I liked the most. Let me start with the top. Social is the Heinz Beck’s restaurant. You can find it in the Waldorf Astoria hotel. For those who do not know Heinz he is a three-star chef who runs also La Pergola in Rome among the others. Bread street in the Atlantis hotel is the Gordon Ramsay’s. I don’t think any other word is needed. OKKU is a small gourmet sushi bar. Here you can find amazing dishes and after dinner can enjoy a drink at the bar. In The meat co. you can find delicious meat from all over the world, and it has a great wine selection too. Last one is Apros and hammers. It is a restaurant on a boat in Marina harbor. Here you can enjoy buckets of shellfish with many different sauces. I strongly suggest you to go there!
NOTE: Almost all these restaurants are not cheap at all, and require a reservation.
Nightlife in Dubai is one of the best in the world, and as you can imagine you have endless choices. I try to give you some suggestion for after dinner party and night clubbing.
Iris @Oberoi Hotel this is placed on top of the Oberoi hotel. It’s a Lebanese bar with great people. Buddha bar it’s a classical. Here in Dubai you can find it in Marina. Barasti it’s on the beach, 15 min by walk from Marina. Here the atmosphere is more relaxing and chilling. In Souk Madinat Jumeirah you can find the Pacha. It is great also for clubbing, but I must say I have appreciated it most enjoying my after dinner drink on the terrace with Burji Khalifa view (go here if you plan to have dinner at the The meat co. they are very close). I found GQbar casually because I wanted to go to VIP Room (they are both in the JW Marriot hotel). It’s a small venue, great to warm-up the nigh.
Let me start with the best. White is an amazing club on the rooftop of the The Meydan Hotel, definitely the best in town. You cannot leave Dubai without partying here. The Act it’s a club in the Shangri-la hotel. Great people and live entertainment make this a good choice for your night. Movida in Downtown it’s classy and sophisticated. It’s Small club so not easy to get in, but it worth a try. Other clubs I can suggest are VIP Room and Circus du Soir.
NOTE: All the clubs close at 3 in the morning, be sure to check the event in the website and ask for a table or guestlist in advance. Tuesday here is LADY’S NIGHT. Free drinks for all ladies! Last but not least, remember you cannot make-out in public otherwise you will be blamed by security or sent away eventually.
Street markets (souks)
If you are bored of nightlife and great restaurants and want to breath arabic atmosphere here a selection of the typical street markets in Dubai. Almost all of them are in the north part of the city.
Arguably the best known of the Dubai souks, the Gold Souk is a must-see for serious gold traders, visitors hunting for that special memento, or travellers in search of a shiny trinket. The hundreds of vendors ensure that there will be unique pieces, statement gemstones and alluring Arabic designs to suit all tastes and budgets. The Dubai authorities keep a close eye on incoming stock to ensure all gold, silver and jewels are genuine and top quality.
Follow your nose from the Gold Souk markets to the Spice Souk next door. A few hours’ browsing will provide you with great insights into Arabic trading, with top chefs, home cooks and savvy expats purchasing from the extensive range of local and imported spices, rice and fruit. Here, you’ll find high-quality saffron strands at local prices, fresh A-grade dates and all the supplies you need for smoking shisha tobacco. With the extensive range of exotic spices, dried fruits and nuts on display, you’re sure to discover a new taste – and yes, you are encouraged to sample before you buy.
More of a fragrance fan? Up the road from the Gold and Spice Souks is Deira’s Perfume Souk on Sikkat al Khali Street. This Souk deals in everything scented, from pure perfume to essential oils, incense sticks and the ever-popular traditional Oud. While there’s the option to buy oils in wholesale lots, vendors are more than happy to prepare smaller vials, even mixing scented oils together to create a perfume perfectly suited to a shopper’s tastes.
From the Perfume Souk, catch one of the many abra (the traditional long flat boats that are part of Dubai’s commuter transport system) across the creek to explore the Textile Souk in Bur Dubai. Within the heavy wooden gates of this lively marketplace, find tiny shops heaving with rolls of luxe fabrics, including fine silks, airy cottons and dazzling sari fabric. Pick out your favourites and pop into one of the surrounding tailors to have a dress, abaya (traditional womenswear), kandora (traditional menswear) or suit specially made. Affordable and fast, the tailors can work from templates or images of garments you would like replicated, with your new outfit ready within a week.
A short 15-minute taxi ride away from Downtown, Souk Madinat Jumeirah is the place to go to satisfy your hunger pangs. Visitors are able to choose from more than 40 dining options, including Lebanese cafes, Western-style eateries and high-end restaurants with front-row views of the canals that surround the fort-like cluster of towers. Inside, shoppers can browse souvenirs, artworks and sculptures, fashion and jewellery, before taking a sleek gondola ride to one of the surrounding luxury Jumeirah hotels for a great night’s sleep.
Thanks to visitdubai.com for the souks’ descriptions
If you find time go to see the Abu-Dhabi Mosque and enjoy a walk in the promenade. It’s 45 min far from Dubai by car but there are also direct busses.