See the stunning images of Dubai, and see how this desert emirate prospered into being an esteemed global hub
written and photographed by Erron Ocampo
Of Sands and Adventure
One of the best activities that you can experience in Dubai is the 4×4 drive, where you will get a good sampling of the way 4x4s are driven in the sandy dunes. Seatbelts are required however, and holding on to something is strongly recommended if you want to survive the ride.
The dunes at sunrise are definitely a must-see, because it’s where you can actually feel the vastness of the desert. e best time to start would be just before sunrise as the sun is not yet hot and the sand is still a li le cool. During this time, walking around the desert barefoot is such an exciting experience. Just keep your footwear beyond reach, though, because once it gets close to midday, the sand can instantly feel burning hot.
Another recommended activity in Dubai is the desert safari, where you can ride a camel and roam around the massive sand dunes. Getting on these gentle creatures is easy, but when they stand up or sit down, that’s when it gets kind of tricky. You have to hold on tight and shift your body backward or forward to counter the uneven stand of the camels. However, it’s going to be all fun and leisurely once they start walking.
You should take note as well that some camels rest during midday as the sun becomes hotter. Even if you go there on a winter season, it can still get really warm during the day.
Creek in the Desert
THe Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek that has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists. is body of water is known to be the very reason for the existence of the city.
The traditional abra or boat is a favorite way of getting from one side of the creek to the other. Up to 20 people can fit in each abra, but tourists may also opt to rent out the whole boat if they want a private cruise around the creek.
There are also several ports along the Dubai Creek. Thousands of people access these ports every day to cross from the Bur Dubai to the Deira side. Tons of souks or markets are located as well around the area, including the textile souk, the gold souk, and the spice souk. Birds are also a common sight along the creek, since there is a bird sanctuary near the area.
Aside from abras,the creek is also crossed by other water transportation such as water taxis, tour cruises, yachts, speedboats, and trade boats. The traditional trade boats lined up along the side adds to the whole charm of cruising along the creek and seeing Old Dubai.
Understanding Old Dubai
Al Bastakiya in Old Dubai is a historical neighborhood dating back to the 1890s. The remaining structures were beautifully restored and preserved, and now serve as a center for arts and culture.
The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, on the other hand, is another great way to get a glimpse of Old Dubai. Here, you can see wind towers which served as the air-conditioning system of the city centuries before. The complex is also a labyrinth of small alleys, some even as narrow as when you open your one arm wide. Exploring the neighborhood of Old Dubai will also make you stumble upon quiet courtyards, restaurants, galleries, and shops that feature local artisan works.
One of the recommended hotels for travelers who want to experience the best of Dubai’s luxury is the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel in Burjuman Center. What’s perfect about this hotel is that it offers arguably the most beautiful skyline view of the city—and you can see it from its roof deck swimming pool area.
Dubai is replete with so many ultra- modern structures, the most famous of which is arguably the Burj Khalifa—a skyscraper said to tower above the whole city, and the whole world. Preceded by Taipei 101, this mega-structure stands mighty at 828 meters with 163 floors. You can feel on top of the world by going up the observation deck during the day. And when the night falls, you can enjoy several beautiful light shows throughout the skyscraper. Even if you’re at the Dubai Mall, you can still watch and enjoy these water and light shows.
One of the first architectural wonders of modern Dubai is the Burj Al Arab. The sail- shaped hotel—which is complete with luxury design and extravagant offerings—stands on a man-made island, and is best viewed along the Jumeirah Beach.
Lastly and surprisingly, Dubai is also known for having a lot of lavish yachts. For a desert city, this fact amazes a lot of travelers, especially those who visit the Dubai Marina. This district is one of the best places to see many of these yachts, especially during the night, while enjoying an al-fresco dinner with friends or loved ones.