Okay so to be fair, my layover was not 24 hours, it was only 19 hours and I spent about 7-8 hours of those sleeping after a 14 hour flight. And of course, like any major cosmopolitan city, you really need more than 24 hours to truly experience the city, but if you find yourself in the case of a layover with some time to kill, well I have some suggestions.
Dubai is kinda the city of excess… tallest building in the world? check, 7 star hotel? check. Underwater hotels? Sure. Indoor skiing rings and private beaches built on the man made Palm Islands (literally islands built with beaches to look like palms trees from the sky. If you got money, it’s probably a good place to spend it. VIP service is available everywhere.
If you don’t, or at least not to the same degree (hey some of us need to spread our pennies through the next 2 weeks and not just two days), well there’s still plenty to enjoy.
The first leg of trip from Boston to Bangkok was a bit around 14 hours with very little sleep on the plane. Our layover was in Dubai so we decided to do some sightseeing and catch up on some sleep that was not in sitting up form.
The first place we went was the Dubai mall and to see Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building in the world!
We didn’t go to the top, because quite frankly, I find the views from the top in packed observation decks to just not be my thing but it was neat to see this tall tower.I couldn’t fit the full tower into a frame, but we tried a bit.
It is near the mall, while this is not the famed mall with the indoor ski slope, there is a fountain show that happens at night (and where I got no photos whatsoever).
Also inside the mall is the third largest aquarium (by tank size) in the world. While you do have to pay to walk through this tube thing, you can still view the general tank for free in the mall.
It’s not as cool as scuba diving, but it’s a still is bringing some awareness to how cool marine life is (I hope). I do wish they had more information about how overfishing is pretty much killing any future marine life.
Baby sharks!!! soooo cute.
And catfish just because I really love cats of any whiskers!
After some much needed sleep, we decided to get up and out to explore Dubai. We started with Bastakiya quarter which at 10AM was a bit empty compared to crowded European towns. If I had to do it again, I would come here in the evening as it’s near the waterfront and probably looks really cool lit up.
Across the waterway for the extravagant price of about 30 centers, you can take a water taxi to see the historical Souks of Dubai. Actually, this was probably my favorite part of my Dubai visit.
I love the merchant boats!
Souks are basically little district market place with a mix of indoor and outdoor vendors. Yes before giant malls, these were the real markets of Dubai the built it to be the commerce city it is now. Although now mostly packed with tourists and hawkers, it was fun to see the partially covered alleyways and goods on display.
We started with the textile souks as they began to open up.
Moved up to the spice souk
How many can you name?
And finally ended at the gold souk where each of those shops is selling the yellow bling.
Does this gold make my butt look big??
Before we knew it, it was time to catch the second leg of our flight to head off to the airport!
- Public transit is pretty easy, but if you’re in a hurry, they have Uber and it was fairly cheap. However, traffic is pretty terrible, so review your water taxi/train options as available.
- It’s hot and the city probably is more active in the evenings than during the mornings
- If you’re very into dining, do some research, we winged it and had some disappointing results, but I have heard that food in Dubai is great.
- If you’re going to see the show at Dubai fountain, don’t wait for the last show, because it might not happen!
- Relax, enjoy and window shop!