United Arab Emirates

The UAE is somewhere that has never particularly appealed to me as a holiday destination, however given that it is such a common layover for New Zealanders on their way to virtually anywhere, I thought that maybe to break up my trip home it might be nice to explore the city of Dubai. Wow, what an experience. Read more about my two nights there, here, and my Recollection Diaries post here.

  • Capital: Abu Dhabi
  • Population: 9.4 million
  • Currency: UAE Dirham
  • Language: Arabic
  • Highlights:
    • Dubai: a fascinating mixture of old and new, one side of the river is packed with souks – from textiles and utensils to gold and spices, and the other is rife with skyscrapers taller than you’ve ever seen before… especially the Burj Khalifa.
  • Did you know?
    • The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building: a staggering 828m in height!
    • There are a huge amount of expats living in Dubai – and apparently over 200 nationalities all up.
    • The Dubai metro is driverless. It is all automated… and pretty slick at that.
    • The UAE is hot hot hot. As a result, the buildings are all so well air-conditioned and in the summer one barely needs to go outside.
  • Useful tips:
    • Dress fashionably, but conservatively. Even though it’s hot, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone (females especially) wearing shorts and t-shirts.
    • Dubai airport is so expensive, we had a nasty shock when we were looking for just a light breakfast. Coffees cost about $10 and even just a plain croissant sat at about $12.
    • The metro is an efficient way to get around the city, although the buses are also extremely well air-conditioned. They definitely take longer though!
    • Save Dubai Mall for the afternoon/evening. It really comes alive at night (especially with the Dubai Mall lights show) and has everything from shops and restaurants to an aquarium and an ice-skating rink.