Spectacular Dubai really has to be seen to be believed! A place where everything is big / big / biggest. Where every corner you turn you come across another World Record. Dubai is quite simply OUT OF THIS WORLD. It is even so centrally located globally that you can access over half the world’s population within a 5 hour flight! And the Holiday NInja had the pleasure to explore this sprawling city to give you the low down on how to get there, where to stay and what to do while you are there!
There are many ways to get to Dubai, however on this occasion, the NInja chose to go on the excellent value / affordable Etihad Airways direct daily service from Dublin to neighbouring Abu Dhabi. The flight is only around 7 hours and with Dublin airport being only 90 minutes from Belfast it is a highly convenient way of getting to your destination. One of the highlights of the entire trip (which took some doing!) was our upgrade and flying Business Class with Etihad. The service and experience was simply incredible. The spacious cabin space with your comfortable massage seat that goes fully flat, huge personal TV screen, exclusive made-to-order menu, and friendly attentive cabin crew made for an unforgettable flight. Etihad are also to go one further however with the introduction of their new A350 aircraft later this month (Spring ‘23). Once in Abu Dhabi the Etihad service does not cease there. A complimentary Executive Coach is provided just outside the terminal to take you to Downtown Dubai – this simply needs prebooked and your boarding pass presented to the driver upon arrival. The bus comes with free Wi-Fi and charging points for devices and only took 85 minutes to reach Downtown Dubai. From checking in at Dublin airport to arriving at Downtown Dubai, the service supplied by Etihad was first class.
For the first part of our trip we stayed at the 5* Hotel Sofitel right in the heart of the JBR area of Dubai. This area is perfect for those who want a mix of a relaxing beach holiday and also easy access to some of the most popular tourist attractions Dubai has to offer. The Sofitel Hotel boasts 32 floors with modern, stylish, spacious rooms. There is a beautiful infinity pool that looks out towards the world’s biggest Ferris Wheel across the bay. Food in the hotel is incredible with lots to offer whether it is the buffet breakfast with all you need to start your busy day or the live cooking stations with modern cuisine at dinner. A few steps outside the hotel and you have many modern shops, restaurants and of course attractions – a stunning property in an ideal location
While in the Dubai Harbour area the NInja took an alternative boat tour around the iconic Dubai coastline. The NInja was the captain of his own 2-man boat on a 90 minute guided adventure that was recently featured in an episode of The UK Apprentice tv show. HERO OdySea was a great way to sightsee many of Dubai’s famous landmarks with your boat able to reach speeds of 50km/h (should you wish). It was a really fun thrill seeking boating adventure and enabled you to get some amazing uninterrupted photographs along the way.
Another must-do attraction is to get a VIP insider tour of the world famous SEVEN STAR Burj Al Arab Hotel. This is one of the most iconic hotels in the world and this tour is your opportunity to step inside its famous doors. You get to explore the vision of the hotel, the history, explore one of the VIP Royal rooms and sample some Arabian coffee and dates! Who knows, it may even tempt you into staying …. If you can afford the $5000 per night room cost! Once you have finished your tour you can also visit Wild Wadi Water Park which can be found right outside where the tour ends – unfortunately it was closed for refurbishments during this trip.
Another breath-taking tour in this part of Dubai is The View at The Palm. The man-made Palm Jumeirah is another iconic Dubai masterpiece. Amazingly, the Palm itself can be seen from space. With your ticket you get access to the 52nd floor Viewing Deck which gives 360 degree views of the Palm and many of Dubai’s other sights. NInja tip – if your budget extends to it, it is well worth paying a little extra to gain access to the Next Level viewing deck located 2 floors above the general access. There is limited access to this level so you can fill your social media feed with some amazing photos at your leisure. The View at The Palm also has a restaurant located on the 52nd floor and The View Exhibition is located at the bottom of the building which gives the history and shows the making of the famous landmark – I still cant quite get my head around how it was all done!?
If you are looking for a more relaxing time in the Jumeirah Beach area why not spend a day chilling out at one of the many Beach Clubs Dubai has on offer? This is one of the most popular things to do in Dubai – an escape to an adults-only resort for “brunch”. Mare at Bussola is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to unwind in a classy pool area and beach setting. With its laid-back Italian and Mediterranean theme, food and beverages, poolside bar and private beach, this really is the way to spend some relaxing time after all the hectic sightseeing you have done.
Once you are suitably relaxed, how about taking on the world’s longest urban Zipline with XLine Dubai! You start 170 meters high on top of one of the buildings that overlook the Dubai Marina. You are strapped into a “superman” harness and you are sent all the way over the Dubai Marina on this 1km zipline that can have you reaching speeds of up to 80km/h! This was one of most exhilarating experiences the NInja has had and one he will never forget, courtesy of the complimentary photos and video of your experience that come as part of your ticket. There are a few height / weight requirements to be able to go on this Zipline so be sure to check out the information before booking.
Sports fans? Or looking for an entertaining, energetic fun filled time with friends or family? You have to hit Top Golf Dubai. Located in the iconic Emirates Golf Club at Emirates Hills, the setting is perfect. With 96 hitting bays split over a couple of floors, and each with their own table/chairs for dining, your backdrop is the amazing Dubai skyline. It really is a fun party atmosphere with plenty of music, live sport and flashing lights. There are 2 restaurants and bars on site (if you don’t want to eat at your bay). The food was amazing – some of the best of the entire trip! You can get golf lessons and classes if you wish or play the numerous games with your mates and family. The best thing is that you don’t need any real skill level to enjoy what Top Golf has to offer. The golf balls can be tracked on the large screen in your private booth so you can see how far and accurate each shot is. Don’t worry as some of the targets are massive to make it fun (and competitive) for everyone. Booking is definitely recommended at Top Golf so make sure before you travel. You won’t be disappointed.
For those theme-park enthusiasts, a little bit outside Dubai (actually closer to Abu Dhbai than Dubai!) you will find Dubai Parks and Resorts. With 3 theme parks and a water park there is plenty on offer for all the family. The NInja decided to head to one of the parks called MOTIONGATE Dubai. This is a traditional Hollywood themed park with areas that are inspired by movies and attractions from Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate. There are many age-appropriate rides and attractions here. As with all Ninja trips, it is best to get there as early as possible. The NInja did and was able to get on all the attractions with very little waiting time. Even at that, a full afternoon was taken up and we did not get to fully sample the other parks that include Legoland, Lego Waterpark and Bollywood Parks. NInja Tip – Schedule a couple of days if you want to see them all!
For the second part of the trip we stayed in the Downtown Area of Dubai. This area boasts the World Famous Burj Khalifa building. The NInja took a tour up to the 124th floor of this iconic building and it was simply breath-taking. The tour has an exhibition section which details the amazing history and building of Burj Khalifa. The building is situation in Burj Park which is an excellent place for walks and in the evening checking out the amazing light show that comes from Burj Khalifa. The show is free and happens every 30 minutes at night. There is also an incredible free water fountain show in the same area that you need to see. The Burj Park area was a little less busy and a great spot to see both of these free attractions. Dubai Mall is also in this area – the largest mall in the world at over 12 million square feet (that’s more than 50 x football pitches!). Think of every shop and every food chain and this mall more than likely has it. Bring those credit cards as it is a shopaholics dream! Also located in the Mall is the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Spread over 2 floors and with literally thousands of aquatic animals to see, this was a great experience. The aquarium boasts a 10 million litre tank that you could spend all day watching the fish, rays and sharks swimming around.
Our Hotel in the Downtown Dubai area was the Manzil Downtown by Vida Hotel. Rooms were spacious and spotless. Breakfast was a delight with lots of cooked options and also cereals. The outside dining area is a stunning place to eat or order drinks from the rugby sports themed bar on premises. The outdoor luxurious swimming pool has to be experienced to soak up the sun and unwind. There is also a gym and concierge service. This was a beautiful relaxing hotel situated perfectly close to the Mall and Burj Park. A few steps away is the iconic Wings of Mexico statue for more Instagram worthy pictures! The hotel is also a good base if you are wishing to head to another area of Dubai to explore where you can find Dubai Frame and Zabeel Park.
Dubai Frame is yet another of the city’s famous attractions. The building (shaped like a giant picture frame!) is 150m tall and you walk across the indoor glass bridge that connects the two towers. Are you brave enough to look down? The Frame was built to show off the city’s historic district to one side and the modern landscape to the other side. In the Frame you get to learn about the history of the City and yet again take in those amazing views. The NInja got to the Frame for opening time and there was no waiting time. Get up early folks! The traffic in Dubai can get quite busy so make sure and plan your journeys accordingly and getting to all your places early in the morning for opening time really is the way to do it. Dubai has lots of Uber drivers, taxis and public transport but just plan that little bit extra so as not to be late. Once you have finished taking all your pictures in and around Dubai Frame you can spend some more relaxing time with a dander around Zabeel Park.
A short distance (but not walkable, sorry!) from the Frame is The Museum of the Future “where the future lives”. This is a very popular destination in Dubai so make sure to pre-book your ticket and arrive at your allocated time. Imagine a Museum set in 2071, this is the setting for this amazing attraction – in one of the most unique building shapes you will ever set foot in. There are many different floors to this museum that need to be seen to be believed. My highlight? Seeing the DNA Library of (literally!) thousands of species. It was simply fascinating as was the “Senses” area of the Museum. The gift shop was one of the best ones around so there are plenty of unique mementos to bring back of your adventures in the future.
And after all that, the NInja was (understandably!) exhausted! Getting back from Dubai to Abu Dhabi was through a private car transfer from Etihad (available complimentary for all business class customers) and was a nice relaxing way to end our journey of this amazing city and country. The transfer can be booked through Etihad and is just another great service that they provide to their customers. Picked up from your hotel you are dropped off at the airport in Abu Dhabi in plenty of time before the return journey back to Dublin (approx. 8 hours on way back).
Dubai is quite simply amazing. It has something for everyone. Do you want a city break with plenty of shopping? Dubai has it. Do you want a relaxing beach holiday? Dubai has it. Do you want to visit lots of attractions? Dubai has it. Do you want world class hotels and experience amazing cuisine? Dubai has it. Do you want a mix of all of these? You guessed it, Dubai has it! There is nothing this place doesn’t have and really HAS to be seen to be believed.
You can check out the FULL highlights from this NInja trip over on the instagram page – on the homepage under the DUBAI Highlights x 2 – CLICK HERE
Why not visit your LOCAL NInja travel agency and ask them to plan your next NInja adventure to Dubai!!
You can contact them via Holiday NInja CLICK HERE and we can easily make that connection for you!!
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