A Dubai Weekend during Ramadan
What I hadn’t known when I booked my flights, was that it would be Ramadan when I was in Dubai on my way over to Brisbane.
My friends have lived over there for a few years, and kindly let me spend the weekend with them before I moved onto Oz.
Dubai during Ramadan is something that must be respected. Muslim’s don’t let any water or food pass their lips whilst the sun is up, so from sunrise at 5am until sunset around 7pm you shouldn’t be in public eating or drinking anything as it’s disrespectful. Many bars and cafes either close or run shorter opening hours, and if they play music, it’s at a much quieter level as that’s also not to be played publicly during the day.
So for my weekend in Dubai it all began on Thursday night when I arrived. Thursday is their Friday as their working week begins on Sunday, so we went to a restaurant called Claw and had dinner with cocktails. Claw is a great bar and restaurant for Americana. We ate chicken wings and chilli cheese fries whilst throwing back a few shots – creating a difficult wake-up call Friday morning for our pre-booked mani pedi’s!
So yes, Friday began with mani pedis at the nail spa in Dubai Mall. They offer a back and shoulder massage whilst your nails are getting done, and we could not turn it down. It was bliss. We then got a cab back to the apartment where we made frittata for their friend’s brunch which we’d all been invited to.
Ramadan can be a good time to entertain guests at each other’s homes rather than spend money elsewhere. It’s a good time to come together and bring a dish to share with one another. After a few hours at our brunch, we soon had to leave to head over to a dinner at other friend’s house. As tired as I was, I carried on through the day, until eventually we were all done with the day’s events and went home to sleep.
Now as I’ve been to Dubai a few times, it wasn’t seen as a waste to spend my final day watching films and ordering in food with my far away friends, but here’s my go-to guide to a real weekend in Dubai.
Tourists guide to Dubai
A little out of the city and an extremely cheap boat ride across a river takes you to the souks of Dubai. There are different areas like the gold markets, spices, and the more touristy areas with clothes and shoes. I bought some beautiful traditional shoes there which are more for looking at than wearing! Also, don’t be afraid to haggle.
We went to the Atmosphere bar to experience the top of the Burj Khalifa in style. Just entering this building through the Armani Hotel at the bottom is experience enough, walking past all the supercars that are parked outside. The lift takes seconds to take you up to the 122nd floor; a weird experience! Girls get in free to Atmosphere, and the boys have to spend a little each to pay for their entry.
The views here are amazing, and it’s always best to get here just before sunset so you can drink up that champagne with a stunning view that stretches on for miles.
Jumeirah beach is how I first experienced Dubai, due to my friend’s location at the time. Jumeirah has a long empty stretch with resorts on either end offering loungers. Considering that all beaches are man-made in Dubai, there’s not a lot that can go wrong. I did once get stung by a jellyfish though, but luckily it wasn’t anything serious and something time takes care of.
One of the largest malls in the world, Dubai Mall not only contains nearly every brand imaginable, but it also houses an aquarium. You really could spend a day in there, and if you have the money; why not?! There’s an option of paying an entry fee into the aquarium, but you can also see a good portion of it from their outside tank.
I’d also suggest a day in Wild Wadi water park. There are enough flumes and slides to keep you entertained as well as a lazy river when you just want to chill on a dinghy. There’s also a park on the edge of Abu Dhabi that’s fairly new and equally as awesome.
Day trip to Oman:
Another great day out is a trip to nearby Oman. Only a few hours’ drive away, you have a scenic drive of camels walking by the side (and sometimes on) of the road as you head out through the desert, into some mountain ranges. There are beaches with hardly anyone on them with wild goats wondering around, and there’s so much oil in the area that your feet may come out with black blobs on them that you’ll find are very hard to wash off! But it’s glorious though and definitely worth a trip.
If you go to Dubai, I hope you have a great time but please do ensure you respect the country’s beliefs and customs.