A Dubai Weekend During Ramadan / A Weekend Guide to Dubai City & Surrounds

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

The Souks:

Souk Ferry

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.

Burj Khalifa:

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.

The Beaches:

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.

Jumeriah

Dubai Mall:

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.

Water Parks:

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:

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.

#JustDoIt

I’ve been told that I try to do everything now, that I need to slow down, and to hold off things until I’m older. But what I’ve always thought was…

‘What if I don’t get any older?

People try to save money all their life, intending to use it when they’re retired, then they find they’re not as nimble as they once were and can’t visit places they’ve been waiting to go to all their life.

Then there are the ‘off-putters’. The ones who say that now isn’t quite the right time for them. They may be waiting on a raise at work, or trying to raise a family. Either way they feel that whilst they’re doing one of those things, they can’t do much else. These people will never find the right time.

I was one of those people, and it was while I was walking around The Forum in Rome that I realised my mother was already at a point in her life where some traverses may be too difficult for her. As I scaled hills and hopped over relics in the sweltering heat, I could imagine my mother asking for a coffee break whilst trying to find a nice shady tree. She’s been retired for nine years, and in that time has taken every opportunity to travel. Most destinations aren’t too laborious, but she now has her sights set on Machu Picchu, a tricky place to:

a) Get to

b) Breathe at

I’m a firm believer that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. I’m also a firm believer of thinking outside of the box, and when people tell me you can’t just go off travelling the world after spending so many years forging a career path, I say yes you can! It’s difficult, and it certainly takes guts, but if it builds you more as a person, then it’s worthwhile.

The Ever Evolving Pack List

The Pack List

Getting your pack list prepared well in advance of setting off is probably one of the best things you can do right from the off. I made my decision to leave the country back in January, and since February I’ve been updating a pack list and purchasing items from the list as I go.

So far I’ve come up with the below. I’m yet to decide on clothing, so that will come into it closer to the date.

  • Clothes and Shoes
  • First Aid & Prescriptions – Make sure you stock up on any prescriptions you may need before leaving as the county you’re going to might not have the same kind of cost/service as your own. Australia’s healthcare is notoriously expensive so I’m hoarding whatever I can before I go.
  • eReader & books – I’ve got hundreds of ebooks already stored on my eReader, and currently plan to take one or two paperbacks with me for the beach
  • Phone
  • Chargers – Mostly usb cables to fit into my plug charger
  • Netbook
  • Passport, vaccination book, I.D.
  • Insurance and Visa Documents
  • Travel Pillow – I looked into the best one to choose and decided that a 2 in 1 would be good, with a loop to attach it to my bag. In the end I went with this one – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007REVRGI
  • Ziploc bags – Great for keeping belongings dry and away from creepy spiders!
  • Microfibre Towel – Light and dries quickly. I chose this two pack so my boyfriend had one – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OXS67M0
  • Number padlock – I chose this one for a colour to stand out from the crowd, and ALWAYS chose a number one ‘cause it’s no good have a key padlock then losing the key for it… http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003KIUKMC
  • Ipod – My phone doesn’t have enough space for music (it’s kinda old!), so I decided to buy a 2nd hand ipod nano. That way I have music on the go, but can also change it every so often with my external hard drive of music and my netbook. I went for a 7th generation nano from ebay. I found that if it’s an auction finishing midweek you’re more likely to get a slight price reduction to the auctions finishing on the weekend. I managed to get mine for £65.
  • Make up & Remover
  • Nail Clippers
  • Hairbrush
  • Adapters – 2 should be suffice
  • Toothbrush & Paste
  • Shaver
  • Travel Guides – I’ve read through the guides already so might just write up notes from these/take pictures, and leave them behind.
  • Notebook & Pen – Always good to have a pen handy, but I might leave the notebook.
  • Moisturiser
  • Camera & SD Card
  • Travel Money – Just to start me off. I should have a bank card soon after getting there.
  • Sewing Kit – Something many people have said would be useful to have but I might just leave.

What’s missing? I’ll be revising the list again at the end of May.