I may get stoned or un-followed for this but that’s okay, I think that Dubai is overrated. This post has been sitting in my drafts for some time and I think it’s safe to publish as many have moved on to traveling to Cuba. I’m usually the person to run the other way when people are flocking to certain destinations. I can remember receiving several texts one Christmas morning about the flight glitch of all time to Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways. I was slow to move because it wasn’t on my short list. Almost a year later I visited Thailand using Emirates and had a 23 stopover with free hotel and food compliments of the airline. Read how to score a free stopover here.
While there I made the most of my time. However, when I left I wondered what all the hype was about. Is it because the flight was so cheap? What was it? I was underwhelmed and left thinking the 23 hours was enough. Here’s why I don’t see myself going back anytime soon.
Dubai is EXPENSIVE
1 USD=3.67 United Arab Emirates Dirham. Depending on the area things are pricey. I found better deals at the Market as opposed to the Mall as I was able to negotiate. The mall is very touristy. Stopping in Dubai after Thailand was a bit of a shock to my wallet. Everything was so expensive. Experiences such as brunch parties or yacht rides can cost a couple of hundred or more per person depending on the venue or company. Beware of using credit cards as most vendors have a different price for credit card transactions and don’t even think about whipping out an AMEX.
It is HOT!
I went in June and temperature was well over 100 degrees and it is dry heat. It was also Ramadan so I was not allowed to drink water in public. My beautiful Brazilian hair looked like a tumbleweed after being zapped in Dubai. 😀 It took me months to get my complexion back even after using sunscreen. It also didn’t help that I wore black. 🙁 The beach was unpleasant as the sand was scorching hot and the water was hot as well. Take a look at these unedited photos to see how much darker my complexion was after one day in Dubai heat.
Internet access is scarce
There was wi-fi in the airport, it was free for a certain amount of time. There was free unlimited Wi-Fi in the mall. At my hotel, you could purchase internet but it wasn’t fast. When I was out and about shopping and could notice wi-fi networks they were not available to the public. Skype is not allowed in Dubai. If you’re looking for another way to communicate try WhatsApp or any other tools l list on apps to keep you connected while abroad.
Reminds me of Vegas
I don’t mean that it looks like the Vegas strip. I’m referring to the glitz and flashy part of Vegas. While on a tour I was told about the biggest this and that. On the tour, I also learned that the Hotel Burj Al Arab is the most luxurious starting at $1200+ a night. There is a Dubai Fountain outside of the Dubai Mall which is a choreographed fountain designed by the same company that designed the fountain outside the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas.
I have no desire to ride on a camel
I’m absolutely good on a camel ride. I’ve ridden on a couple of animals in the past and I did not enjoy. I’m somewhat of a germophobe and even when I rode on a horse I was creeped out by touching the horse and the smell. Although not the same, I know my limits. LOL
I was not prepared as I should have been since this was a stopover trip. I didn’t know until a couple of weeks before going that I was visiting during Ramadan. This meant no eating or drinking or even chewing gum in public. I was able to eat breakfast at the hotel. In the afternoon thank goodness there was an area in the mall where non-Muslim could eat. It was sectioned off and guarded so you could not see while walking by. A lot of places were closed during Ramadan. Each day ended with a traditional cannon shot which in the past served as a way to let Muslim worshipers know they can break their fast. Yes, I was caught off guard during my selfie :/
As far as dress, prior to my trip, I read on how you should dress real conservative like no knees or shoulders. I asked a friend who lived in Dubai about this and was told they are not as strict. However, I wore a jumpsuit with a mesh cover and sandals and received a few stares of possible disapproval. I really wish with 100+ temp I could have worn shorts and a tank but that would have really been pushing it. Alcohol is frowned upon in Dubai. As a resident, there are certain licenses and permits you have to obtain to drink at home and in certain venues. I flew on Emirates and there is free liquor in all classes. I definitely received side-eye from a few passengers while ordering drinks on the Dubai to U.S route. I am always able to adapt to and respect different cultures. I have no ill feelings toward this experience, however, if I knew ahead of time I would have done some things differently.
This is my opinion of Dubai and I’m not knocking anyone who has gone or wants to go. Maybe it was due to my lack of preparation. I didn’t make it to Abu Dhabi to see the mosque but I’ve seen quite a few worship venues around the world. Maybe one day I’ll visit Abu Dhabi or go back to Dubai for a festival but for now I am in no rush to return to Dubai. One day was enough for me!
Have you been to Dubai? What has been your experience? Are there any places you feel are overrated? Comment below!
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