14

Z – ZAYED | #AtoZChallenge

Z – Zayed | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Wherever you are in Dubai or in fact, the whole of UAE you are bound to come across one name – Zayed or Sheikh Zayed. Everything, from roads to hospitals, from malls to mosques, from universities to airports and from monuments to museums has been named after him and you can see his portraits proudly displayed. He is popularly known as ‘Father of their nation’ and last year Dubai, along with UAE, celebrated the ‘Year of Zayed’.

The year 2018 marked 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, who passed away in 2004. His son and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had declared that 2018 will officially be known in the UAE as the Year of Zayed – to commemorate this historic national occasion.

Sheikh Zayed always promoted and encouraged multicultural diversity and is evident from the ‘open-door-open-culture’ policy at various monuments including the Grand Mosque and Jumeirah Mosque. Consistent with his values the Year of Zayed involved people of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds in the UAE and internationally. During his reign, he was considered one of the most liberal rulers and leaders among leaders of all the Gulf countries.

The Year of Zayed had the following vision and mission:

Vision: A year-long, international commemoration in celebration of the life, legacy and values of an inspirational world leader, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the United Arab Emirates.

Mission: Commemorate the life, values and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as an inspirational world leader, encouraging future generations to honor his legacy and fulfill his vision of prosperity, tolerance and peace.

It theme of the “Year of Zayed’ revolved around the values of wisdom, respect, sustainability and human development.

The ‘Year of Zayed’ did not only have domestic reach but it was very well recognized worldwide. British Museum named a gallery after Sheikh Zayed to acknowledge the UAE leader’s lifelong commitment to heritage and culture. The main street in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, was named after the late leader. Stockholm Mosque, in Stockholm, Sweden is also known as Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s Mosque.

There are many things named after him in UAE to commemorate his legacy. The Sheikh Zayed road is the most important road in Dubai as it serves as a lifeline to the whole of Dubai and further connects Sharjah-Dubai-Abu Dhabi. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a modern wonder of the world. Zayed University, a government-sponsored higher education institution with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

He is often referred to as ‘the man who turned the desert green’. I have a twist to this, for me, he is the man ‘who turned the sand of the desert into gold’.

What you see of Dubai and UAE today and their importance whether it is in tourism or export-import or oil exports, it can all be attributed to their wonderful leadership. I believe no place on Earth has seen so much transformation in the last century where a generation in their life went from being poor nomads to creating the world’s tallest structures.

I would like to end this post and this challenge based on my theme – ‘Dubai – City of Gold’ by quoting some of my favorite quotes from Sheikh Zayed.

The real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education.

Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to building the individual, and to using the wealth, which God has provided us in the service of the nation.

Islam affords women their rightful status and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded appropriate respect.

No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone who has been a part of this journey. This was the first time I was attempting this challenge and that too with two themes. I am elated and relieved both at the same time that I could reach the finish line. To all those who became friends on this journey called life – Welcome aboard! To others my heartfelt wishes for your future endeavors and a biiigggg hug.

I will forever cherish this experience of pursuing my passion with patience and persistence.

For all those who were part of this wonderful journey,

For all those who believe in women equality,

For all those who live in the city of Dubai,

And

For all those who believe in the vision of Sheikh Zayed…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 26th and last post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

21

X – Xploring the Grand Mosque | #AtoZChallenge

X – Xploring the Grand Mosque | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Today let me take you to the ‘Taj Mahal’ of the Middle East – their star attraction.

The Grand Mosque or as it is popularly known, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in the capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi. It is the largest mosque in the country and one of the largest mosques in the world. The sheer whiteness of the structure makes it comparable to Taj Mahal (maybe because I am an Indian) as there is hardly any other building in the world like this. If you are visiting in the after, it is literally blinding for the naked eye to stare at the monument.

It is an important place for daily prayers, Friday gatherings and Eid prayers. The mosque has a massive capacity and on Eid, it can accommodate up to 41000 people. The construction of the mosque started in 1996 and it took about twelve years to complete.

While Entering

This mosque is unlike other mosques that you would find around the world. Its uniqueness lies in its architecture that captures seamless interactions between Islam and world cultures. Sheikh Zayed’s vision for the Grand Mosque was to incorporate architectural styles from different parts of the world including many Muslim civilizations. He wanted the mosque to stand out as a symbol for togetherness of cultural diversity and heritage.

One look at the Mosque and you will feel that it is a celebration of cultural diversity. The mosque’s architects were British, Italian and Emirati, and design inspiration was borrowed parts of Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, and Egypt among other Islamic countries. Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky designed it, which covers an area of 22,412 square meters and was made in collaboration with 3,000 artisans from 38 global construction companies.

The Main area inside

It has soon become one of the most popular destinations not only in the UAE but in the whole world. In 2017 it saw a staggering 3.4 mn visitors and Tripadvisor rated it as the world’s second most favorite landmark with only Angor Wat in Cambodia beating it to the top spot.

It was made at a whopping cost of AED 2bn and is world’s third largest mosque with its 82 domes carved out of white marble, 1096 exterior columns, 96 semi-precious jewel-encrusted internal columns and the awe-inspiring seven handmade 24-carat gold plated Swarovski crystal chandeliers.

The Grand Mosque also holds three Guinness World records to its name – the largest hand-woven carpet in the world, the biggest chandelier and the largest dome of its kind.

The beautiful arches

The world’s largest carpet measures 5,627 sqm (60,570 sq ft) and was made by around 1,200-1,300 carpet knitters putting in an astounding 2,268,000,000 knots within the carpet. The weight of this carpet is 35 ton and is predominantly made from wool (originating from New Zealand and Iran). The carpet alone took approximately two years to complete.

When you enter during sunlight the spectacular ancient-cut domes, the reflective pools that engulf the courtyard and the iconic prayer hall will mesmerize you. The pool looks surreal at night, which is illuminated reflecting the mosque’s columns.

It is named after UAE’s founding figure, Sheikh Zayed and after his death in 2004; he was buried in the mosque’s courtyard. Just like the Taj Mahal, its radiating brilliance lies in its carvings and patterns on the columns, which are studded with precious gems and stones like amethyst and Jasper.

To promote an open-culture-open-door policy the mosque is open for everyone and that too free of cost. One can also go for a one-hour guided tour of the mosque and this is also completely free – it definitely worth signing for as it gives an insight into the structure, heritage and architecture.

The Largest Chandelier

The mosque is always full of visitors but its extravagant size makes it feel very spacious and you will not feel cramped or overcrowded.

Timings: 9:00am – 22:00 Saturday-Thursday and 16:30-22:00 on Fridays

During Ramadan – 9:00am-14:00 Saturday-Thursday and the mosque is completely closed on Fridays.

Getting there:

If you are staying in Abu Dhabi take a taxi and within 20 min you will be at your destination. If you are traveling from Dubai, although there is a direct bus service from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, the preferred option is a taxi. The taxi will cost you around AED 250-275 per side and will only take about 90 min.

Important Tips:

When traveling to the Grand Mosque, do plan to visit a couple of other attractions in Abu Dhabi, that way you can make the most of your trip. Try to have meals before you come to the mosque, as you will not find many options in proximity.

Another view from inside

Please dress modestly as it is a Muslim religious site. The ladies will be provided with free ‘abayas’ to cover themselves fully. Remove shoes and socks before entering the main site.

Any time is a good time to visit the Grand Mosque but during summers try to visit in the morning or early evening. It is perfect for photography then. Don’t forget to carry a pair of sunglasses, as the glare might not make it comfortable for you.

It has a seductive captivating vibe, which makes you sit in silence and just observe and soak in the opulence. Irrespective of the faith you follow – you must visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for its spectacular architecture.

For all those who love the Taj Mahal,

For all those who like architecture,

Pool reflecting the amazing columns

For all those who like visiting religious sites,

And

For all those who are amazed by The Grand Mosque…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 24th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘Y’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

23

W – Weekend Getaway to Fujairah | #AtoZChallenge

W – Weekend Getaway to Fujairah | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Fujairah is the only Emirate, which has a complete coastline on the Gulf of Oman. The new Sheikh Khalifa Highway connects Dubai and Fujairah and is only two hours drive away. It is the best place for a relaxing weekend getaway. It is famous for its luxurious resorts facing the Gulf of Oman with the mountains in the backdrop. It is the perfect place to catch mountains and beaches in a single place.

Kids play area

It is home to the oldest mosque in UAE, Al Badiyah mosque built in 1446. Other places of importance include Fujairah fort, Al Bithanh Fort, Fujairah Museum, Al Hayl Castle, Awhlah Fort and Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs.

We decided to spend a leisurely weekend at Rotana Fujairah. In Fujairah, there are two hotels that are a part of the Rotana group – Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa and Nour Arjaan by Rotana. Rotana group is a major hospitality chain in the Gulf region with resorts and hotels in almost every country of the middle.

We were going there to celebrate the anniversary of an elder brother. I along with my sister and brother-in-law was in one car and the elder brother’s family was in their SUV. We started around noon from Dubai and reached around 2pm. The road is beautiful to drive on with sand dunes on both sides. On the way, there are multiple fuel stations that will definitely have a restaurant or a supermarket on its premises. We took coffee and some snacks as a takeaway from one of the supermarkets at the fuel station.

The humansize chessboard

Once you reach Dibba Al Fujairah, head towards the Al Aqah beach. It is a very famous beach and is home to most of the resorts and large hospitality chains including names like Radisson Blu Fujairah, Le Meridien Al Aqah beach resort, Intercontinental Fujairah Resort and so on. There is a section of the Al Aqah beach where one can go for an overnight camp right next to the ocean.

We were staying at the Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa. It is a luxurious lavish property facing the ocean and a picturesque mountain in the background. We were greeted with welcome drinks and the check-in formalities were being completed while I was scanning the huge reception area. I could locate a little alley where they had shops for souvenirs and gifts inside the resort itself.

View from Room

The resort has about 250 guest rooms and suites that have colonial designs that blend local architecture with a graceful palazzo-style estate. All rooms of this

Beachfront resorts have a private terrace or balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean. The rooms start from AED 1000. To my surprise, the resort was completely booked.

After completing the formalities at the reception we headed for our rooms. On our way, we crossed their massive swimming pool. It had a separate section for kids and its size reminded me of a water park – it was so huge. Since the resort was completely booked it was logical that the pool will be crowded too. I was amazed to see so many people already in the pool. For a moment I thought people directly checked into the pool or what!

Moving further ahead there was a giant human size chessboard drawn on the floor with all the pawns taking a nap. I wondered who would play that.

The Beach

Once in the room we ordered some food and played cards. The room was huge and one could see the ocean through the wall like a glass window. It was luxury at its very best.

Around 5 pm when the sun decided to be calmer, I decided to go for a swim, in fact, all of us went swimming in the turquoise blue water of the massive pool. What’s the point when you pay so much and don’t enjoy all the facilities? Well! Diving in a swimming pool is my favorite. There was a bar right in the middle of the pool and the seats were underwater. It definitely added extravagance to the ambiance.

We all were starving once out of the pool and decided to go out to some restaurant to try out some local cuisine. Luckily we found a decent restaurant near to the resort. The restaurant was serving Arabic and Afghani cuisine. The bread was so big that it would not even fit in our regular plates. On occasions, I can gorge on a decent quantity of food but that day I was also full in one ‘roti’ or I should say ‘Rota’.

The huge swimming pool

After the meal, we headed back to the resort. There was some amazing creativity on display – many showpieces made of colorful bottles with neon lights gracing them. We had ordered a cake that was a surprise for my elder brother and sister-in-law. We cut the cake and celebrated their anniversary, partied, laughed, shouted and danced till the wee hours.

I woke up early and went for a morning walk on the calm beach. There is no better feeling than to experience the tranquility of the misty morning ocean with birds chirping and no humanity in sight. I took a dip before heading back to the room. Everybody was awake by then and were planning to head to the buffet breakfast.

After the breakfast everybody was exploring the property, the ladies went for their pampering spa session while the men strolled around gazing at beauties at poolside. 😀

We checked out around 12 pm and headed back to Dubai – It was a well-deserved break full of luxury and fun. The resort is a perfect amalgamation of modern facilities and design right in the lap of nature.

For all those who like to swim,

For all those who love the ocean,

For all those who adore beaches,

And

For all those who love this combo of nature and man-made marvels…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 23th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘X’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

28

P – Palm Islands | #AtoZChallenge

P – Palm Islands | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The featured image

When I was a kid, I used to read a lot that the only man-made thing visible from the moon is the Great Wall of China. It was truly an engineering marvel in that era. Dubai has taken the definition of an engineering marvel to an all different level. Till now we have discussed the world’s tallest building, largest parks, largest gardens and so on. Today I will take you to an engineering project of astounding proportions – the Palm Islands.

The Palm Islands is a collection of three manmade islands; Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali. Though the work has been stopped on Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali since 2013 after the crashing of markets, Palm Jumeirah is completely sold out.

Sunset at the Palm Islands

The vision of Dubai’s Sheikh is truly amazing. He knows that the oil in the region is not going to last forever and hence he wants to create avenues that will continue to reap monetary benefits for Dubai. The only way to do was to increase the coastline. Once completed the Palm Jumeirah island alone has added a staggering 78 km to Dubai coastline.

Till 2001, there was only shallow gulf water then Nakheel, a local real estate conglomerate came up with a plan to make an island in the shape of a 17-fronded palm tree. For this, it dredged 3 billion cubic feet of sand from the seafloor. A crescent-shaped backwater was also made on the top of the tree to save the newly born island from the lashes of the sea. It required seven million tons of mountain rock to make it seven miles long.

It is technically not an island as a six-lane undersea tunnel connects the island to the beaches on the crescent. It is also been gifted with Middle East’s first monorail that runs the length of the island, which is connected with the Dubai tram that covers the Dubai Marina.

The trunk is converted into an array of luxury retail outlets and each of the fronds has residential spaces that have been bought by the likes of Beckham and Cruise. The island took more than a decade to complete and is the home to one of the most renowned hotels, The Atlantis.

The Atlantis Palm Hotel 

Atlantis hotel

It is a luxury resort at the apex of the crescent of the palm that is loosely named after the ancient underwater city of Atlantis. It has about 1500 rooms and is a popular place to spot Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities. There are fireworks on display almost every day. It is not as expensive as Burj Al Arab but is still quite capable of causing a serious dent to your wallet.

The complex also has an exemplary Aquaventure water park and the Nasimi Beach, which I have discussed in a previous post.

Aquaventure Water Park

It is the largest of all the waterparks in Dubai with some jaw-dropping record-breaking slides. You can definitely skip a heartbeat at the ‘Leap of faith’ slide, which has a 27.5 m plunge. One can try various marine activities along with relaxing at the beaches that have a separate children’s play area.

Access is free for in-house guests of Atlantis the Palm, while daily passes are available for visitors.

Timing: starts at 10 am.

Ticket: 330 AED onwards.

Dolphin Bay

If you are staying close to Palm Jumeirah and aren’t able to find time to travel to Dolphinarium, don’t worry you can still play and swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin bay which is in the same complex of Atlantis. The dolphins are well trained and will perform some wonderful stunts. When you buy passes to the Dolphin bay you get complimentary entry to Aquaventure Water Park & the Lost Chambers Aquarium on the same day.

Timings: 9:30AM – 5:30PM

Ticket: AED 325 onwards.

The lost chamber

The Lost Chambers

If you are a marine lover then UAE’s largest aquarium, The Lost Chambers, will definitely entice you. This Atlantis-themed aquarium has a seductive feel to it. You will be completely immersed in the architecture along with 65000 marine lives.

I will forever be in debt of my sister who took me to it as a gift on my first international birthday. If you want to get up-close and personal then there is a touch tank also where you can feed and touch some of the species.

Timing: 10AM – 10PM

Ticket: 135 AED

Sky Diving

If you really want to experience something that literally is equivalent to the opulence at the display and want to get mesmerized by the sheer magnificence of the Palm Jumeirah then go for a skydive at Skydive Dubai. It’s really simple, hop on a small plane, it will take you to a certain height, feel the adrenaline rush, jump off the plane and drop at 120 mph. Try to enjoy the view of the Palm…if you can!

Sunset captured

For all the other moderate adventure lovers they can definitely go on a yacht ride at the Dubai Marina. You can also try out a paddle boarding session or a kayak tour or a windsurfing lesson at the SeeYou, the only service provider in that area.

The area has some of the most renowned restaurants from celebrity chefs. Take out time to enjoy a brunch. You can visit and enjoy all the attractions of the adjacent Dubai Marina and Jumeirah.

These islands are causing ecosystem and environmental changes, but do you think that the Sheikhs are worried about that. Go and experience something truly unique.

For all those who are lovers of opulence,

For all those who think Sheikhs are too much,

For all those who have been to palm islands,

And

For all those who are in love with the Atlantis…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 16th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘Q’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

19

N – Nightlife in Dubai | #AtoZChallenge

N – Nightlife in Dubai | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Dubai is the party capital of the Middle East and no party capital can be happening without its Nightlife. Every major metropolitan hub around the globe never sleeps – if endless corporate meetings mark the days and never-ending traffic jams then the nights never sleep because of their buzzing and exotic nightlife.

There is a reason why Dubai is known as the sin city of the Middle East and it truly lives up to that name. Dubai’s nightlife is not only about clubs and discotheques but there are amazing experiences that one can relish.

Play Golf in the night

No, I am not joking! One can literally play golf in the night at Faldo Golf Club. It is an 18-hole golf course that tests your golfing skills under the stars. Open on all days one can experience the grassy terrains from 4:00 pm until midnight and that makes it one of the best places to visit in Dubai at night. The bunkers, salt water and fresh water lakes make for an authentic golfing experience.

Timings: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am

Cost: Start from 230 AED

A Horse Ride in Full Moon

Ride a white horse for about 90 minutes in the moonlight through shrubby wildlife and sandy forests. It is an amazing and unique experience. You can take the ride at Mushrif Equestrian Club, Mushrif Park where an instructor will always accompany you. You don’t need to be an expert to soak in this experience.

Timings: 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Cost for Two: AED 600

Full Moon Yoga Session

Who said nightlife was only about unhealthy options. One can rejuvenate their mind and soul by going for a full moon yoga session. This is the latest trend and usually, is conducted at one of the public beaches. In a 90 min session experience blissful tranquility as you try asanas, soaking in the sea breeze of the Arabian Gulf with the magnificent Burj Al Arab in the backdrop.

Where: Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah

Timings: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Charges: 119 AED onwards.

Twinkle Twinkle Stars

If you are a stargazer and a lover of the universe then Dubai Astronomy Group is a heaven for you. For astronomy enthusiasts, this is among the most delightful things to do in Dubai at night. This is absolutely free of cost and the gathering is usually on the outskirts of the city. All you need to do is a register using an email. Don’t forget to bring your telescope if you have one.

Experience the festivities

If you are travelling during the month of Ramadan then you are in for a different experience altogether. The days might be slow and quiet but the nights definitely make up for it that last till the wee hours of the morning. At the JBR there is a month-long event that exhibits the culture and tradition through different zones – food, art, and lifestyle. Go to the Ramadan night markets for food, handicrafts and other fun options.

Take a deep dive into marine life

This is an activity that professional divers (PADI certified advanced divers) who have taken a dive within the last six months can experience. Diving deep in the sea that too at night is not for the faint-hearted. The east coast of Dubai near Fujairah is used for these 45-50 min dives. It requires participants to carry/wear their own swimwear, however, the diving kit is provided in most cases.

Nightclubs

The best thing about Dubai’s hot spots is that their usual closing hours are around 3am. They generally start filling around 10pm so you have all the time to dress up in your best and burn the dance floor.

Best nightclubs in Dubai:

Club 360 – from my own experience, this is the best place simply because of its location – right in the middle of the sea next to Burj Al Arab. It is the home to the biggest parties of the region.

Timings: Sunday to Saturday from 5:00 PM to 03:00 AM

Cost for Two: AED 345

Barasti – It is a perfect place whether you are going in a group or as a couple. You can view the skyline as well as the Persian Gulf from the same spot.

Timings: 10:00 AM – 1:30 AM

Cost for Two: AED 470

Nasimi Beach – I had been to a foam party once at Nasimi beach – all I can say is it is like an ‘American Pie’ experience. Nasimi Beach lets you enjoy the clubbing experience on a 7 km long beach with the Atlantis in the background.

Some of the other popular party places include Chi@The Lodge, N’Dulge, Bar 44, Stereo Arcade, Buhayra Lounge, At.mosphere, Trilogy, Boudoir, and People by Crystal.

I have previously discussed experiences like the Dhow Cruise that you can take from the Dubai Creek or go on an overnight Desert Safari and camping. One can always head to the viewing deck at Burj Khalifa and get mesmerized by the Dubai Skyline.

Feeling hungry! Don’t worry you can always grab a late night Shawarma. Any trip to Dubai is incomplete without trying their lip-smacking Shawarmas. Some of the nicest places open late at night are Aroos Damascus and Al Shami Restaurant (Al Muraqqabat Road, Deira), Al Mallah (Satwa) and Reem al Bawadi (Jumeirah Road). You can always find one at the roadside for just AED 5 in areas like Bur Dubai and Karama.

Important things to remember

The weekend is Friday and Saturday, so try to go clubbing on Thursday and Friday nights.

‘Drink and Drive’ is strictly prohibited and one can end up paying really hefty fines leading to the cancellation of driving licenses. Always take a cab.

Don’t be caught with liquor without a license – best is to enjoy and have drinks in pubs and bars.

Don’t get involved in a brawl – again the fines and repercussions are severe.

Be careful about the dressing. Try to go for proper footwear as many of the lounges might not allow you to enter.

Always keep an ID handy – passports in case you are travelling from outside, for locals emirates ID is the best option.

For all those who are club hoppers,

For all those who are stargazers,

For all those who are adventure enthusiasts,

And

For all those who love nightlife…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 14th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘O’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

25

M – Malls Of Dubai | #AtoZChallenge

M – Malls of Dubai | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Dubai is famous for many of the World’s ‘largest’ and ‘biggest’ things and is equally rated as one of the top shopping destinations in the world. With modern cosmopolitan global cities, shopping and malls go hand in hand, which makes Dubai home to many of the world’s largest malls. In total, it has more than 40 places that qualify as shopping malls.

Dubai Mall

It is the second-largest mall in the world by total land area and is one of the world’s most visited shopping and entertainment destinations that welcome in excess of 100 mn visitors in a year. It is a part of the Downtown Dubai area with more than 1000 retail outlets. Some of the biggest names include; Topshop and Zara, and department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Galeries Lafayette.

Inside of Dubai Mall

It is also home to some of the major attractions in Dubai – like the entrance to Burj Khalifa, The Underwater aquarium and zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, Kidzania, Reel Cinemas with 22 screens, VR Park Dubai, Rain Forest Café, Hysteria, Dubai Fountain and Souk Al Bahar.

It has connectivity with the metro through the Dubai Mall metro station.

Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates or MOE as it is famous in Dubai is another huge shopping mall in UAE. There has always been a debate about which among the both has a bigger shopping space. MOE is the place where you can find snow in the middle of the desert – Ski Dubai is a fun and adventure place for everyone especially kids.

With more than 600 retail outlets and 100 restuarants, it is one of the leading shopping destinations in Dubai. Some of the major attractions include – Magic Planet – one of the largest indoor family entertainment centers in Dubai, Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre and Vox cinemas with 14 screens. The famous restaurants are Tribes, Salero Tapas and Bodega and The Cheesecake Factory.

One can take a metro ride to reach the MOE.

Ibn Battuta Mall

Ibn Battuta is the world’s largest themed shopping mall and is named after the famous 14th-century explorer with the same name. In a way, this mall is a tribute to the travels of Ibn Battuta. There are six major courts whose designs are inspired by the regions he traveled – Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China.

It is one of those malls that you can visit even if you are in no mood to shop. For travellers, it is a must and is my personal favorite because of the amazing detailed interiors of each court. You can find plenty of backgrounds to get clicked. It is also home to Dubai’s only Imax along with 21 other screens.

It is situated at the end of Dubai towards Abu Dhabi and has good metro connectivity.

Festival City Mall

Festival city mall is situated on the banks of the iconic Dubai Creek and it is one of the largest malls in Dubai. Just like Ibn Battuta Mall one can travel to the Festival City Mall for entertainment and leisure. There is an amazing fire and light show that takes place on the waterfront after the sunset. One can also enjoy the show from any one of the restaurants that silver line the waterfront.

The Festival city area is like a ‘City-within-a-city’ and you can find Dubai’s only IKEA there. Don’t miss Ikea’s sumptuous breakfast at a reasonable cost. The mall has the largest Aldo store on the planet and the only Mint Velvet outside the UK. The rock lovers can head straight up to Hard Rock Café – the only in UAE.

It is not connected via metro, hence a taxi is a best-preferred option.

Wafi Mall

Wafi Mall is another themed mall in the heart of the city and its styles are based on Ancient Egypt where you will find architecture reminiscent of Karnak, small pyramids, and images of pharaohs. It is a quieter mall compared to other malls in terms of foot-fall and makes it a perfect place if you are heading for a meeting over a coffee.

It also an immersive light and laser show in the evening depicting the era of pyramids. The place also has some of the best restaurant options in the whole of Dubai. Khan Murjan, an underground souk is famous for Arabic souvenirs.

Dubai Outlet Mall

As the name suggests, you will find factory outlets of all the major brands here. During my stay, I would regularly pay a visit to it to grab on some amazing offers which may range from 30% to 90%. It is a shoppers’ paradise with the location being its only drawback. It is located on the Al Ain Road and would take roughly around 30 min from the city to reach.

Make sure you visit on Mondays as they have extra offers on them. No direct connectivity with metro.

Mercato Mall

Mercato mall is a themed mall whose architecture takes you to the Italian Renaissance era. This mall is famous for its eateries and bakeries like Cakery Epicerie by Stephane Glacier and Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar for the city’s creamiest hot chocolate

Burjuman Centre

It has a long history and has the best location of all the malls – right in the heart of Bur Dubai. It has great metro connectivity with both the metro lines and you will find a taxi at any point of the day. Close to some of the main office locations it is the best place for a quick lunch getaway.

If you are staying in JLT, JBR and Dubai Marina then Dubai Marina Mall is the answer to all your shopping needs. Similarly, if you living near Mirdif and Deira then you can head to the Mirdif City Centre and Deira City Centre respectively.

Some of the other famous malls are DragonMart in International City, The Village Mall, The Beach and the famous City Walk.

Tips:

When going for a movie try for the smaller malls, as the chances of getting tickets are high there.

Do check out the location of malls as you may find one just next to you as there are so many of them.

Parking can be a huge issue on the weekend. Always note your location and drop the SMS for parking.

Carry a water bottle.

If you love shopping…then you will love Dubai…and its Malls.

For all those who love shopping,

For all those great at bargaining,

For all those who like discounts,

And

For all those who are always found in Malls…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 13th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘N’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

15

J – Jumeirah | #AtoZChallenge

J – Jumeirah | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Jumeirah is one word that you will come across the most, after Sheikh Zayed, when in Dubai. Many believe that the word means ‘beautiful’ and some believe it means ‘Gift of God’, though it doesn’t have an official definition. But one look at the Jumeirah district in Dubai and you will believe in both the meanings.

Jumeirah is a residential coastal area of Dubai, which mainly comprises of western expats and local Emirati population. It offers both kinds of dwellings; the extremely expensive ones and some moderate ones for the middle class. The area is particularly famous for its serene sandy beaches, amazing cafes and restaurants, expensive shopping options and beautiful modern walks.

History

We have archaeological shreds of evidence that suggest there was inhabitation in the area around 10 BC during the Abbasid era. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was a small village where people were mostly fishermen, pearl divers and traders. During the 1960s it started getting populated with western expats and the present day Jumairah beach was then known as Chicago beach.

Some of the main attractions of Jumeirah are:

Jumeirah Beach

Named after the district, Jumeirah Beach is a white sand beach that is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The beach and its surroundings are home to expensive hotel chains and resorts, housings and shopping malls and complexes. The most famous being Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel. It is mostly crowded by the expats.

Jumeirah Public Beach

While the Jumeirah beach might have restricted use, moving ahead to the north of Jumeirah Beach Hotel, you will the Jumeirah Public Beach, which is always open for the general public. It is also known as sunset beach and it is the perfect place to take capture the perfect sunset with Burj Al Arab in the backdrop.

I remember during my stay in Dubai, I would spend the entire night there as it is open for night swimming as well, and return after having breakfast in the nearby 24 hours McDonald’s.

Burj Al Arab

It is the second most iconic structure in Dubai after Burj Khalifa. No picture of Dubai is complete without Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. It is considered the world’s most luxurious hotel and often described as ‘the world’s only seven-star hotel’ but is actually a five-star hotel, the highest official ranking. The hotel has a dedicated helipad as well whether the famous Nadal-Federer match took place on its inauguration. It is the fifth tallest hotel in the world and a single night stay starts from AED 6000 and can cost up to AED 50000. Yeah go ahead and sell one of your kidneys!

One can pay a visit to the opulent lobby but if you want to go past the lobby and you aren’t staying at the hotel then you need a confirmed reservation at their SkyView Bar, which might not be that cheap. The cocktails start at AED 370 only.

Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah is famous for its superlative resort, its traditional Arab resembling souks and palm-fringed waterways. It resembles an old Arab Village with the interiors reminding you of that era. The resort is the largest in Dubai. Even if you aren’t shopping you will particularly enjoy walking in the maze-like streets of the souk – with various retail outlets and over 50 restaurants and bars. It is just next to the Jumeirah beach hotel, Burj Al Arab and Wild Wadi Water Park.

Jumeirah Mosque

The desert colored Fatimid styled Mosque is one of the most famous and beautiful mosques in Dubai. It is rare in the sense that it is open for non-Muslim as well – under the ‘Open Door Open Minds’ program of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). You can understand the Emirati culture in a one-hour guided tour of the mosque. Don’t forget to try that free pastry at the end of the tour.

Etihad Museum

Eithad is the Arabic word for ‘Union’. The Etihad museum, opened in 2017, takes you through the journey of formation of the UAE. It is connected to the iconic Union House, where the treaty for the formation of the federation was signed, through a white travertine plaza. The building is a contemporary elegant design that showcases the heritage of the UAE through Documentary films, photographs, artifacts, timelines and interactive displays.

City Walk

It is the modern concept of a shopping mall, where an array of shopping outlets are placed on both sides of a walk including restaurants, bar and adventure zones. It is an outdoor complex with tree line esplanade and a central fountain. There is a 10-screen cinema complex along with family fun options like Hub Zero and Green Planet.

Green Planet:

Dubai is done with creating islands, tallest building, a ski dome in the middle of the desert – they are now playing with affluence. To add to this list they have now created a tropical rain forest, a bio-dome, that houses more than 3000 species of flora and fauna. It is like taking a walk in the Amazon with the world’s largest artificial tree cover.

Hub Zero

It is an indoor theme park, which is a gamers’ paradise. It has interactive gaming zones with climbing zones, rides and virtual reality. This place beautiful highlights what the future of VR is going to be in gaming. There are about 18 attractions, including a head-spinning VR experience, 3D dark rides, and 4D cinema.

La Mer

La Mer is another destination similar to the City Walk, where the walk is replaced by an exquisite beachfront. Opened in 2018, it’s free to sunbathe or roam the complex and an inflatable playground for Kids.

Eateries and Cafes

Jumeirah is the home for a range of finest dining places. You can find Dubai’s only Buffalo Wild Wings outlet here. Some of the other amazing options include; Bahri Bar, Logma, BuQtair, Lima Dubai, Moshi, Al Fanar and Lime Tree Café.

Jumeirah is the perfect place to live in Dubai with its seamless mix of modernity with heritage. Whether it’s the Jumeirah Archaeological site or Wild Wadi waterpark or the modern La Mer or the City Walk – everything will leave you entranced every time you visit.

For all those who live in Dubai,

For all those who walked at the City Walk,

For all those who sunbathed at the Jumeirah Beach,

And

For all those who love the Jumeirah…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 10th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘K’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.