I travelled to Dubai recently by kind courtesy of Emirates. The six days I spent were full of adventure and an eye-opener to operators in the tourism industry.
It was a visit arranged to give the opportunity to a mother and child to experience some of the tourist sites and attractions in Dubai. And so on December 16, I boarded an Emirates flight with my daughter for the Dubai experience.
One of the things that first struck me on arrival was the clean environment and throughout my stay, I did not see beggars on the streets that I travelled on. Unfortunately, I was not able to get answers to how come I saw none.
Christmas trees and decorations, as well as accompanying carols in the background were quite a surprise to me because I thought that being an Islamic country, that would not be the case.
Our stay at the V Hotel Curio was so comfortable but there was not much time to savour all the facilities it had to offer because we had to explore sites outside the hotel.
The first day was a visit to Legoland where there were many playgrounds and activities for children. There were several shops which sold a variety of toys and other items which the children couldn’t take their eyes off.
Then was the visit to Motiongate where we had an out-of-the-world experience. My daughter and I witnessed a number of animation stories, including that of cartoon figures like Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. We had the time of our lives reliving the Shrek story as we rode through a journey created to bring the story alive.
It was so difficult to leave the site because of the excitement but alas, it was dark and I had no choice than to virtually drag my daughter out to go and get ready for the next day’s programme. By that time, my daughter had become so comfortable with our tour guide, Rom Bautista, that she was calling him Uncle Rom.
December 18, 2019
We found ourselves at the Green Planet located in an area called the City Walk. The facility is a creation of a tropical forest with flora and fauna. We learnt that is the largest indoor man-made and life-sustaining eco-system with over 3,000 plants and animals. There were four floors. I visited all floors except one which was home to different species of reptiles. Those creatures give me the shivers.
My daughter and I had fun with the monkeys, parrots, bats, frogs and many more. It is a centre where one can be educated and gain first-hand information.
The experience at the Aquaventure Waterpark and the Lost Chambers was thrilling as we came face to face with sharks, sea horses, eels and different species of fishes and more at the Lost Chambers. The water park provided safe water play for both adults and children. With attentive life guards stationed almost everywhere, parents felt very safe leaving their children to have fun in the water.
We woke rather very early and the weather was quite cold as we headed for the desert in a four-wheel drive instead of the mini bus we had been using since we arrived.
We also had a different tour guide for the day. On arrival, it didn’t take too long to understand why we needed a four-wheel drive.
It was thrilling as our tour guide, who was also the driver, drove with so much skill along with nine other vehicles up and down the dunes! My word, I had never experienced such adventure! I kept laughing like a child engaging in a new fun spot! I guess my adrenaline was at its highest! The skill of the driver was incredible.
He told me he had been driving tourists up and down the dunes for 16 years and had acquired three different kinds of licences to do that work. Little wonder he was so confident.
At the end of the drive was time to take pictures! I couldn’t believe how high I jumped on one of the dunes for this!
When it was time for the camel ride, I was wondering how I could climb onto the camel. But it was all made easy with stairs and the camel obeyed the instructions of its master as to when to bend to allow us to climb and when to lower itself so we could get off. Other tourists to the desert did sandboarding in the dunes but I was too exhausted to try that. Eating breakfast on the desert as we shooed away houseflies reminded me so much of home.
Our next stop was a facility called the Global Village, a multicultural festival park which gave us a feel of the different cultures around the world.
This village, we were told, was opened throughout October to the first week in April. The funfair was awesome.
It was time to visit the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. I couldn’t believe the entertainment that had been created around this building which stood at 828 metres. The lift, in 99 seconds, took us to the 125th floor where we had a breathtaking view of Dubai. There were several picture opportunities and sale of souvenirs.
From there, we proceeded to the Dubai Aquarium Tank located on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall.
The aquarium is home to over 140 species of aquatic animals. My daughter had the chance of seeing in real life all she had been reading in books about such animals and there were guides to answer all her questions about them.
There were sharks, rays and so much more to see as we walked through a tunnel with wonderful light effects bringing the aquarium alive in a magical way.
We ended the day at the Dubai Garden Glow where we saw more than 120 types of animated dinosaurs which looked so real and walked through an illuminated garden of art brought alive by energy-saving bulbs.
We landed in a beautiful garden called the Dubai Miracle Garden. It was of course filled with flowers but what made it spectacular was the different art themes around which these flowers had been woven; from cartoon figures such as mickey mouse, donald duck, daisy etc.
The Ski Dubai was our next stop. It is an indoor ski resort with temperatures created to negative degrees and as cold as to be home of penguins. Of course, we were provided with the appropriate clothing to enter, else we could have frozen!
We wrapped up our visit with a stop at OliOli, a very spacious playground for children where there was a variety of activities.
Throughout the stay, there was easy access to toilet facilities, food, drinks and we felt so safe.
As we posed for a goodbye picture with our tour guide, Rom Bautista, who was so friendly, patient and so knowledgeable about Dubai, tears started rolling down the eyes of my daughter as she asked whether we could remain in Dubai.
“No,” I replied, we were only on a visit and had to return home sweet home. Christmas just came earlier for us, we saw a slice of Dubai, for as Rom told us, there were so many more places of interest to see.
Writer’s Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org