Dubai: A champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget

We stopped over in Dubai for 3 days and checked into the Ascott Park Hotel on Sheikh Zayad Road. The receptionist told us the standard room we booked was not available and that she would upgrade us to the superior apartment suite. I have NEVER stayed in a nicer hotel. The apartment was over two stories and it was luxury. Being backpackers were over the moon about this and it was the best beginning to our round the world trip. Before this happened I continued to joke with my travel partner that we may get upgraded on our Emirates flight from London to Dubai. Somebody must have heard my wish!

We were quite tired when we arrived but the adrenalin rush meant that we were too thrilled to nap so our first stop was of course, the Dubai mall. Dubai was certainly a culture shock for both of us, from the different gender trains to the fact that we were not appropriately dressed in the mall. Honestly, it was so hot and my poor Irish skin knew it too. I had no choice but to throw on my pennys (of course) shorts! The mall was made for the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-z, unfortunately, I didn’t splash out on the first day of my three month backpacking trip around the world, but believe me it was hard !

I continued to remind myself that I’m travelling for memories and not to splash out on the next Gucci handbag. I would much prefer a passport full of stamps than a designer handbag. Although, if somebody handed me one I wouldn’t say no either. After looking around the mall we went back to our palace (and that it was!). We relaxed and got ready to look at the famous waterfall display at the mall which is called The Dubai Fountain Show. It is on every half an hour and we were so amazed with it we watched it twice. Take the boat trip around the fountain too as it is worth the 10 dirham.
There were a few things we didn’t get to do in Dubai which is why I am already planning a return trip. Luckily, we did get to the top of the observatory tower in the Marriott Harbour hotel. You can go in and use the lift to get to the top floor. We enjoyed a few cocktails and that very moment, I realised I was experiencing a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget. My friend and I did look like typical backpackers, we were wearing shorts and runners, while a group of cosmopolitan city chicks indulged in lobster ravioli and caviar. I continued to sit back relax and smiled from ear to ear while looking out at the millionaire yachts, the palm islands alongside the famous Atlantis hotel and high-rise buildings.

Safari Trip Recommendations

Travel by 4×4 across the deserts of Dubai on this exhilarating 6-hour excursion! Enjoy an adrenaline rush sand-boarding down Dubai’s desert dunes, take a camel ride and get a henna tattoo! Complete your experience with a visit to our on-site Shawrma station or enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner under the twinkling Arabian stars while watching a traditional tanoura dance performance. It’s a must-do experience when visiting Dubai!

Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Get off the beaten track in a 4×4
Free drinks included
Dinner included

After a pickup from your centrally located Dubai hotel, relax in an air-conditioned 4×4 vehicle as you head to the desert that surrounds the city. Admire views of the barren yet enchanting landscape on the way, and listen to your guide’s tales about the region and its fascinating geology.

First stop on your desert rendezvous is a traditional camel farm to see herds of the magnificent hump-backed herbivores. After showing off your balancing skills on a camel ride around the enclosures, learn about the different types of camels that are commonly seen in the desert around Dubai.

Continue by 4×4 across the desert plains to the campsite in the desert and try your hand at a popular local pastime: sand-boarding! Learn to master the art of ‘surfing on sand’ and race your friends and fellow travelers down the sand dunes during in an adrenaline-rushing experience.

Show off your balance skills on a camel ride or relax and take a seat outside to watch your show as the sun sets over the craggy canyons and sun-baked plains. Get a henna tattoo design on your hands or feet, watch a traditional tanoura folk dance.

I advise you to book Arabian Nights tour LLC. Ours cost 99 dirham but the prices change due to high and low seasons. Most people were not satisfied with the BBQ as it was very unorganised so if you can pick an option without this, I advise you to.


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