Skyscrapers, Souqs and Sweet Milk – Emirates Insider Dubai

Today’s blog comes from Alistair Lee – a Travel Expert from our UK Contact Centre who headed out to Dubai in February as our Emirates Insider.

When I was asked to go out on a trip to Dubai and be followed by a camera crew for a few days I was, well, apprehensive to say the least! Not because of the destination, I’ve been to Dubai 6 or 7 times so I was confident that I could find my way around and show off the best things to do, but being filmed on the beach in my green shorts was a different matter entirely. They are mine by the way, and I know they look great.

The hotel we stayed in was awesome, cheap, clean, great bar, rooftop pool with views over the marina, the works. Honestly though, I didn’t manage much time in it! We were supposed to use the 1st day to scope out filming location but we ended up spontaneously turning on the cameras anyway.

We spend most of the time in The Emirates Mall near the hotel, which was fun as it’s not the kind of thing I’d normally do. Not only did we get to explore the many, many shops, I also tried some tea with camel milk. It tasted very sweet (probably to disguise the taste of the camel milk) and I thought “well at least that’s out of the way”. It wasn’t.

The next day we were up early and straight out to the Old Town to souq up the atmosphere (Ed note: we’re so sorry). We went to the spice souq first where we had a really cool guide who knew the locals and helped us find the best shops to film in. The history and hustle and bustle was totally different from the shopping mall of the day before and a great insight into Old Dubai.

After grabbing some saffron (a present for my mum which, now I think about it, I still haven’t given to her…) we headed to the gold souq. It’s totally amazing with bling just hanging in every window wherever you look! To round off our Old Town adventure we took the old ferry down the creak and went to an ice cream parlour on the other side. A camel milk ice cream parlour. I had strawberry.

Our day wasn’t done yet. When in the middle of a desert there’s one thing you need to make sure you experience. Skiing. I’m not that hot on the slopes so the chap in the action shots is actually the camera man. The being thrown around in a massive ball zorbing, however, I did do and it was more fun than I expected, if a little bouncy.

Think that would be enough for one day? Well Dubai had one more thing for us. Despite seeing it soaring over the city multiple times, I’d never actually been to the Burj Khalifa. We took the lift (the longest in the world, though not quite the fastest thanks to Taipei 101), and got to the top just in time for the sunset. It’s often quite foggy at dusk but we were lucky with the clear weather and. It felt so odd, especially when you’re looking down towards the beach there’s not a lot of development so you really get a sense of how high you are!

The next day we got some desert time with the Dune Bashing (essentially sitting in an awesome 4×4 and “bashing” round the dunes at high speed). We did quite a lot of takes for this, paying with shots as the sand went flying, but I was pretty happy about it as I got more time in the car! Then another beautiful sunset, belly dancing in the desert (sounds like a Hercule Poirot novel) and a middle eastern buffet dinner. Bliss.

Even though I thought I’d seen most of Dubai, there was so much to be discovered. There probably still is! So many cheap flights to Asia and Australia stop in Dubai airport that I’d really recommend asking your Travel Expert if your flight allows a stopover for a couple of days of exploring on the way to your next destination.

Try the camel milk. It’s great. Honest.

Check out Alistair and the rest of the Emirates Insiders’ adventures in Seoul, Brisbane and Milan! Or just fly to Dubai and get discovering yourself…