I’m FINALLY getting around to blogging about our trip to Dubai and Thailand. I hope I can do it justice and that I don’t forget anything! So why Dubai and Thailand? My best answer is, why not? However to break it down a little more the answer is that we travel a lot. Adam runs a global business and he travels all over the world. I often get to travel with him and together we have covered a lot of ground. For this vacation, I wanted to pick a destination that neither of us had ever experienced before. We also wanted to go to a place that was warm, where the food was good, and that would be a rich cultural experience. Friends with 4 kids had gone to Thailand the previous winter and after picking their brains, I decided that this was the perfect place for our Christmas holiday. The Dubai piece was an add on. When I booked the flights, the best option from Boston to Bangkok was to fly Emerites through Dubai. My boys have always wanted to go to Dubai and we had a 2.5 week break, so why not stop!? It was the perfect place to get over the jet lag!
We did a 14 hour redeye from Boston to Dubai which, after the time change got us there after dinner. We ended up at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina with our beloved Starwood points. It was great. We had a nice view of the marina, there was a nice beach, a great pool and a good gym. While we didn’t spend much time at the hotel, we did relax at the pool every morning before we headed out to explore. My favorite spot was the hammock out in the ocean!
And of course the typical blogger shot so I can show you guys all of my favorite things that I packed!
So what to do in Dubai?? Of course we had to check out the malls! Day one we woke up, had breakfast and jumped right in a cab to the Dubai Mall. We had a long list of luxury items that we wanted to check out, and based on some internet research, it seemed like the Dubai Mall would be better for that kind of high end browsing. It did not disappoint. From the minute we got out of the cab, we were completely surrounded by luxury cars. We could have stood there for hours. It was so fun to see the car culture! Of course we headed to the usuals, Gucci, LV, Versace (Ollie really wanted to try on this robe). We were mesmerized by the massive aquarium in the middle of the mall. Everything about the experience was so amazing. We loved watching the locals shop and loved to people watch and comment on all of their amazing hand bags and shoes (see previous blog posts…these boys know their designer goods).
We got back to the hotel room in the late afternoon. We could barely keep our eyes open, but I pushed myself to go to the gym. Ugh jetlag is the worst, but you can’t give in! Must push through! For dinner we went to China Grille in the hotel which is one of our favorite spots in New York. So that was fun! We actually ate there twice!
The next day, after breakfast and a swim we were back in the cab and off to the Mall of the Emirates – which was basically similar to the Dubai Mall but instead of massive fish and sharks swimming through the middle of the mall, there was a full blown ski slope! It was actually so cool and fun to see in person! We had lunch in the food court at the most delicious schwarma place. The schwarma in Dubai was entirely worth the trip. Delicious. For dinner we headed to a restaurant that over looked the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world. We had a nice dinner with a front row view of the dancing fountains. It was a great night and I gotta say…the dancing fountains were awesome. Totally touristy, but worth it!
Day 3 was our desert safari day! Seriously, it was the most fun day we have had in a long time. Everything about it. I mean, it’s a total touristy thing to do, but how could we go to Dubai and not go on a desert safari!? Our guide picked us up at the hotel after lunch and we headed for the desert. The first stop was to ride ATVs and dune buggies. We got 2 dune buggies and an ATV for the 5 of us. Riding and ATV was a life goal of Ollie’s that he was able to fulfill. To this day, he says that it was the best 20 minutes of his life. I have to admit, the dune buggies were fun, but the ATV looked awesome!
After the best 20 minutes of Ollie’s life came to an end, we headed back to the Land Cruiser to move onto the dune bashing segment of the tour. I’ll just start by saying that I get extremely motion sick. Like horrible. I was so nervous. I sat in the front – which was the path of least resistance, but it was still rough. The guide let the air out of the tires and we headed off into the desert in a caravan of Land Cruisers. Up and over dunes, drifting, etc. It was worse than a roller coaster. Poor Ollie was in the 3rd row and almost tossed his cookies, but we all made it through. After the dune bashing was photo time in the desert. It was so beautiful as the sun was setting. Loved it! Our family jump photo…. Let’s just say that I wasn’t getting satisfactory height. This was probably like the 30th take…
After our photo ops, we got back in the Land Cruisers and headed to dinner in the desert. It was awesome. First we got to ride the camels. To be honest, it was a brief experience that Ollie skipped, but we had fun doing a quick loop! Getting on and off a camel is one of the stranger experiences I have ever had.
There were tents and schwarma and henna tattoos! There were also shisha pipes (think hookah) that were included in the dinner. Max and Sam chose some nasty strawberry flavored coals and sucked on that thing until their lungs were most likely black. They loved every minute of it! When in Dubai….. After dinner there was entertainment. Not sure what they were called, but there were a couple of men who did this spinning act. Think whirling dervish. While slightly dizzying, it was cool.
After the light up spinning show, we were jet lagged and ready for bed. We attempted to find our guide to hitch a ride back to Dubai and he insisted that the show was not over and that there was no way we would want to miss the belly dancing. I don’t have any photos because I was shaking I was laughing so hard watching my boys watch the belly dancer. Lets just say that she did NOT wear a burka. It was such a stark contrast to all of the women in burkas that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. The desert safari day was an amazing end to our time in Dubai. After the belly dancing was over, we headed back to Dubai and fell into bed. Next up? The 6 hour flight to Bangkok.