Thursday, 30 January 2014

Dubai JBR

After two taxi drivers have heated words over which car I got into, I made my way over to the JBR. It was another beautiful day in Dubai with an almost cloudless blue sky and the JBR beach was perfection, crystal clear waters, light, soft golden sand, finished off with a stunning skyscraper backdrop! There weren't many facilities on the beach but running parallel to the beach is the JBR walk, one of the few pedestrian friendly areas which is lined with cafes and restaurants. 

After lounging around on the beach for a bit I went to explore the JBR area and up some stairs hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the JBR walk was this perfect sprawling oasis of calm. 
This was my absolute favourite corner of the gardens!
The view of the Marina walk which I did the other day

This hidden garden was absolutely perfect, not just because it was a lovely surprise to stumble across some greenery in the middle of the city but it was sheltered and cool because of the towering skyscrapers surrounding it, and somehow it seemed so much quieter than street level.

After finding some better maps I figured out there is a way to get to the other side of the river, but you have to walk an hour or so out of the way, but it was the only way I could catch a taxi - not a bad view along the walk either!

I stopped by the Marina mall on my way to get a taxi and picked up some Middle Eastern Treats (they're very similar to some iranian sweets I once tried a few years ago!)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Dubai Marina

I intended to do the JBR walk today but a bit of confusion with the taxi driver took me to the Marina waterfront... not a major problem but since there's no way to walk from the Marina waterfront to JBR (Dubai isn't big on pavements and isn't really the sort of city you can walk around sadly) I spent most of the day exploring the marina and the amazing skyscapers which front the waterfront!

There are pictures of the Leader of Dubai all around Dubai, there's a painting of him in my hotel lobby and I've seen pictures all over places, on posters etc. Thought the fact they plastered his face on a side scraper was really interesting though!
Anyway I ended up finding the Marina Mall. It's one of the smallest mall's in Dubai with only 160 stores - it was nice not getting lost in a shopping centre for once!

It was one of my favourite malls as it felt really spacious, with a good range of shops and I loved how most of the shops had floor-to-ceiling windows - so there was a lovely view out over the marina as you shopped!

They also had a Waitrose there too, just like at Dubai Mall, so I popped in to grab a few things including a 'prickly pear' and some African Avocados!

Dubai Mall

Today I hit the biggest mall in the world. It was massive. 
It was also torture to someone travelling on a budget! But even without being able to splurge on the variety of goods available (although it was pretty hard as we're right in the middle of Dubai's Shopping Festival so everything is slashed) it was really enjoyable with the beautiful surroundings, indoor aquarium and not to mention the amazing Dubai Fountains!

A glimpse of what one section of the mall looked like
The indoor aquarium was stunning, with all sorts of different aquatic creatures swimming arounds

The ceiling above the aquarium was almost as beautiful too!

Opposite the aquarium was a massive sweet shop which sold pretty much every kind of sweet imaginable and had some lovely decorations - including this candy tree!

All 50 flavours of jelly beans

The world's tallest building through the ceiling 
Every so often there would be these dangling butterflies which I loved as they were so pretty!

An indoor olympic sized skating rink! 
One of my favour architectural features!
Lunch was sushi and a pinkberry!

Another interesting feature in the mall was this massive indoor waterfall that spans 3 stories!

As soon as the sun started to dip behind the skyscrapers everyone headed out to the Dubai Fountains as the show starts as soon as the sun sets. 
Even before the shows started the setting was pretty lovely, with everyone gathering along the waters edge. T

The show was amazing. It was very short but it was great! After that I wandered about the mall a little more before heading back to the hotel (catching a taxi was crazy was there was just so many people trying to get one, it was organised though, just a little manic)
Despite being on a budget I did pick up a few bits! :)

Dubai Part 1

So I'm finally in Dubai!
The flight was really smooth, after a short flight from Manchester to London Heathrow, I grabbed a coffee and exchanged some of my money and waited for my flight to Dubai. Now the best bit of my flight was by far the fact that the flight was carrying a 'light load' meaning I got four seats to myself! 

Needless to say I did the only logical thing, I kicked off my shoes, pushed the armrests up and lounged out over the four seats with my collection of blankets and pillows! 

I managed to catch a taxi really easily and found my way to the Hotel (after stopping for directions since 'Golden Sands' is a selection of 10 apartment blocks and the driver couldn't find mine). I had to wait for a while in the reception area as my room wasn't ready, but it wasn't a problem since some of the reviews online had already said a wait was probable.
When I did get into my room I was really impressed! I opted for basically the cheapest accommodation I could find in Dubai that wasn't too dodgy and I think I got really lucky!
This is the view as you walk in, the bathroom is on the right, the kitchen is as you walk in leading to the bedroom/lounge area.

After unpacking a little and settling in I wandered up to the rooftop pool, found myself somewhere to sit and soaked up some sun and just generally relaxed! :)