I’ve been to Dubai many times before for work. I actually went way back when there was barely anything one can do except for shop in some malls and stay in a nice hotel. So coming back the last time was such a different experience. Dubai’s character has changed immensely and I must say that I can’t wait to go back!!!
First of all they have more malls and they’re nicer, more varied, and bigger! The other thing was that the whole place didn’t feel too quiet and barren as it did before. Dubai is bustling and busy, and can pump one up with its energy. So if you are planning to go to Dubai soon, here are some things you’d perhaps like to note about.
Time Difference in the City That Doesn’t Sleep
When I say time difference, it doesn’t only mean that they are a few hours behind compared to us, but that they have an altogether different concept of time. People in Dubai think it is early when one sleeps at 12 midnight, and bedtime is normally at two in the morning. It is so odd when I see babies so awake, patiently waiting in their prams as their parents go eating and shopping and strolling around the mall at 10-11:00PM!
Our first few days in Dubai. Philip couldn’t help but conk out at dinner time since that meant madaling araw back in the Philippines!
But the work hours are pretty much the same with us and so people actually wake up early, even though they sleep late. So maybe we can say Dubai is running on a sleep deficit, which I nevertheless never felt. It is cultural and they somehow have worked through it. No one seemed to think about the lack of sleep and they surely didn’t look like they were too sleepy to be happy!
Malling All Day and All Night Long
Dubai is a city that doesn’t sleep, and also of the shoppers. Usual mall hours are from 10:00 or 11:00AM to 12 or 1:00AM. When we were there in January, our appointments usually finished at nine in the evening, and if that were in Manila, that really left us no time for anything else but home, rest, sleep. But not in Dubai. 9:00PM is only the beginning of a long night. You’ll see a crowd coming into the malls to have dinner and roam around only after nine. As a tourist I personally felt so relaxed to have that much time to look around. And while this was never the case when I shop in the U.S., more often than not, I gave up before the mall’s closing hours in Dubai!
In the famous Dubai Mall. Their malls are huge and my legs usually gave out before the stores close down.
And just to show you how hardcore Dubai is about shopping, they actually held a 24-hour-no-closing-hour weekend for all the malls of Dubai sometime last year!
When we went, it was the famous DSF or Dubai Shopping Festival, where every store has huge discounts even on regular items. Branded stuff like Longchamp go 75% off and Warehouse dresses were for only 700-800 Pesos!
This Festival is held around the beginning of every year for Dubai. But residents said there were better discounts in December. Just noting it here for your consideration!
All Around the World In One Plate
What gets deadlier than shopping for me is the variety of food that they have over in Dubai. Middle Eastern? Indonesian? Indian? European? American? Name it, THEY HAVE IT ALL. Lamb and yogurt combos, with endless free pita for your hummus on the side; baba ganush and tabouleh, and all the prunes and dates and nuts you get with your breakfast. This is my kind of food, actually, and it was really hard for me to say no enough to save my tummy from losing the rest of what’s left of its original shape!
Watch Out For Seasonal Festivals
When we were at Dubai, their Global Village was up! I think this comes around every Christmas and New Year, and though this might not be around when you go this year, you may check this website for what may be available by the time of your visit – CLICK ME!
The Global Village actually is a big space that is segregated into different nations,
In one day I was able to go to all of these places!
Our friends wanted us to try this tea which they say they never fail to order at the Global Village!
These are like our cariocas, aren’t they??? The women in hijab were really there for the tourists to watch make their local snacks, which we were encouraged to try for ourselves.
And when all else fails, do look for a Pinoy in Dubai- which you can probably spot in almost every meter, hahahaha! These are our friends- the Asuncions, and they were so helpful in bringing me to the best places for all our needs. So I highly suggest, tap a Pinoy to ask for advice on where to go and even for secret deals!