Dubai, Dubai…

So good you have to say it twice…. heheh….. 

It’s been almost a week since I got back from this Arabian city. This is my 2nd time there, my first time there was about 2 years ago. The place is still the same, everywhere you turn there’s a construction site, tall buildings after taller buildings, this city just keeps on growing and growing. The credit crunch happening the world over and the drop in crude oil prices haven’t seemed to affect Dubai or the UAE yet, although I did hear that several projects have been dropped. But all ongoing projects are still moving on high gear. They’re building for the future, because they’ve predicted that their oil will run out in about 10-15 years, so they’re concentrating now on making money in other ways, like attracting investments from big companies and also tourism. 

Like I said in my previous post, this time around, I had to emcee an annual dinner as well. My uncle set up a design consultancy firm there a few years ago and they’re doing very well with several big projects under their belt. This year is their 15th Anniversary so they celebrated it in a big way, almost 50 tables at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Grand Ballroom, consisting of mostly the staff members and their family. Around 40 of us flew in from KL.  

Jumeirah Beach Hotel by night. It was built to resemble the shape of a wave, and from Jumeirah beach, this hotel is just in front of the Burj Al-Arab, which was built to resemble a sail. 

My co-emcee Mike and me. We were wearing the Emirati traditional costumes at the beginning of the night, the female version is called the Abaya, and the men’s white shirt dress is called the Dishdashah. 

On stage after changing into our evening wear. 

We even flew Jaclyn Victor in to sing a few songs for us that night. As usual, she blew everyone away.

Joe and I with my Mum and Dad after the dinner, with my 9 year old niece who travelled with us on her first trip without her parents. 

This was outside our Hotel at the World Trade Center, check out the illusion of hollowness on the building on the left.

Lots of buildings in Dubai are very uniquely shaped, which makes for a futuristic skyline. 

The tall pin-like building you see in this picture is the Burj Dubai. It is slated to be one of the tallest buildings in the world once it’s completed and the projected height when completed is still kept a secret so that there will be no competition from other tall buildings under construction right now. So ‘kiasu’….hehehe

Joe and I at Dubai’s premier landmark, the Burj Al-Arab Hotel.

Unless you’re a guest or have made reservations to dine at one of the restaurants in there, you cannot go into the hotel or even the driveway leading to the hotel. The cheapest way to get in is the have high-tea there, which costs around RM300 per person. 

A different view of Burj Al-Arab from Souk Madinat. A contrast between old and new. 

The entrance to Souk Madinat, a ‘mall’ or bazaar built based on the architecture ofthe olden days souks.

Inside Souk Madinat

We went to the brand new 5-star hotel Atlantis, The Palm as well. It was launched recently with much fanfare. Kylie Minogue sang, all the A-list celebrities from Hollywood and Asia were on the guestlist, fireworks that put Beijing Olympic’s opening to shame…the works! Everything that lots of money can buy. 🙂

Entranceway to the Reception area. 

This weird but opulent structure was the centrepiece of the Atlantis reception area

This was the piece-de-resistance, a gigantic aquarium in the middle of the entire hotel.

There are over 250 species of marine life living in this aquarium, including this giant whale shark! 

Mural on the ceiling of the Atlantis-The Palm

Atantis-The Palm is located right at centre of the top cresent surrounding the Palm Jumeirah.

We also went on the Desert Safari, where experienced drivers bring you on a 4WD adventure across the sand dunes. Not for those with motion-sickness.

If you look closely, there’s actually a man standing in the middle of the desert. Quite creepy if you ask me.:) The safari stops at an area where you can take pictures of the sunset. 

Footprints in the sand. Everytime I see this picture, I am reminded of the Leona Lewis song of the same name. Beautiful isn’t it?

Chill-laxing in the middle of the desert

Besides the 4WD adventure, you’ll be dropped off at a camp site in the middle of the desert where you can ride camels…

…enjoy a barbequed Arabian buffet dinner…

…belly dancing…

..and Henna tattoos! You can also smoke shisha and purchase souvenirs and belly dancing skirts from the camp-site. This all-inclusive Desert Safari package costs about Dhs 220 for adults. Click here for more details. 

One place I have not been during my previous visit is the Ski Dubai located inside the Mall of Emriates. 

It’s the only place in the whole desert city where it’s -4 degrees Celcius, all year round. 

You can either buy a ticket to go into the Snow Park for Dhs 80, or take a Beginners Skiing lesson for Dhs 150. All the skiing equipments including jackets and pants and boots are included in the package, even socks!! There’s even a ski-lift inside this place!

I decided to explore the Snow Park instead of taking a lesson because we were pressed for time and I really wanted to go shopping. The Snow Park itself is quite fun, I went on the bobsled ride and the taboggan ride, walked around the ice-maze and played with real snow! This is the view from Ski Dubai into the Mall of Emirates. 

The Abras (Boats), travelling up and down the Dubai Creek daily. They serve as Water Taxis for those wanting to cross from Diera (the older part of Dubai city) to Bur Dubai and back.  

The buildings around Dubai Creek, among them the twin buildings, also known as the Rolex building. 

Us in the Abra. 

Inside the airport terminal. Dubai airport might be the only airport in the world with Date Palm trees as decoration.

Lots of young Malaysians are now working in Dubai and I think it’s a great place to make lots of money in a short period of time. It’s also a relatively safe country because everyone who is there, is there to work. The pay is high, you don’t get taxes and you get to enjoy first class facilities. With all these advantages however, I can never imagine living there long term. It’s such a port city, in both its feel and its identity, it’s where you go to get what you want and then leave. 

Irregardless, I spent a great weekend there with my family, might go again next year, who knows. But everyone should definitely visit Dubai at least once in their lifetime and be amazed by this desert city’s transformation, which happened only in the past 30 years!

That’s all from me for now. Hope you enjoyed this account of my journey to Dubai and hopefully this has inspired you to want to go visit there someday. Take care people!


Love, Bel

13 comments on “Dubai, Dubai…

  1. Belinda

    Actually, it’s winter there now, days average about 20 ish degrees and it’ll drop till about 16 degrees at night! So it wasn’t that hot…very nice weather in fact. 🙂

  2. DurianLover

    hey bel, wats the weather like in summer? is it hot sticky and sweaty?

    Do you know what sort of jobs are most of these young malaysians in to? hospitality? engineering/architecture? Im a recent grad and this post really did inspire me to consider looking for a job over there.

    would be great if you could explain a little more about the disadvantages..
    ie not so liberal etc? racism? living environment?


  3. Belinda


    It’s a city which grew out of a desert, so it can hit up to high 40s, even 50 degrees in summer!

    Most jobs there involve being in the construction industry – architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, CAD operators. They are the ones earning bigger bucks. They hire a lot of Filipinos for the service industry, but I’m sure if you can speak good english, the hospitality industry there is booming as well.

    Of course, cost of living is slightly higher there, one simple meal can cost up to RM30, and accomodation there is pretty costly as well. Unless of course you get a job that provides you with room and board.

    In terms of living environment, well, I’ve heard stories and some not so encouraging, especially if you’re a girl, I guess it’ll be a tough place to live because girls are still treated as 2nd class citizen there, but if you’re a guy, I’d highly recommend you go rough it out for a year or 2, save enough money to come back here and find a better job. Especially with the experience you’ve earned over there, it’ll be valuable here. My 2 cents worth.

    When I was over there, I saw this employment paper called Nadia and they have a website too, You should go check it out and try your luck! 🙂

  4. L30nArD

    My O My… The closest i can to experience Dubai is via Discovery Channel.

    Im really amazed by all their building structures, just like u said – Futuristic Skyline.

    Hope to visit there one day.

    Happy New Year Bel ! God Bless

  5. Edmund Yeo

    Oh! I was in Dubai too, from 10th to 18th Dec. Would’ve been funny if we were actually there at the same time. I was there for the film festival, snapped quite a lot of photos myself (*shameless plug* can check it out on my blog *shameless plug*). It’s awesome that you managed to visit the desert. The festival schedule was too hectic, so I couldn’t go. Gaaah! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to return this year.

    Burj Dubai isn’t slated to be the tallest building in the world. It already IS the tallest building in the world despite being incomplete. That’s what makes it so insane.

  6. Naomi Lim

    Hey Bel, a good friend of mine works as an interior designer for ur uncle’s comp and she mentioned u were hosting the event.

    Dubai sounds like alot of fun! Happy 2009 btw.

    Can’t wait to see you get married and have lots of bubbly kids 🙂

  7. PrincessX

    So, the price just to visit the Burj al-Arab rose, it was RM100 when i went there last time…Dubai is a beautiful city and the dessert is certainly a beautiful place isn’t it?

  8. Aruna Ching Chze

    i totally agree with bel about earning big bucks in Dubai and enjoying first class facilities, and that its a place where you get what you want and then leave.

    it really depends on individuals, but as for me i’ve been working here in Dubai for the past 6 months and i don’t think i like it much here. a fresh grad myself, im earning 10 times more than those fresh grads working in Msia. but im not enjoying life as much as they are. Dubai is a place where everywhere is just so far from everywhere and taxi rides are never the best experience. as for safety, no where in the world is safe, but I would say Dubai is much safer than the present Msia.

    for those of you who’s considering of coming over, it’s as a matter of fact a good experience and a great way to earn lots in a short period of time (it also depends on how you spend it cuz Dubai is not a cheap place to live in).

    however, you (specially females) ought to be mentally strong and ready cuz it can be depressing living in Dubai. come with a goal and objective, fulfill it and then leave. thats exactly what im doing now.


  9. Desert Safari Dubai

    hi..welcome guys

    I was Reading this blog and today i am mostly people like my dubai.i am staying dubai and i am provide my dubai package and it’s really grateful source


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