City Tour of Dubai
Despite having left San Francisco a little later than planned, we landed in Dubai on time and enjoyed being at the gate almost as soon as we turned off the runway. We were booked at our complimentary hotel room at Le Meridien only 30 min. later and moved our scheduled 9:00 Dubai City tour to 8:30.
Dubai was hot and humid with temperatures around 95° (35° Celcius). The heat felt a lot warmer and we all changed into something a lot lighter before setting out to see the city.
We started the tour at the Gold Souk (Souk = market or bazaar) - one of the largest gold markets in the world. From there to the Spice Sou; which is almost exclusively run by Iranians as most spices are brought from Iran to Dubai via boat.
A short Abra ride followed on the Dubai Creek before we were reunited with our tour bus on the shore of the other side. All enjoyed the slightly cooler temperatures on the water!
We left the open markets behind and headed to Dubai Mall. As with many other things in Dubai, this (also) is the world’s largest. We came mostly to see the world’s tallest building - Burj Khalifa - but got to see Pottery Barn, the Dubai Aquarium, and Shake Shack on the way. The (almost) magical fountains in front of Burj Khalifa performed for us twice.
Afterward, we stopped at Jumeirah Madinat, where John & Olivia had previously stayed. We tried to get access to the private beach but no such luck. The security is pretty strict there, and it didn’t help that we showed up with a group of 16 people.
Instead, we opted for a view of the iconic Burj al Arab hotel from the Jumeirah public beach., located to the right of the hotel. Not quite as good a view, but we got to dip our feet in the water and capture a couple of snapshots with the hotel in the background.
At this point, most had started to fade as it was past midnight, and we decided to head back to the hotel. Several of the children asked if we could please drive by the Royal Palace; which ended up being the last sight of the evening not counting the inside of our eyelids approximately 30 min. later.
We had planned the tour from home via Dubai Private Tours, and after spending four hours with them we found them professional, safe and knowable. Our guide - Sha - talked almost non-stop from pickup to drop-off and entertained us all with facts and some fiction… His story about a previous girlfriend and the unveiling of her face after a few months of dating will be remembered by all for years to come.