United Arab Emirates

Number of Days: 9

Tour Type: Self-Guided

Total Cost: $1,500 (estimate)

Day 1:  Arrive in Atlanta airport where we will gather in the Delta SkyClub for drinks, oatmeal cookies, and other delicious snacks. You will have an opportunity to shower here if you feel the need to do so (although I hope you don’t have that need at this point in the trip…). Prepare for an excruciating 14 hour flight to Dubai.

Day 2: Arrive at the Dubai airport, the world’s largest airport, late in the evening. We will take either the Metro or taxicabs to the Princess Tower, the second tallest skyscraper in Dubai. Here we will be introduced to our 70th floor suite and get a good night’s sleep in preparation for our adventures in Dubai.

Day 3: On our first full day in Dubai, we will go to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Next door to the Burj Khalifa is the famous Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountains, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Performances are at 1 pm, 1:30 pm, and every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Before we turn in for the night, we will stop by the Burj Al Arab, shaped like a wind sail and the world’s only 7-star hotel. We will visit the Al Muntaha on the rooftop for a nightcap drink (I’m sure at a very hefty price, but it’s the only way to get into the building).

Day 4: We will depart the Princess Towers at 8:30 am for a two-drive to Abu Dhabi. Here we will see the Sheikh Zayed Road, the Sheikh Sayed Mosque, the popular Abu Dhabi Market, the Emirates Palace and Presidential Palace (outside only), Ferrari World and Yas Island, the Heritage Village and Museum of Abu Dhabi, and the Mall of Abu Dhabi Marine and Abu Dhabi Corniche. We will arrive back at the Princess Tower around 5 pm.

 Day 5: We will spend the morning exploring the world renowned Atlantis resort, located on The Palm islands.

In the afternoon, we depart at 3 pm from the Princess Tower for an Evening Desert Safari in a private and exclusive Jeep. We will be driving through the desert sand dunes, riding camels (on hump day) on the sand dunes and making attempts to sand ski. We will finish the evening with a BBQ dinner in the desert with entertainment from belly dancers. Arrive back at Princess Towers around 9 pm. 

Day 6: We will begin our morning with breakfast at Jumeriah Beach, the most famous beach in Dubai. Here we will eat and enjoy the morning heat and the beautiful Oceanside views. After breakfast, we will visit Jumeriah Mosque, the only mosque in Dubai that is open to non-Muslims.

The afternoon will consist of a visit to the Mall of Emirates, which also houses Dubai’s indoor skiing park. I hope you can all ski! This will be the true test…

Day 7: We will begin our morning at 9:30 am with a Champagne brunch at Yalumba, where groups are often found degenerating into a dancing-on-the-tables affair with occasional bubble trouble as people overdo it. Champagne at this restaurant is unlimited.

After brunch, we will venture over to Traditional Dubai, where we will visit the Bastakia Quarter, a mini maze of wind-towered buildings, a clutch of which have been transformed into art galleries and cafes.

Traditional Dubai is also home to Grand Mosque (which we will be able to see only from the outside), and the gold souks, spice souks, and the famous Bur Dubai Souk.

The Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, the former residential quarters of Dubai’s leader, is also located nearby.

And finally, while it’s no cheese museum, the Dubai Museum is also here, for those that might be interested.

Day 8: I have left Saturday open for any last minute events that might come up, such as a helicopter ride over the man-made islands or an impulsive skydive jump. As we all know, schedules can change with the blink of an eye and I don’t want us to feel like we have to be in any certain place at any certain time.

Also, some of us will be departing for the airport around 10 pm. Boo!

Day 9: Arrive back in the states.

Other Notes:

  • Please check any medications, prescribed and over-the-counter, to see if they are legal in Dubai. A few years ago a British man was arrested for several months because he was trying to bring over-the-counter Melatonin into the country.
  • The government prevents social media apps, like Facebook, from being downloaded. However, if you already have the app, you should be able to use it. Probably a good idea to make sure your phone is full of whatever you might want and/or need while we are there.
  • The conversion rate is 1 UAE Dirham to .27 USD.
  • When bargaining, it is suggested that you start at 50% of the listed retail price.
  • The nightlife in Dubai is supposed to be pretty happening, with some very spectacular nightclubs. I suggest we hit a few of those, which are located along the beach – perfect given our lodging location.

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