Heritage and Diving village
This place is located at the mouth of the river on the Bur Dubai side. We walked past this place several times because it was on our way over to the pedestrian tunnel. During the day the place seems totally empty but at night it was filled with people. There were shows with traditional dances and some days people were making traditional food that could be bought. And there were guests from other Arab countries showing their Bedouin culture as well. It seemed to be a place where lots of locals went because we didn’t really see that many tourists there.
This place also has a “submarine” called the Seascope that you can go out with to check out the marine life. It costs about 50 Dhs pr. person for a 45-minute trip. The day when we went it was a bit windy and I think that this stirred up the water because the visibility was not great.
Comfortable shoes - whether you decide to go on a extensive shopping spree, spend a night in the desert with the bedouins, or spend a day on the beach..you'll need some of these.
Fancy shoes - for those fancy pubs and restaurants..or for that 5* hotel or high-end mall..just make sure you have something you can look great in :) Sunscreen, Tanning Lotion and After Sun (DEFINITELY) - Swimming Suit
- Sunglasses (DONT FORGET THIS)
The Hugest Shopping Mall
This shopping mall in Deira has EVERYTHING you could want. From clothing, dvds, cds, and toys, to perfume, food, and presents. If you're from the U.K you'll find many familiar shops - Next, Lush, Virgin Megastore, Build-A-Bear Factory, BHS, Top Shop. There's a huge Ikea here which can get as crowded as the ones in the U.K, and a massive Carrefour, selling food, magazines, homeware, clothes.
Lots of cafes and food places. Magic Planet has games, rides, bowling, a cinema - everything to keep your kids busy. It's located next to the food court.
Arabian Treasures sells Arabian gifts (many of which come from India?), including wooden camels, shishas, decorative dishes, cushion covers. However, it does get really busy and is always full of tourists.
You could wander around this place for hours, so if you're only in Dubai for a week, avoid it as it'll take up too much of your time and you'll feel like you're at home, whether you're from England, America or any other western country. Build A Bear store - they have toy camels here which I've not seen in the UK or US stores. Cheap to expensive - really does vary.
The most potent cocktails in town...
Trader Vic's is a collection of restaurants that incorporates different cultures from around the world, whilst maintaining a mostly Polynesian theme. It is also the only upscale group of restaurants operating worldwide.
Forgive me for putting this tip under "Nightlife", but it's simply more appropriate as we never come here to eat ;-)
The first Trader Vic's in the UAE opened in both Abu Dhabi & Dubai in 1994 and in 2005 a 2nd restaurant was opened in Dubai at Madinat Jumeirah.
--> UPDATE June 2008: There is also a Trader Vic's MaiTai Lounge in the Al Fattan Tower in Dubai Marina. Only bar-bites are served here, but this venue is a lot larger and I really liked it here, as the band is best here!
I will admit that the atmosphere, food & world-famous cocktails are superb, but they come at a price. A simple bar snack of 4 veggie spring rolls will set you back Dhs 56.- (15 US Dollars!), so you can imagine what a main course must cost. I've had dinner at the Crown Plaza branch once & it was good, but in my opinion the prices were still not justifiable. Also, the restaurant tends to be very dark, and I for one like to see what I'm eating. If you choose to have dinner, reservations are essential. Dress Code is Smart-Casual. Jeans are ok, but no sandals or sneakers. No baseball caps.
The true magic starts when it comes to the cocktails: they are BIG, colourful, gorgeous and the most potent you'll find in the whole city.
And this is what most people have come here for - to grab a highly fought-over space at the "MaiTai Lounge Bar" & drown themselves in concoctions with exotic, strange & funny names. I "quizzed" the bartender on the various ingredients & differences of certain cocktails on the list, and his knowledge was flawless & his smile endless - the staff in this place are fantastic. I like coming here for a few "winding-down" drinks after work.
There's also a live Cuban band who play live every night from 09:00pm onwards.
TIP: If you want to enjoy the most dangerously delicious cocktails in Dubai & survive with your bank account in tact, get there early and enjoy their Happy Hour with 50% discount, every day from 06:00pm - 08:00pm (after discount, a cocktail will cost around Dhs 25.- which is about 7 US Dollars) How many can you drink in 2 hours, eh? Haha!
My Tried, Tested & Recommended Cocktails:
Tiki Puka Puka: similar to a Mai Tai, but a lot bigger & stronger (see pink drink in photo)
Mini Hunni: Minty-fresh with lime & a lot of kick (comes with free mini doll)
Potted Parrot: a smooth but potent blend of rums & tropical juices.
Rum Giggle: great for sharing with friends.
PeachTree Punch: thick, fruity and more "gentle" with less percentage.
Lunch Hours: 12:30pm - 03:00pm.
Dinner Hours: 07:30pm - 11:00pm (Crowne Plaza & Madinat Jumeirah).
Mai Tai Lounge: 06:00pm - 01:30am.
NOTE: Happy Hours only apply to Trader Vic's in the Crowne Plaza and also the Trader Vic's in the Al Fattan Tower.
CAR HIRE - LICENCE REQUIREMENTS
Are you breathing? Do you hold a Drivers Licence issued by ANY government on the face of the Earth? Congratulations! You can rent a car in Dubai! They glanced at mine from a distance. When you see how many locals drive (large, expensive) cars, you will understand why they are just not that picky about your Licence. Rent form local companies – not the big international names! I saved 50% and had a great car with Air-conditioning. You must have A/C. It’s the law – of nature.
Have a great time and be careful out there!