For my two-week Christmas school break I had plans to go visit my brother and his wife living in Bahrain. Before getting to Bahrain, however, we met up in Dubai for a fun weekend excursion to celebrate my bro’s birthday. There are tons of cool things to do in this desert metropolis. Dubai is awesome!

I was very excited to come out to this side of the world as it was my first time. After having lived in Japan for a few months, I immediately noticed the difference in customs and culture from that of Japan’s to Dubai’s. The chic Dubai Airport alone was enough to demonstrate that I wasn’t in east Asia anymore! The way people greet each other is much more warmer, the pace of life, food, dress styles etc. I was in a new world and loving it! The public transport in Dubai is modern, clean and intuitive, plus the landscape was of course quite different from what I was slowly growing accustomed to seeing in Japan. All in all Dubai is an elegant place to explore and any traveler fortunate enough to make it out this way will surely have a blast too.

The city landscape is really cool to take in and admire. The high-rises are very impressive; you will instantly get a good sense of the city’s affluence by simply traveling from the airport to the sprawling inner city.  A trip to Dubai isn’t quite complete without checking out the world famous: Burj Khalifa, Arabic for Khalifa Tower.  The tower is staggering and it is easy to see why it is the pinnacle of Downtown Dubai. The three neighboring city landmark’s are a must for any Dubai traveler: Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain and the Dubai Mall.

Now, I’m not much a fan of going to malls or even shopping for that matter, but the Dubai Mall is one impressive feat. As one of the worlds largest malls that features 1,200 shops, a luxury hotel, a megaplex Cinema, 120 restaurants including a Rainforest Cafe, an Ice Rink, an indoor Sega Theme Park, an Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, this place is totally worth a visit if you are checking the Burj Khalifa. You can easily spend the whole day here and not see everything this mega mall provides.

I love going to Zoo’s and Aquariums so we decided to see what the Dubai Aquarium had to offer. The entrance fee’s range from nearly $30 to $70depending on package deal. There is plenty to see here, expect to see over 300 species. This includes a total of 300 sharks and manta rays living in the main aquarium tank. The highlight to the Dubai Aquarium is of course the King Crocodile. The King Croc weighs in at over 1,600 lbs and is over 16 ft. long, this thing is a real beast.

Getting to and from Downtown Dubai is a breeze as there is a metro link which connects the Dubai Mall to the metro station via a long, air-conditioned footbridge. Commuting to the major sites of Dubai is made easy, but if you are feeling a bit more adventurous like us and want to play in the sand then you may want to look into booking a desert tour. We booked a desert tour through this site: , we went with the Dinner in the Desert ($55) and Desert Safari tour ($72). It wasn’t cheap but it made for a really fun experience and a good story to tell.

We were picked up in a Land Cruiser from our Airbnb at about 3 pm, fought through traffic and eventually made it to the desert. The Desert Safari tour begins with some off-road driving in the desert dunes and continues by dropping us off the tour’s campsite. There are lots of things to see and do once at the camp site: camel riding, henna painting, aromatic shisa, handcrafted souvenir shopping , Arabic dinner buffet, and a hypnotizing Arabic belly-dancer. We had a blast!

Before concluding our fun time inDubai we spent some time at a shopping mall, did some souvenir shopping and watched the latest and greatest Star Wars movie in 3D. I couldn’t of asked for a better way to end the trip. Star Wars was of course awesome and this shopping mall was pretty cool too.

Dubai is truly impressive. I have been having a great time in Japan so far and was delightfully surprised to find another place just as intriguing. It’s no wonder why Dubai is recognized as the world’s playground. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this attractive city. Happy travels!

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