It’s hard to imagine a place you’ve never been before, hard to picture what your senses will experience when you first step foot out of the aeroplane. Will there be a wave of heat which hits you as you move from the cool air-conditioned cabin into the daylight? Will there be unusual scents wafting from the market as you travel the streets heading to your hotel? Will the colours be brighter? The noises louder? The smells stronger?
One thing which never fails to amaze me is how different individual countries can be; there is the obvious such as the culture and the people, the language and the dress but then there are the less obvious things like the sounds and the smells. When I think of Dubai I think of exotic and vibrant…of the desert and the history…of modern meets old. I’d love to find out if I’m right!
A few weeks ago I would never have considered Dubai the kind of place I would visit for a family holiday and then one travel related twitter party completed turned that on its head. Here is a country which offers more than just stunning sandy beaches and glistening clear oceans. A country which is more than just desert dunes and camel rides. I could get lost for hours dreaming about the adventures that we could have in Dubai.
And adventures are what we seek; I know I’ve shared before how different we all are when it comes to holidays and how we try to find a nice balance for each of us. I am the history-seeker, James the foodie, Meg the adrenaline-junkie and Eli the water baby. For us a successful family holiday is one where we combine all the individual parts and come up with something which is truly special and unique to us.
I think we could easily find something to please each of us in Dubai so when Tots100 asked for posts sharing our #DXBDreams for the Dubai Dreams blogger challenge I had lots of fun coming up with the answers:-
For the history-lover
I would love to take a trip down to the Creek; to see the ancient side of Dubai and the traditional buildings which still stand there. We’d forgo the water taxis and travel like a local, catching an Abra boat across the water before experiencing historical Dubai with the Souks, the twisting and turning streets and the architecture. I’d also include a visit to Al Bastakiya and the Old Fort whilst here which I’ve heard is a wonderful place to pick up arts and crafts (something which would also appeal to Meg); Al Bastakiya is the home of many authentic mud-brick houses and was supposed to be demolished in the 1980s until it was saved and transformed into a place of cultural importance. One thing we always try to do when we visit a new country or city is to find out what makes that city so special and I think a trip to the old town and the place where it all began would help us to capture the real essence of Dubai.
For the foodie
Of course alongside the history, nothing helps you understand the culture of a place quite like trying the local cuisine and I know Emirati food would be right up James’ street. For our next adventure we would definitely visit the Spice Souk; as spices feature so much in the flavouring of dishes in Dubai, it would be fascinating to see all the different variants of spices whilst getting to experience an authentic Dubai market to boot. The Spice Souk has been located in the heart of the old town for more than 50 years so it’s a lovely opportunity to discover some more history of Dubai at the same time. I imagine for Meg and Eli this will be a wonderful sensory experience from the colours to the scents. It’s also free to enter which would be great for anyone visiting on a budget.
For the adrenaline-junkie
For Meg, it’s about the thills and although I don’t think I could quite stretch to skydiving in Dubai (which is a possibility if you are brave enough) I think we could manage horse riding in the desert. I imagine at 7 years old that’s got to be a pretty exciting thing to do, right?! The joys of being out in the wide expanse of the desert alongside getting to ride a gorgeous Arabian horse…definitely once in a lifetime. If we could time it so that our visit coincided with a sunset then that would just be even more incredible. It gives me actual chills just thinking about it and not just because of the stunning photo opportunities!
For the water-baby
Dubai is the place to go if you have a love of waterparks so we would definitely have to factor in a visit if we were lucky enough to get to travel out. The Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark looks perfect with fast-paced slides, the opportunity to swim with Dolphins, the lazy river for those of us who don’t like anything too quick (that would be me…) and a beach for relaxing after all the fun as well. This sounds like a full day in itself with the opportunity to soak up some of that glorious year-round sun Dubai is so famous for as well. As Meg is planning to be a marine biologist when she’s older I know she would also adore the chance to get up close and personal with the dolphins.
So what would be left? If we’ve discovered the rich heritage, taken in the sights of the Souks, ridden horses in the desert and gone nose to nose with Dolphins at the water park? I think that in itself sounds like an absolutely amazing holiday and one which we would treasure for many years to come but that just scratches the tip of the (probably melting) iceberg when it comes to things for families to do in Dubai from the marine life to the relaxing beaches, the stunning architecture to the biggest malls in the world…you are spoiled for choice. Narrowing our list down to just these 4 things was tricky enough!!
And I really can’t think of anything else better than being given the opportunity to experience them as a family, can you?!