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2011 - My Tiki Tour (Part 3 - Dubai)

The trip continues, heading further into the unknown (well, unknown by me that is).

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View 2011 tiki tour on nzhamsta's travel map.

After Singapore, I went back to Bangkok for a few more days of relaxing next to a pool.

The flight from Bangkok was fine, Emirates living up to their reputation of being a decent airline. Not sure about the tofu for lunch. I had requested a vegetarian meal just to see what I would get. The standard meals looked much more appetising. Huge queues at immigration at Dubai airport, although it meant that bag was going around and around the carousel when I finally got through.

Thursday 17 February – I decided to catch one of the Big Bus tours around Dubai. These are open topped double deck buses with a commentary of the sights. I do not normally use these trips but given that it is a new place for me, I decided that it would be useful. So, I did a full loop to see the sights and then on the second loop, got off at a couple of places. Firstly, at the Creek to catch a dhow cruise that was included, and then to the Dubai Museum. The cruise was interesting as it gave a good indication of how the creek is still used by the dhows for importing and exporting goods all over the Middle East and India. The museum is situated in the old fort and contains a very interesting display of Dubai during the years.

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The Creek.

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The Creek.

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The dhows that still trade from Dubai.

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More of the trading dhows.

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The modern and traditional on the Creek.

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One of the many abras that ferry passengers across the Creek.

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The Creek and the mosque.

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The Dubai Museum.

In the evening, I caught the last bus on the other loop. This loops heads around all the new areas of Jumeirah, including the Burj Al Arab hotel and the Palms development. Given that it gets dark early (6:30 pm), the trip finishes in the dark with all the buildings etc lit up like Christmas trees. Traffic at that time can also be horrendous, especially around the shopping malls.

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The Jumeirah Mosque.

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The Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Friday 18 February – This was the second day of my Big Bus ticket. Again it was the Jumeirah loop, stopping at some of the tourist attractions. In this area, tourist attractions are shopping malls and large buildings (usually in the same place).

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The Burj Al Arab Hotel.

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The Souk Madinat, Jumeirah.

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The Souk Madinat, Jumeirah.

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The Aquarium at Dubai Mall.

Saturday 19, Sunday 20 February – Another two days of wandering around the older part of Dubai, especially by the Creek and Deira. I say older, given that the oldest part of Dubai is no more than 50 years old. This part of town has all the souks and markets and is in my opinion the most interesting part of the city. The bus system and new train system work well.

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The Clock Tower on Al Maktoum Road.

Hotel review: The Arabian Park hotel is a very good, 3 star hotel. It was clean, tidy, friendly staff, but the location is appalling. It is in the middle of nowhere in the Al Jaddaff region between two motorways. There is absolutely nothing around the hotel and you need to use a taxi or the hotel shuttle or the C4 town bus to get anywhere. I chose it on price (and at $NZ68 / $US53 ish, was very good value, especially that it is high season) and I obviously did not look at the map very closely. Next time, I will stay in Deira, right in the heart of the old town.

Summary: I like parts of Dubai, especially the older part in Deira and the area on both sides of the Creek. The national sport is shopping and the malls are huge, with ski slopes, aquariums, and so on included along with a vast number of shops and decent food courts.

It does however have its dark side. Some parts of it are incredibly fake and it being is built and maintained by a vast army of slave labourers, namely the million and a half Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Filipino and other foreign workers.
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Posted by nzhamsta 13:00 Archived in United Arab Emirates

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