Dubai – New & Old

**This post was “Freshly Pressed” on on August 9th, 2012. Thank you WordPress for including me among the great bloggers at Freshly Pressed ! Please give me your comments below and thank you for reading!”**

I’ve been told that I have “horseshoes up my a*%”. I have had the uncanny ability to win more than a few door prizes and other draws over the years (more so than my unlucky friends). I haven’t won the lottery but I have won a couple of trips. My best trip win to date – Dubai. 2 Business Class tickets on Emirates Airlines to Dubai from Toronto. And 3 nights at the Burj Al Arab Hotel (including buffet breakfast). The trip is a grand prize draw at an evening hosted by Jumeirah Hotels. I have 2 ladies offer to be my travelling companion before I have left the building (never mind that my wife was with me – she cast evil eyes in their direction).

The flight from Toronto is long- 14 hours. With the late evening flight, and comfort of Emirates Business Class flat seats, we both manage to rest and sleep very well. But when we arrive in Dubai, it’s night time- again.

The 6 Star Burj Al Arab

We arrive at the Burj Al Arab and are awe struck by this iconic Dubai hotel. The lobby hotel person escorts us to our floor where our butler checks us in. He has great news- we’ve been upgraded to a 2 bedroom 3,600 sq. ft. suite. The butler takes us on a tour of our bi-level “room” . The butler is there to make drinks, draw a bath in your jacuzzi, clean your room every time you leave, press the elevator button for you, etc. A short time after we are settled in the lap of luxury, we both feel exhausted. Jet lag knocks us out and we sleep for 12 hours (and miss our $200 USD breakfast). In the following days, we enjoy the Burj and explore the “new” Dubai. The Burj Kalifa (the world’s tallest building), the Mall of the Emirates (with the indoor ski hill), and a desert safari.

After you have seen “new” Dubai, you need to get over to the Dubai Creek area and see “old” Dubai- simple local restaurants, markets, and local people. My wife, the travel agent of the family, had suggested that we stay another 3 days. Dubai is a long way to go for 3 days.

Old Dubai

We transfer over to the Holiday Inn Dubai Creek. Normal accommodations. We embark on a city tour to see the area. Later, walk through the souks, look in a few shops and eat some local food. The original Dubai is Dubai Creek and the immediate area. Dubai dates back to 1799 when the area started as a trading hub and many years later became an important port. Oil was discovered in Dubai and Qatar in 1966 and then the oil industry took over. The “new” Dubai (construction, financial services, tourism, real estate) comes from the emirate’s desire to diversify the economy beyond oil (and the fact that oil will run out within the next 20 years). “Old” Dubai is authentic and rich in culture.


Still, Dubai and the Burj al Arab are both worthy of any travel bucket list. Do spend some time in both the “old” and “new” Dubai. Dubai is like 2 destinations in one. Dubai is different. Definitely worth the trip and out of the ordinary.


103 thoughts on “Dubai – New & Old

  1. Joshua S August 7, 2012 / 7:34 pm

    This is awesome! I’ve always wanted to go to Dubai. It’s on my 10-year to-do list :D! Thanks for the photos!

  2. thelivingnotebook August 9, 2012 / 3:04 am

    Congrats on winning the trip and the fresh press. Can you name 6 numbers for my lotto card tomorrow? 😉 J/K

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 11:54 am

      Ha, ha. I don’t play the lottery (seriously). Thanks for the congrats.

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 12:08 pm

      Thanks Maria. You have a great blog! and I can’t believe you are 15! Keep up the great work. All the best- feel free to drop me a note at anytime.

  3. glutenfreezen August 9, 2012 / 3:12 am

    Beautiful photos!

    Our neighbor is a pilot in Dubai. He and his family fly home to the US for a month in summers. When I asked the children how they like it they said they don’t. I was shocked! the 11 year old said they go to school and come home and have to play inside because it’s too dangerous to play outside. He said the Muslim extremists try to run down and kill Americans on a regular basis, even children. They’ve moved from the city to the suburbs but he said it still is not safe. They are from Southeast Asia so you wouldn’t think they’d stick out. Evidently it’s quite a difference for a tourist than someone who lives there. Yikes!

    • longhornsandcamels August 9, 2012 / 2:13 pm

      Just to offer another perspective – I am an American and have lived in Dubai (in the central part) for close to two years. I have never ever experienced or heard of any Muslim “extremists” trying to run down or kill Americans. My kids ride their bikes outside freely and I feel totally safe with them here. Everyone seems to love children and lavishes them with all kinds of attention.

      • glutenfreezen August 9, 2012 / 2:49 pm

        Well that’s certainly nice to hear! Like I said, I was shocked at the details of their experience. I had always heard very good things about Dubai and my husband and I have it on our long list of amazing places we’d like to visit.

    • celinechami August 9, 2012 / 7:21 pm

      I fully agree with longhornsandcamels, and I’d like to offer another perspective as well, the perspective of a ‘child’. I’m 16 and I am currently living in Dubai and all I can say is I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else. I’ve never heard of, or seen ANY Muslim ‘extremists’. I’d like to add that I go to an international school and have the greatest of friends originating from all over the world who follow different religions and beliefs and yet are all treated with nothing but equality. I’d also like to point out that Dubai was voted the safest city in the world for 2011! What I find something to say ‘Yikes’ about is the stereotypes people follow about the Muslims. I’d definitely recommend a visit for you to see for yourself how wonderful Dubai really is!

      • glutenfreezen August 9, 2012 / 9:12 pm

        I would love to visit! And the neighbors who told me about the issues are Muslim. Not sure what’s going on! When they come back to the US I’ll have to get the full story and ask why they thought their experience was a negative one. Thanks for your input! 🙂

  4. Lago August 9, 2012 / 3:29 am

    Great post! Good job getting into the Freshly Pressed dude! Great work!

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 11:48 am

      Thanks. I am still blown away by being selected for Freshly Pressed!

  5. Shashi Kallada August 9, 2012 / 3:49 am

    Had been to Dubai during my sailing days, but never saw it like you Mark.. Loved reading this.

  6. J DoubleU August 9, 2012 / 4:14 am

    Great photos and comparison of old and new. I’ve always wondered how they’ve been able to preserve the antiquity of the UAE and what it’s like. Dubai is definitely in the top 3 of my bucket list. Congratulations too on being Freshly Pressed!

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 11:52 am

      Thank you. The old and new is a great story (thanks to my wife). Freshly Pressed is a huge honor!

  7. NS August 9, 2012 / 4:18 am

    ah. Must visit Dubai now!

  8. gsubra August 9, 2012 / 4:38 am

    Dubai is indeed a great place. Looks like you had fun. Did you have a chance to check out the museum? They show how Dubai grew from the dull port it once was, to the bustling global hub it is today.

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 12:01 pm

      I didn’t get in the museum, which I do regret. I did in Cairo and a few months ago in Amsterdam. Next time. thanks.

  9. Selvinas August 9, 2012 / 5:58 am

    My you really are lucky to win a ticket!
    Dubai is definitely on my to-visit list, too bad the tickets are so expensive. Very envious of you and hope you are having a good time!

  10. Easy Lifestyles August 9, 2012 / 6:09 am

    Great pictures. Thanks for sharing them. You have a fantastic blog here. Have a nice day.

  11. ayan August 9, 2012 / 6:11 am

    i have not won any raffle yet.jeez

  12. itsmecherry August 9, 2012 / 7:32 am

    I found your humor very interesting. 😀 I had a wonderful time reading this.

  13. edalmea August 9, 2012 / 7:34 am

    Great indeed! Sooner or later I’ll get my husband to fly again… and Dubai seems to be an interesting destination (to add to my already existing list ;-))!

  14. waste bins August 9, 2012 / 7:46 am

    You are really lucky. Imagine you have experienced trip to dubai for all no cost? I wish I can be as lucky as you. Well Dubai is one of the beautiful country i wanna visit soon.

  15. vand3 August 9, 2012 / 7:58 am


  16. M Hanzala Ali August 9, 2012 / 8:16 am

    Dubai such a wonderful city…

  17. MAAHER SAYEED August 9, 2012 / 8:44 am

    The old dubai had greater people who respected others, were hospitable and humble. The new Dubai is engulfed in a false sense of entitlement and arrogance. However, the new Dubai certainly stands spectacualr and proud as each of these states in the area try to one-up thier neighbours in this game.

    Thanks for posting though. Very nice pics.

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 11:38 am

      Thanks and I don’t disagree with your comments even from the brief time that I was there.

  18. busybaba August 9, 2012 / 8:56 am

    I would imagine that Dubai is much like Tele Viv and Arlington, VA and too many other places throughout.

  19. bashothegreat August 9, 2012 / 10:46 am

    It’s a beautiful city but the fact it was largely built with basically slave labor makes me skeevy about a return.

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 11:37 am

      The new Dubai was built with lots of cheap imported labor. No getting around that.

  20. Tiffany August 9, 2012 / 10:47 am

    Wow! Great post! You have a talent for writing and capturing your readers interest.

  21. NS August 9, 2012 / 11:12 am

    Hi. Also wanted to know how did you put the pics in this format in this post??!!

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 11:31 am

      Hi to you too. The pics are pretty easy. You add to your gallery and then insert the gallery. I do some minor adjustments to color, etc. with MS Picture Manager. You can also insert pictures with a slideshow (did that in my Amsterdam Part 4 Canals post. Thanks.

  22. PrettyGee August 9, 2012 / 11:22 am

    Hope to visit this place someday. Nice place and great post.

  23. home, garden, life August 9, 2012 / 11:32 am

    Fascinating city, yet way expensive? Over the top “new” city…oil makes water out of salt. Curious. Would you do this trip again? Congrats on FP! Visit my blog/world…

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 11:58 am

      Dubai is not expensive near Dubai Creek. Dinner for 2 $20. I would visit Dubai again.

  24. Imaginarium of Pau August 9, 2012 / 12:03 pm

    Good choice of subjects on your snaps! Your trip looks enjoying 🙂

  25. lovejblog August 9, 2012 / 12:11 pm

    Oh my gosh! You ARE lucky!

  26. bajwa007 August 9, 2012 / 12:31 pm

    I am planning a trip to Atlantis with my wife and 1 year old son. DO you think its a fun place? I plan to stay for one week is it too long?

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 12:38 pm

      I’ve stayed at Atlantis Paradise Island a couple of times. You’ll love it. Lots to see in Dubai.

  27. TurnTronics August 9, 2012 / 12:52 pm

    Very cool pictures. Would love to go to Dubai some day!

  28. longhornsandcamels August 9, 2012 / 2:15 pm

    Congrats on being FP’d! Coincidentally, I just posted an entry about the Burj al Arab. How lucky that you were able to stay there and in such a fancy suite! I’m so happy you went to the old part of the city – a lot of tourists skip it for some reason. Great photos.

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 2:22 pm

      Freshly Pressed is a real honor- totally unexpected and out of the blue. I don’t know if I emphasized that enough- that you need to see the old Dubai too. It’s not a trip to Dubai otherwise. Thanks for your kind words.

  29. dazanandjo August 9, 2012 / 2:21 pm


  30. Carlie Chew August 9, 2012 / 3:29 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

  31. richardpowell August 9, 2012 / 4:44 pm

    I was in Dubai last month for a job interview. It is jaw dropping. although don’t expect to drool, the heat and humidity is something that takes getting used to. Amazing Pictures.

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 4:51 pm

      Thanks. Yes, the heat can be something but the experience makes up for it.

  32. tonyschumacher August 9, 2012 / 5:22 pm

    Great piece with fantastic pictures. I had an interesting conversation with a Pakistani guy who worked there for a while the other week. He told me their perception of Dubai is very much different than ours though, fifteen hour days for less than three dollars a day working in a kitchen made him see it as a hell hole. I suppose that’s the difference between looking up and looking down!

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you for the compliment. I spoke to a girl from India when there. She had a similar view.

  33. candeasis August 9, 2012 / 6:44 pm

    I know someone who used to work there and he always said that it is one of the best places to visit. Great pictures, by the way. 🙂

  34. Gracie August 9, 2012 / 6:53 pm

    It seems like a beautiful city, a place that I would definitely not mind visiting.
    Thanks for sharing your experience and giving us a virtual tour.

  35. celinechami August 9, 2012 / 7:25 pm

    Congratulations on the ‘Freshly Pressed’. A great post, with an excellent comparison to the old and new Dubai. Glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • markstraveljournal August 9, 2012 / 7:26 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. And thanks for your perspective on Dubai. I agree – Dubai is wonderful.

  36. Kinza Ahmed August 9, 2012 / 8:46 pm

    Oh man.. The pictures are beautiful! I have seen many others of Dubai, but never like these. Good work!

  37. MaxPower August 9, 2012 / 11:04 pm

    I love what Dubai is doing with the fancy buildings and communities out in the water. They are doing some great cutting-edge stuff that the U.S. should have already done. If they haven’t already, I think Dubai should build underground to avoid the scorching desert weather. I would love to live in an undergound city.

  38. 'liya August 10, 2012 / 2:49 am

    Congrats on winning! Now which did you enjoy more, the new Dubai or the old?

    • markstraveljournal August 10, 2012 / 2:59 am

      Thanks. Both new and old Dubai have their good points – I honestly enjoyed old Dubai a little more.

  39. Mary August 10, 2012 / 3:39 am

    It was great to read your post. Dubai is also on my list of places to see.

  40. vand3 August 10, 2012 / 4:01 am

    the picture look a live….., great work man……

  41. MCT August 10, 2012 / 6:42 am

    Thanks for the nice Photos! Beautiful places!!!!

  42. A Gracious Life August 10, 2012 / 11:39 am

    Congratulations on wining, you are so lucky! Dubai has never been on my travel list…now reconsidering..=>

  43. justanotherday August 14, 2012 / 4:17 am

    AMAZING! I’ve always wanted to go to Dubai, but there are a lot of other places I wanted to go to first that are more affordable, maybe commenting here will have some of your luck rub off on me and maybe one day I’ll win a free trip too 😉

  44. Carole October 26, 2019 / 12:31 am

    Wow what a fabulous prize! Dubai sounds awesome. All I’ve done so far is spend a night in the airport transit hotel. Must try and do a proper trip sometime.

  45. Susan Burns November 1, 2019 / 1:03 pm

    I loved Dubai when I went and this brought back lots of lovely memories. It has made me want to visit it all over again now :-).

  46. clairelomax2018 February 13, 2020 / 9:12 am

    What an incredible prize to win! Dubai looks like a superb place to visit and to not have to pay… what a bonus!

    • markstraveljournal February 13, 2020 / 9:39 pm

      It was great (and the price was right…). Thanks for the comments

  47. Jen March 16, 2020 / 3:49 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Dubai. That’s so cool you were able to win a trip there, how fun! 😁

    • markstraveljournal March 16, 2020 / 7:32 am

      A great destination for a future visit…thanks for the comments

  48. UK Beauty Room April 3, 2020 / 6:54 pm

    Dubai is on my list of places to visit! I hope i’ll be able to go in the next few years. You’re very lucky to win a trip!! Thanks for writing such a great post. I’ll bare it in mind when I do manage to book a trip!

    • markstraveljournal April 3, 2020 / 6:59 pm

      It’s a great destination. I hope you get there someday. Thanks for the comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s