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. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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!

      1. 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! 🙂

  2. J DoubleU

    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!

  3. gsubra

    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.

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  5. 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!

  6. 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 ;-))!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. bashothegreat

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

    1. 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.

  10. bajwa007

    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?

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. candeasis

    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. 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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 😉

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  19. 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!

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