Affordable Luxury: 8 Ways to Experience the Best of Dubai

Dubai

Dubai is one of the seven dazzling emirates forming the United Arab Emirates. It has been ranked as one of the fastest growing cities in the world.  Also, it is one of the most sought-after destinations for travellers around the world with its endless choices of fine dining restaurants, shopping opportunities, and luxury accommodation.

Despite the luxury experiences it offers, Dubai is a diverse city offering activities, attractions and luxury leisure hotel rooms at affordable rates. Here are eight ways to experience the best of Dubai without spending a ton of cash:

1. Explore the City by Walking

There are certain areas where walking is considered the best way to explore the surroundings. These include the Dubai Marina and the traditional districts of Al Ras and Al Bastakiya.

If you’re in Dubai Marina, take the monorail to Atlantis hotel, which is located on the tip of Palm Jumeirah. In Al Ras, you can visit markets like Naif Souk, Spice Souk, Gold Souk, and Deira fish market. In Al Bastakiya, you will find traditional souks, lots of galleries, and museums.

the markest in Dubai

2. Enjoy the Sun at Stunning Public Beaches

There are private beaches in the city – you can get access to it by staying at a beach hotel or paying an entrance fee. But there are also some beaches that you can visit for free. These are well-maintained beaches with ease of access to restaurants, camel riding, shopping, water sports, and clean toilets. Others even offer free use of an outdoor gym and an excellent beach promenade.

The Beach in Dubai

3. Go Window Shopping

When it comes to luxury shopping, Dubai is one of the top destinations. The best thing about this is that even if you do not have enough space or budget for shopping, some of these malls are worth checking out without spending a penny.

At the Dubai Mall, you can check out the Dubai Aquarium without paying a fee. Get to see 33,000 marine animals swimming in the aquarium. Another mall you can visit is the Mall of the Emirates which is the home of Ski Dubai. Watching from outside this indoor ski resort and snow park is possible. If you are interested in theatre, dance, film, music, and arts, you can check out Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre.

4. Look out for Low-cost and Free Events

If you are in Dubai during the Dubai Canvas festival, you can see some of the world’s skilled artists making excellent 3D street art. Another event you should watch out for is the Dubai Food Festival where you can enjoy discounted food deals on food markets and high-end restaurants. It is highly recommended that before you visit the emirate, you must research online for happenings and events that you can go to when you’re in town.

5. Watch the Dancing Fountain

One of the experiences a visitor in Dubai should enjoy is to watch the dancing fountain show. The Dubai Fountain has a spectacular show a few times a day. You can actually watch it thrice a day because each has different shows and music. This is the best place for you to wander around the artificial lake with Burj Khalifa and skyline in the background. The show begins at 6 pm until 11 pm, with a show happening every 30 minutes.

6. Visit Museums

Dubai is also home to low-cost and free museums. Dubai Museum is one of them. This is an affordable museum that gives you a thought-provoking history lesson on how this emirate evolved from a small village to one of the biggest cities today. Other museums you can visit include the Antique Museum in Al Quoz, Women’s Museum, and the Coffee Museum. These museums offer different lessons and unique experiences.

7. Join a Guided Tour

If you want to learn more about Dubai religion and culture, a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque is a great idea. A guided tour will give you the opportunity to ask questions you have in mind. The tour often begins at 10 am from Saturday to Thursday.

8. Explore Various Cultures at the Global Village

Global Village is an outdoor shopping and entertainment area that you shouldn’t miss. It has shopping districts that represent different countries. This is where you can encounter most Emiratis and a few Westerners.

You can definitely find affordable souvenirs here. Also, you can try local cuisines from one of the snack stands inexpensively. Moreover, you can watch cultural shows, music performances and entertainment here.

Dubai may be one of the most expensive cities in the world. But with a bit of time and planning, you can enjoy luxurious experiences for free or at affordable rates.

 

AUTHOR BIO

Habib Khan is a seasoned Hotelier, currently the CEO of Planet Hospitality and General Manager of Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa. Khan has more than 30 years of diversified international experience in the hospitality industry. He is an expert in developing, transforming, and managing hotels, with an ability to analyze and solve problems in a challenging work environment.

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Dubai for Foodies: 10 Best Things to Try

Dubai is on the fast track towards gaining the recognition of being a foodie’s paradise. With thousands of restaurants and numerous cuisines to choose from, your craving for something savory or sweet (and everything in between) will be easily satisfied.

You don’t even have to wait in line at a popular restaurant or café to eat your fill; there are many restaurants that will deliver excellent meals and food products right to your doorstep.

But which dishes and fares should you put on your list of must-try foods in Dubai if you’re here on a gastronomic journey? Here is a list, from a leading food service company in the UAE, of the top 10 you should sample:

1.   Ghuzi

 Ghuzi, or khuzi, is the UAE’s national dish. It is made of roasted lamb or mutton served on top of a bed of rice with spices. A variety of vegetables and nuts are also added to the dish. In restaurants, the roasted meat is served on kebab skewers, with the other garnishes on top of the rice.

Ghuzi is a complete meal in itself. It is a good dish to start with if you’re a foodie on a quest to know more about the hearty, traditional side of Dubai’s food scene.

2.   Al Harees

Another must-try traditional Emirati dish, al harees is a slow-cooked one-pot dish that consists of boiled wheat with salt. Once the wheat gains a smooth, porridge-like texture, tender, tasty chunks of lamb, mutton, chicken, or veal are added and the dish is baked for another several hours. A variety of spices are also added to boost the flavor of the dish.

Al harees is another delightful, tasty, and filling offering that will help you learn more about traditional Emirati cuisine and culture.

3.   Shawarma

Shawarma is another Arabic dish that many restaurants and eateries in Dubai have perfected. If you’re hankering for this meaty wrap, you can select chicken, beef, or lamb for the main protein. Slices of pickles and tomatoes and a drizzle of garlic sauce are added for texture and flavor.

There are now some restaurants in Dubai that serve shawarma with a special fruit shake — a great deal if you’re a foodie on a budget.

4.   Mutton Achari Handi

Aside from Emirati and Arabic dishes, you won’t be disappointed by the different cuisines you can enjoy in Dubai – something that you certainly look forward to as a foodie. Start by trying a popular Pakistani dish: mutton achari handi.

This dish consists of mutton cooked with fresh green chilis and a variety of spices. What you’ll get is a bowl or plate of tender mutton with a tangy, pickled aftertaste. This is one of the most popular dishes to try in Dubai today.

5.   Bihari kebabs

Indian is the most popular cuisine in Dubai today. Bihari kebab is one of the dishes that has helped propelled this cuisine’s popularity.

These kebabs have their roots in the Indian state of Bihar. The skewered pieces of meat are infused with exotic spices, yoghurt and tenderized papaya. They melt in your mouth and make you want to order more.

6.   Koshari

If you haven’t tried any Egyptian foods before, you’re in luck; you will find one of the most popular Egyptian dishes in the world in Dubai, and it’s called koshari.

Koshari is a dish made of baked noodles or rice and drizzled with traditional Egyptian condiments, lentils, chickpeas, fried onions, and vinegar. This Egyptian comfort food is often served with feteer, a traditional Egyptian pie made from flour and sugar and topped with a variety of garnishes.

7.   Manousheh

If you’re craving for a slice of pizza with a twist, you definitely have to try manousheh. Commonly served as a breakfast dish, this Lebanese savory pastry is made from stretched dough and stuffed with flavorful toppings such as zaatar herbs, olive oil and Akkawi cheese. It is a dish you must simply enjoy for breakfast.

8.   Cheong Fun

Cheong fun is a type Chinese dimsum. Shrimp, duck, Chinese barbecued pork, and other types of meat are tightly wrapped inside rice flour wrappers and made into rolls. They are then steamed or deep-fried. These tasty bites are quite addictive and are a must-try for any foodie.

9.   Luqaimat

Once you’re ready for dessert, start with some luqaimats. These deep-fried dumplings are drizzled with date molasses, making them salty and sweet at the same time. Luqaimats are considered by many as the “official sweet of the Emirates.”

10.   Baklava

As a foodie, you may already know your way around baklavas. But you’re certainly in for a treat if you try these sweet pastries in Dubai.

This special dessert, which is made of layers of filo dough,  filled with chopped and sweetened nuts, and drizzled with sugar syrup or honey, is a favorite in Dubai. Just make sure you choose a bakery known for their best-tasting baklavas.

Dubai has so many delectable things to offer to serious foodies. If you haven’t been to this city yet, then it’s high time you do — a culinary journey to Dubai is one of the best experiences you will have in your lifetime.

 

AUTHOR BIO

Hisham Aljamil

Managing Director, Bidfood Middle East

Hisham’s corporate career started in the UAE in late 1988; he worked for firms such as R.J. Reynolds, Danone Group, and Richemont Group across several countries in the GCC. He climbed up the ladder in roles and responsibilities to manage regions and businesses in the Middle East. In 2003, after 15 years of business experience, he took a leap of faith towards starting up something on his own. At almost 10 years in, the business has grown to cover 3 major markets with a turnover exceeding US$60 million. Hisham’s vision is to continue his regional expansion to the rest of the Middle East markets.