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Claudine's tips on Exploring Dubai

Published: 31 May 2017

Well I’m now legally allowed to work, and have an awesome little apartment to live in, what next? I guess it’s time to start exploring and embrace my new home.

I don’t know where to begin, Dubai is a fascinating place and hard to describe to someone who’s never been, it has all the glitz of Vegas (without the casinos as gambling is illegal here), beautiful sea and beaches and the desert that has its own unique charm.

There are many tricks of the trade to living in Dubai without spending every penny you earn going out and there is plenty to do. As a newbie there are many things I have yet to do but I have learnt a few things already. So in no particular order. . . . .

  • Ladies night, definitely pays being a gal out here, many establishments have a ladies night and the most popular night seems to be Tuesdays. Most of the deals include free drinks (alcohol is normally expensive) and 50% off food, so always good to know who offers what.
  • The Entertainer, this is a great form of saving, you can buy a booklet or download the app – many banks and other establishments offer this as a benefit when you sign up with them. Essentially The Entertainer has buy one get one free on anything from beach and pool access at certain hotels to meals out, and access to water and theme parks. If you don’t get it as an additional benefit there is a one-off charge of less than £100 and is valid for a year.
  • Old town Dubai is well worth a visit, you can walk through a maze of old sand coloured buildings topped with wind towers. If you fancy you can take a guided tour led by an Emirati and have a traditional breakfast or lunch. Once you finish you can walk through the textile souk before catching a water taxi (abra) for the princely sum of 1 Dirham across the creek to the Gold Souk.
  • Camel racing - if you’re going for the adrenalin rush of a photo finish then this is probably not for you. The races are definitely run over the weekend, but may well happen during the week too. They start at 7.30am and again at 2.30pm. There are no human jockey’s involved, each camel has a remote control robot placed on the back of their hump. These ‘robots’ are manned by men in 4x4s who drive alongside the track. It’s pretty much chaos as soon as the barrier is dropped, the camels lurch forward, limbs flying in every direction. This accompanied by the roar and horns of the 4x4s containing the those manning the robot controls drown out the cheers of the crowd and they’re off in a cloud of dust. The races I watched were over a distance of 8km. After the excitement of the start you then wait a good 15 minutes before the first few camels amble across the finish line. The chaos of the start is replicated at the finish where you have people standing in the middle of the track trying to catch their camel accompanied by photographers and tourists who are all randomly wandering around.
  • For shoppers Dubai is a paradise with an overwhelming number of shopping malls catering for all. I’m not the best when it comes to shopping, but rest assured Dubai Mall has every conceivable shop out there - as the world biggest shopping mall it can be a bit overwhelming but don’t despair as there are plenty of other smaller malls out there.
  • Beach and pools - most residences will have a pool and gym so you don’t have to travel far to enjoy the sunshine. There are also plenty of public beaches catering to all, from Kite Beach where apart from the obvious kitesurfing you’re likely to bump into volley ballers and beach football enthusiasts, to the quieter more out of the way beaches like Mercato and Palace Beach and with access being free there is enough choice for everyone.

 

Next month is all about getting around, including buying a car.

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