When you hear the word Dubai, what comes to mind? For most it’s money, cars, skyscrapers, or anything else that you might consider lavish. If you thought about any of those, you’d be correct. Dubai is, in essence, larger than life. I often compare life in Dubai to Vegas, nothing feels real. Every place you go and everything you do feels like vacation.
If I were to give most Americans a map and ask them where Dubai is, most probably couldn’t tell me. Worse, if I were to ask people which country Dubai was in, they probably couldn’t tell me, or would say it is a country. Fun fact: Dubai is not a country. Dubai is 1 of 7 emirates (~states) within the United Arab Emirates, or UAE. The emirate has managed to draw so much power and wealth by setting itself up as a tourist and financial hub.
The buildings are massive, the hotels are lavish, and the experiences are unbeatable (who puts penguins in a desert?)! Contrary to popular belief, alcohol flows in Dubai, though only at hotels. Luckily for everyone in Dubai, what is classified as hotel grounds is pretty loose (looking at you Barasti).
While living in Dubai, I spent most of my time in the Marina or JBR areas. These are some of the biggest tourist and expat spots (outside The Palm). I rented an apartment for an exorbitant amount given that it was a 5 bed 3 bath. To be fair though, I decided to give up my apartment after 6 months and spend the next 6 months hotel, hostel, and Airbnb jumping.
When in Dubai, Barasti was certainly the place to be after dark. Barasti is a “beach” club located at The Sheraton in the Marina. It was on the beach, though it sets up a tent over the main area during summer due to the heat. The music was always loud, the drinks were mediocre, and the people were there. That didn’t stop us from living it up though, heck I even won a drone during a bud light sponsored event (shoutout to the 3 girls who gave me the answer to win the thing because I’m bad at pop culture).
Barasti isn’t the only bar in town (though it can feel like it). There’s Lock Stock and Barrel in JBR, Rock Bottom, and countless others popping up and going under constantly. To put it simply, if night life is your thing, Dubai will not disappoint.
If nightlife isn’t your thing, day time activities are also abound. There’s the Burj Khalifa (currently the tallest building in the world), the Mall of the Emirates, the Dubai Mall, an indoor ski encounter (read penguin encounter), day clubs, sky diving, desert excursions, water parks, etc.
What I’m trying to say is, Dubai is a pretty fantastic place… to visit. While I would never want to live there again, I loved the opportunity it presented, the friends it introduced me to, and the travel it allowed me.
If you ever get the chance to go to Dubai, go! Especially if you can go on someone else’s dime :). Dubai is incredibly welcoming, surprisingly open/western given its location, and most importantly it is unique.
One thing I didn’t mention about Dubai that you may have heard about is their brunch game. I intentionally left brunch out of this post because well, it is truly something special. Brunch in Dubai is so wild in fact, that I figured I would write a separate post about it!
PSA- Dubai is a desert, so spoiler alert, deserts get crazy hot… especially in summer!